×

Axl Rose sues Activision for $20 million

Rocker claims vidgame co. failed to remove Slash from 'Guitar Hero III'

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.

As the suit suggests, Rose has been none too pleased that, almost 15 years after the fact, Guns N’ Roses is still associated with Saul Hudson, aka Slash.

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.

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • Azim Rashid

    Columbia Records Names Azim Rashid Head of Urban Promotion

    Azim Rashid has been named senior vice president and head of urban promotion at Columbia Records, SVP Promotion/Operations Jim Burruss announced today. The Sony Music label’s urban roster includes Lil Nas X, Taylor the Creator, Russ, Dej Loaf Dominic Fike, OBN Jay and Polo G, among others. Rashid arrives from Roc Nation where he also served [...]

  • Plume of black smoke rising from

    Universal Music Says ‘Many’ Suing Artists’ Masters Were Not Damaged in 2008 Fire

    UPDATED: Late Friday the attorneys representing Soundgarden, Steve Earle and the estates of Tom Petty and Tupac amended their lawsuit against Universal Music Group over damages to their music archives as a result of a 2008 fire. While most of the amended complaint updated details in the original document — adding information about UMG’s alleged [...]

  • Lady Gaga

    Variety Earns 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Award Nominations

    Variety has received 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie award nominations for its coverage of the entertainment industry over the past year. The awards gala, which will take place at The Hilton Midtown in New York City on Oct. 30, celebrates publications that have demonstrated impressive investigative journalism, in addition to thoughtful digital and print design. [...]

  • Music fans listen to the band

    Woodstock Gets a Low-Key 50th Party With Ringo, Santana and That Album Cover Couple

    After efforts to stage a massive event celebrating Woodstock’s 50th anniversary failed to materialize, the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in New York’s Catskills region became the only game in town. For months, organizers quietly promoted a weekend of concerts that would put the focus on the 1969 event and its musical and cultural [...]

  • Carrie Underwood, left, and Reba McEntire

    CMAs Make Hosting Change: Brad Paisley Exits, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire Are In

    The CMA Awards have had the most consistent hosting situation of any music awards show in television, but 11 years after installing Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood as the reliable faces of the telecast, even ABC and the Country Music Association have decided it’s time for a switch. Come Nov. 13, Underwood will return for [...]

  • Ava Max iHeartRadio Wango Tango, Portraits,

    Megan Thee Stallion, CNCO, Ava Max to Perform at VMAs Pre-show

    CNCO, Megan Thee Stallion and “Sweet but Psycho” singer Ava Max (pictured) have been added to the performer lineup at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. The three will take the stage during the VMAs’ red carpet pre-show, hosted by Terrence J and Nessa. Zara Larsson will join the two hosts as a special correspondent. [...]

  • Bruce Springsteen FYSEE Opening Night with

    Bruce Springsteen Drops Introspective Trailer for 'Western Stars' Film

    While initial reports about Bruce Springsteen’s forthcoming documentary around his recent “Western Stars” album said that it would essentially be a concert film, the first trailer for it, which dropped today, suggests it’s going to be a more introspective outing, more in line with his autobiographical performances at “Springsteen on Broadway” in 2017 and 2018, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content