Bennett's complaint claims that he is owed royalties from songs he recorded and co-wrote during his seven years with the band, as well as for proceeds from the documentary, which Bennett says Tweedy co-produced. The suit indicates that Bennett tried repeatedly to collect from Tweedy, who paid out only "infrequent partial payments."
This is sad. Bennett was an important part of the development of Wilco's sound—the elaborate Beach Boys orchestration on Summerteeth was in large part Bennett's vision, as was much of the noise experimentation on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Tweedy kicked out drummer Ken Coomer without so much as a phone call—that was left to manager Tony Margherita—and he likewise booted Bennett when their passive-aggressive co-dependent relationship, documented in excruciating detail on I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, became too much to bear.
Since that parting, Bennett has struggled with drug addiction and anonymity, while Tweedy has struggled with drug addiction and critical adulation.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times's Jim DeRogatis, the suit, which comes eight years after Bennett left the band, may have been motivated by Bennett's need for imminent hip surgery. He doesn't have health insurance.
According to this blog, Coomer also sued Tweedy after he was booted, and Bennett has hired the lawyer who handled that case. The phone number for that attorney listed on Cook County Circuit Court documents filed yesterday is currently disconnected, which doesn't bode well for Bennett.
Update: Via Paste, the publicist for Tweedy has issued a statement:
I know exactly as much as everyone else does. I've read the news and I honestly have no idea what these claims are based on. It was such a long time ago. Aside from everything else, I'm being sued for not paying someone for appearing in a movie I didn't produce. Go figure. I am truly sad it has come to this. I am equally convinced, however, that I have done nothing wrong and that this will be handled fairly and swiftly.