Just last month, while speaking to a British radio station, Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash proclaimed that former bandmate Axl Rose’s long-awaited, fabled opus Chinese Democracy would finally surface in March. Slash added that he’s “always been supportive” of Axl’s work with the refurbished GN’R, and that he was glad the world would soon experience Democracy.
But things actually aren’t chummy between Rose and his erstwhile GN’R comrades. They haven’t been in more than a decade — not since the original members of Guns N’ Roses parted ways. A statement released Monday (March 6) by Rose’s management, the Sanctuary Group, called Slash’s remarks “surprising” and dubbed him “a consummate press, photo and media opportunist and manipulator” who “has attacked Axl Rose on a number of levels.”
On Friday Rose filed suit against Saul “Slash” Hudson, seeking a federal judge’s confirmation of Rose’s “ownership of his own creative works.” The filing comes in response to a federal suit filed in August by Slash and bassist Duff McKagan, who accused the GN’R frontman of changing the publisher of the group’s copyrighted songs without first conferring with them and then pocketing the royalties (see “Slash, Duff Sue Axl Over Guns N’ Roses Publishing Royalties” ). That suit claimed “Rose’s actions were malicious, fraudulent and oppressive, and undertaken in conscious disregard of [Slash and Duff’s] property rights.”
There’s no word on what financial damages, if any, last week’s filing will seek.
The statement issued in the wake of the suit blasts Axl’s former allies, claiming “Slash has continually made negative and malicious statements about Axl [in the press] in order to garner publicity for himself” and that both musicians have made “numerous false allegations about Axl … [and that] Mr. Rose believes that once apprised of the true facts, the judge or jury deciding these lawsuits will rule in Axl’s favor on every issue before them.”
The most recent suit filed against Axl, according to the statement, “attacks [his] integrity as Slash and Duff, in a vindictive attempt to aggrandize their own stature, rewrite history through false statements, which have been repeated by the media. Their attacks on Axl stand in sharp contrast to Rose’s conduct. Axl has at all times worked diligently to maintain the artistic integrity of the band by choosing with great care which properties to license Guns N’ Roses songs to.”
Moreover, the statement claims Slash showed up uninvited at Axl’s door early one morning in October to offer a truce. “Slash came to inform Axl that: ’Duff was spineless,’ ’[Velvet Revolver frontman] Scott [Weiland] was a fraud,’ that he ’hates [Revolver drummer] Matt Sorum’ and that in this ongoing war, contest or whatever anyone wants to call it that Slash has waged against Axl for the better part of 20 years, that Axl has proven himself ’the stronger.’ ”
“Axl regrets having to spend time and energy on these distractions, but he has a responsibility to protect the Guns N’ Roses legacy and expose the truth,” Howard Weitzman, Axl’s attorney, said in the statement. “Axl believes he has been left with no alternative but to respond to these lawsuits. It would have been Axl’s preference to resolve disputes with Slash and Duff in private. The courthouse is not his choice of forum. However, Axl could no longer sit quietly and allow the continuing dissemination of falsehoods and half-truths by his former bandmates.”
A spokesperson for Slash, McKagan and Velvet Revolver said the band had no comment.