Ex-Guns Sue Rose Over Unpaid Royalties

Published: 2005-08-29
Former Guns N' Roses and current Velvet Revolver members Duff McKagan and Slash have filed suit against ex-bandmate Axl Rose, whom they accuse of redirecting ongoing GNR royalty payments to himself by changing the publisher of the band's catalogue.

Rose, who owns the Guns N' Roses name, recently sold the publishing rights to GNR's catalogue to Sanctuary Records without the consent of any former Guns N' Roses members. The lawsuit describes the move as "an apparent attack of arrogance and ego," not the first time Rose has been accused of suffering from those particular traits.

Rose's deal with Sanctuary was worth millions and was apparently structured to cut out anyone but Rose from receiving royalties from sales of GNR's back catalogue. Glen Miskel, lawyer for Duff McKagan, looked into the deal and discovered that Rose had switched the publishing over from Guns N' Roses to Black Frog Music Publishing (owned by Rose) and/or Kobalt Songs Music Publishing (owned by Sanctuary), thus freezing the ex-members out of any future royalty payments.

The suit characterizes the Rose-Sanctuary deal as "malicious, fraudulent and oppressive, and undertaken in conscious disregard of [Duff McKagan and Slash's] property rights." The two are seeking damages for fraud, copyright infringement, and breach of fiduciary duty, among other grounds.

Under the contested new deal, Rose has reportedly already collected a royalty cheque for US$92,000. News of this lawsuit is unlikely to help repair Rose's tattered public image and ignoble slide into self-parodic laughingstock.

The much-delayed new Guns N' Roses album, entitled Chinese Democracy and featuring Rose and a revolving door of hired guns, will be released sometime in the next 100 years. Probably.

Writer: Neil McDonald



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