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 Rep: 150 

Re: 1995: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

'Sympathy For The Devil' will be the next GN'R single, due out on January 2. The film from which it's taken, Interview With A Vampire, goes on general release in the UK on January 1. It will be accompanied by a full soundtrack album.
(Appetite for Reconstruction, RAW, 11/94)

The single was released and the band regrouped to try out a new guitar player.

"Axl's like: 'What about Zakk? You like Zakk, right?'" (Slash, Metal Express, 1995)

"He probably thought I'd like the idea because Zakk was a friend of mine and I respected him as a guitarist, but that really didn't seem like an answer to me. I brought up the option of rehiring Gilby, but that idea was flatly rejected... I wasn't sure what to expect from Zakk Wylde but I hoped for the best... Axl asked [him] to come down to rehearse with us." (Slash, Autobiography)

"So we jammed together for just over a week. "we jammed over a whole bunch of shit and came out with three pretty cool ideas." (Zakk Wylde, Kerrang!, 01/28/95)

Some inspiration may have come from the Paul Huge -led shadow lineup; the inaugural session band that churned out raw material for Axl.

"[Zakk] brought energy and enthusiasm that was lacking within Guns at the time. 'We can build on the legacy,' he said excitedly. 'We can make something great. Listen to this.' He saw a piano against the wall and sat down and elegantly played it. I had no idea he could play piano at all, much less like this." (Duff, Autobiography)

"We came out with three pretty cool ideas." (Zakk Wylde, Kerrang!, 01/28/95)

"Even when Zakk Wylde and Slash played together, there were a couple of songs in which there was a natural progression and they were very rocking. You can imagine, they were really hard songs." (Duff, Popular 1, 07/00)

"It brought out some interesting things in Slash... it would've worked to do some songs." (Axl, 2002)

"We recorded a few demos with him, but nothing panned out." (Duff, Autobiography)

"One of the riffs ended up on the first Black Label Society record [Sonic Brew], [on the track] 'Rose-Petalled Garden'. The stuff that I wanted to do, eventually, would have been like GNR on steroids, man." (Zakk Wylde, MyGNR)

"We (Slash and Axl) just had a really rare, heated conversation a couple of days ago, where everything that I've had brewing - you know how quiet and laidback I am - I just let everything out." (Slash, Kerrang, 01/95)

"That whole bullshit thing with Zakk (Wylde)... Just to get that story straight, it's nothing against Zakk, it was just not the right... I love jamming with Zakk on his own, as a separate entity, but in Guns N' Roses it doesn't sound right." (Metal Hammer, 11/95)

"[Guns] doesn't sound right with two heavy-league guitar players." (Slash, Metal Express, 1995)

"Usually, Guns N' Roses has an off-rhythm and a main riff. So, now me and Zakk just play the same thing. But that's just because we're both lead guitar players." (Slash, Metal Express, 1995)

"I was used to working with and playing off of a more low-key rhythm player." (Slash, Autobiography)

"If Zakk and I were to do this, it would be a whole new trip... more like Judas Priest or something. Even he felt that the concept was wrong." (Slash, Autobiography)

"[Axl] sort of listened to me. I said everything I could possibly say that I didn't agree with." (Slash, Kerrang, 01/95)

"[Guns with Zakk] was a different approach that ended up being overpowering and didn't bring out the best in Slash." (Axl, 2002)

 Rep: 150 

Re: 1995: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

Slash's solo project, SVO Snakepit, release 'It's Five O'Clock Somewhere' album via Geffen. Slash and band will arrive in the UK for press and promotion and, it's hoped, a one-off gig to launch the LP.
(Appetite for Reconstruction, RAW, 11/94)

The album by the band, now known as Slash's Snakepit is released on 02/14/95. The promotional tour began early into the month.

"[Slash] and Axl - who is currently checking out bands for the soon-to-be-revived Uzi Suicide label - have come to an agreement whereby any time off Slash gets from Snakepit will be spent working and rehearsing with Guns." (Kerrang, 01/95)

"[Guns] were supposed to do some stuff this month [February], but we haven't done anything up till now and in March I'm gone [on tour]. Maybe [there's still time] in February, if we can come to some sort of an agreement as to what we're gonna do." (Slash, Metal Edge Magazine, 04/95)

Meanwhile, GNR-guitarist-in-the-running Zakk Wylde had spent time in New York, working on the preproduction of Ozzy Osbourne's new album.

"Ozzy Osbourne started recording his new album in Paris today. Zakk Wylde is playing guitar and he is really psyched about having his old mate." (The Ozzy Diaries, 02/28/95)

At the last minute, another batch of jam sessions happened.

"When I left town, Axl and Matt and Duff and I had worked on new material... [Axl] was there while [the rest of us] were fucking around jamming." (Slash, Metal Hammer, 11/95)

"We've been jamming a bit, but there isn't any actual songs." (Slash, Aftonbladet, 04/02/95)

"We did do some... like, off-the-wall kind of writing and recording and this and that and the other." (Slash, Canadian Radio, 04/20/95)

"Right now, there seems to be a fucking confusion about what "a good Guns-record" is." (Slash, Aftonbladet, 04/02/95)

"And they're still trying to work on things." (Slash, Canadian Radio, 04/20/95)

"We've got tapes of what Axl considers great songs, which from my point of view is just me playing the guitar! ... I hadn't heard Axl sing anything... I haven't heard any lyrics or any vocals, so I don't know what a song is until then." (Slash, Metal Hammer, 11/95)

"I didn't write for years [after the Illusions]. [During the UYI tour, Slash, Duff and Stephanie Seymour] did damage to my ability as a writer. To those three it was all crap. It beat me down so much." (Axl, USA Today, 11/01/12)

"When Zakk Wylde arrived at the Complex, where Axl was rehearsing, he was slightly surprised. 'There were never any melodies,' Wylde recalls. 'There were never any lyrics.'" (Rolling Stone, 05/11/00)

"I'd say 'Dude, did you come up with any lyrics yet?'
And he's just like, 'Dude, I got people suing me right now.'"

(Zakk Wylde, Spin, 07/99)

"The poor fuckin' guy's got every fuckin' cunt trying to sue his ass." (Zakk Wylde, Rolling Stone, 05/11/00)

"He's on the phone with his lawyers 24-7." (Zakk Wylde, Spin, 07/99)

'I'd be on the phone with him. He'd be telling me about all these strategic moves his lawyers were making. I was listening to him playing Axis and Allies on the fuckin' phone.'" (Zakk Wylde, Rolling Stone, 05/11/00)

"He was, like, 'I can't come up with any lyrics right now - they'd be about every other lawsuit I got going.'" (Zakk Wylde, Spin, 07/99)

 Rep: 150 

Re: 1995: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

Slash's solo world tour hits full stride, with European and UK dates currently planned for spring/early summer.
Meanwhile, the Uzi Suicide label plans its first releases, possibly from Soul and Davy's Farm.
There should also be a second solo album out from original Guns guitarist Izzy Stradlin' and his band, Ju Ju Hounds.
(Appetite for Reconstruction, RAW, 11/94)

The Uzi Suicide label obviously didn't get going as planned. One of the four bands (The Assassins) featured Axl's half-brother Stuart Bailey as a guitarist/songwriter, their music described as "the currently hot Southern Rock vein being pursued by the likes of Pride & Glory, and on the softer side, Blind Melon". Maybe even, Slash's Snakepit?

The Ju Ju Hounds project folds without much fanfare and Izzy suddenly has time on his hands. On 03/10/95, he joins Duff and Matt on stage, as they all play in an all-star band at the opening of The Joint, a new Las Vegas venue within Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Little do they know that the next official Guns show would be performed there - only not during their tenure.

Snakepit start their world tour by playing the first show (out of four) in Memphis, TN on 03/28. The final tour itinerary departs quickly from the one suggested above, as the European leg began in June, following legs in USA and Japan. It's possible the tour start was temporarily hindered.

Suddenly, Izzy's available.

"Once in 1995, I went to ring the doorbell at [Axl's] place, and he opened the door. (Izzy, Hard Rock, 07/01)

"And I go up... there he is. He's like, 'Hey, man! Glad to see you!' Gives me a big hug and shows me round his house. It was great." (Izzy, Classic Rock, 2001)

"In April, 1995, Duff calls me again: 'I'm trying to compose new songs for the guys in GN'R. Come and give me a hand.' It made five [years] that I'd left Guns but I said myself: 'Well shit, after all, why not?' Duff and I wrote ten songs in the space of week. We even recorded them as demos." (French Izzy interview, 2001)

"There's a lot of debate over who's going to play guitar. Axl and I were having an argument about it yesterday (04/12/95)." (Slash, New York Times, 04/20/95)

The argument could've well been related to Izzy's sudden return to the Guns camp, and his possible re-entering to the band.

"[Izzy]'s been writing; he wrote some stuff with Duff. He wants to write songs, but he doesn't wanna deal with the whole thing... He's so laid back. He doesn't want to deal any pressure... Izzy's Izzy." (Slash, Metal Hammer, 11/95)

"Izzy agrees with writing stuff but he's not interested in touring... He doesn't want to deal with Axl." (Slash, Sao Paulo Journal, 07/21/95)

The lawsuit to which Stephanie Seymour subpoenad Erin Everly to participate in March '94 was met with a litigation over a year later. Oklahoma was inspired by this court date.

"'I was sitting in my litigation with my ex-wife [Erin Everly], and it was [April 20th, 1995,] the day after the [Oklahoma City] bombing,' Rose remembers with a wince." (Rolling Stone, 2000)

"It's part of Axl's trip... talking about [his] ex-wife or ex-girlfriend... he sees what he's singing, y'know?" (Slash, Metal Hammer, 11/95)

"This person is spewing all kinds of things and 168 people just got killed. And this person I'm sitting there with, she don't care. Obliterating me is their goal.'" (Axl, Rolling Stone, 2000)

"Axl wrote [Oklahoma] with inspiration from the Oklahoma City bombing (more as a tribute to those who died, if I'm not mistaken)." (Dave Dominguez, Sp1at, 02/07/05)

In the same month, on 04/27/95, Izzy also appeared onstage with Slash's Snakepit in The Metro in Chicago.

"Izzy jammed with Snakepit in Chicago, and we did a Stones song [Bitch], and it was great to see him." (Slash, Metal Hammer, 11/95)

"Probably a month later, one night [Axl] calls me [and] we got into the issue of me leaving Guns N' Roses. I told him how it was on my side. Told him exactly how I felt about it and why I left.... But, I mean he had a fucking notepad. I could hear him [turning the pages] going, 'Well, ah, you said in 1982... ' He was bringing up a lot of really weird old shit. I'm like, whatever, man. But that's the last time I talked to him. (Izzy, Classic Rock, 2001)

Izzy almost came back into the band.

 Rep: 150 

Re: 1995: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

Slash completes his solo touring schedule.
Del James' official GN'R book, Shattered Illusion, is mooted for release around this time, via Bantam/Doubleday.

(Appetite for Reconstruction, RAW, 11/94)

Sometime in early May, a curious performance was acted out in the fringes of the Guns world. Shattered Illusion never found its way to print, but it certainly came to reflect the experience Zakk Wylde had dealing with Guns management. The most overlooked point in the story is probably the fact that, at the time, Zakk and Guns had the same manager.

Zakk's timing to gauge a response out of Guns for his application could not had been worse. Slash was touring and in the intervening time, Izzy had not only played live with everyone aside Axl, but he'd done demos with Duff, as well.

"This will be Zakk's last day working on Ozzmosis and working for Ozzy. As you all know, Ozzy has given Zakk his freedom so that he can try to pursue his dream gig with Guns N Roses." (The Ozzy Diaries, 05/05/95)

"I said to him one day, 'Zakk, before you hear it from somebody else, I want you to know that I will be auditioning guitarists to do the tour with me, because I guess you're not coming back. So don't be alarmed if you hear about it.'

That night, he called Sharon and said, 'What's the matter, doesn't Ozzy like my playing anymore?'
So I said to him, 'Zakk, are you gonna play with me?'" (Ozzy, 95)
"I said, 'Oz, I don't know the fuck's going on with the Guns guys.'" (Zakk, 99)

"As much as I love Zakk, we haven't made any decision [to have him in Guns]." (Slash, Metal Express, 1995)

"I told Axl, 'Dude, can't be dickin' Ozzy around. You guys gotta let me know what the fuck's goin' on?'" (Zakk, 99)
"I told Axl, 'I'm gonna be touring 'til August with Snakepit. We'll talk about [Zakk] when I get back." (Slash, Metal Express, 1995)

Unfortunately, Doug Goldstein seems unable to explain all this to Zakk himself.

"Finally, Doug Goldstein, Zakk's [and GNR's] manager, called Sharon and said, 'Okay, Zakk's in for the tour - send us the contract.' And I go, 'Yes!'

Soon after that, Doug called my wife and said that Zakk was still negotiating with Axl Rose.

And I thought, 'What the fuck is going on?!' What I gathered was that Zakk was using me as a bargaining chip with Guns N' Roses, and that really got me upset. It wasn't fair because I had always been on the level with Zakk.

So I called him." (Ozzy, 95)

"'Oz, I don't know what the fuck is going on with these guys' and he said, 'Zakk, I gotta get somebody else.' (Zakk, 99)
"'I want to know what you're going to do.' And [Zakk] said, 'Just give me the rest of the day.' But he never called." (Ozzy, 95)
"After that, you know, the Guns thing kinda... nothing, nothing really... it didn't end... nothing." (Zakk, 99)

"The next day, I said to Sharon, 'That's it - he's gone. It's over.' And it wasn't because I was jealous - hey, if he joins Guns N' Roses and makes a million dollars, fine. All I wanted was a straight answer from him-but he didn't show me that respect. (Ozzy, 95)

"But you know, once you get all the f**king lawyers involved and that bullsh*t, you know. I saw Axl not so long ago, and I said 'What the f**k happened?' And Axl goes, 'Well Zakk, I heard you wanted two million up front and your own tour bus.'" (Zakk, MyGNR)

Speaking of lawyers, Axl's legal dispute with Stephanie Seymour finally came to a close around this time.

"A source close to Rose, 33, told Parade that the insurance company representing the rock star agreed to pay $400,000 to supermodel Seymour, 26, to settle the 2-year-old case out of court.  "The papers still aren't signed," said our source, "but Axl won't do any talking.  He's concentrating on his work." Rose's lawyers told us: "Both parties agreed to dismiss their claims against each other.  The litigation has been resolved."  But they vehemently denied that there had been a payoff." (Parade Magazine, 05/14/95)

 Rep: 150 

Re: 1995: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

After a brief holiday, Slash, along with SVO Snakepit cohort Matt Sorum, will regroup with Axl, bassist Duff McKagan, keyboardist Dizzy Read and possibly Paul Huge to begin rehearsals for the next GN'R album(s).
(Appetite for Reconstruction, RAW, 11/94)

After Izzy had come and gone in April, not much was happening in the Guns camp.

"Axl had demonstrated a lot of compassion over the years — and especially in the wake of my pancreatitis. That’s what also drove me crazy. He knew that I’d changed my life around, that I got up early and went to bed early, that I was doing whatever I could to stay alive. And yet, right at this point he made a big switch and became a night person." (Duff, autobiography)

"A frequent visitor to the studio says; 'When Stephanie Seymour's birthday [July 23rd] came around, Axl seemed to shut down for weeks. A lot of this record is about Stephanie: She was his perfect woman, at least his image of what she should be.'" (Rolling Stone, 05/11/00)

On July 14th, Seymour had married businessman Peter Brant, which likely dampened Axl's moods as well.

"I used to go to [Guns'] practice place, me and Matt would play for a while, but no one else used to show up." (Duff, Popular 1, 07/00)

"Matt Sorum called to see whether I’d be interested in playing rhythm guitar for a Monday-night show at the Viper Room with Steve Jones - the original Sex Pistols guitar player - and John Taylor of Duran Duran. It was tempting. Slash was out touring with Snakepit, so there wasn’t anything happening on the Guns front. And shit, Steve was a personal hero of mine. Still, it would be a big step for me because up to this point I had not played a live show sober... and Steve Jones was sober now. Matt Sorum and John Taylor, too, so I would be in good company. I decided to go to a few rehearsals." (Duff, autobiography)

"They were supposed to keep working while I was gone. That's why Matt didn't come on tour with us, because he was supposed to help keep that foundation for them to jam." (Slash, Metal Hammer, 11/95

"I stayed at home and I worked a bit with Axl and Duff. I'm sure I took the good decision." (Matt, 1996)

"Well, they only jammed like twice since I was gone, so no one had really been doing anything." (Slash, Metal Hammer, 11/95)

"One night [Axl] showed up at the rehearsal studio as I was packing up to leave.

'Sorry, man, but I have to go,' I told him.
'What do you mean you have to go?'
'Dude, it’s four a.m., and I’ve been here all fucking night. I’ve got to get home.'
'Fuck that, man!'"

(Duff, autobiography)

Meanwhile, Snakepit still had everything going for it.

"We are going to meet in August after we've toured with Snakepit. Then we'll see what happens." (Slash, Aftonbladet, 04/02/95)

"Everything rolled on: the record sold, the tour was fine; I was on the road with no end in sight... I wanted to keep the tour going [geographically] beyond Japan; I wanted to take it to Australia, I wanted to finish what I set out to do." (Slash, Autobiography)

"When this tour ends, it's a six-month tour, in August, I'll go home and basically, we'll regroup, so to speak. And then, Guns will probably spend a little bit of time in the studio, and then we'll be on the road for a while. We'll be like family for a long time, and when the tour ends, I'm probably just go back do another Snakepit record and do another small club tour. And we'll just sort of play it that way. But of course, nothing is ever that predictable. That's the basic plan." (Slash, 06/05/95)

"We were in the midst of booking another leg when I was informed by Geffen that they'd sold a million copies of It's Five O'Clock Somewhere and had turned a profit so they saw no reason for me to continue the tour... I was to return to L.A. because Axl was ready to begin working on the next Guns N' Roses record... In case I objected, [Geffen] made it clear that the financial support for Snakepit was over." (Slash, Autobiography)

On 07/26, Slash's Snakepit plays the last show of their continuous world tour in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Two days later, on 07/28, Duff and Matt play a benefit show at the LA club Viper Room with Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols and John Taylor of Duran Duran. The group is dubbed Neurotic Outsiders, and the baton of the 'away member' would soon move from Slash to Duff.

"At the time of that Viper Room show, I had been out of the public eye for more than a year... Before I knew it, gig night had arrived and there was a line stretching down the block of Sunset Boulevard in front of the Viper Room." (Duff, autobiography)

On 08/01, Slash's Snakepit throws what could be described as a homecoming show in the Troubadour in Los Angeles.

Suddenly, Guns were all over the town again.

 Rep: 150 

Re: 1995: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

The Annual Rehearsals

"[Slash has] been musically involved with Guns N' Roses [for] a two-week initial period... in the late fall of '95." (Axl, 10/30/96)

"After I'd been paid by the insurance company for the house that had been totaled in the earthquake [on 01/17/94], [Renee and I] shopped for a new one and found it in Beverly Hills on Roxbury Drive.... All that mattered to me was that it had a basement - the perfect place for a recording studio." (Slash, Autobiography)

"[The basement] used to be connected to a fuckin' tunnel from the prohibition era that went all of the way from fuckin' Roxbury Drive to fuckin' Laurel Canyon. The only basements that were in Los Angeles were in that area. They built this tunnel and the basements were speakeasys. You'd walk Beverly Hills to Crescent Heights. The tunnel still exists but it's all blocked up...

Slash built his dream studio in the basement... 'I (had) a Studer (24-track tape deck)... an old Trident (board). It's one of the best studios in L.A." (Slash,, 10/00)

"Then Axl wanted to bring in a guy named Paul Huge.

You want to bring in your old buddy from Indiana?” Slash said incredulously.
Look, he’ll just jam with us and maybe it’ll work out,” Axl said.
No,” both Slash and I said.
Yes,” said Axl.

This wasn’t some wedding band you could just bring friends into. If I wasn’t going to bend for the sake of one of my best friends -Slash, and his Southern-rock [Snakepit] songs — I sure as hell wasn’t going to let a stranger come in and fuck around with Guns.

Fine,” Axl said. “How’s this: you guys try him out on your own, give him a few days.

We let him come in. Gave him a couple of days." (Duff, autobiography)

"We rehearsed with Huge and I tried to write some new songs at my home studio with him and it only grew more tense in every way." (Slash, autobiography)

"It was hopeless... Slash was beyond the heavy nodding, but he was still using heroin. Still, that posed no immediate problem for me." (Duff, autobiography)

"It was so uncomfortable and awkward there that Duff and I actually got into [an argument], which had never happened in the studio ever... The next morning I told [Guns manager Doug Goldstein] to let everyone know that we'd have to rehearse elsewhere because there would be no more getting together at my studio." (Slash, autobiography)

"We told Axl." (Duff, autobiography)

"Axl was disappointed and a bit pissed off. The next time I saw him he confronted me." (Slash, autobiography)

Fuck you guys,” he said." (Duff, autobiography)

"That was the last time Axl and I spoke for a while." (Slash, Autobiography)

On 08/25/95, Slash's Snakepit played at Monsters of Rock in Donington, UK. For Slash and Gilby, it marked the end of their four-year working relationship through the Illusion tour, The Spaghetti Incident? and Snakepit.

If all goes to plan (and who knows, it could happen!?!), work proper begins on the album, with Axl, Slash and Duff honing the new material. An eventual release date and touring plans are too far away to contemplate as yet!
(Appetite for Reconstruction, RAW, 11/94)

Had Izzy came back, this might've been the case.

 Rep: 150 

Re: 1995: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

What's in a Name?

The Geffen Contract, 1992.
Cilck on the

Hidden Text:

"On, or around September 1, 1992, Axl, Slash and Duff entered into a written partnership agreement defining the rights of the Original GNR partners, and obligations entitled "Memorandum of Agreement"." (Slash & Duff v. Axl lawsuit document, 2004)

"Both the managers of Aerosmith and Whitesnake tried to get renegotiations on existing contracts around this time and failed. I think I’m the only person to leverage a re-negotiation out of David Geffen on an existing contract. Once the negotiation was begun, it was the responsibility of the [Guns'] attorney to complete it.

Their royalty rates were increased by 30 percent. There were other refinements - better advances etc - but since when I was fired I sold my rights back to the band I didn’t benefit from any of it. I also got the first major headline tour in place. And then I was fired. Nice." (Alan Niven, Classic Rock, 01/29/09)

"[Axl acquiring the band name]'s something that happened, Slash said this week from his L.A. home. "I was blindsided by it, more or less a legal faux pas. I don't know what he's gonna do, as far as that goes. But I'd be lying to say I wasn't a little bit peeved at that." (Slash, Addicted to Noise, 01/30/97)

"Slash was [in my opinion] 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." (Axl, MyGNR, 12/14/08)

Version: Clause in the Original Recording Agreement (09/01/92)

Hidden Text:

"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 [Alan Niven, fired in March '91] was always tryin’ to convince someone they should fire me..." (Axl, MyGNR, 12/14/08) 

"The only time there was ever any discussion about Axl being replaced was [on 02/13/88], when he failed to show for a gig at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix. A riot ensued. At that point, listening to Izzy and Slash complain about his persistent ability to make everyone miserable on a daily basis, I told them both I would support them if they chose to get rid of Axl, even if that meant they got dropped by Geffen." (Alan Niven, Legendary Rock Interviews, 04/02/12)

"During [the mixing of UYI] the animosity between our manager, Alan Niven, and Axl came to a head. The rest of us had been trying to squash it for a while, but Axl's issues with Alan had been brewing for years... Alan was opinionated on a lot of things and Axl didn’t always agree with his point of view. So at times, Axl felt like he was being forced to do things that he didn't necessarily want to do." (Slash, Autobiography)

"I was in the Meadowlands, in New Jersey, in 1991... All the prep work for “Illusions” and its tour, all the renegotiations, everything had been done... I got a phone call in the production office. It was Axl. He very quietly said, “I can’t work with you anymore.”... That was the last time I ever spoke to him." (Alan Niven, Metal Sludge, 02/18/12)

"[Alan Niven] didn’t screw us over. He didn’t screw me over... He probably said some things to certain members of the band that didn’t want to hear those certain things at certain times. Alan was not a guy to mince words. He would tell you and I respect that." (Duff, Bravewords, 03/09/11)

"The one agreement I had drawn up by Peter Paterno, then the band’s lawyer, that was never activated, was a partnership agreement that Axl refused to sign, after the others had done so – it called for equal ownership of the name, an equal share of the revenues, except for composing royalties – which Axl wanted a greater share of, and was granted." (Alan Niven, Dropping the Needle, 03/18/13)

"My understanding of the situation was that Axl stated to the band he would not go on tour if I remained as manager... He had everyone else in the band sign the name over to him. It was a control move between Axl and [Guns tour manager] Doug Goldstein. They both knew I would never stand for anything like that. Axl never even brought it up when I was the manager, because he knew what I would tell him to do with it." (Alan Niven, Metal Sludge, 02/18/12)

"I saw Doug [Goldstein] coming. He made a place for himself in Axl’s life, and once Axl had made his feelings about Alan clear, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Doug was right there to pick up the reins." (Slash, Autobiography)

Doug Goldstein with Beta Lebeis, 2009.

"Among other things, the Agreement provided that Axl would own the rights to the name "Guns N' Roses" if he was expelled or voluntarily withdrew from the partnership." (Slash & Duff v. Axl lawsuit document, 2004)

"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." (Axl, MyGNR, 12/14/08)

"Papers memorializing this transfer were drawn up and guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan signed them. What would it matter really? Axl, Slash and Duff would always be, it seemed, the inseparable three. Money was everywhere." (Rolling Stone, 05/11/00)


Version: Second-hand Ultimatum (07/05/93)

Hidden Text:

"Axl, backstage somewhere is said to have basically issued an ultimatum: He'd get the name of the band or he wouldn't perform... As to precisely where and when this happened, memories are fuzzy and contradictory, perhaps lost in the mists of rock & roll tour memory." (Rolling Stone, 05/11/00)

"On the eve of the tour, Axl told the rest of the band that the only way he would play was if they'd give ownership of the name to him. They were looking at canceling the tour and losing millions and millions of dollars, [so] they capitulated." (Tom Zutaut, Spin, 07/99)

"My understanding of the situation was that Axl stated to the band he would not go on tour if I remained as manager."  (Alan Niven, Metal Sludge, 02/18/12)

"Since 1992, the parties have executed various amendments to the Recording Agreement." (Slash & Duff v. Axl lawsuit document, 2004)

"On July 5, 1993, we all rendezvoused in [Barcelona, Spain] for a huge outdoor show at the Olympic Stadium... After Suicidal Tendencies and Brian May had played their opening sets, our manager, Doug Goldstein, sent an oddly formal request to see me and Slash before the show. This was unusual." (Duff, Autobiography)

"As I understand it, [Axl] had [the bands lawyer] Laurie Soriano draft an agreement in Barcelona relinquishing their rights in the name, before he would take the stage." (Doug Goldstein, 12/03/13)

"In fact, the time that was mentioned, the attorneys were all in Europe with us dealing with Adler depositions [with a court date on 08/23/93, a month after wrapping up the UYI tour]... My attorney shit [himself] when I made the move. He was very [much] against it, fearing long litigation, but even then, no-one talked about brand names or individual interests in a brand name." (Axl, MyGNR, 12/14/08)

"The shitty thing is Slash and Duff were so fucked up that they think I gave them the ultimatum and that's why they don't speak to me today... I was at home, waiting for [my son] Jake's birth... It was [given to them by tour manager / Big FD associate John L.] Reese." (Doug Goldstein, 12/03/13)

"When Slash and I arrived at the vibe room, one of the tour managers [John Reese] was sitting there waiting for us. The guy was clutching some papers. He put a slim stack of pages down in front of each of us. I leafed through it. It was a legal document giving Axl the right to continue to play as Guns N' Roses even if either Slash or I - or both of us - were not part of it. Though it didn't affect our status as shareholders in the operation, Axl and Axl alone would control the name if we signed this agreement." (Duff, Autobiography)

"The contract stated that Axl would retain the rights to the band name and was allowed to start a new band that he could call Guns N' Roses. Of course Duff and I could be members... but only on his terms, which felt to us like we were being defined as hired hands." (Slash, Autobiography)

"No-one pressured me, everyone was afraid, and no-one, including myself, wanted to break up Guns or the relationship." (Axl, MyGNR, 12/14/08)

"With the crowd outside already getting rowdy, the [tour manager] then implied Axl wouldn't go onstage that night unless we signed the documents. I pictured people getting hurt if a riot started - at least that was my fear. And I was so fucking exhausted - it felt as though I'd been dragging a house around behind me for the last two years. Besides, at the time I never thought GN'R could possibly exist without us. The idea seemed ridiculous. And in that case, maybe the documents didn't need to be fixed? Fuck it. I signed, so did Slash." (Duff, autobiography)

"The whole Axl wouldn’t go on stage... 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." (Axl, MyGNR, 12/14/08)

"Slash and Duff believed that if they didn't sign it then Axl wouldn't go on stage when ever the next gig would be... Axl said that he never said that he wouldn't go on if they didn't sign and I believe him... I already know that Axl was not aware of what management said to Slash and Duff." (Marc Canter, MyGNR, 12/15/12)

"The next day, I grabbed Doug Goldstein on the tarmac at the airport... Slash and I shouldn't have signed those papers." (Duff, autobiography)

"I was halfway round the globe [on that day]!" (Doug Goldstein, 12/03/13)

"I shouted at Doug, saying he needed to fix things... Doug looked at me with no expression.

'You manage the guy who owns the name Guns N' Roses - is [that] where you're going, Doug?'" (Duff, Autobiography)

"Goldstein's contract... covers not only the bandmembers' work with GN'R, but also the individual members' solo projects. The contract appears to be valid for either a term of three-years or until the last day of the next GN'R tour cycle, which ever comes last. The three-year period appears to have started in October of 1992 and ended in October of 1995." (MTV, 01/04/00)

Over six years later, on December 14, 1999, Goldstein's management company, Big FD Entertainment, would sue Slash and Duff for $400,000 and costs of the suit, for a percentage on their profits on the GNR Live Era album, as well as for hiring outside managers after formally leaving Guns, in 1997 and 1999, respectively.

"A few years ago, Doug [Goldstein] told me to tell Slash and Duff that he was sorry for the way he handled things on their behave." (Marc Canter, MyGNR, 12/15/12)



The Resignation Letter, 1995.

"As far as contractually - and this is a discrepancy between myself and our attorneys - apparently Axl owns [the GNR name]. Now I should have known that, because I could have then said: "Okay." I don't give a fuck who owns the name. But I find out later that Axl legally owns it - apparently." (Slash, Metal Hammer, 11/95)

"I didn't really know what else to do after Axl sent a letter on August 31, 1995, saying that he was leaving the band and taking the name with him under the terms of the new contract. After that we tried to put it back together." (Slash, Autobiography)

"I’d left and formed a new partnership, which was only an effort to salvage Guns not steal it." (Axl, MyGNR, 12/14/08)

"This will serve as notice [that] effective [...] Decemeber 30th 1995, I will withdraw from the partnership. [...] I intend to use the name 'Guns N' Roses' in connection with a new group which I will form." (Slash & Duff v. Axl lawsuit document, 2004)

"The perception I have of what Axl's doing at the moment is that he's basically making a solo album but retaining the GN'R name so that he can get at the major contractual advance that's waiting at Geffen for a new Guns N' Roses-titled record. I can't give you the exact figure but I will tell you it's in the multi-million-dollar range. This renegotiation was effected just before I was fired." (Alan Niven, Icon Magazine, 10/97)

"GN'R began work on a new album of original material, drawing from a Geffen advance thought to be around $10 million - Madonna kind of money." (Rolling Stone, 05/11/00)

"Axl had hired an attorney to push this through, so Duff and I did as well, and the three of them started haggling, having those attorney feasts that do nothing but cost their clients money. Doug Goldstein was also there helping "facilitate" the whole thing." (Slash, Autobiography)

As the contract negotiations dragged on, Slash silently fell out of Guns N' Roses.

"He (Slash) has been 'OFFICIALLY and LEGALLY' outside of the Guns N' Roses Partnership since December 31, 1995." (Axl, 10/30/96)

"Slash QUIT Guns N' Roses after his solo projects flopped. Geffen Records President Eddie Rosenblatt literally begged Axl to keep the door open for Slash." (Del James, Mudkiss, 2008)

 Rep: 150 

Re: 1995: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

Big Deal

On 09/11/95, twelve days after Axl'd sent out his letter, Duff and Matt begun appearing at the Viper Room on a weekly basis with Steve Jones and John Taylor.

"After we played a string of Viper Room gigs and a few national gigs [from early January to 02/10/96], record companies started pursuing us. I was dumbfounded. We were just having a laugh, after all. In the end, Madonna’s label, Maverick, gave us a million-dollar advance. This was four times what Guns got!" (Duff, autobiography)

"'Someone at Maverick was coming to the shows and told us he wanted to make a record,' says Taylor. 'It wasn't really anything that we had talked about as a group.'" (John Taylor, Hypno Magazine, 1996)

"We went out and we secured a million-dollar record deal, just out playing the Viper Room every Monday night." (Duff, Frontline, 02/06/04)

During this time, the album work was apparently grounded.

Axl would've been holding out on the next GNR album to be written and recorded under the new partnership agreement, effective as of 12/31/95. All the while, Duff and Matt were busy until February, anyway.


In related news, David Geffen, founder of Geffen Records, ended his term in the company. MCA Records had acquired the company in 1990 and since then, Geffen himself had been contractually employed. His leaving coincided with Seagram Company acquiring 80% of MCA/Geffen and finding Universal Studios and Universal Music Group. Geffen Records was maintained under the UMG umberella.

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