Axl Rose Sues Activision for $20 Million Over ‘Guitar Hero’

Axl Rose Sues Activision Over ‘Guitar Hero’

November 23, 2010

By Antony Bruno

Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose is suing Activision Blizzard for $20 million over the use of the band’s classic “Welcome to the Jungle,” in the 2007 videogame Guitar Hero III.

According to the lawsuit (see the full filing here), Rose wanted assurances that there would be no connection to his former Guns N’ Roses bandmembers—particularly Slash—with the game or the song. It alleges that several Activision employees, including head of music Tim Riley and music supervisor Brandon Young, promised there would be no Slash avatars in the game or any music from Slash’s band at the time—Velvet Revolver—also in the game. Both wound up in the game.

As stated in the complaint:

Welcome to the Jungle’ is a highly-renowned rock song of immense popularity…[and] is regarded by fans and critics alike as one of the greatest hard rock songs of all time….Guitar Hero has generated well over a billion dollars in revenue for Activision….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.

Most legal filings are mind-numbingly boring but this one’s a doozey. The really good stuff starts on page five where it clearly lays out Rose’s attempts to disassociate the Guns N’ Roses brand with past members and its full of all kinds of interesting anecdotes. Among other claims, it says Activision approached Rose to create a video game theme around the “Chinese Democracy” album. It also says that during a Valentine’s Day show at the Rose Bar in New York’s Gramercy Park Hotel this February, Activision’s Riley approached Rose to apologize for the situation:

In tears, he apologized 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.

Representatives at Activision did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The lawsuit is demanding a trial by jury, so this could get interesting if it advances. The complaint was filed by Miller Barondess, LLP on behalf of Rose and the band.