Axl Rose Gets in the Legal Ring With Former Manager
Thu, 20 May 2010 09:38:26
Axl Rose is entering the ring with both fists flailing, throwing haymakers left and right at his former manager, Irving Azoff. Rose claims that Azoff tried to implement a scheme to force him to reunite with the original Guns N' Roses band members. A result of said scheme was the failure to properly promote Chinese Democracy. Rose also claims that Azoff lied about a prospective Van Halen super tour and mishandled the band's tour dates. Yesterday, Rose filed a hefty countersuit against Front Line Management, which is Azoff's firm. Rose is responding to a March suit that Azoff levied against him, claiming the rocker violated an oral agreement to pay 15% of earnings, or nearly $2 million, from concert revenue.
In his suit, Rose makes anti-trust arguments in regards to Front Line's parent company, Ticketmaster, claiming that his former manager is up to no good in the music business. Azoff is CEO, director and majority shareholder of Front Line, whose roster of artists include the Eagles, Neil Diamond, Jimmy Buffett, Christina Aguilera and John Mayer. In 2008, Front Line was acquired by Ticketmaster. Rose claims that through Azoff's control of the "trifecta" of artist management, concert and touring promotion and ticket sales, he is able to throw his weight around in an unfair manner in the music industry, making artists bend to his whims.
Rose also alleges that Azoff decides what artists he wants to promote through favorable touring deals and uses his power to punish artists and harm their careers if they don't follow his orders. Yikes. The countersuit invokes the U.S. Justice Department's recent antitrust lawsuit that sought to stop a proposed merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation over concerns about the new entity having too much control over artists and venues. Ticketmaster entered into a consent decree regulators to allow the merger to continue under certain operating provisions. Rose claims that Azoff is a bully, forcing artists to do his bidding.
Rose also claims that Azoff tried to force a Guns N' Roses reunion and in order to achieve this, he attempted to sabotage the current incarnation of the band and thus force Rose into reuniting with his ex-bandmates as that would be the only option for success. Azoff may have been onto something there, since most people want a GN'R reunion of the original lineup, but if he did roadblock the current lineup, that's not cool. But who knows who is telling the truth in this case. In his filing, Rose claims, "Upon realizing that he couldn't bully [me] and accomplish his scheme, Azoff resigned and abandoned Guns N' Roses on the eve of a major tour, filing suit for commissions he didn't earn and had no right to receive."
What a hot, steamy, glad-we're-not-involved mess. Team Axl or Team Azoff?