After Phil Collins’ big win at the Oscars on Sunday you’d think that he’d be making a deposit in the karma bank. But instead the entertainer, reported to be worth a whopping $450 million, filed suit against two members of his former backing band in London’s High Court on March 29, claiming that he overpaid them $390,000 in royalties, according to a British press reports.
Collins contends that former Earth Wind and Fire members Louis Satterfield and Rahmlee Davis were paid royalties on fifteen tracks from the singer’s 1990 album Serious Hits…Live!, when they only appeared on five tracks. Collins chalks up the overpayment to an “accounting error.”
Satterfield and Davis, who flew to the U.K. to attend the expected five-day trial, will reportedly claim that they signed a contract giving them 0.5 percent of the royalties from the live album recorded during Phil Collins’ Serious Tour of 1990. The duo also helped produce the former Genesis drummer’s 1981 album Face Value, and 1989’s But Seriously.
The two musicians are represented by the Society of Black Lawyers, who claim the two artists are impoverished and rely on royalties from the album. “These talented African-American artists will be reduced to destitution with no prospect of seeing any benefit from their labor during Collins’ formative years,” read a statement from the society.
Satterfield said that he could not understand why Collins was bringing the affair to court. “He is a great artist, but there is something missing in his understanding. This is only one penny or two pennies and the man is worth millions.”
Davis agreed, explaining, “We were an integral part of his career. When the tunes we played were hits, they sold albums. It makes no difference if we played on all fifteen tracks, we played ‘Sussudio’ and that sold the whole album.”