Rift Lives On For Alabama and Mark Herndon
Last night’s ACM Awards in Las Vegas put the spotlight once again on the three year old rift between Mark Herndon and the rest of the band Alabama. The show opened with Brad Paisley performing his current hit “Old Alabama” – which included a “surprise” performance by the group Alabama. …Only something was noticeably amiss as only Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry, and Jeff Cook were present; Drummer Mark Herndon was absent at the event. He was also visibly cropped out of the vintage picture of the group that served as a back-drop on the stage.
The first real “band” to break-through in country music, Alabama was started in the 1970’s as cousins Owen, Gentry, and Cook got together after high school. No relation to the other three, Herndon joined the group in 1979 – just before they hit it big. Apparently – at least according to documents made public after the breakup – Herndon’s relationship to the band was as an employee — not a full-fledged member. The group spent the 1980’s and a good part of the 90’s raking in their own awards and sitting at the top of the charts before finally calling it quits in 2007 after a farewell tour. That goodbye tour became the foundation for a lawsuit between the three “family”-members of the group and their drummer Mark Herndon.
Following the Farewell Tour, Herndon requested royalties that he thought he was due. The other three members countered the request and sued their former drummer in 2008. Thus started a feud that is obviously still going on.