Hawthorne Heights Issues Manifesto, Leaves Victory Records – Lawsuits Ensue

CHICAGO (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — In a lawsuit filed on August 7th, Hawthorne Heights alleged that their label, Victory records, has been misreporting royalties and has undertaken actions which have seriously damaged Hawthorne Height's reputation with their fans.

The lawsuit which follows in the wake of a feud with Ne-yo first came to light in February when a note was posted through the band's mailing list and myspace page www.myspace.com/hawthorneheights, fans were urged to not only purchase the Height's new album If Only You Were Lonely but to sabotage the sales of Ne-Yo's new release by moving copies in music stores so that prospective purchasers would have trouble finding them.

You buying our album tomorrow has much greater meaning than simply supporting Hawthorne Heights. ROCK music needs your support. Our society and culture has put rock music on the backburner. If our album can debut at #1 all of us will have taken ROCK music back to the top of the charts where it belongs. You might ask, how has ROCK been put on the backburner? A current example is an artist that we are up against called Ne-Yo. Many people are saying that Ne-Yo is going to outsell us because Ne-Yo has had a tremendous amount of over the top, mainstream media coverage. His album will be in stores tomorrow. Radio has played his single 160,000 times. Our single has been played 3,800 times. We know that does not seem possible but it is the truth. Ne-Yo is on a major label. Hawthorne Heights is on an independent label.

ROCK music needs to win tomorrow. Independent needs to beat Major tomorrow.

The band later claimed that they had nothing to do with this alert, stating that Victory records was behind it. The controversy led to the head of Hawthorne's street team to resign.

The band further alleges that they have not seen any royalties from their two releases, as detailed in a manifesto that was posted on their various websites. Victory Records could not be reached for comment.-CelebrityAccess staff writers.

The Manifesto

Due to recent events we have decided to leave Victory Records. Our departure is anything but amicable. We have decided to leave Victory, in part due to the actions of the man who sits at the head of the label, Tony Brummel. Tony Brummel is a man that cares more about his ego and bank account than the bands themselves.

Many of you are familiar with the greed driven letters sent out by Mr. Brummel: his manifesto calling rock supporters to arms and virtual declaration of war on hip-hop and Ne-Yo done under the guise of a band message; as well as the street-team letter which instructed people to re-arrange our CDs, putting them in higher visibility areas in stores. Unfortunately, the head of street-team, Abby Valentine, who understandably resigned following the incident, took the fall for this. At the time of the letters we were branded as racists by some, all over a letter we did NOT write, targeting a genre which we have NOTHING against whatsoever. Because of these letters, our second album debuted at ..3 on the charts, an incredible feat, which would normally be cause for joy, but now is tainted much like Barry Bonds statistics.

When questioned about the letters Tony was more upset that we had told the press that he actually wrote the letters (not us) because he was more worried about rumors surrounding Taking Back Sunday and Thursdays exoduses being justified than the credibility and reputation of his current biggest band.

Couple these letters with him threatening the head program director at Q101 in Chicago for putting the new Taking Back Sunday song into rotation to the point in which the program director pulls Saying Sorry from rotation and you can see why we would more than question whether or not the head of our label cares about us or his own ego more.

Tony is a man whose greed knows no bounds. After selling more than 1.2 million copies of The Silence In Black and White and If Only You Were Lonely, we have never seen a single dollar in artist royalties from Victory Records. Tony will claim that we have not recouped, a term used by those in the music business which means the label has spent more money in advertising than has been made by CD sales. In fact questionable accounting practices are the culprit and we are in fact owed substantial amounts of money much like audits from Taking Back Sunday, Thursday and Atreyu have uncovered.

You may be wondering, why now? Why did they wait three years before saying something? Why did they sound happy in that interview??? Like being in an abusive relationship, we let certain things slide as we were afraid, as many of the bands on Victory are, to stick our neck out for fear of being beaten, in this case represented by the threat of not being promoted as has been the case with certain bands on the roster. Were done being abused. The reasons stated above represent the final straw in a huge pile of hay that broke our backs.

Undoubtedly Tony will proclaim that we are ungrateful and our success was due solely to his promotional efforts. In reality, promotion is only a portion of the equation in a bands success. Even then, in our case especially, promotional efforts can be attributed to the hard work of the band and staff at Victory, many of whom recently resigned or were fired due to differences with Tony. Non-stop touring, dedicated fans and songs (we challenge Tony to sell over 1 million blank CDs) account for the rest of the equation.

We've accomplished more in three years than most bands do in a lifetime and for that we are extremely grateful and consider ourselves very fortunate. Our situation with Tony Brummel is indicative of issues that all bands on Victory Records encounter on some level or another.

We have decided to remove ourselves from the negative situation so that we can continue to do what we love best and focus on writing and playing music to people that care about what we have created.

Hawthorne Heights