Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses has filed a $20 million suit against Activision, charging that it broke its promise not to feature former bandmate Slash in “Guitar Hero III” as a condition for obtaining the rights to feature “Welcome to the Jungle” in the game.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday, claims fraud, breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation, among other things.
It notes that “members of the tabloid media have tended to focus on and mythologize a rift within the band that occurred in 1996, when one of the band’s guitarists, Saul Hudson, aka ‘Slash,’ and Guns N’ Roses parted ways.
With that in mind, the suit says, “Rose is careful not to license any use of the band’s name and intellectual property that would further perpetuate confusion in the public mind between Slash and Guns N’ Roses or promote the individual interests of Slash or his projects, including his band Velvet Revolver.”
Even though Activision was “keenly aware” of Rose’s concerns, the suit states, it began “spinning a web of lies and deception to conceal its true intentions” to feature Slash and his band prominently. The suit says there was a “written agreement through a series of emails” not to use use Slash in “Guitar Hero III.”
The suit says the game instead “prominently features Slash imagery in direct connection with the use of ‘Welcome to the Jungle,’ exploits the prior association between Slash and Guns N’ Roses, promotes Slash’s and Velvet Revolver’s separate interests, and includes Velvet Revolver tracks as available downloads, all of which was directly contrary to the contractual obligations” of Activision.
The suit alleges that “adding insult to injury,” another early Guns N’ Roses hit, “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” was employed to promote “GH III” on the Web, although it had been licensed for use in “Guitar Hero II” only.
Rose is only the latest rock star to wrangle with Activision. No Doubt sued the firm a year ago, claiming it breached its contract by programming the band’s game avatars to perform other musicians’ songs in its “Band Hero.”
In a rant on Twitter, Kurt Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love, threatened to sue Activision over what she claimed was misuse of Cobain’s image in “Guitar Hero 5.” However, no legal action followed.
Rose’s suit was filed by Skip Miller of Miller Barondess.
A spokesman for Activision could not immediately be reached.