Courts People
The Roots Charles Sykes/Associated Press

Hip-hop band The Roots, from left, Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, Damen "Tuba Gooding Jr." Bryson, Kamal Gray, Kirk "Captain Kirk" Douglas, Frank "Frankie Knuckles" Walker, James Boyser, Owen Biddle and Tariq " Black Thought" Trotter pose for a portrait at NBC Studios, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009, in New York. The Roots are Jimmy Fallon's house band.

August 18, 2017

Frank 'Knuckles' Walker, ex-drummer, longtime band member of The Roots, sues group

Time to face the music? Frank "Knuckles" Walker, former drummer of Philadelphia's The Roots, is suing the band's Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter and alleging that he was not paid fairly and his image was used despite having been fired, the New York Post reported Thursday.

Walker, who lives in Philadelphia according to the New York Daily News, was dismissed from the band in May after joining in 2002. A lawsuit filed in Manhattan Federal Court by the law firm Mark David Shirian P.C. said that The Roots continue to promote events using Walker's image and that he hasn't been paid his fair share in royalties.

“They simply kicked him out of The Roots and presumed he would forget about almost two decades of hard work, dedication and effort he put into [the group],” the lawsuit contends, according to the Post.

The suit points to The Roots' early August performance at New York's Radio City Music Hall with comedian Dave Chappelle as an example, according to the Daily News.

Walker is looking to collect royalties from Thompson, Trotter and band manager Shawn Gee for use of his image as well as to "protect the public from being duped" into thinking that he is still a part of The Roots. 

Thompson and Trotter formed The Roots in 1987 after the two met at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. The Roots are also the house band for "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon."