February 26th, 2024

Guess Who co-founders seek to dismiss lawsuit from Cummings and Bachman

By David Friend, The Canadian Press on December 19, 2023.

Burton Cummings, left, and Randy Bachman perform during a Canada's Walk of Fame fundraising event in Toronto on July, 18, 2019. A lawsuit filed by Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman against two of their former band mates in the Guess Who is being called "a complete farce" by the musicians who are seeking to see it dismissed. Drummer Garry Peterson and bassist Jim Kale filed a motion earlier this month asking a Los Angeles court to throw out allegations they've infringed on the trademarks for the Winnipeg band. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

A lawsuit filed by Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman against two of their former bandmates in the Guess Who is being called “a complete farce” by the musicians who are seeking to see it dismissed.

Drummer Garry Peterson and bassist Jim Kale filed a motion earlier this month asking a Los Angeles court to throw out allegations they’ve infringed on the trademarks for the Winnipeg band.

Both musicians, who are founding members of the original act, were sued in October by Cummings and Bachman who allege they have assembled a “cover band” to perform and release albums under the Guess Who name.

But Peterson and Kale say they’ve been using the name for decades and claim their former bandmates have waited too long to file the trademark suit. They argue the statute of limitations has expired.

None of the allegations have been tested in court.

Cummings and Bachman say in their original suit that the Guess Who today is not the band people knew for the hits “American Woman” and “These Eyes.” They claim Kale has not performed publicly with the current Guess Who iteration since 2016, while Peterson appears “infrequently.”

Former Guess Who singer Cummings and guitarist Bachman are seeking in excess of US$20 million in damages.

In their motion for a dismissal, Peterson and Kale allege that Bachman and Cummings are seeking control of the Guess Who because they’ve found that their solo names “do not have the same recognition and do not garner the same commercial demand as the Guess Who,” at least in the United States.

“Bachman and Cummings have tried to take the Guess Who name for themselves, despite having left the band decades ago and (Peterson and Kale) carrying on the band’s legacy,” the motion says.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 19, 2023.

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