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Fans of 2006 Canadian music are all too familiar with Swollen Members. The legendary Canadian group tore their way out of Vancouver and onto the national stage before legal issues kept them trapped in Canada and an addiction to oxycontin kept member Madchild from making music. But a few years ago, Madchild started to make his way back onto the scene with the introduction of the "Battleaxe Warriors," which looks like a Madchild fan club styled after a biker gang. According to their website, Battleaxe Warriors is "a brotherhood that is multi-cultural and world wide. It is a closed community of brothers that value loyalty and respect. We practice to become the best at what we do." Joining the Battleaxe Warriors is as simple as filling out a form online and purchasing some gear. After you receive your gear, new members must send a picture of themselves in the gear so they can be given you your member numbers.
But according to a case filed against Madchild and the Battleaxe Warriros, this brotherhood owes the founding partner almost $30,000 in unpaid debts.
According to court documents, Madchild, whose real name is Shane Bunting, partnered with David Waltho to create the Battleaxe Warriors in January of 2010. The plan was to have the group be a members-only fan club centred on Machild’s stage name and persona.
Over the course of the spring and summer of 2010, Madchild repeatedly told Waltho that he had to invest $5,000 into the Battleaxe Warriors movement to be considered a “true partner,” despite Madchild treating Waltho like a full and true partner since the inception of the clan. Waltho says Madchild asked for the money because he didn’t want to invest his own funds into the movement.
Around the fall of 2010, Waltho gave Madchild the $5,000 in a lump sum to be considered a partner. Throughout 2011, Madchild would make assurances to Waltho that he was an equal partner and that he shared equally in all partnership profits. The entire time these assurances were made, Madchild never clarified how the partnership was structured or whether it was a registered partnership recognized by the province of British Columbia.
Waltho also gifted Madchild several personal loans, giving him $6,500 for a Harley and $8,500 for a Mustang. He also contributed $8,500 for the production of two Madchild albums: Ten Years of Turmoil in 2010, and Dope Sick in 2012.
But allegedly Madchild had been running the Battleaxe Warriors business through another partnership that he had made with two other people who were not David Waltho: Kevin Zinger, the owner of California’s Suburban Noize Records, and Rocco Dipopolo, a lesser known character whose Google results tie him to Hell’s Angels activity in Vancouver.
As these additional partners were added, the relationship between Madchild and Waltho started to strain. This was in 2012, when the partnership began to make actual money as their presence increased and the Battleaxe Warriors gained a larger following in the music and entertainment industry.
As Waltho grew impatient from waiting for his debts to be repaid or his partnership to be acknowledged, he asked Madchild to sign a note acknowledging his initial investment. On June 6 2013, Madchild signed a note agreeing to pay $1,500 a month until his debt was repaid. But Madchild allegedly kept making excuses for why he couldn’t repay, citing that he was either “on tour, or had not been on tour recently.”
As it stands, the Battleaxe Warrirors are a national organization with substantial reach. Their audience, which seems to be made up of mostly rural Canadian white males, is active on social media and forums. The Battleaxe Warriors regularly champion their involvement with community organizations, referencing coat and food drives that they've taken part in across Canada. $30,000 may not be a lot of money to a platinum-selling musician, but if the Sons of Anarchy episodes I've seen are any indication, people have been hurt for a lot less.
Madchild's camp refused to comment on the case.
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