Creed Sued for Being "Higher"

By | April 23, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Can you take Scott Stapp “Higher”? No, say some disgruntled Creed fans, so they’re taking him to court.

On Monday, a quartet of Creed faithful filed suit against the rock group, demanding their money back from a concert at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, outside Chicago on December 29. The concertgoers claim the performance was marked by a whole lot of booze and drugs but little rock ‘n’ roll.

According to court documents, frontman Stapp “was so intoxicated and/or medicated that he was unable to sing the lyrics of a single Creed song.”

The four plaintiffs, Philip and Linda Berenz and Chad and Wendy Costino, are also seeking class-action status to win refunds for everyone who attended the Florida rockers’ show.

The suit contends that “during the Creed concert, Stapp left the stage on several occasions during several songs for long periods of time, rolled around on the floor of the stage in apparent pain or distress and appeared to pass out onstage during the performance.”

Calls to the band’s label were not returned.

In all, the two couples reportedly spent a combined $227 for the evening out, including concert tickets, service fees and parking expenses and, as such, expected to be properly entertained. Stapp’s botched performance was “tantamount to a cancelation” claims the suit.

Fellow bandmates, guitarist Mark Tremonti and drummer Scott Phillips are also fingered in the suit, along with Jeff Hanson Management and Promotions Inc., all of whom should’ve known better, the suit scolds.

“Stapp’s drug and/or alcohol dependency or condition was well known to other two members of the Creed band, and was well known to JHMP, as well,” claims the suit.

But instead of canceling the concert and issuing refunds, the band and management just brought in extra security states the suit.

At the time, the band’s management issued an apology (sort of) to Chicago-area fans for the shoddy show: “We apologize if you don’t feel that the show was up to the high standards set by our previous shows in Chicago…We hope 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 and roll history!”

The “unique show” could cost Creed around $2 million if the class-action request, representing approximately 15,000 concertgoers, is successful.

Of course, some concertgoers had another explanation for Stapp’s behavior. “Perhaps Stapp was off his game because of the severe beat-down he’d received the previous week,” says a reader named Dusty in the Dayton Daily News on November 29.

Stapp had his estranged wife Hillaree arrested on November 14, after she clocked him in the face with a cell phone during what he said was a spat over her drug problems and custody of their young son (Scott currently has sole custody). She was booked on charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

In a statement from his label, Scott said, “There is a reason why I have been divorced for three years. I pray Hillaree gets all the help she needs mentally and emotionally.” The Stapps were married for 16 months before splitting.

It had been a rough patch for the singer. In April 2002, Stapp suffered back and neck injuries in a car accident, forcing the band to scrap the remaining 20 dates on the spring leg of its tour.

Generally in a more spiritual mode, Creed won four Billboard Awards, a nod at the American Music Awards and a trophy at the People’s Choice Awards last year for their hugely successful album Weathered.

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