AXL ROSE EXPLAINS WHY HE KEPT THE GUNS N’ ROSES NAME:
December 15, 2008
Axl Rose has gone online for a third time in as many days (this time at mygnrforum.com), and finally explains fully why he uses the name Guns n’ Roses.
This time, he explains that the name Guns n’ Roses is and always was his and that when the Slash era band signed on for G n’ R they signed off on a contract stating that.
He says he is “the last man standing” in G n’ R, everyone else left and he didn’t force anyone out or sack them.
He says he is protecting the band, not the brand and that if he were to make a solo album, it would be very different from ‘Chinese Democracy’, more in line with the instrumental he wrote for the ‘End of Days’ soundtrack.
Axl likens GnR now vs then to Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett and then Roger Waters. He argues that we refer to both as Pink Floyd, why can’t both of his line-ups of GnR be considered Guns n’ Roses.
Here is the transcript of the Axl answers posted mygnrforum.com
Ok then!! The questions aren’t here but the answers as it moves along I think point pretty clearly to what was asked in pretty much order or close of the 7 pages. If I didn’t answer it was either already answered, off topic or I mistakenly overlooked the question, my apologies for the inconvenience. It’s not as light hearted as some of the other sessions but that’s the subject matter. Whew!!
So let’s start here… the whole Axl wouldn’t go on stage yada yada… is complete and utter crap.
Never happened, all made up, fallacy and fantasy. Not one single solitary thread of truth to it. Had that been the case I would’ve have been cremated years ago legally, could’ve cleaned me out for the name and damages. It’s called under duress with extenuating circumstances. In fact the time that was mentioned the attorneys were all in Europe with us dealing with Adler depositions.
Couldn’t talk sooner as it could have jeopardized whatever nonsense was going on.
When Guns renegotiated our contract with Geffen I had the bit about the name added in as protection for myself as I had come up with the name and then originally started the band with it. It had more to do with management than the band as our then manager was always tryin’ to convince someone they should fire me. As I had stopped speaking with him he sensed his days were numbered and was bending any ear he could along with attempting to sell our renegotiation out for a personal payday from Geffen.
It was added to the contract and everyone signed off on it. It wasn’t hidden in fine print etc as you had to initial the section verifying you had acknowledged it.
Now at that time I didn’t know or think about brand names or corporate value etc. All I knew is that I came in with the name and from day one everyone had agreed to it being mine should we break up and now it was in writing.
I still didn’t grasp any other issues until long after I’d left and formed a new partnership which was only an effort to salvage Guns not steal it.
In my opinion the reality of the shift and the public embarrassment and ridicule by others (which included a lot of not so on the level business types he was associating with at the time) for not contesting the rights to the brand name, were more than Slash could openly face. Also we aren’t lawyers or formally business educated so it was just a matter of all of us being naive and doing what we thought was right at the time. Slash was imo being on the up and up in agreeing I had the rights and I wasn’t trying to be some snake in the grass pulling a fast one. The others could’ve cared less.
But when the reality of the breakup hit and the strategy to have me crawl back was put into play Slash had to save face and get business team and public support. Painting me as the one who held a crowd hostage forcing the others to sign over the name worked out pretty well in that regard. I’m the bad guy and Duff, the fans and most importantly himself were the victims. Oh and they had actually made the sacrifice for the crowd, the people, the fans at the show. But again…. IT NEVER HAPPENED.
Media and others ignorantly, wrongly and falsely harped on about it at mine and the fans expense for years and Slash has hoped to use all that to continually sue and have some sort of legal nonsense going on behind the scenes in an effort to reverse things. He wouldn’t have been able to get the support and action on the part of his various team members over the years to do so if the truth were out there especially when the statute of limitations had run out years ago.
Why keep the name? I’m literally the last man standing. Not bragging, not proud. It’s been a fucking nightmare but I didn’t leave Guns and I didn’t drive others out. With Slash it’s been nothing more than pure strategy and saving face while manipulating the public like he used to me. I earned the right to protect my efforts and to be able to take advantage of our contract I’d worked hard for where Slash’s exact words were that he didn’t care. I get that some like a different version or lineup the same way some like a specific team line up or a particular year of a specific car but because you and I are getting played I’m supposed to throw the baby out with the bath water?
I didn’t make a solo record. A solo record would be completely different than this and probably much more instrumental. I made a Guns record with the right people who were the only people who really wanted to help me try, were qualified and capable while enduring the public abuse for years . The songs were chosen by everyone involved. I didn’t want to do This I love in anyway shape or form and Robin and Caram insisted gaining Tommy’s and the others support. There’s been a lot of pressure to go with using my name (all external) but that never felt right to me for this band and the parameters in regard to this music have lots more to do with the mindset of Guns than something else. The instrumental I wrote for End of Days that’s more a solo effort at least presently.
As far as a new name…this is who I am not whatever else someone else thinks of. I don’t see myself as solely Guns but I do see myself as the only one from the past making the effort to take it forward whether anyone approves or not and giving beyond what many would or fight for to do so. The name helped the music more than you could ever know and I’m not talking in regards to studios or budgets I mean it as in being pushed by something and having to get the music to a place where I can find my peace regardless of what anyone says. And that wasn’t fully achieved until the last round of mastering and swapping out a version of a track at the pressing plant that had gotten inadvertently changed at the last minute.
Also the name was what the industry wanted as well and the burden of keeping it was something to endure in order to make the record. After the monies invested by old Geffen (that were decisions made that have worked out for me but I’m on record as having opposed) dropping the name became suicide.
The cost of legal battles has been astronomical but I felt the deal made with Universal was fair for where it is and most things balanced out for both sides.
David Bowie likes Floyd with Barret, many with Waters and those without. And there are those who like all the different lineups. Imo what makes our situation a bit more unique at least in how it’s played out is the ugliness of what really took place. If I’d done what was said then I’d say fuck me too. I also realize this is just one issue in something with upteen however many more so conclusions can’t be formulated off this little bit alone by most which is more than understandable.
That said because someone leaves the shop I started in which I still legally have the rights to the name I started it with… makes up a bunch of nonsense to win public and legal support in an effort to get whatever it is they want at mine and the public’s expense… I don’t feel any reason whatsoever I should have to throw what I’ve not only worked for but fought and suffered for away because some hurt, angry, betrayed, misguided and lied to people with a lynch mob mentality, joined by others who could care less (especially in the media), enjoying the controversy and hate, choose one over the other regardless of what’s right because they want what they want. And you can still prefer then as opposed to now and no one’s arguing your right to do so.
In regard to nuGuns, I get that sometimes it helps to be able to clarify. Personally I call this Guns and the Illusions or previous lineups old Guns.
We can play what we want as far as I’m aware.
It wasn’t so much that it was a good course or that if looking back I could do something differently it’s that for better or worse it was the only course and had I not done this Slash would have succeeded in destroying me publicly much more than he, others or myself have so far and I would have gone bankrupt.
I don’t know where I’d be but there’s clearly no happy ending there and with everything else that had gone on in every other area of my life the devastation isn’t something I feel I would have overcome at least to any real degree publicly. Hopefully I would’ve been able to pick myself up enough to get a job or sing somewhere else but I doubt anything that significant.
The sharing thing is interesting but even with all this time the complications of the red tape and trying to get something out fall on my world to sort and not theirs. They are amazingly supportive and do their best to keep me in up spirits and focused which I had less and less of in Guns way before Sweet Child caught on. If that were to change then that may be something to look at. I hope for us to grow more together as we continue so who knows.
If I hadn’t secured the rights I don’t know where I’d be and I’d probably call what would then be the current lineup “Those mother fuckers!!”
The name is something I take great pride in as I feel anyone who’s been a part of it should, the same as other bands or teams etc. The burden when it is such is a nightmare but not as much or as hopeless as I’d imagine without it could have been.
On the what’s the difference… I think I get what you’re asking… I feel it depends on how and in what ways either the formers members are using the association and what the true circumstances regarding why they moved on from both the band and the name that would or could affect the decision to continue on with the name by in this case this lineup and or myself.
As for selling more records it’d be nice to be in a position to possibly do so at some point but that’s never been my base reasoning. I would think it fits into not feeling I shouldn’t be forced to throw away possible opportunities in a hostile attempted takeover. I believe I should fight for Guns in a patriotic sense or sense of loyalty or honor. Not just my vision or direction for Guns as those things can evolve and you can make forward moving positive compromises by what others bring to the table but I mean more as in what principles I feel were important to Guns in regard to an overall commitment to the music.
It helped us get here but most of that was with Universal and the positives of that wore off years ago until recently and after the initial run it’ll be about the music and us. Then it’s about touring and there’s not a question the name’s helped at most everywhere but not so much the states. With that it comes down to the strength or quality of the performance. Having the name kicks your ass every night as it’s not some side project or something u can fuck off in. You don’t deliver u get your ass handed to u. So it makes us work much harder than I feel we would outside of it and it hasn’t been too ugly yet.
I didn’t see lineup changes etc back then I saw it more as a crash and burn, goin’ down with the ship. On one hand I knew the band was over before we started touring Illusions but you have hope… but I saw it more like the Titanic sinking than moving on or surviving. And in reality I went the distance with each and every one in Guns to where they felt for whatever reasons they either couldn’t or wouldn’t give what Guns required.
And I’m not talking change of styles or sounds etc. A lot of people bought that crap and me having gone in other directions seems to many to have verified that. Then you have the mind twisting equally as true horseshit in Slash’s book but I have the rehearsal tapes. There’s nothing but Slash based blues rock and he stopped it to both go solo and try to completely take over Guns. I read all this if Axl would’ve put words and melodies on it could’ve… That was denied and I didn’t walk till several months after having 3 to 4 hour phone conversations nearly every day with Slash trying to reach a compromise. I was specifically told no lyrics, no melodies, no changes to anything and to sing what I was told or fuck off.
As to what would possibly make me change the name would be some form of evolving that I don’t feel we’ve reached yet and not in any way consciously trying to at this time. It’s really hard to say. I’d have to feel it was right for me and those involved and whatever we’re doing at that time.
Never thought about that , with the RRHOF. The whole “mature enough” bit was cute. Not to offend anyone but personally I don’t have an interest and other than inducting Elton don’t quite get what it is exactly and who decides what. It seems to mean more to some than others and more so amongst fans. It’s nice to get recognition and have some form of acceptance but in regards to joining others the price is too high and just not worth it. It’s a ways away and seems a bit presumptuous to be contemplating being inducted now.
About following particular styles yes I do feel there are parameters with Guns as opposed to not being or in Guns. Chinese is imo an evolution not necessarily how each from the past would but how the music and intent could and did. Guns did not have specific lifelong criteria to follow and many of the influences on Appetite were abandoned by the others long before me. In fact Slash hated a good portion of those on Appetite and wasn’t all that into the involvement or association but knew it worked at the time and realized it was the cusp of a wave that was growing. It’s a trip for me to witness as so many of the people he performs with etc he hated then, them, their bands and their music where the others or I were the fans.
I like touring with these guys a lot more than the old band. The beginning was fun but it started going bad our first gig opening for the Cult in Halifax between Slash and I. That’s when the ok I put up with all Axl’s and Izzy’s crap now I’m gonna be the man trip started with him runnin’ right out front on the ego ramp for the whole show. It was pretty funny.
No one ever talked about or suggested using another name. The guys are really respectful in regard to the old band and I’m not sure if they’ve said a paragraph apiece in all the years towards or about the old band whether I’m talking about whatever or not. But from being with me for so long they know a lot of it’s shit so they get bummed at the endless interviews and nonsense. Personally I’m so proud of them I wouldn’t know how to express it. I can’t see me handing something like this as they have with so much class and maturity especially being shit on publicly to such a degree. “Hey join my band, bring an umbrella!!”
If I were to leave Guns I could consider giving, selling, shelving or opening a GNR Burger chain with the name!! Ha!! j/k. I’m not so different than the alumni in that there’s generally something going on that makes things suck and when that reaches overflow I want out too but if you didn’t when it’s ugly I think that’d be less normal.
If I went solo which I haven’t I wouldn’t call it Guns.
The name does come from mine and Traci’s as the original inspiration but was something I played with not Traci and Guns was Guns before Traci joined. It was Guns Before I knocked on Izzy’s window. Earlier I had gotten Tracii to use the name Guns (as he had mentioned a girl had called him Mr. Guns sometime) so he’d stop calling his band Persian Rose. So I guess we have the girl to thank.
The other’s having a sense of entitlement to the name isn’t completely off but has more to do with how Slash dealt with things and his particular strategy and I say strategy because that’s what it’s been. But since I managed to hold out that didn’t play out so well for him in regard to the name.
It’s a band name more than a brand name. As Tommy said regarding our struggles to make this happen “We’re not lettin’ what took so much blood and heart get turned to shit and dust.” And I guess you could apply that to current former or whatever.
Slash never had ANY arguments for keeping the name until long after and again I feel that had a lot to do with seedy biz types and him feeling he had to save face.
Keeping the band name alive was very important. Not out of ego and I don’t know exactly why in the sense of putting into words but I think it has something to do with the global effect it has and how Guns surviving in some way is sometimes inspiring to others around the world and in that there’s a sense of obligation.
I don’t regret keeping the name though I wish more were supportive or at least not as aggressively opposed.
The details are that my attorney shit when I made the move. He was very against it fearing long litigation but even then no one talked about brand names or individual interests in a brand name. I look back and have no idea why. Not my people, not his people, no one.No one pressured me, everyone was afraid and no one including myself wanted to break up Guns or the relationship. And Bubbles and I talk all the time!
We can “chat” about the contract and the reasoning another time
The battles were during the breakup. Our people and my individual legal basically forced me to go thru the motions with everything I had to make things work for over 2 years in the sense that if they felt I wasn’t making every effort 110% and with all the sincerity and all above board I wouldn’t have their support which I wanted, couldn’t afford to lose or risk losing. Which led to the trial period where Slash played the key bits of Fall to Pieces but once I showed some interest that was over.
I get the part about reckless but it was more about strategy and underestimating how long I would stick with it.
As far as people knowing me, this is a statement that in light of others decisions that I chose to pursue as Guns N’ Roses and what some may feel is a different this or that may seem as if the arguments or disagreements are about the band or the style of music such as blues or influences on earlier Guns has some relevance but imo points more to deeper base elements I wanted to put forth for people in general.
Such as a more positive intent and instead of as self destructive more of healing. There’s all kinds of things to help you die or be more negative. I wanted to try and make as powerful a hard rock album as we could while incorporating beauty and an openness to other forms both traditional and more recent without going religious etc. I didn’t attempt to make a party record or dance record both elements consciously in Appetite. I wasn’t trying to purposefully appeal to the heartland or middle America in those ways (not that I was trying to avoid them or have an issue). But for example Sweet Child wasn’t in any way trying to write a “hit” mainstream song it was trying to write the best Guns N’ Roses Lynard Skynard influenced song we could as tribute and recognition in the tradition of Tuesdays Gone With the Wind or Simple Man etc and at a time when nothing could have seemed more unpopular.
One man forced me to work with others. One man forced me to work with others to survive. And I can’t say what would have happened on different terms. I say yes because it was agreed from day one. U have to realize we were on the street. It wasn’t the first band. Whoever thought of the name kept the name unless he gave it up or moved on. Everyone was always having a new version of whatever their band name was. I wouldn’t have thought of using LA Gunns or any of Slash’s band names. We all knew that we could break up the next week. You had to have that stuff somewhat sorted between each other going in. It was a deal that we made. The issue becomes the value or perceived value now and the fans attachment and or acceptance. Really weren’t things we consciously considered even during the breakup.
I don’t exactly know what Guns N’ Roses is but I know it’s my job in the sense of an obligation and I’m good with that.The name and rights have nothing to do with the breakup. That’s all a created facade a decoy and a smoke screen. Now had what Slash said actually transpired then I’d say of course but in reality, No.
Going into Guns there wasn’t a #2. At that time I was going to make it in a band that started as Guns N’ Roses and could evolve but that was the starting point and it was all the way or bust. I knew what I wanted when I knocked on Izzy’s window. I also knew I wanted Slash but we still had differences and Izzy wasn’t down with it.
I wasn’t legally obligated but we probably would have gotten dropped and I would have been driven into bankruptcy.
I think it varies and happy Christmas to u and everyone.
I don’t think about the dangerous bit or status or identification. I’ve always thought of the symbolism since thinking of the 2 words together. And in that I absolutely feel this is a Guns N’ Roses record.
It’s an issue that gets brought up a lot especially in the media at all levels and it gets really ugly. It’s ugly right now with dj’s across the country who feel their sticking up for something that they bought into unaware. So I wanted to start going at it a bit.
Most critics have higher opinions of theirs than is merited. I haven’t read much from outside sources in the media regarding my world that know much of anything let alone what would be in my best interest other than looking at events in hindsight and playing armchair music mogul. Which most times means nothing and though could seem logical is usually just as far off base as anything else they’ve said.
The heart and commitment these guys play the material with is much more than the others were prepared to give pursuing their own interests for a very long time. The music changed after Slash and I parted so the direction was where I took Guns not where I had intended or tried to go previously. It had a lot to do with not finding or knowing a more blues based player that I found inspiring and I was really knocked down and beat up. Slash, Duff and Matt’s decisions had as much to do with kicking a guy when he’s down or abandoning ship at the time as anything else. Other things were going on with music as well, we were basically dead at Geffen. I liked other things as well so I wanted to explore, be legitimate and survive. I wasn’t doing what was written so often about chasing fads etc. Jesus, I wouldn’t have agreed for Zakk to come down if any of Slash’s or the media’s nonsense were real. And that could’ve worked on some level but like Guns it would’ve been up to those two and their relationship. They talk nice but it wasn’t pretty… but it was pretty awesome!!
No plans not to be Guns for the future.
Solo efforts… Much more experimental and instrumental.
It doesn’t bother me unless it’s being done at my expense and or to keep him associated as in Guitar Hero. Him being Guitar Hero’s fine but not when Activison in using Jungle, having Yahoo use Sweet Child unauthorized, claims no involvement with Slash, his or anyone’s image or VR or anyone or anyone’s music in either camp in promotion or commercials etc. I wasn’t broadsided. I read about it as it moved along but Activision continually denied it right up to the release. That’s some low life chicanery on all their parts.
Yes Slash was in Guns and on Jungle (and the whole I came to him for his riff is as much crap as him saying he brought Locomotive and Coma in as complete songs) and he has rights to perform it but not to be represented in this context in association with Guns. And since they weren’t granted the license it’ll take some sorting.
Universal has Guns under contract but I own the name.
I don’t have problems with whoever doing the songs but film or video gets into sync rights and I don’t have an interest in anyone new, old or whatever trying to sell themselves as GNR under another name that way.
It’s my understanding the lawyers were scammed like the everyone else so for them to continually try and find a way to reverse things is normal and would seem appropriate but again it NEVER Happened.
Thanks everyone. Hope to get back soon. I’ll take a look at that list. As long as we don’t get to personal or offensive I’m good with things. Thanks for all the questions, my apologies for not answering specifically to each, this was just a bit easier for this subject. Hope no one took wanting to stay on topic to personal. Thanks again to everyone who participated. Thanks to everyone for the great comments and appreciation. Happy Holidays.
Courtesy of undercover.com.au