"I got this the day I got fired."
In a packed sushi restaurant, former Unwritten Law drummer Wade Youman pulls up his shirt to show a huge "FOR THE KIDS" tattoo that spans his chest. He said he got inked the day he was booted out of the band that he launched 18 years ago. Youman, 31, said the slogan best explains the difference between him and his former lead singer, Scott Russo.
"Scott is now just using the band to boost his Hollywood macho career.... It has nothing to do with what Unwritten Law has ever been about. He's real fake. He always has been. He's real self-absorbed.... Unwritten law is now a business. That's all there is to it, and it sucks."
As far as the other members go, "I'm being told by one of them that they are hanging out purely because of the money coming in."
He said he saw his ex-bandmates six weeks ago when Unwritten Law played at the House of Blues in Anaheim. "Half of them wouldn't even look me in the eye."
Youman said he has received no royalties since he left Unwritten Law eight months ago. "I haven't received a penny."
Even his old record label has come after him. "My website wadeyouman.org was shut down by Atlantic Records because I was posting songs that I helped write. I posted the songs for free. They got ahold of my Internet server three months ago, saying Atlantic Records owned these songs. So I said on my new website [unicursal.net] I'm still gonna give these songs out.... What's little known is that I was very much one of the songwriters. On the first two records, I wrote most of the lyrics."
Attempts to get a comment from Unwritten Law manager Les Borsai were unsuccessful, but Russo said that it was true that Atlantic/Lava took action against Youman's website. "I heard they shut it down twice." He said the band has done nothing to hold back Youman's royalties. "We couldn't stop him from getting paid even if we wanted.... Everyone gets paid [royalties] twice a year. We can't stop ASCAP from paying him."