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Get in the ring: Axl Rose sues Activision over 2007 Guitar Hero game

Axl Rose has sued video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. for more than $20 million in a dispute that centers on the Guns N' Roses frontman's rift with former bandmate Slash.

The suit filed in California Superior Court in Los Angeles alleges that Santa Monica-based Activision violated an agreement with Rose by including Slash in Guitar Hero III and associating him with the Guns N' Roses song "Welcome to the Jungle."

Rose, who controls the band's business and assets, only agreed to allow Activision to use "Welcome to the Jungle" in the game because the publisher's executives said Slash wouldn't be connected to it, the suit claims.

Tim Riley, Activision's music affairs executive vice president, "guaranteed," the suit states, "that, provided Rose agreed to approve Activision's use of 'Welcome to the Jungle,' there would be no use of Slash in association with Guns N' Roses and 'Welcome to the Jungle.'"

However, Guitar Hero III shows an avatar of Slash when players play "Welcome to the Jungle" and allows them to virtually perform the song alongside the former Guns N' Roses lead guitarist.

Activision representatives did not respond to a request for comment.

Rose and Slash have famously been at odds since the latter artist left Guns N' Roses in 1996. He later did solo work and formed the band Velvet Revolver along with two other former Gun N' Roses members.

Skip Miller, one of Rose's attorneys at the firm Miller Barondess LP, said there have been discussions between the two sides over the last three years attempting a resolution. "We hoped this would get worked out, but it didn't."

He claimed that there are numerous e-mails providing written confirmation of Activision's pledges not to include Slash in association with "Welcome to the Jungle" in the game.

It's not the first legal trouble Activision has gotten into involving Guitar Hero. Last year the band No Doubt sued the publisher over its portrayal in the spinoff title Band Hero.

The lawsuit comes as sales of Activision's Guitar Hero games, and the music video game genre in general, have plummeted over the last two years.

-- Ben Fritz

Photo: Guitar Hero III with Slash on the box cover. Credit: Activision.

Comments () | Archives (8)

Axl is a loser anyways. Is he still holding on to the dreams that G'N'R will be huge again? I don't think so. He's milking it for all he can. He is just upset that Slash is more of an icon of GNR than he is. What a baby!!!!

Waah Waah. Slash has more talent in his little finger than Axl has in his whole undernourished bod.


Axl needs more grease.

After reading the "blog" from Axl's website I've come to the conclusion that he is not mentally stable or complete. He took one of the potentially greatest American rock bands ever and drove it right into the ground. I hope he gains nothing from this suit and gets the help he truly needs.

Maybe over the decades dozens of "popular" bands have had pale-faced lead guitarists with long dark hair, black top-hats with silver oval things around them and similar guitars? Hmm, selecting a jury for this one...I'd guess that Activision would want to stay clear of any Gen X'rs who maybe watched a lot of MTV back in the day.

I wrote a message to Axl on Facebook's Axl's page (34K fans w hate msgs vs Slash's 4M fans that love him):Go ahead and sue, win even! Keep the money! Truth is, you will never take away that which fans love the most about musicians and their groups: a musically and socially well bounded musical group, and I truly think, ...like many others, that SLASH had a lot, A LOT to do with GnR's success, not camera-hungry annoying you.. All these years and you still do not get it? I saw GnR when I was a teen on MTV and back then I noticed my buddies and I really recognizing Slash's guitar and genuineness, a natural liking towards more down to earth, relaxed and likeable Slash. I then had the chance to see Slash 9 feet away in KC at a standup concert and let me tell you: Slash is genuine, great with fans, awesome, 1000% talented and I simply think Axl's own flaws are to blame here instead of demonizing the great SLASH. A note to Axl: ever since paradise city in the 80's it looked like you hungered to be the focus when the fact is all fans loved the band as a whole, and I think YOU ROYALLY SCREWED IT UP FOR EVERYBODY. I repeat: Go ahead and sue, win. Keep the money! Truth is, you will never take away that which fans love the most about musicians and their groups: a musically and socially well bonded, united musical group. All these years and you still do not get it? PLLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZE!
Axl: U R FIRED! You've been fired. NO, sorry, I stand corrected: YOU SELF FIRED, YOU FIRED YOURSELF! Hope you read all these posts. Ya, happy thanksgiving to you too and thank you for how much you care for fans. I'll make you computer animated fans.... will that work? will that make you happy?

We can only hope that a judge sees the insanity of blocking the image of Slash -- long established as part of the Guitar Hero game -- from being seen playing the parts that the real Slash performed on the original recording. The rest of us do not have to buy into Axl's denial and emotional issues.


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