Axl Rose is making his old Guns N' Roses band mates feel unwelcome to the jungle.
GN'R's former ringleader filed court papers Friday asking a federal judge to affirm that Rose has "ownership of all creative works" stemming from his days fronting the legendary rock outfit.
The legal action is the latest salvo in Rose's long-running feud with former guitarist Slash and bassist Michael "Duff" McKagan. The latter musicians filed a lawsuit in August accusing the flame-haired singer of trying to dupe them out of royalties.
Slash and Duff, now members of Velvet Revolver, alleged in their complaint that Rose's "arrogance and ego" kept them from receiving their fair share of a multimillion-dollar publishing deal he signed with Sanctuary Group.
In his counterclaim and a written statement, Rose, 44, says Slash and Duff's suit was "based on a faulty premise from the start."
Rose's lawyer, Howard Weitzman, asserts the "egregious behavior" Slash and Duff accused Rose of was the result of a "clerical error" by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Weitzman says in a press release that had Slash and Duff made some calls the problem would have been resolved quickly; however, the attorney says, they decided to pursue the matter in the courts due to their desire for "self-publicity."
"Mr. Rose believes that once apprised of the true facts the Judge or Jury deciding these lawsuits will rule in Axl's favor on every issue before them," Weitzman continues.
The release claims Slash and Duff continue to offer "ever changing and false stories" about how the group got its start and that the two rockers want to commercially exploit Guns N' Roses' roster of hits--including "Welcome to the Jungle," "Paradise City" and "Sweet Child O' Mine"--"as if it were fast food by anyone willing to pay for it."
"Their attacks on Axl stand in sharp contract to Rose's conduct," continues the statement. "Axl has at all times worked diligently to maintain the artistic integrity of the band by choosing with great care which properties to license Guns N' Roses songs to and refusing to participate in what he believed were potentially embarrassing projects."
"Axl regrets having to spend time and energy on these distractions but he has a responsibility to protect the Guns N' Roses legacy and expose the truth," Weitzman says. "Axl believes he has been left with no alternative and but to respond to these lawsuits....[He] could no longer sit quietly and allow the continuing dissemination of falsehoods and half-truths by his former bandmates."
Reps for Slash and Duff did not immediately comment.
Ironically, Rose's dissing of his former mates comes just weeks after Slash gushed to a British radio station that he was looking forward to Rose and his revamped Guns N' Roses lineup finally releasing the forever-in-the-works Chinese Democracy album this year.
Several tracks from the disc were leaked to the Internet in recent days, generating big buzz among fans before Rose's lawyers ordering sites to take down the tracks. The three songs remain in heavy rotation on file-sharing sites, however, and have also popped up on radio station playlists.
There's still no official word on when Chinese Democracy will hit stores, but Rose and his new Gunners are scheduled to play several festival dates this summer in Europe, perhaps to be followed by a full-blown tour.