Veteran rock star Rod Stewart, famed for his skin-tight leopardskin trousers and sandpaper singing voice, is being sued for £2m in unpaid legal bills by one of the most powerful entertainment law firms in the United States after it represented him in a series of courtroom battles dating back nearly a decade.
Los Angeles-based Glaser, Weil, Fink, Jacobs and Shapiro has filed the case with a local court seeking fees on three high profile cases including one against a Las Vegas hotel casino which saw a US federal jury order the singer to pay £2m in connection with a cancelled New Year show in 2000 when he was recovering from cancer treatment.
It also represented Stewart, 64, in a dispute with promoters following a failed series of concerts in South America in 2004 which on that occasion resulted in the former Faces front man, whose most famous hits include Maggie May and Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? being ordered to repay £1.3m.
The firm, which has recently won payouts for the architect Frank Gehry and US television host Bob Barker, also represented the London-born star in his battle with the Hollywood studio RKO for alleged trademark infringement for use of its classic radio mast logo to promote his huge-selling Great American Songbook album.
A spokeswoman for Stewart, whose personal fortune is estimated at £100m, was unable to comment on the pending action yesterday. However news of the law suit came as his former band The Faces hinted they were prepared to go on the road for a reunion tour next year without their most famous member and even replace pop’s most celebrated male blonde with its best known red head – Simply Red's Mick Hucknall.
Stewart’s career has been resurgent of late after his reinvention as a crooner of classic hits. With more than 100m albums sold, he is due to tour with his latest release Soulbook in the new year. He failed to join his former band mates at their recent Royal Albert Hall charity performance in which they teamed up with Hucknall and Paul Carrack from Squeeze as well as former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman who sat in on bass for the late Ronnie Lane who died in 1997.
Guitarist Ronnie Wood is backing the reunion. Last week he finalised his divorce from his wife Jo after admitting infidelity. But Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan said time was not on the band’s side. “If we don’t do it very soon, one of us is gonna check out. We’ve been waiting and waiting for Rod to say yes; now he’s finally said no. He’s busy doing other shit. So we’re gonna do it,” he said. Hucknall is the most likely to take the place of Stewart should the position be made available, McLagan indicated. It is expected that former Sex Pistol Glenn Matlock would replace Wyman on the tour.
Stewart continues to defy the effects of time. He recently put on a bravura performance when he accompanied his wife Penny Lancaster during a recording of Strictly Come Dancing last month. The father of seven including a four-year-old boy, is said to be in tip top shape and still plays football five times a week.