And Finally Beef Of The Week

CMU Beef Of The Week #45: Axl Rose v Slash via Guitar Hero

By | Published on Saturday 27 November 2010

Sometimes it amazes me that Axl Rose doesn’t feature in the column every week. It could easily be argued that he is the king of the beef. He always has the perfect combination of unhinged anger and misguided self-importance.

This week Axl is angry that, when playing Guns N Roses’ ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ in the ‘Guitar Hero III’ videogame, fans were able to see a digital representation of Slash, who, of course, wrote and played guitar on the song. This, he says, was specifically prohibited in the contract with the ‘Hero’ franchise’s maker, Activision, where he gave permission for his song to appear in the game. As a result, he’s suing the company for $20 million. Twenty. Million. Dollars.

That there is bad blood between the two former bandmates is no secret. Although the guitarist seems to have softened recently, Rose bears his grudge so firmly that he is attempting to have Slash removed from history. As well as apparently forcing Activision to agree not to include Slash in the game, legal documents filed this week also state that the gaming company went back on another promise to not include any songs by GNR spin-off Velvet Revolver.

The lawsuit states: “Activision understood the extraordinary value Guns N Roses and ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ could add to the ‘Guitar Hero’ platform … [and] began spinning a web of lies and deception to conceal its true intentions to not only feature Slash and [Velvet Revolver] prominently in ‘Guitar Hero III’, but also promote the game by emphasising and reinforcing an association between Slash and Guns N’ Roses and the band’s song ‘Welcome To The Jungle'”.

That’s right, it was Activision that were “emphasising and reinforcing an association between Slash and Guns N Roses and the band’s song ‘Welcome To The Jungle'”. It was nothing to do with the fact that the song appearing in itself would do just that, it being one of the most famous songs by a band famous for being the band that Slash used to play guitar in.

And what’s Activision’s stance on this? Well, the company hasn’t commented. Luckily, though, Axl is on hand to tell us that, too. Describing a party where Rose and Activision’s vice president of music affairs Tim Riley crossed paths, the legal papers state: “In tears, he [Riley] apologised for the way in which Rose and Guns N Roses had been mistreated by Activision. He said ‘I can’t sleep at night’ and asked Rose to forgive him”.

Presumably, Activision had to incorporate Slash into the game, because if they’d based it on the current line-up, gamers wouldn’t have been able to play a note for several hours after switching it on. And then they’d only get through half the song before Axl stopped everything and refused to play any more.

This Beef Of The Week comes from this edition of the CMU Weekly. Subscribe to the CMU Weekly here.