Former Machine Head Bassist Adam Duce Sues Band

Bassist claims he didn't "make enough money to live within his modest means" despite group's high earnings.

Ultimate Guitar

Ex-Machine Head bassist Adam Duce is officially suing his former band on multiple counts, including the alleged trademark infringement, breach of partnership agreement, defamation and more.

As Courthouse New Service notes, Duce had quit the band because he was "sick of it," claiming that although Machine Head was formed as a partnership under which each member owned 25 percent, frontman Robb Flynn was the one getting the biggest cut.

"Despite their increase in popularity and touring revenue, plaintiff became concerned with how little income he was receiving, despite the time and hard work put in to developing the Band," the complaint reads.

"Despite plaintiff's expressed concerns, he was unable to make enough money to live within his modest means," the report adds. "Because of this, when the band was not touring, plaintiff supplemented his income as a licensed real estate appraiser."

Duce further claims that he was fired just before the new record deal was signed so the other members would make more money. Additionally, he pointed at Flynn for "directly attacking plaintiff's work ethic" through several online statements, such as "We may have fired Adam on 2-11-13, but Adam quit Machine Head well over a decade ago. He just never bothered to tell anyone ... but we all knew it."

The bassist also noted that no agreement was ever made about his share in the band's future royalties, adding that his former bandmates "simply kicked him out of the band and presumed he would forget about over two decades of hard work, dedication, and effort he put into the Band."

In conclusion, Duce is suing Machine Head for punitive damages for trademark infringement, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of partnership agreement, intentional and negligent interference with prospective economic relations, negligence, defamation and unfair competition, adding he also wants the band enjoined from using the Machine Head marks.

Adam parted ways with the group back in February 2013, as the band announced an "amicable split" in a brief surprising statement.

101 comments sorted by best / new / date

    It's always a money issue.
    Ah, I see you're new here. Let me introduce you: This, is planet Earth! Our main life source is oxygen which comes from trees (which we destroy because we're stupid) and the main delicacies can be found in places called "restaurants" and "supermarkets". Enjoy your stay, and remember; money is EVIL!
    Wait... was that supposed to be funny? Oh..
    It was for like... the half minute I spent writing it. I then read it back and thought "Yeah.. this ain't as funny as I'd planed", but I'd written it and felt I may as well post it. So hey, you all get to enjoy my awful joke!
    before I looked at the paycheck which said $5932, I have faith that my cousin had been trully receiving money in their spare time on their laptop.. there sisters roommate has done this 4 only twenty one months and a short time ago paid the debts on their condo and bought a gorgeous Saab 99 Turbo. i was reading this ----- WWW.STAR58.COM
    What a Murderface
    Why is always the rhythm section underpaid?
    Because they're the rhythm section.
    If it wasn't for the rhythm section you'd just be a douche wanking his guitar all alone or worse, to a backing track, and nobody wants to watch that. As brootal as you think your riffs may be, your songs would be as energetic as a tuesday in an old folks' home without drums and bass. I (and most musicians) would never want to play with someone that lacks respect for others chosen instruments, and I say this from another guitarist's point of view
    I just looked at the song writing credits for every machine head album and I dont understand how he can complain. For the first three albums, he received 25% credit for writing the music, but after the burning read he contributed to less than 5 songs. How does he expect royalties if he doesnt write anything?
    Seriously, bassists and drummers should get together and form a trade union.
    That would solve a lot of problems and would gain rhythm sections the respect they deserve, but are rarely given.
    That would solve a lot of problems and would gain rhythm sections the respect they deserve, but are rarely given.
    Well, this is one side of the story. The rest of the band's was that his work ethic sucked, and if he isn't contributing enough, he shouldn't be earning as much. I'd have to hear more specifics on this, but it seems reasonable that you get less pay/royalties for less work.
    I don't get it... He played on the albums, played the live shows and sang back up, sounds like he's doing what everyone else in the band was doing, their jobs. He may not have been super motivated or whatever but he was still doing his job. He was still getting songwriting credits and such. The thing is, only the band really knows the true story. Not a huge Duce fanboy or anything, just hard to make conclusions when we don't know all the facts.
    Exactly. Can't judge this situation without the facts, which I'll probably never get, but it smells "Murderface"-ish to me.
    Halo is the song that broke them onto that next level and Adam wrote that. The intro to Darkness Within is so haunting and Adam wrote that too. That song was a huge win for them as far as $ is concerned.
    This is exactly what I thought, as far as I know the albums that Machine Head gets the most credit for are written mostly by Flynn and sometimes Demmel. It's like what Dave Mustaine said in his biography, everyone in the band wanted more money during the 90's yet 95% of the music was coming from Dave.
    When the band signs a paper that says each member will get %25, then that's what each member should get regardless of any issues with work ethic, popularity, etc.
    He should be paid what he was agreed to beforehand, regardless of how his bandmates felt his work ethic was. If they don't pay him what they agreed to beforehand, they are in the wrong, pure and simple.
    Its great reading about this kinda stuff. Really goes to show how HARD it is to continue as a band without Personal, Legal, Financial, etc issues. Its a daily battle I know all too well.
    I think Robb gets more simply because he is the main songwriter. And if his work ethics really sucked, then i would understand the other guys completely. So that kinda makes sense. That being said, he really should have been getting enough to not need a second job, being in one of the biggest metal bands around and all that.
    He writes the lyrics, the vocal melodies, rhythm and some lead. Thats 3 points.
    He wants them to stop using the Machine Head trademark? That's a bit ridiculous.
    I'm pretty sure that one won't go to far though, but still what a selfish shitty thing to say. More like Adam Duce bag
    Sad issues do happen when partnerships with friends grow together and finally break out. This is when you have to know enough early on, to get things in writing and hire a lawyer to know the details. The record label will have an attorney to protect them, but unfortunately most bands assume that the Labels attorney will protect them. This is not the case. Every band that starts to make even a little money should have a legal agreement with each other and update it accordingly. Taking this step when it comes time for one members touring to stop a friendship can be maintained. Good luck with your case Adam.
    To be fair, if it was agreed 25% each and then the legal document was changed so Robb Flynn got more than an equal share, then he is right to sue.
    Money is the bellend of the world.
    I am done with this band. They always got a free pass IMHO, for being a total thrash tribute band. It's funny that a band like Trivium is considered low brow, but these scene hoppers are worshipped. Every band should be an equal partnership.
    Vicryl 2.0
    lol Trivium... one of the biggest scene hoppers
    I'm not one to say one band is better than the other, and I love both bands. But if you look at the different extremes of both, Machine Head completely swayed nu metal during the nu metal phase, and completely swayed back after it died. I love Machine Head, but come on. Trivium's stayed relatively similar and in no particular order. They bounce around inside their own spectrum.
    trivium ****ing rules and slays machinehead any day! shogun lays waste to any mediocre machinehead album!
    Second Rate
    ugh, I was gonna pick apart the ridiculous assertion that all bands should be an equal partnership, but instead I feel compelled to do something I never thought I would ever do.... defend Trivium. As steeped in schlocky cliches as their music is, they have always played something close to imitation thrash metal. Machine Head, on the other hand, have had three different directions each tailored to fit into the mainstream perception of what "heavy metal" was at that point in time. When Groove Metal was popular, guess what Machine Head played. They were quick to jump ships to rap rock/nu metal as soon as that supplanted the groove trend. Then when this thrash nostalgia wave set in, it was time for Machine Head to change direction yet again. Robb Flynn is an aging poseur who disgraces his past with Vio-lence more and more with each passing second he spends in this traveling monkey show.
    Machine head has always been a hardworking band they never get the attention or money they deserved from all the great work they do. They make enough to support themselves and they're family. They aren't rich, I mean I live a few houses down from Flynn and he in no way lives outside his means or a luxurious life, I mean he drives a mid 2000s SUV, DUECE is just money hungry you can kinda see it in the DVDs
    I mean, would YOU give the bass player more money?
    Ask that to a member of Primus.
    There are exceptions. Les Claypool and Flea.
    John Entwistle, Geddy Lee, Geezer Butler, Steve Harris, Chris Squire. Just for an small example(way better than Claypool and Flea, even though they are great).
    Red, yellow, blue (way better than the colours green and orange, even know they are great).
    Yellow is incredibly overrated. I don't get why everyone likes yellow so much when there's nothing special about that color. Purple does everything yellow does, but 10 times better.
    Yes? They deserve just as much money as any other member of the band. And I don't even play bass.
    ADAM DEUCE! His name is DEUCE!!!
    Don't know what to believe here but there's a couple of really sad points if true.. "Despite plaintiff's expressed concerns, he was unable to make enough money to live within his modest means," the report adds. "Because of this, when the band was not touring, plaintiff supplemented his income as a licensed real estate appraiser." Like I mean WTF! The bassist of one of the most popular metal bands around! I practice guitar every day and dream of being in a successful metal band one day but what a motivation block this is! ...illegal downloads -.-
    It's not illegal downloads. He said that the band made money, but he wasn't getting a fair share. If what he said is true, he should definitely win the lawsuit.
    Yeah I agree but I like to think whether it was a smaller share or not he'd still be comfortable to have his modest living and not need another job outside of one of the biggest metal bands around!
    There are many smaller bands than Machine Head, who I presume generate significantly less revenue, who manage to live off their music. If a member of Machine Head wasn't earning enough money to live, then he must have really been getting screwed.
    Rebel Scum
    Thats why some respect needs to be drawn to guys like Courtney from the Dandy Warhols. Even though he's the principal songwriter he splits the songwriting royalties between each member. But that raises another question also, if you write a song on guitar but don't tell the bassist how to play his part (apart from showing him the song structure) does that mean you didn't write the bass parts. I think so.
    Not only is this guy completely money hungry, but wants them to stop using the Machine Head name?! What a ponce. This guy needs to get his shit together.
    Dude that's a tactic. Of course they'll get the Machine Head name but finding more things to argue over makes it seem like more fair of a deal. They get the name, he gets his royalties and maybe a little pain and suffering.
    Well the singer usually gets more than the bassist... But why he does he have to flip a b!tch?
    I've spoken to friends who are ascap members and explained the royalties systems. It's a credit for the lyrics and a credit for the vocal melody so singers usually get 2 shares. It's up to guitarists and bassists to get endorsement deals. You don't usually see singers do endorsement deals.
    The smart musicians are the ones that can do it all. I write guitar riffs, help with vocal melodies and lyrics, I write drum patterns, I record the bands music, and I make the backing tracks for live shows. In the end I don't see a penny because any money we make is Gas/food money for the band. If we were to hit it big and started making some big money I'd definitely make sure the contract gave me a bigger cut than our bass player or drummer, who simply show up to practice and play the songs.
    True that, and in this case, the bassist was the only one without an endorsement deal, so it's not very difficult to figure out why he didn't get paid as much as the others.
    I think Robb gets more simply because he is the main songwriter. And if his work ethics really sucked, then i would understand the other guys completely. So that kinda makes sense. That being said, he really should have been getting enough to not need a second job, being in one of the biggest metal bands around and all that.
    In one paragraph he says he quit, then in another he says he was fired. I don't know the whole situation, but usually when someone contradicts what they're saying like that, it usually means they're lying.