Guns N’ Lawsuits

Two former members of Guns N’ Roses are suing frontman Axl Rose for the second time in less than two years – this time for allegedly naming himself sole administrator of the group’s copyrights.

The suit was filed August 17th in federal court by Saul Hudson and Michael McKagan, popularly known as Slash and Duff. It accuses Rose of profiting from their revenue shares to the tune of about $500,000 a year.

Hudson and McKagan reportedly contend that without their consent, the singer signed a multimillion dollar publishing deal with U.K.-based Sanctuary earlier this year. Apparently, the deal included the lucrative Guns back catalog.

Rose directed the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers to send all publishing royalties to his publishing company, bypassing the band’s other partners, according to the suit

Rose is “suffering an apparent attack of arrogance and ego. 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 suit says.

Rose’s attorney, Howard Weitzman, said the singer asked to receive only his portion of royalties, and that the overpayment was due to a clerical error by ASCAP. He said Rose returned the extra funds to the organization.

“This is a classical case of premature accusation,” Weitzman said in a statement. “Rather than pick up the telephone and contact Axl or his representatives, his former partners scurried to file a lawsuit that contained false statements …”

The attorney said that contrary to the lawsuit, Rose has never denied that other members made substantial contributions toward the band, but added, “there is little doubt as to who was the creative catalyst behind the group’s success.”

Hudson and McKagan, who now play with Velvet Revolver, filed suit against Rose last year alleging the singer wrongly claimed ownership of the group’s assets after he quit the band in 1995. It also claimed that Rose has blocked the two from licencing the band’s recordings to movie producers. That case is pending.