John Payne sues over Vegas show royalties

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Former Asia frontman John Payne is suing the organisers of a Las Vegas musical who sacked him as co-director.

Payne was working as part of the team behind the Raiding The Rock Vault musical until he was suspended in May and then fired in June. He has since launched a lawsuit claiming his contribution to the show is protected by copyright and that he signed his original rights agreement under duress.

The lawsuit against Rock Vault Tours, the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino and its owner Westgate Resorts alleges breach of contract, copyright violations and slander.

Payne – lead singer with Asia from 1992 to 2006 – developed the format of Raiding The Rock Vault with Grammy-winning record producer David Kershenbaum. The show is held at the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino and takes audiences on a musical journey from 1948 to 1989. The show features members of some well-known bands and songs from The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin and others.

According to Melodic Rock, Payne says the show can’t simply go on without properly compensating him for his contributions. He says he was told to assign rights over to Rock Vault Tours or be fired. He signed “under duress”.

He alleged that the defendants breached a performance agreement to pay him $1000 for each Raiding the Rock Vault show. As well as being co-writer and co-director, Payne was a bassist and a vocalist in the show.

He’s also suing for slander for unspecified public comments made about his suspension by the defendants and for an alleged violation of his publicity rights, saying the defendants used him to advertise the show even after he was suspended.