Tuesday, May 5, 2009

(More or Less) Breaking News: Jay Bennett sues former compadre Jeff Tweedy

I heard about this when it first broke, but I mean, read here. For those of you familiar with the film I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, Jay Bennett was kind of a colossal asshole in that movie. But that's not the point. It seems unlikely that the case will get very far, because a lot of the claims Bennett makes seem to be very strange, and you can find the brief here. So yeah. I'm not going to hate on the guy who had some hand in making Being There, Summerteeth, and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot what they are (extremely good albums), but something is fishy here.

For one, Jay is going after Jeff on royalties associated with the documentary I mentioned earlier. Besides Jeff being in this movie, I'm certain that Jeff really has nothing else to do with it. So for one, Jay is going after the wrong dude here. Sam Jones is the guy responsible for that movie, so if Jay is really looking to do this, he's got his guns pointed at the wrong man.

Then, you have to wonder a little bit about the timing. Those who kind of keep up with former Wilcomen (is that the proper term?) know that Jay Bennett actually needs hip replacement surgery. His hip has degraded and it's to the point where it's no longer salvageable. These procedures are expensive. And as a not prominent musician...he's probably lacking in medical insurance. I mean, have you, the most-likely average music listener, even heard of Jay Bennett outside of the context of Wilco? So yeah, I really feel bad for the guy. Nobody should have to go through this kind of stuff, especially without medical insurance. Such is an artist's life.

The kind of thing I'm thinking is that he is, in a way, suing now, of all the years he could have sued post-documentary because he needs the money for his surgery. But to really sue Jeff Tweedy? Sure, things went sour and he fired you, but in another regard he A. employed you, B. let you become part of something bigger which C. has inevitably defined your legacy. It's almost as if the guy is biting the hand that fed him...and I don't like that at all. Not one bit.

Plus, I'm sure if he had approached Wilco management, Wilco could have probably thrown something together for an old compadre (however bitter the ending was). Always gotta pay dues. From as little as a note and a donation link on Wilco's website to even a charity show for Jay Bennett would have probably gone a long way towards covering the procedure.

I'm forever grateful for what Jay Bennett brought to Wilco during that era, but man, this here stinks a bit of douchebaggery.

In the non-legal world, Wilco is putting out a new album cunningly titled Wilco (the Album) on June 30th, and they will be kicking off a tour on...gasp, June 12th in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hey, that's my birthday (and hey, I'll be there!).

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