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QUEENSRŸCHE’s MICHAEL WILTON And EDDIE JACKSON Accuse SCOTT ROCKENFIELD Of ‘Abandoning’ The Group

Queensryche's Michael Wilton and Eddie Jackson have responded to former drummer Scott Rockenfield's recent claims.

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QUEENSRŸCHE guitarist Michael Wilton and bassist Eddie Jackson have replied to the band’s former drummer, Scott Rockenfield, accusing him of abandoning his position witin the group.

Last October, Rockenfield filed a lawsuit against Wilton and Jackson alleging breach of contract. The drummer claims he took a leave from QUEENSRŸCHE in February 2017 after his fiancée experienced complications during the birth of their son and had to have an emergency Cesarean delivery.

The suit seeks damages including lost wages because, according to the band’s agreement, if someone takes time off they should be compensated equally with other members and retain an equal one-third interest in all QUEENSRŸCHE companies (QR Companies).

Scott claims that on or about October 11, 2018, Wilton and Jackson purportedly “voted to dismiss Rockenfield from QUEENSRŸCHE due in whole or in part to his taking of approved family leave. Rockenfield was informed of his purported dismissal from the band in a letter dated November 3, 2018.”

Rockfenfield also claimed that Wilton and Jackson did not include him in the recording QUEENSRŸCHE’s latest album, “The Verdict”, “despite his availability and willingness to participate.”

Rockenfield claimed to be “owed compensation for lost wages and profits as, as well as an amount equal to the present fair market value of his equity interest in the QR Companies as of his wrongful dismissal, plus interest thereon.”

According to BLABBERMOUTH.NET, who obtained a copy of a new document from Wilton and Jackson dated March 10, 2022, the duo claim that Rockenfield announced in March 2017 that he was taking a few months off from touring despite being aware that “QUEENSRŸCHE were in the middle of a tour and was contractually obligated to play a number of live concerts, including an upcoming April 1, 2017 concert in California, to be followed by several concerts in the U.S. scheduled for April and May, and that QUEENSRŸCHE, including Rockenfield, had agreed and were scheduled in June 2017 to play 13 live shows at different venues across Europe. Rockenfield’s sudden departure required Jackson and Wilton to locate and hire a drummer” — former KAMELOT drummer Casey Grillo — “so that the band could comply with their contractual touring obligations.”

Wilton and Jackson go on to say that Rockenfield “made no effort to assist the band in finding a substitute drummer for the remaining concert dates on the QUEENSRŸCHE tour.” They also claim that they, along with singer Todd La Torre and the band’s manager began attempting to contact Rockenfield “near the end of 2017” to discuss his participation on the next QUEENSRŸCHE album. However, “Rockenfield only sporadically responded to band members and band management about participating in the recording the new album. On those occasions when Rockenfield did respond to members of QUEENSRŸCHE or band management, he obfuscated and refused to commit or agree to rejoin the band or to participate in the process of recording the new album.”

The document goes on to say that QUEENSRŸCHE management contacted Rockenfield via e-mail in late 2017 and informed him that “QUEENSRŸCHE had to have a declaration from Rockenfield as to whether or not he intended to participate in recording on the band’s album. Rockenfield was informed by QUEENSRŸCHE management that due to his continued obfuscation, that his failure respond with anything other than a commitment to rejoin the band for their album, would necessarily be deemed a ‘no.’ Rockenfield subsequently acquiesced to QUEENSRŸCHE hiring another drummer to take Rockenfield’s place.”

Wilton and Jackson also say that Scott failed to generate any income to pay off a loan used to cover the settlement QUEENSRŸCHE had reached with their original vocalist Geoff Tate.

“When QUEENSRŸCHE had negotiated their financial settlement with Tate in 2014, QUEENSRŸCHE’s then attorney recommended and arranged for Jackson, Wilton and Rockenfield to secure a loan from a particular third party lender, the proceeds of which would to be used to pay Tate a lump sum of the entire amount of the agreed upon settlement,” the document states. “Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield signed the loan agreement as individuals doing business as QUEENSRŸCHE. Under the Agreement, Jackson, Wilton and Rockenfield were jointly and severally liable to the Lender for repayment of the loan. The Lender required the band members to pledge real property as security for the loan. Wilton and Jackson pledged real property that each individually owned. As additional security Wilton and Jackson were required to pledge specific valuable and irreplaceable personal property they had accumulated during their three decades of playing and performing in rock and roll music all over the world. Rockenfield did not own any real property. Rockenfield was only required to pledge some computer equipment he had used for recording his side project, Hollywood Loops. With the rapid advancement of computer technology, any value of the computer equipment Rockenfield pledged, quickly diminished.”

The document allegedly goes on to say that Jackson, Wilton and Rockenfield were required to make regular monthly payments or risk default” on the loan “and loss of the property they’d pledged as security. The loan prohibited Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield from selling or otherwise disposing of personal property pledged as security for the loan, and provided that, if any of the property pledged as security was disposed of prior to the loan having been paid in full, the loan would come immediately due. Prior to the loan being paid in full, Rockenfield sold or otherwise disposed of the property he’d pledged as security for the loan.”

Wilton and Jackson state that “the revenue generated through QUEENSRŸCHE concerts was the primary income source that allowed QUEENSRŸCHE band members to stay current on Tate loan. Since Rockenfield left the band in Spring 2017, Rockenfield has not generated any income for use to pay off the loan used to pay Tate. Since Rockenfield left the band in 2017, he has not contributed any money to pay off the Tate loan. Rockenfield’s failure to generate any income for the band after leaving in 2017, resulted in the other obligors, Jackson and Wilton, shouldering the entire responsibility to pay off the Tate loan, including Rockenfield’s portion, and, Rockenfield’s actions put Jackson and Wilton at risk of default and loss of their own property.”

Apparently, Rockenfield had opted out of participating in any of at least 65 concerts QUEENSRŸCHE played between March of 2017 and October 2018, and was informed and invited to attend pre-production meetings for “The Verdict” album in 2018. “Although the band’s pre-production work was occurring approximately 10-12 miles from Rockenfield’s residence, he declined to take part.”

Wilton and Jackson also accuse Rockenfield of “intentionally and wrongfully withdrawing $10,000.00 in cash from QUEENSRŸCHE without permission and for his own personal use,” “intentionally and wrongfully charging personal expenses to his QUEENSRŸCHE company credit card” and “removing video-wall panels without notice or permission from the band’s storage facility.”

When the subject of how Wilton and Jackson came to dismiss Rockenfield from QUEENSRŸCHE, the pair claim that they “provided Rockenfield with 10 days written notice of a shareholder/board meeting of the QR Companies, with a notice of the date, time and location of that meeting place, and an advisement that the subject matter of the meetings was the dismissal of Rockenfield from the QUEENSRŸCHE companies. On October 11, 2018, the day before the scheduled meeting, Rockenfield sent Jackson and Wilton a text message confirming he’d received notice of the meeting. Rockenfield requested that he be allowed to attend the meeting telephonically. Historically, telephonic attendance of meetings of the QR Companies was a commonplace practice for members of QR Companies. Wilton notified Rockenfield he could attend the meeting telephonically. Rockenfield received a text that confirmed the meeting location and included confirmation of the meeting time and the phone number that allowed Rockenfield to call in and participate telephonically in the meeting. On October 12, 2018, at the time scheduled for the meeting, Rockenfield failed to appear and failed to call in telephonically. After waiting for in excess of an hour without Rockenfield either appearing in person or calling to appear telephonically, and, the remaining members constituting a quorum, Rockenfield was formally voted out of the QR companies.”

Wilton and Jackson go on to say that “Rockenfield’s initial indication that he would participate, at least telephonically, in the October 12, 2018 meeting, only to fail to make any effort to do so, along with his to failure to notify either Jackson or Wilton that he was not going to participate, was consistent with the behavior Rockenfield had shown the band and in matters of QUEENSRŸCHE business for most of the previous year and a half.”

Wilton and Jackson are seeking dismissal of Rockenfield’s claims with prejudice, declare him as abandoning his position as an employee of QUEENSRŸCHE Incorporated (the company) and award them general damages that they deserve according to the law.