It’s been over a decade since the original members of Guns N’ Roses went their separate ways, but their feud is still going strong.
Slash and Duff McKagan filed a federal lawsuit in Los Angeles on Wednesday against Axl Rose, accusing the GN’R frontman of changing the publisher of the group’s copyrighted songs without their consent and pocketing the royalties.
The lawsuit follows Rose’s multimillion-dollar publishing deal with Sanctuary earlier this year, in which he sold the publishing rights to the GN’R back catalog. “Suffering an apparent attack of arrogance and ego … Rose recently decided that he is no longer willing to acknowledge the contributions of his former partners and bandmates in having created some of rock’s greatest hits,” the lawsuit reads.
Though the Sanctuary deal was reported on by the press, Slash and Duff claim they weren’t aware of the scope of Rose’s dealings — which they say he “omitted and concealed” — until their expected royalty payments for the first quarter of 2005 didn’t arrive in the mail. “When the ASCAP check didn’t come, we called and they looked into it,” McKagan’s lawyer, Glen Miskel, said. “We didn’t know all the facts at first.”
Miskel said that only last week did they discover that Rose had notified ASCAP on or around May 26 that he was switching over the publishing from Guns N’ Roses to Black Frog Music Publishing (which he owns) and Kobalt Songs Music Publishing (which is a joint venture with and handles the administration of Sanctuary’s publishing). Consequently, the ASCAP check for the first quarter of 2005 — some $92,000 — went to Rose and “his accomplices” instead, the lawsuit contends.
“Rose’s actions were malicious, fraudulent and oppressive, and undertaken in conscious disregard of [Slash and Duff's] property rights,” the lawsuit reads. They’re seeking damages for fraud, copyright infringement and breach of fiduciary duty, among other things.
Sanctuary could not be reached for comment by press time.