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Creed fans mount rebellion

By Matt Bean
Court TV

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(Court TV) -- Christian rockers Creed are being sued by a quartet of disgruntled Chicago-area fans who claim that the band's lead singer was too wasted to pull off a December 29 gig at Chicago's Allstate Arena.

Singer Scott Stapp "was so intoxicated and/or medicated that he was unable to sing the lyrics of a single Creed song," claimed their suit, filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court.  

The four fans, two from Chicago, two from nearby Lowell, Indiana, are asking for a refund of their $55.50 ticket price and parking.

The Florida-based alternative rock trio is known for its religious lyrics and for attracting the ire of fellow musicians such as Fred Durst and Justin Timberlake, who both bashed Creed publicly.

The potential damages from the Chicago suit, which also names concert promoter USA Interactive and the band's manager, might seem like petty cash to a group that has moved more than 20 million albums since its 1997 debut, "My Own Prison."

But if the plaintiffs get their way, they won't be the only ones reimbursed for Stapp's numb performance.  They're asking a judge to grant the suit class action status, which could add to the list of plaintiffs any concertgoers in the arena's 18,500 reserved seats and 48 skyboxes who were similarly put off by the show.

Instead of singing, claim the plaintiffs, "Stapp left the stage on several occasions during songs for long periods of time, rolled around on the floor of the stage in apparent pain or distress, and appeared to pass out while on stage during the performance."

According to the suit, Stapp's manager and his co-band members, bassist Mark Tremonti and drummer Scott Phillips, were aware of his "drug and/or alcohol dependency or condition" and should have canceled the concert.

A harried representative for band manager Jeff Hanson referred Court TV to the offices of the New York record label, Wind-Up Records.  Wind-Up did not return several requests for comment.

In January, Hanson reportedly sent a mea culpa to fans on behalf of the band.

"We apologize if you don't feel that the show was up to the very high standards set by our previous shows in Chicago," read the letter. "We also understand and appreciate the fact that there has been much concern about Scott's health and we want to assure everyone that he is doing very well and is taking a much needed break at home in Orlando after a very long and rigorous touring year."

The apology continued, "For now we hope that you can take some solace in the fact that you definitely experienced the most unique of all Creed shows and may have become part of the unusual world of rock 'n' roll history!"

The ill-fated Chicago gig was not the first anomaly in singer Stapp's career.  Earlier that year, in April, the band cancelled a spring tour, saying Stapp needed time to recuperate from an Orlando, Fla. accident.  But a police report prepared after the April 19 accident cited no injuries.

The accident followed an alleged brawl involving Stapp in a St. Augustine, Florida, bar on April 14.  According to reports, Stapp socked a patron for yelling, "You're not a superstar."

Earlier that year, on February 8, Stapp allegedly threatened the owner or a Maitland, Florida., tattoo parlor for blowing his cover with customers.

The fan-filed lawsuit could signal a new low for Creed, whose second album, "Human Clay," achieved rare "Diamond" status, selling more than 10 million copies, and whose debut and most recent albums have both gone multiplatinum.

Creed message boards such as were abuzz Tuesday with news of the suit.  "Doing concerts is a part of the bands [sic] job, perhaps they should have cancelled the concert, or maybe even did another one for free at a later date," wrote "Yvonne," who claimed to have been at the show.

"I have a hard time believing that these people were ever real fans," concurred "CreedGirl99." "I've even heard someone say that the Chicago concert ruined their life.....oh please! I drove 11 hours to get there, stood in the freezing line for 3 and guess what? It DIDN'T ruin my fact I still love Creed! Imagine that!!!"

The plaintiffs state in their suit: "Had plaintiffs known that Stapp would be unable to sing the lyrics to a single Creed song they would not have purchased tickets to the Creed concert."

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