NEW YORK -- Their songs should be so passionate. The frontmen for intertwined rock bands Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver — both struggling to complete albums for release later this year — have spent the past week or so spewing venom back and forth. Which can't be bad for business.
The feud began when top Gunner Axl Rose launched a countersuit against his former GNR bandmates Saul "Slash" Hudson and Michael "Duff" McKagan, who left GNR in the 1990s and have since formed Velvet Revolver. The two had filed suits in 2004 and 2005 seeking the rights to the old GNR songs, accusing Rose of killing deals that would have put their songs in a half-dozen movies, including "Old School," and "Black Hawk Down."
Rose's counterclaim asks a Federal Court to confirm his ownership of his "creative works" and defends his decision to choose when to license the music and to whom.
But Rose didn't leave it there.
He added a diatribe against his former lead guitarist, accusing Slash of making "negative and malicious statements" about him "in order to garner publicity for himself." He described Slash as a "consummate press, photo and media opportunist and manipulator" who was trying to "take credit for something that was not his."
But it was a bizarre addendum to the statement, totally unrelated to the suit, that drew the wrath of Velvet Revolver lead singer Scott Weiland. Rose recalled a day last October where Slash, whom he hadn't spoken to in almost a decade, showed up unannounced at his door at 5:30 one morning. Rose claimed that during their conversation Slash tore into his VR bandmates, calling Duff "spineless" and Weiland "a fraud," among other things. Despite Slash's hard-partying reputation, Rose insisted his former bandmate did not appear under the influence when he allegedly made these comments during this pre-dawn meeting.
The story raised hopes among die-hard GNR fans wishing for a reunion and disillusionment among dedicated VR fans, who worried this could spell the end.
Following the statement, the normally media-friendly Slash was uncharacteristically silent, making no comment on Rose's statement.
The deafening silence appeared to validate Rose's comments about the meeting and further fueled talk of a pending Velvet Revolver breakup.
On the third day, though, Weiland went ballistic, issuing his own statement in retaliation. On VR's official web site, he called Rose "fat," "Botox faced," "wig wearin'" plus other names that can't be printed here. He also attacked Rose's long-delayed album and ridiculed his aborted 2002 tour.
"What we're talking about here," Weiland said, "is a frightened little man who once thought he was king, but unfortunately this king without his court is nothing but a memory."