It is reported on the Billboard website that Herb Cohen, former record executive and manager for Tom Waits, has sued British journalist Barney Hoskyns and Random House, Inc, his publisher, for $1 million over claims allegedly made in Hoskyns’ “Lowside of the Road, A Life of Tom Waits”.
The claim has been brought in California.
According to a release announcing the lawsuit, the book states that during the time that Cohen was Waits’ manager, from 1971 to 1982, Cohen “robbed” money from the artist and that Waits sued Cohen and his company, Third Story Music, Inc. for fraudulent accounting practices. Hoskyns is also said to have stated in the book that Cohen “helped himself” to money from his other management clients. Cohen has alleged that these statements are false and defamatory.
Hoskyns’ book, “Lowside of the Road, A Life of Tom Waits”, was published in the United States in May 2009 and in the UK by Faber on 5 March 2009.
The allegations against Herb Cohen are plainly extremely serious and highly defamatory. One can only assume that the publishers, both here and in the US, had the book read for libel and that the author produced sufficient evidence to satisfy the libel lawyers. If not, the consequences could well be serious. In the meantime, notwithstanding the lawsuit, the book remains readily available on Amazon.co.uk and on Amazon.com (both in print and for download to the Kindle).