Aerosmith's former manager has filed a libel suit against the band for allegations the classic rockers made during their "Behind the Music" special. David Krebs, who managed the band from 1972 to 1984, filed suit in New York on Friday alleging that comments the band made on last year’s VH1 special suggested that he and his business partner stole or otherwise hid money from the band.
Krebs said the allegations have tarnished his reputation and in a formal complaint his attorneys are preparing to file within the next two weeks, he plans to ask the band to issue a public apology and to make unspecified monetary reparations. Aerosmith had no comment on the suit, according to the band's spokesperson.
Krebs did not sue VH1, which aired the program last year, but he did impugn their journalistic methods and suggested that they re-edit the show. "I had [VH1] give me a full copy of my interview so I could see how they would mis-edit it," said Krebs, laughing. VH1 had no comment for this story.
The animosity between Krebs and Aerosmith dates back decades, with the New York Daily News reporting that the source of the problem might be linked to some deals Krebs and partner Steve Leber crafted in the early '70s, giving the pair a large stake in the band's publishing rights. Those types of arrangements were typical of the era, according to Krebs. Bandleaders Steven Tyler and Joe Perry complain in the episode about being broke in the early '80s, implying that Krebs and partner Steve Leber were the source of their financial woes.
"They're referring to the fact that they didn't have enough money [at the time], but they won't acknowledge that it went up their noses," Krebs said, referring to the band's well-documented struggles with drugs in the '70s and early '80s (see "Aerosmith: The 'mtvICON' Interviews").
Asked if VH1 confronted him over the allegations made by the bandmembers in the special prior to the show's airing, Krebs said he could not recall.
According to a transcript Krebs provided to the Daily News, when asked if he and Leber ever mishandled the band's money, Krebs told VH1,
"Did we steal from them? No." (VH1 could not provide a transcript of the show by press time.)
Krebs said he filed the suit after his daughter and several friends confronted him about the allegations in the program. "When the band's new management took over, they looked at our books with a fine-toothed comb and they said they couldn't find anything," said Krebs, who also used to manage Def Leppard, AC/DC and Ted Nugent. Krebs said he has tried for a year to reach Tyler prior to filing suit, but has not been able to speak to him about the issue since the show first ran.
"After many months of trying to speak to and meet with Steven Tyler to settle this amicably, I had to file suit," Krebs said. "We ran one of the most honest management companies of the '70s and '80s and built this band up block-by-block. The monetary part [of the suit] is a small part. It's about the retraction, apologies and setting the record straight."
Aerosmith, currently on the road with Kiss, are completing work on an as-yet-untitled blues-inspired album slated for release in January (see "Aerosmith Get The Blues On New Album").