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Did Slash and Duff return to Gn’R as “employees”?

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Hi guys. This discussion came up in one of the groups I follow on Facebook. Everyone got mad when some dude called Slash an “employee”, but I don’t think that it is that crazy.

From what I understand, Slash and Duff are getting paid per show, right? The rights to the name is still owned by Axl, but the Partnership of the "company" is in the hands of Axl, Slash and Duff.

Is this correct? Has this changed since they returned to the band? Where and when does this Partnership work?

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My understanding is that this is a partnership now consisting of Axl Rose, Saul Hudson, and Michael "Duff" McKagan.

There are trademarks to the Guns N' Roses name and brand with the three of them listed.

All the other folks are additional musicians, hired hands.

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Massive question, and I don't think anyone (bar those directly involved) knows, other than speculation. 

It's probably quite likely some sort of deal was cut which gave band members a specific percentage of takings, negotiated by their individual managers. In that sense they could be defined as 'employees', but that term is somewhat simplifying things. It's hard to imagine anyone negotiated a stake in the 'GNR business' name, but who knows? They could well have done. 

Ultimately though, it's pretty probably that even Axl is technically an "employee" of GNR. The money will go to GNR as a business, that will then pay "employees" from that central pool, much in the same way as any business does. That Axl owns the GNR name is somewhat moot at this juncture; he's still classed as an 'employee'. Ultimately, should GNR go 'bust' or 'bankrupt' for any reason he would be protected from that to a certain degree by that status. 

Hope that helps! 

Just now, BadApples87 said:

My understanding is that this is a partnership now consisting of Axl Rose, Saul Hudson, and Michael "Duff" McKagan.

There are trademarks to the Guns N' Roses name and brand with the three of them listed.

All the other folks are additional musicians, hired hands.

And this as well, yeah. Sounds like all own the trademark, which would give them that stream of revenue too, between them. I think owning the trademark is different from owning the business, but I could be wrong there. That's as far as my knowledge goes - others may know more! 

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Guessing at the end of the day Axl still owns the Guns n Roses name, although the big 3 split the "loot" (Izzy).  However GnR is Axl/Slash n Duff ....the true employees are Fortus/Melissa/Dizzy and Frank.

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38 minutes ago, lame ass security said:

They do Rock, Paper, Scissors before each show to determine who gets the biggest cut.

Izzy wan't invited back because he always won.

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There was rumours that the old partnership was bought back or something like this, if so, the brand belongs to the three of them.

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It would be great to see the contract(s) with Live Nation. I think that would be revealing as to the 'entity' being hired to play concerts. The Coachella contract was for a reunion. How that is spelled out in the fine print would probably answer this question.

Heres a question. If the Partnership Agreement is 3 people, Axl/Slash/Duff then in theory Duff and Slash could have voted on their return to Guns, the band, at any point except that Axl owns the name so even if they voted themselves back into the band, Axl could just refuse to allow them to be presented publicly as GnR? 

Leads me to think that the Guns name is whats being hired by Live Nation? If so, that would be Axls legal entity. Complicated, yes, by the fact that Slash had ownership of the classic/UYI era logo which is being used to mark the reunion. But I think that the legal name GNR has hired Slash and Duff for these shows? So while they are employees as that term relates to the contract with LN, they are now standing to gain oodles more money for all the merch, licensing, etc in their long standing partnership agreement.

If its anything like that at all, then I guess the question is how any legal titles represent of influence how they are operating. I doubt that Axl treats Duff and Slash as employees and that they make decision together. Dont mean that they dont walk on egg shells around Axl though. I know Slash said he thinks its wasteful to fly in private jets so maybe Axl and Duff out voted him - or maybe it is just Axl calling the shots?

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I'm not sure I remember correctly, but wasn't there a story that it was actually Axl who quit the old partnership but since the contract version signed somewhere during the UYI tour covered that case he took the name with him? Wasn't that the whole problem with that contract that angered D & S so much? Axl didn't own the name per se, but in case of him quitting the band (and/or partnership?), he became the owner. And then - correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm sure I read it somewhere - he formed a new entity with the GNR name and invited Slash and Duff back? And that's the moment when Slash resigned? That is, he didn't join the "new" partnership but remained in the old one. So in principle there were 2 partnerships, one that managed the old licensing, rights, etc. but didn't own the name, and the new (consisting of Axl) that had the name but couldn't manage the "old" licenses, etc. In effect, they could stop each other from making any revenue via selling the rights to use GNR trademarks, catalouge, etc.

So if that was the story, the question is was the old partnership revived (=Axl rejoined it), did S&D join the new one or maybe a third was formed, that now owns all the rights to trademarks, etc. of the NITL tour alone? I think revenue splits from this tour can be either added as an amendment to old partnerships or can be handled in a separete document that does not at all depend on the stipulations of the former agreements between A&D&S.

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It depends on how you describe the terms. So long as everything is ticking along, they're equals, but don't think for one second Slash could say, ''hey ginger bollocks. Time to do an album''. Well, he could but the semi-reunion wouldn't last a day long.

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, DieselDaisy said:

It depends on how you describe the terms. So long as everything is ticking along, they're equals, but don't think for one second Slash could say, ''hey ginger bollocks. Time to do an album''. Well, he could but the semi-reunion wouldn't last a day long.

Or heaven forbid the lead guitarist comes up with a bunch of original riffs and licks for the singer to write a melody over... y'know, like practically every rock 'n roll band that ever existed... :rolleyes:

Slash knows his place now and will never again be foolish enough to sacrifice his financial gain by getting in the way of Axl Rose's pretend "vision."

"Man Axl, that Chinese Democracy record was awesome, now how many zeros was that again?" .

Edited by Towelie
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Slash & Duff are relishing being back in Gn'R because there solo projects are highlighted a lot more because of their association with Guns. The press attention alone is enough to secure enough spotlight to show off there releases/solo tours although I am skeptical to whether this holds up Guns releases. Although it doesn't seem to help individual record sales if you take 'Living The Dream' for example. 

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13 minutes ago, Edward Nygma said:

 Although it doesn't seem to help individual record sales if you take 'Living The Dream' for example. 

Well that was a bad album and I like everything Slash does.. I think him being back in Guns did at least get the first single a decent amount of airplay..  But the album wasn't good enough to give it any legs.. 

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I got a copy of the partnership agreement that was signed in 1992 as it came up during a lawsuit in 2004 between the guys in the former partnership. The signing over of the name doesn't read as nefarious as some would have has us believe. So if the old partnership was just reactivated and it wasn't changed then slash and duff and axl are the decision makers in GNR again. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, bikka said:

I'm not sure I remember correctly, but wasn't there a story that it was actually Axl who quit the old partnership but since the contract version signed somewhere during the UYI tour covered that case he took the name with him? Wasn't that the whole problem with that contract that angered D & S so much? Axl didn't own the name per se, but in case of him quitting the band (and/or partnership?), he became the owner. And then - correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm sure I read it somewhere - he formed a new entity with the GNR name and invited Slash and Duff back? And that's the moment when Slash resigned? That is, he didn't join the "new" partnership but remained in the old one. So in principle there were 2 partnerships, one that managed the old licensing, rights, etc. but didn't own the name, and the new (consisting of Axl) that had the name but couldn't manage the "old" licenses, etc. In effect, they could stop each other from making any revenue via selling the rights to use GNR trademarks, catalouge, etc.

So if that was the story, the question is was the old partnership revived (=Axl rejoined it), did S&D join the new one or maybe a third was formed, that now owns all the rights to trademarks, etc. of the NITL tour alone? I think revenue splits from this tour can be either added as an amendment to old partnerships or can be handled in a separete document that does not at all depend on the stipulations of the former agreements between A&D&S.

Yes, there was that clause in the old 1992 partnership agreement which allowed Axl to keep the rights to the band name either if he quit/was expelled from the partnership or if Slash and Duff left. Axl used that clause in October 1995 by sending a legal notice stating that he intended to quit the partnership and take the name with him in the beginning of 1996. 

There was another clause, though, according to which a leaving partner should sell his share to the remaining partners:

http://www.a-4-d.com/t3745-1992-10-dd-guns-n-roses-partnership-contract-memorandum-of-agreement

 Axl seemingly didn't do that, so he didn't really leave the old partnership (and probably never intended to do so - it was just a legal manoeuvre), since he was still a shareholder. So Axl, likely, did form a new entity/company (not partnership, as there were no other partners) later for the new band's business, but he kept his share in the old partnership too.

We don't know the specifics of the current partnership, but the recent lawsuit document, as well as the correspondence in the US Patents and Trademarks office, have used the trademark registrations under the 1992 partnership. So my guess is that the current partnership is the old partnership agreement revived (or an amendment of it). 

6 hours ago, GNRfanMILO said:

Hi guys. This discussion came up in one of the groups I follow on Facebook. Everyone got mad when some dude called Slash an “employee”, but I don’t think that it is that crazy.

From what I understand, Slash and Duff are getting paid per show, right? The rights to the name is still owned by Axl, but the Partnership of the "company" is in the hands of Axl, Slash and Duff.

Is this correct? Has this changed since they returned to the band? Where and when does this Partnership work?

Before the reunion, it was a non functioning partnership, as Slash and Duff were still partners (shareholders) in the old partnership but they couldn't use the band name, whereas Axl had formed a new band under the GnR name, most likely without having left the old partnership.

Currently, Guns N' Roses as a business is an active partnership of Axl, Slash and Duff:

beer_l11.jpg

(From the the recent lawsuit document against Oskar Blues brewery)

I don't think they can be partners (= shareholders/co-owners of the business) and employees (=hired hands by the owners) at the same time. They're clearly partners, legally.

We don't know what exactly the deal with Live Nation was in regards to the revenues per show. There was a rumour about a fixed amount ($3 million, namely) per show regardless of the ticket sales, but it's not certain, even if true, if it was just for Coachella or for all shows. Then there are the revenues from merch, the box set, etc. Anyway, even if there was a fixed amount per show, this would go, as all other revenues, to the GnR business and then would be split, less costs, between the partners according to their ownership percentages.

If the current functioning partnership is a continuation/revival of the old partnership agreement, they all own the name and the trademarks at this point, but Axl will retain the rights to the name in case Slash and Duff leave the band again.

Edited by Blackstar
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And while duff is a parter any decision the band made had to have the agreement of both axl and slash and duff is the tiebreak. 

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Posted (edited)

Technically they're all employees. Every band at that level is a business from a legal perspective. GN'R is a business just like the Stones, Avenged Sevenfold, Metallica, Rammstein, etc. Additionally, you have to treat your band like a business to get to that level.

You have to grow your brand and market it. I think people view the big bands as these big corporate machines and that's fair but they almost have to function like that due to the size of their brand. They can't follow the local band model of "play shows, get paid" anymore. 

Edited by Gibson_Guy87

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The NITL Tour book indicates that Axl, Slash and Duff have different managers. Team Brazil is listed as 'A Party', Duff's manager and security are listed as 'D Party', and Slash's manager and security are listed as 'S Party'. While it should be noted this was for the operations of a tour, it can be inferred that, more or less, Guns N' Roses currently exists as a relationship between these three parties, with Richard et al falling under Team Brazi ('A Party').

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It’s pretty mind boggling, but I can understand why Axl had them sign the original contracts in 1992. Slash and Duff were both very unhealthy and close to death at times. He was trying to protect the future of the band/band.

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Independent contractors.  :P

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From my understanding there’s the original partnership entity and the newer GNR entity which are separate. They could operate under an agreement that incorporates the original partnership, while still keeping the newer entity with certain things falling under that umbrella. So in that case it could be both.

Having different managers is nothing new in a band. Especially in this case which involved a ton of negotiation to make things happens. You need people that represent your best interests otherwise you’ll find yourself unhappy which could jeopardize the band. Nobody wants that 

There’s also multiple ways for bands to be legally constructed. They can also change over time. As long as it makes sense for everyone involved they are all valid. GNR is no different than many bands in that regard.

Dont get too hung up on the way these things are constructed. It shouldn’t sway your opinion on what’s authentic and what’s not. GNR has been a business entity since their first paying gig and has changed the way it’s constructed multiple times since then. What matters is the music.

Judge them on their shows and hopefully whatever gets released down the line.   

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