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Ex-Wilco Member Sues Tweedy, Seeks Hip Replacement

11:01 AM Tuesday 5/5/09 | |

Former Wilco member Jay Bennett has some unfinished business with band frontman Jeff Tweedy. On Monday Bennett filed a breach-of-contract suit against Tweedy, claiming Wilco’s lead singer owes him royalties for songs written when Bennett was still in the band.

What’s more, the multi-instrumentalist also needs a new hip. And those don’t come cheap.

In case you weren’t keeping track, Bennett was in Wilco from 1994 through 2001 and worked on five albums – Being There, Summerteeth, Mermaid Avenue, Mermaid Avenue Vol. II and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Bennett also claims he’s owed money for the band’s 2002 documentary, “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart,” which documented the making of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

Saying he’s been compensated, but only in “infrequent partial payments” equaling 15 percent of Wilco’s sales and performance income, Bennett is asking for at least $50,000 in damages.

“As a recording musician in Wilco, Bennett is entitled to compensation for his services rendered in the form of continuing and perpetual artist royalty payments from” Tweedy, according to the suit.

Although Bennett is an in-demand session player, recent times have not been kind for the musician. He recently wrote on his MySpace blog that a severe pain in his right leg has made him “severely bedridden.” Blaming the pain on years of stage diving, Bennett says he needs a complete hip replacement, but, like many musicians, he doesn’t have any health insurance.

“I have been saving as much money as possible ever since I made this new commitment to my health, my future, and my quality of life, and have sold off some vintage recording gear, whose monetary collectors value now far outweighs its functional value. As time has passed my mobility has continued to erode, to the extent that, for quite some time now, it has even been difficult to sit at the computer for more than just a few minutes …”

Bennett also notes he’ll have six to 8 weeks of therapy after the surgery which should bring his body up to 80 percent capacity – an improvement compared to what he’s experiencing now.

“The way I look at it, I’m functioning WAY below 80% right now, so what do I have to lose? Except a limp, some pain, some anxiety, and some weight. In many ways, I’m really looking forward to it, and wish I could go in tomorrow.”

Click here for Jay Bennett’s MySpace page.

Click here for Wilco’s Web site.

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