AFI have very publicly aired some dirty laundry on Facebook overnight, slamming former bassist Geoff Kresge for selling reissues of previously-limited edition records, and not paying the band their due royalties.
Kresge, who joined the band soon after its formation and was a member from 1992 to 1996, is using the band’s label Key Lime Pie (which he founded 1993 to release AFI records) in order to sell new copies of their Dork EP, with the addition of “an unreleased song which he wrote no part of”.
The band assert that he’s doing this without permission from AFI themselves, and claim that he’s taken control of what was supposed to be a “shared” label to do so, although Kresge has claimed that he is “completely within his rights to do so”.
“While we remain proud of every era of our 26 year existence, and certainly do not begrudge Geoff feeling reflective towards the four years he spent with us before he quit, we are confused why he has taken it upon himself to assume control of the shared Key Lime Pie label and release these records without notifying or consulting us,” the band said in a statement overnight.
“We had always loved the fact that these releases were special limited edition items, pieces of history that we wanted to keep rare. Geoff has begun accepting pre-orders of the Dork EP and is including on it an unreleased song which he wrote no part of, without getting permission from the co-owners and songwriters.
“Geoff has never paid anyone in the band, including Mark Stopholese, their share of the proceeds of these sales, despite our repeated requests that he do the right thing and pay our shares. While we do feel for what we can only assume is Geoff’s financial need, it simply is not fair for one person – a person who left the band willingly in 1996 – to benefit to the exclusion of the other owners of these recordings and writers of the songs.
“As fans, of course, we support your right to buy as you please, but we wanted you to know that we do not support these sales.”
Reaction to the statement was mixed, with some people upset about the band’s handling of the situation, and others seeing it as an opportunity to get their hands on something they’ve previously been denied.
“Here’s the thing,” one fan replied. “If he doesn’t have the rights to the music, you can stop the sale. If not, stop airing your dirty laundry on Facebook.”
“It’s a shame things in Geoff’s life have come to a point where he would do something like this, and I applaud you guys for taking such a calm and rational stance on the issue,” another fan said. “I won’t be buying these.”
“That’s pretty fucked up, but at the same time I have always wanted to own these EPs. So….wtf do I do?” bemoaned a third, representing a large part of the audience who want to support the band’s wishes but also enjoy their music at the same time.
Kresge and the label have since responded to the assertions in a statement on Facebook, asserting their right to reissue the records, considering they were responsible for the original releases, and adding that all due royalties have been paid.
“It’s unfortunate that the band has decided to not participate in this part of their history and in turn, make incorrect and untrue remarks about why these records exist,” the response begins.
“To set the record straight, we HAVE indeed accounted to AFI for sales of these records, whilst the band is reporting otherwise, is unfortunate and untrue. Additionally, the DORK release is at a pre-order stage and no royalties would be due at this point.
“Additionally, Key Lime Pie Records is not a joint venture, partnership or otherwise anything but a business entity solely owned by Geoff Kresge. Geoff paid for these records to be released originally, and is choosing to re-issue them, and he is completely within his rights to do so, contrary to the band’s erroneous statements.
“Since the band are choosing to make incorrect and defamatory remarks about Mr. Kresge, the choice to own these records is up to you (the fans). We appreciate all the business that you have given us, and we will continue to offer you quality products in the future.”
It’s unfortunate to see a messy dispute between former band members who apparently parted ways on good terms, but it just goes to show that whenever money is involved, trouble isn’t far behind.