Guns N' Lawsuit

Axl Rose taking legal action against Geffen Records to block release of greatest hits album

By Josh Grossberg Feb 18, 2004 9:30 PMTags

As Guns N' Roses continues to toil in the studio on the forever-awaited comeback album Chinese Democracy, Geffen Records has announced plans to release a Greatest Hits compilation featuring 14 of the head-banging band's classic tunes on March 23.

Apparently, such news hasn't gone over too well with frontman Axl Rose, who controls the band.

Guns N' Roses is preparing to sue the label to block the distribution of Greatest Hits package, claiming Geffen never obtained permission to release the collection.

The album would contain tracks from the band's late-'80s/early-'90s heyday, including as "Welcome to the Jungle," "Sweet Child O' Mine," "Paradise City," "Patience" and a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" from the Interview with a Vampire soundtrack.

Calls to the group's rep and Geffen were not immediately returned.

Rose, whose appetite for perfection has led to multiple postponements of Chinese Democracy, the band's first studio album in over a decade, isn't the only upset by the pending best-of CD.

A group of fans is going to great lengths to persuade Universal Music Group, which owns Geffen, not to put out the Greatest Hits. The disgruntled fans have launched an online petition at expressing dismay with the song selection ("there are stronger tracks in their catalog that are not included") and arguing that such a release could cannibalize sales of Chinese Democracy.

This isn't the first time Geffen's cobbled together a "new" Guns N' Roses release in recent years. To keep interest in the band from waning, the label has plundered the GNR archives compiling material from the previously released home videos Welcome to the Videos and the two-volume Use Your Illusion for two DVDs.

Rose, the lone original member remaining in the lineup, has struggled to keep the group alive, hiring a bunch of new sidemen, including avant-garde guitar whiz Buckethead.

The newly revamped GNR hit the road to much fanfare in 2002 with the Chinese Democracy tour--the band's first in more than a decade. But things quickly deteriorated and the tour was scrapped midway through with no real reason given (though sources close to the band's management say Axl's backstage antics, including an alleged brawl with his manager, may have been the cause).

That concert meltdown came after the band sparked a riot on the opening night of the tour in Vancouver when frontman Rose failed to turn up.

After taking a break from touring in 2003, the Gunners are scheduled to regroup for a May 30 gig at the Rock in Rio-Lisbon festival in Lisbon, Portugal.

Still no word when Chinese Democracy will finally hit record stores.