Friday, October 7, 2011

How Axl Got the GN'R Name ...

... According to Duff
On this last European leg of the tour, we sometimes weren't all together in the same city except for the performance itself. On a few occasions, we weren't even in the same country. Our plane could drop some
of us here and others there.

On July 5, 1993, we all rendezvoused in Barcelona for a huge outdoor show at the Olympic Stadium. Axl came in from Venice. I returned from who a visit with Linda to the Spanish island of Ibiza. Slash was already in Barcelona.

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.

When Slash and I arrived at the vibe room, one of the tour managers 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.

"What the fuck?" I said.

"Look man," the tour manager said. "The truth is, you guys are not in good shape - you know that yourselves. If one of you dies, nobody wants to have to spend years in court battling your families or whatever."

That was not what it said, however. There was nothing about death in these documents.

With the crowd outside already getting rowdy, the guy 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.

Guns N' Roses - the trademark now owned by Axl - took the stage.

The next day, I grabbed Doug Goldstein on the tarmac at the airport. I had woken up really upset about what had happened the previous night. Slash and I shouldn't have signed those papers. But management wouldn't let the whole thing go forward anyway. Right? I shouted at Doug, saying he needed to fix things.

"Look, Duff," he said, "you're a smart guy. I manage Guns N' Roses."

"Yeah, I know, Doug. And that's why we have to - "

"No, you're not getting it

"Are you trying to tell me you manage the name Guns N' Roses?"

I was still a member of the band. Not a paid hand. Slash and I still had the same equity stake as before. We had just relinquished control of the name.

Doug looked at me with no expression.

"You manage the guy who owns the name Guns N' Roses - is where you're going, Doug?"

He shrugged. That was where he was going.

I was apoplectic with rage. I couldn't even speak.

We boarded the plane.

Only five more shows in Europe. Five. More. Shows.

You can make it.

After twenty-six months, the final concerts of the Use Your Illusion tour appeared on the horizon.
See also: Axl Rose Sets the Record Straight
Slash: "Why I Chose Not To Continue On With GN'R"
Alan Niven Responds to Axl's 'Homework'

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Mack, thanks so much for this site. Are you on Facebook at all?