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The Adler vs GnR lawsuit (news reports and quotes)


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3 hours ago, Nasty Bronchitis said:

I am convinced Adler's drug habit was the perfect excuse for Slash and Duff to get rid of him. 

They were not happy with his musical abilities anymore. His approach to new material was not well received. 

If we take in consideration what he described in his book about not including him in the creating process for UYI in 89 just being told what to play. 

And also Niven latest interviews support Adler's claim.

All of this regardless of what people says about those UYI versions with Steven, Matt enhanced the material and provided the epic ones (Locomotive, Coma, Etc) what they needed and what the others looked for with the exception of Izzy. We know what he thought of those, don't we?

 

Why is it so hard to believe that a guy who's had a very well documented drug problem for 20 some years could have been thrown out of a band because of his drug problem? 

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The basics of this old story are widely known and have been discussed multiple times, but, since there are no news about the band to discuss, I thought it would be useful to post this material for eve

Shady legal shenanigans are the lifeblood of this band.

There is this article: http://www.heretodaygonetohell.com/board/index.php?action=printpage;topic=18521.0 "Title: Angela Mccoy's response for Stevens statement"    

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44 minutes ago, Modano09 said:

Why is it so hard to believe that a guy who's had a very well documented drug problem for 20 some years could have been thrown out of a band because of his drug problem? 

For me it' s not hard to believe , i' m not denying that fact at all.

My point is them not being frank and told him he was not up to par with what they were expecting for those UYI songs rehearsed in 1989 before he was really messed up.

Him being a total wreck months later (1990) was convenient in order to find someone who satisfy their expectations for the new material.

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6 hours ago, tony adler said:

I would like to point out that the band said Steven could not play and was “0ut of it” while recording illusions, however, when they took a break from recording 89-90?, they played ‘farm aid’ and that band never sounded tighter, Steven in particular sounded awesome, I get upset and sad every time I watch the farm aid two song set( in someone’s book they even make it a point to say Steven didn’t know the song ‘down on the farm’ and winged it,( if that is the case he is the greatest drummer of all time,( with respect to John bonham), I never believe just rumors , get the facts,ie, good quality video and judge for myself, the truth is in the middle, gnr at that time could afford the best legal team around and they chose to settle instead of fighting for what was right for them ( very telling)

Wasn't the story that Duff had to clap the beat for him or something?

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2 hours ago, Modano09 said:

Why is it so hard to believe that a guy who's had a very well documented drug problem for 20 some years could have been thrown out of a band because of his drug problem? 

Because drugs is only part of the reason he was tossed out. The other reasons being money, Erin Everly, and band politics. He couldn't grasp the Illusion material either. Drugs or no drugs, Steven was probably getting booted out of the band one way or another.

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20 minutes ago, RONIN said:

Because drugs is only part of the reason he was tossed out. The other reasons being money, Erin Everly, and band politics. He couldn't grasp the Illusion material either. Drugs or no drugs, Steven was probably getting booted out of the band one way or another.

Didn't they have some sort of agreement after Appetite that Adler wouldn't get paid as much as the rest of them because he didn't contribute as much to the writing or something? 

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23 minutes ago, Modano09 said:

Didn't they have some sort of agreement after Appetite that Adler wouldn't get paid as much as the rest of them because he didn't contribute as much to the writing or something? 

@Blackstar

That part is a bit confusing. There's publishing and composing royalties I believe. Axl says he gave 15% of his publishing off Appetite to pacify Steven. But everyone who played on Appetite is entitled to publishing royalties so the dispute seems to be that Steven wasn't deserving of his composing royalties... :unsure:

The stories seem to vary and even Steven changes his initial story to match Slash and Niven's take - and then Niven says something different in Mick Wall's recent book. My read on the situation is that they probably agreed initially to split it equally (publishing/composing) which Niven was in favor of. Then Axl started to get more and more obsessed with the split percentages and coerced Steven to give up his share. The evidence sort of lines up with that theory. Draw your own conclusions:

Quote

 

Slash, recounting the period right prior to the release of the Illusions albums:

This was when Axl started getting obsessive about the details of everything to do with Guns N' Roses, starting with the publishing splits of the songs on Illusion I and II. (...) In the end, because of contributors like Paul Huge and West Arkeen and Del James, Axl insisted upon splits that were like 22.75 percent or 32.2 percent per song for us core members [bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York, p.319].

 

Quote

He's the type of person who wants everything handed to him, and he did get it handed to him. He got it handed to him from me (...).  I paid $1.5 million by giving him 15% of my publishing off of Appetite For Destruction. He didn't write one goddamn note, but he calls me a selfish dick! ["I, Axl" Del James, RIP Magazine - 1992]

Quote

 

And Steven says this:

I receive 15% of everything 'Appetite for Destruction' generates. Slash, Duff and Izzy get 20% and Axl gets 25%, because he's the one who wrote the lyrics.

Have you read the [songwriting] credits to the songs? I wrote some of them. 99 percent of the music, not the lyrics, was made by all of us. Axl, Izzy, Duff, Slash and me. Although, in the week they wrote 'Use Your Illusion', I could only play one song. I couldn't write anything.

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/interviews/steven_adler_axl_is_ahole.html

 

 

Quote

 

When we recorded [Appetite for Destruction], Slash came up with this system where whoever wrote got credit. But then when it came time to actually divide them up, suddenly everybody was getting credit but me. I mean, [for example] Izzy wrote the song "Think About You" by himself before we started playing it, yet Slash, Duff, and Axl were also going to be receiving royalties for it, since they supposedly "added to it". I said, "well what about me? Did I add nothing?" I mean Izzy wrote the fucking song, I thought that's how the writing credits were determined, but the other guys were getting credit for something they didn't write, and I wasn't. Same thing for all the other songs, Axl would get credit for songs such as "Brownstone" [written by Slash and Izzy] and "It's So Easy" [written by Duff and West Arkeen], even though he didn't write anything on them, and the other guys [who didn't write also got credit] too. So why not me? So Axl gave me a portion of his [to compensate for not being included], and my name was put beside the rest of theirs [in the writing credits] and that was that. But now they've screwed me out of those royalties and my other ones too.

--Steven Adler, 1991 press release on his lawsuit against Guns N Roses.

 

But then later on changes his story about the royalties split which aligns closer with what Slash said in his book and Niven says in 2012. 

Now, I thought it was kind of a formality because we had talked about all this before and from day one it was always supposed to be an equal share for everybody. But Axl had changed his tune. Axl wanted a bigger slice of the pie. Axl didn’t think it was fair to split royalties evenly five ways on our songs. He believed he was entitled to more than the rest of us. The other guys were smart. They just stared at the floor. No one said a fucking thing. I don’t know if Axl intimidated them or if they just knew that silence was the best way to deal with his ego. Well, I couldn’t just shut the fuck up about it. The reason I wouldn’t dummy up was I was so outraged. So right off the bat, I was like, “Screw you, I was here from the beginning, I worked on putting those songs together just as much as you.”

I had no trouble standing up to Axl because I was right. So now there’s this deadly silence again, and it’s obvious that it’s become a big fucking deal. Still, no one else is saying anything, so rather than get into a big argument, I proposed what I thought was a fair offer: “Considering Axl did write most of the lyrics, which is a huge fucking part, I’ll give you five percent of my twenty percent.” Axl shot me this look not of thanks, not of appreciation, but of arrogance and triumph. It was like he expected it. So I looked around the room because what I expected was for everyone else to follow suit and ante up too, but the room went dead quiet again. I looked around and everyone kind of started talking about other stuff. The matter was over, settled, done. Axl was happy and I was like, “Fuck!” So it went 25 percent to Axl, 20 percent for each of the other guys, and 15 percent for me. The entire ordeal lasted only a couple of minutes. As long as Axl got more than everybody else he was a happy pig in shit. And at this point we were all trained to feel that as long as Axl wasn’t being pissy, as long as Axl was content, then we should all be happy. He got away with more than the rest of us combined.

[Adler's book]

Quote

 

At one point during the recording process, Axl refused to keep working because he didn’t feel the royalty split was fair. 

According to Slash, Axl said, “There’s no way Steven gets twenty percent, the same as I do.” Adler volunteered to give up 5 percent of his royalties so that Axl could have 25 percent. “I think Steven was permanently scarred by that,” Slash writes.

https://harpers.org/archive/2016/05/war-of-the-roses/5/

 

 

Quote

This whole cockamamie thing about “they didn’t pay me my royalties” is bullshit. He was paid his royalties and in fact he was paid composer royalties that he didn’t deserve. That was a courtesy bestowed on him by the rest of the band in a sense of all for one and one for all. [Alan Niven, quoted in Mick Wall, Last Of The Giants, 2016]

Quote

 

But Alan says this in 2012 to Metal Sludge:

I think that both Axl and Goldstein were, at that time, both controlling and greedy. Axl complained all the time that Steven Adler got a percentage of composing royalties. I had recommended that the band have a share-and-share-alike approach to such income -- as did Van Halen, Great White, and others – because my observation was that the primary factors that destroyed bands were women and arguing over differential splits of income, especially mechanical royalties. Hence, I would recommend equal sharing of royalties -- and not women! In any case with GNR, Axl got more than anyone else, and Adler got less. The other three got the same: less than Axl and more than Adler. Ultimately, the fracture between Axl and Adler was exacerbated by the two factors that always rupture bands -- money and a woman. - Alan Niven [Metal Sludge 2012]

 

 

Edited by RONIN
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Go watch the video Holmes, duff didn’t clap shit to Steven , he kicks off the song on his own bad ass self, and every hit on drums he made for those two songs were spot fuckin’ on!  As said above me , he was kicked out for a number of reasons, but one they claimed was his performance, which is bulllllshit!

Sorry cane( not angry, just passionate about original band, fan since I’m in the 8th grade 88’ 🤟

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Adler couldn't get his head around the Illusion songs. From Niven's interviews, it sounds to me like even a perfectly healthy Adler would have been unable to grasp the musical shift that Axl was pushing towards. I think once that became clear, the band began to cut him out of the creative process during rehearsals and it was over. Slash has also taken a shot at Steven's playing ability in the past. 

Unfortunately for ol' Slash, this was going to affect everyone eventually. Adler was the first fall guy in the band. The others soon followed. They were evolving past Izzy on Illusions - he wouldn't have been able to hang with mid-90's GNR. Then Slash had to drop out because he couldn't wrap his head around whatever experimental styles Axl was playing with. Ditto with Duff. Axl musically outgrew all of them eventually.

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10 hours ago, Modano09 said:

Why is it so hard to believe that a guy who's had a very well documented drug problem for 20 some years could have been thrown out of a band because of his drug problem? 

Because the band who threw him out were also drugged/boozed out of their brain.

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The band imploded and Steven was the first casualty, Izzy saw it happening and was smart enough to know that it was the beginning of the end and being a loyal motherfucker he bowed out, think about it, if Steven wasn’t sacked then Izzy probably would not hav quit( he loved the band as much as everyone else ) I will say this , I’ve never had that kind of fame and pressure in my life nor would I have wanted it, so we as hardcore fans can only truly speculate , and once again because of this beautiful place that’s exactly what we can do to deal with this ( no other fans have come close to what we have gone through, I love all of u. 😎

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On 3/5/2018 at 5:17 AM, RONIN said:
On 3/5/2018 at 4:57 AM, Modano09 said:

Didn't they have some sort of agreement after Appetite that Adler wouldn't get paid as much as the rest of them because he didn't contribute as much to the writing or something? 

@Blackstar

That part is a bit confusing. There's publishing and composing royalties I believe. Axl says he gave 15% of his publishing off Appetite to pacify Steven. But everyone who played on Appetite is entitled to publishing royalties so the dispute seems to be that Steven wasn't deserving of his composing royalties... :unsure:

The stories seem to vary and even Steven changes his initial story to match Slash and Niven's take - and then Niven says something different in Mick Wall's recent book. My read on the situation is that they probably agreed initially to split it equally (publishing/composing) which Niven was in favor of.

 
To my understanding:
 
- All people performing on a recording or a live concert get a share of general royalties from sales (after the label and other people/entities involved get their own share) based on an agreement. For example, for AFD and Lies each of the 5 members, as an equal partner when those recordings were made, gets 20% of the part of sales revenues that go to the band. For UYIs and TSI it seems (based also on the 1992 parnership agreement) that it goes like this: Axl, Slash and Duff get their shares as partners and Matt, Dizzy and Gilby get what was agreed upon for playing on the albums; Izzy had made a deal to get a percentage from the band revenues after he left. All this is different from publishing.
 
- Publishing:
Publishing, which is where most of the money comes from (for successful bands/artists, at least) has to do with songwriting/composition and ownership/copyright of songs (i.e. the right to license them for various usages). It involves the songwriters, the owners of the songs and other people/entities (publishers). There are different types of publishing rights (mechanical, sync, performing, print), corresponding to different types of royalties, licenses and usages. In sort, every time a copy of a song is pressed/sold or a song is performed live, played on the radio/streamed, is used in a movie, for a video etc., the songwriters and the publisher get royalties. (I'm not sure what happens exactly with the covers; I guess the artists who record a song written by others have some rights to their own recording.)
Sometimes the songwriters don't have ownership of the songs, because they've sold it. In GnR, Izzy and Steven get songwriting royalties, but they're likely not involved in licensing; Axl, Slash and Duff own the back catalogue (Axl has his own publishing co., Black Frog - I'm not sure about Slash and Duff).
For all songs on AFD and Lies, publishing is split, as we know, into percentages: Axl 25%, Slash, Izzy and Duff 20% each, Steven 15% (after Chris Weber and West Arkeen's heirs get their royalties for the co-written songs). For UYI's publishing goes to the songwriters credited (probably there are percentages for each song).  Edit: If they used a similar formula to calculate publishing royalties for UYI's, Matt and Dizzy, although not credited as songwriters, may be getting a share for their contribution to the arrangement.

 

On 2/25/2018 at 7:22 AM, RONIN said:

When we recorded [Appetite for Destruction], Slash came up with this system where whoever wrote got credit. But then when it came time to actually divide them up, suddenly everybody was getting credit but me. I mean, [for example] Izzy wrote the song "Think About You" by himself before we started playing it, yet Slash, Duff, and Axl were also going to be receiving royalties for it, since they supposedly "added to it". I said, "well what about me? Did I add nothing?" I mean Izzy wrote the fucking song, I thought that's how the writing credits were determined, but the other guys were getting credit for something they didn't write, and I wasn't. Same thing for all the other songs, Axl would get credit for songs such as "Brownstone" [written by Slash and Izzy] and "It's So Easy" [written by Duff and West Arkeen], even though he didn't write anything on them, and the other guys [who didn't write also got credit] too. So why not me? So Axl gave me a portion of his [to compensate for not being included], and my name was put beside the rest of theirs [in the writing credits] and that was that. But now they've screwed me out of those royalties and my other ones too.

--Steven Adler, 1991 press release on his lawsuit against Guns N Roses.

Thanks for this. I haven't read the press release before (*). It's indeed a different version from the one Steven gave in his autobiography and it confirms what Axl said in the 1992 Del interview and in his court testimony.

At one point, in order to keep this band together, it was necessary for me to give him a portion of my publishing rights. That was one of the biggest mistakes I've made in my life, but he threw such a fit, saying he wasn't going to stay in the band. We were worried about not being able to record our first album, so I did what I felt I had to do. In the long run I paid very extensively for keeping Steven in Guns N' Roses. I paid $1.5 million by giving him 15% of my publishing off of Appetite For Destruction. He didn't write one goddamn note, but he calls me a selfish dick!  ["I, Axl" Del James, RIP Magazine - 1992]

After a 17.5 percent commission to management, Axl and his band mates divvied up the money according to a specific formula, which Axl described once in court. During pre-production for Appetite, Axl said, "Slash devised a system of figuring out who wrote what parts of a song or part of a song. There were four categories, I believe. There was lyrics, melody, music - meaning guitars, bass and drums - and accompaniment and arrangement. And we split each one of those into twenty-five percent. When we had finished, I had forty-one percent, and other people had different amounts."  [What Happened To Axl Rose, Rolling Stone, May 11th 2000]

So, they first came up with that formula, which seems to have included things that typically don't count as songwriting. What is typically considered songwriting is chord structure, melody (vocal and instruments) and lyrics; instrumental parts written on already structured songs don't count and are considered "arrangement". With that formula, Steven's contributions likely fell mostly into the "accompaniment and arrangement" category (since Duff claims he wrote the drum parts) and he would end with a very small percentage in relation to the other members.

Then it seems that Niven suggested to split the publishing equally (a practice some other bands have followed in order to avoid conflicts) and Axl agreed to give part of his percentage to Steven, but probably thought it would be too much to give him 20%, and it ended up being 25%-15%. So Steven's percentage came from Axl's percentage, and Slash, Izzy and Duff shared the rest equally. I'm not getting into whether the original split was fair or not. Maybe it wasn't, but I don't have enough information to say so - none of us fans has.

Imo Steven changed his version in an attempt to present his case as part of a pattern which included what happened with Izzy and Slash later; and to adjust his story to the pattern, it had to be all Axl's fault. I think it's indicative that in his early interviews and in his lawsuit he blamed it on all the band (or at least Slash and Axl equally and even a little more on Slash), then, later, he started blaming it more on Axl.

From what Adler's lawyer said, the probation contract didn't abolish his publishing rights (his 15%) as Steven claimed. What possibly happened is that his royalties were being withheld temporarily during the probation period and he was given an amount for his expenses.

On 3/5/2018 at 5:17 AM, RONIN said:

Slash, recounting the period right prior to the release of the Illusions albums:

This was when Axl started getting obsessive about the details of everything to do with Guns N' Roses, starting with the publishing splits of the songs on Illusion I and II. (...) In the end, because of contributors like Paul Huge and West Arkeen and Del James, Axl insisted upon splits that were like 22.75 percent or 32.2 percent per song for us core members [bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York, p.319].

I've read somewhere - I don't remember who the quote was from, I'll look for it- that it was Slash who came up with the publishing splits formula for the UYI's as well. There is also a quote from Izzy saying that Slash was the one who kept records of who had written what.

I'll address the rest (Niven etc.) later. I also owe a reply to your other post (the lengthy one).

----------------

(* )The full excerpt of Steven's 1991 press release I found online (updated the OP with it):

They told me I had a drug problem, well, who the fuck were they to tell me that? A couple alcoholics and heroin users? Did they take some time in between fucking strippers to decide they were going to throw me out of the band? Doug Goldstein took me to have an opiate blocker, which made me very sick. I told them [slash & Duff] that I felt sick and couldn't record. Slash told me we had to, because we couldn't waste the money. I said "Money? What about the money we wasted last year [referring to the 1989 Chicago rehearsal/recording sessions] when Izzy was cleaning himself up, and Axl was nowhere to be found? Why was it okay for those guys to waste the money, but not me [in order to] get well?" So anyway, they bring me into the studio and I feel like shit. It took me forever to get the song [Civil War] right, and they got frustrated with me. So next thing I know, Doug has a stack of papers in front of me that I could never fucking read because they were about five inches thick! He's telling me 'sign here, sign there' and telling me I was signing an agreement saying I was on "probation", meaning I was going to detox in time to record, or else. But it turns out, those papers weren't really giving me that chance. So I don't hear a fucking thing from anyone for awhile, then I got these notices saying 'you're out of the band'. Through my lawyers, I discovered that the "probation" papers that Doug had me sign were actually the rights to my partnership and all my royalties, which I was unknowingly signing away! They completely screwed me out of everything, these guys, [who were] my friends, my family. It hurt more than anything. My royalties were from playing, writing, and [use of] my image such as t shirts and shit.

When we recorded [Appetite for Destruction], Slash came up with this system where whoever wrote got credit. But then when it came time to actually divide them up, suddenly everybody was getting credit but me. I mean, [for example] Izzy wrote the song "Think About You" by himself before we started playing it, yet Slash, Duff, and Axl were also going to be receiving royalties for it, since they supposedly "added to it". I said, "well what about me? Did I add nothing?" I mean Izzy wrote the fucking song, I thought that's how the writing credits were determined, but the other guys were getting credit for something they didn't write, and I wasn't. Same thing for all the other songs, Axl would get credit for songs such as "Brownstone" [written by Slash and Izzy] and "It's So Easy" [written by Duff and West Arkeen], even though he didn't write anything on them, and the other guys [who didn't write also got credit] too. So why not me? So Axl gave me a portion of his [to compensate for not being included], and my name was put beside the rest of theirs [in the writing credits] and that was that. But now they've screwed me out of those royalties and my other ones too.
Edited by Blackstar
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57 minutes ago, Blackstar said:
 
To my knowledge:
 
- All people performing on a recording or a live concert get a share of general royalties from sales (after the label and other people/entities involved get their own share) based on an agreement. For example, for AFD and Lies each of the 5 members, as an equal partner when those recordings were made, gets 20% of the part of sales revenues that go to the band. For UYIs and TSI it seems (based also on the 1992 parnership agreement) that it goes like this: Axl, Slash and Duff get their shares as partners and Matt, Dizzy and Gilby get what was agreed upon for playing on the albums; Izzy had made a deal to get a percentage from the band revenues after he left. All this is different from publishing.
 
- Publishing:
Publishing, which is where most of the money come from (for successful bands/artists, at least) has to do with songwriting/composition and ownership/copyright of songs (i.e. the right to license it for various usages). It involves the songwriters, the owners of the songs and other people/entities (publishers). There are different types of publishing rights (mechanical, sync, performing, print), corresponding to different types of licenses and usages. In sort, every time a copy of a song is pressed/sold/uploaded or a song is performed live, played on the radio, is used in a movie, for a video etc., the songwriters and the publisher get royalties. (I'm not sure what happens exactly with the covers; I guess the artists who record a song written by others have some rights to their own recording.)
Sometimes the songwriters don't have ownership of the songs, because they've sold it. In GnR, Izzy and Steven get songwriting royalties, but they're likely not involved in licensing; Axl, Slash and Duff own the back catalogue (Axl has his own publishing co., Black Frog - I'm not sure about Slash and Duff).
For all songs on AFD and Lies, publishing is split, as we know, into percentages: Axl 25%, Slash, Izzy and Duff 20% each, Steven 15% (after Chris Weber and West Arkeen's heirs get their royalties for the co-written songs). For UYI's publishing goes to the songwriters credited (probably there are percentages for each song). 

 

Thanks for this. I haven't read the press release before (I updated the OP with it). It's a different version from the one Steven gave in his autobiography and it confirms what Axl said in the 1992 Del interview and in his court testimony.

At one point, in order to keep this band together, it was necessary for me to give him a portion of my publishing rights. That was one of the biggest mistakes I've made in my life, but he threw such a fit, saying he wasn't going to stay in the band. We were worried about not being able to record our first album, so I did what I felt I had to do. In the long run I paid very extensively for keeping Steven in Guns N' Roses. I paid $1.5 million by giving him 15% of my publishing off of Appetite For Destruction. He didn't write one goddamn note, but he calls me a selfish dick!  ["I, Axl" Del James, RIP Magazine - 1992]

After a 17.5 percent commission to management, Axl and his band mates divvied up the money according to a specific formula, which Axl described once in court. During pre-production for Appetite, Axl said, "Slash devised a system of figuring out who wrote what parts of a song or part of a song. There were four categories, I believe. There was lyrics, melody, music - meaning guitars, bass and drums - and accompaniment and arrangement. And we split each one of those into twenty-five percent. When we had finished, I had forty-one percent, and other people had different amounts."  [What Happened To Axl Rose, Rolling Stone, May 11th 2000]

So, they first came up with that formula, which seems to have included things that typically don't count as songwriting. What is typically considered songwriting is chord structure, melody (vocal and instruments) and lyrics; instrumental parts written on already structured songs don't count and are considered "arrangement". With that formula, Steven's contributions likely fell mostly into the "accompaniment and arrangement" category (since Duff claims that he wrote the drum parts) and he would end with a very small percentage in relation to the other members.

Then it seems that Niven suggested to split the publishing equally (a practice some other bands have followed in order to avoid conflicts) and Axl agreed to give part of his percentage to Steven, but he didn't want to be equal to him, so it ended up being 25%-15%. So Steven's percentage came from Axl's percentage, and Slash, Izzy and Duff shared the rest equally.

I believe that Steven changed his version and aligned with Slash's book in an attempt to present his case as part of a pattern which included what happened with Izzy and Slash later; and to adjust his story to the pattern, it had to be all Axl's fault. I think it's indicative that in his early interviews and in his lawsuit he blamed it on all the band (or at least Slash and Axl equally and even a little more on Slash), then, later, he started blaming it more on Axl.

From what Adler's lawyer said, the probation contract didn't abolish his publishing rights (his 15%) as Steven claimed. What possibly happened is that his royalties were being withheld temporarily during the probation period and he was given an amount for his expenses.

I've read somewhere - I don't remember who the quote was from, I'll look for it- that it was Slash who came up with the publishing splits formula for the UYI's as well. There is also a quote from Izzy saying that Slash was the one who kept records of who had written what.

I'll address the rest (Niven etc.) later. I also owe a reply to your other post (the lengthy one).

It was only axl that kept the records of who wrote what. I remember steven saying as much in an interview.

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3 minutes ago, Sydney Fan said:

It was only axl that kept the records of who wrote what. I remember steven saying as much in an interview.

Izzy said something else though. And it's logical that Slash kept records, since Axl was absent from some of the rehearsals.

Edited by Blackstar
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On 3/6/2018 at 12:08 AM, Blackstar said:
 
To my understanding:
 
- All people performing on a recording or a live concert get a share of general royalties from sales (after the label and other people/entities involved get their own share) based on an agreement. For example, for AFD and Lies each of the 5 members, as an equal partner when those recordings were made, gets 20% of the part of sales revenues that go to the band. For UYIs and TSI it seems (based also on the 1992 parnership agreement) that it goes like this: Axl, Slash and Duff get their shares as partners and Matt, Dizzy and Gilby get what was agreed upon for playing on the albums; Izzy had made a deal to get a percentage from the band revenues after he left. All this is different from publishing.
 
- Publishing:
Publishing, which is where most of the money comes from (for successful bands/artists, at least) has to do with songwriting/composition and ownership/copyright of songs (i.e. the right to license them for various usages). It involves the songwriters, the owners of the songs and other people/entities (publishers). There are different types of publishing rights (mechanical, sync, performing, print), corresponding to different types of royalties, licenses and usages. In sort, every time a copy of a song is pressed/sold or a song is performed live, played on the radio/streamed, is used in a movie, for a video etc., the songwriters and the publisher get royalties. (I'm not sure what happens exactly with the covers; I guess the artists who record a song written by others have some rights to their own recording.)
Sometimes the songwriters don't have ownership of the songs, because they've sold it. In GnR, Izzy and Steven get songwriting royalties, but they're likely not involved in licensing; Axl, Slash and Duff own the back catalogue (Axl has his own publishing co., Black Frog - I'm not sure about Slash and Duff).
For all songs on AFD and Lies, publishing is split, as we know, into percentages: Axl 25%, Slash, Izzy and Duff 20% each, Steven 15% (after Chris Weber and West Arkeen's heirs get their royalties for the co-written songs). For UYI's publishing goes to the songwriters credited (probably there are percentages for each song).  Edit: If they used a similar formula to calculate publishing royalties for UYI's, Matt and Dizzy, although not credited as songwriters, may be getting a share for their contribution to the arrangement.

 

Thanks for this. I haven't read the press release before (*). It's indeed a different version from the one Steven gave in his autobiography and it confirms what Axl said in the 1992 Del interview and in his court testimony.

At one point, in order to keep this band together, it was necessary for me to give him a portion of my publishing rights. That was one of the biggest mistakes I've made in my life, but he threw such a fit, saying he wasn't going to stay in the band. We were worried about not being able to record our first album, so I did what I felt I had to do. In the long run I paid very extensively for keeping Steven in Guns N' Roses. I paid $1.5 million by giving him 15% of my publishing off of Appetite For Destruction. He didn't write one goddamn note, but he calls me a selfish dick!  ["I, Axl" Del James, RIP Magazine - 1992]

After a 17.5 percent commission to management, Axl and his band mates divvied up the money according to a specific formula, which Axl described once in court. During pre-production for Appetite, Axl said, "Slash devised a system of figuring out who wrote what parts of a song or part of a song. There were four categories, I believe. There was lyrics, melody, music - meaning guitars, bass and drums - and accompaniment and arrangement. And we split each one of those into twenty-five percent. When we had finished, I had forty-one percent, and other people had different amounts."  [What Happened To Axl Rose, Rolling Stone, May 11th 2000]

So, they first came up with that formula, which seems to have included things that typically don't count as songwriting. What is typically considered songwriting is chord structure, melody (vocal and instruments) and lyrics; instrumental parts written on already structured songs don't count and are considered "arrangement". With that formula, Steven's contributions likely fell mostly into the "accompaniment and arrangement" category (since Duff claims he wrote the drum parts) and he would end with a very small percentage in relation to the other members.

Then it seems that Niven suggested to split the publishing equally (a practice some other bands have followed in order to avoid conflicts) and Axl agreed to give part of his percentage to Steven, but probably thought it would be too much to give him 20%, and it ended up being 25%-15%. So Steven's percentage came from Axl's percentage, and Slash, Izzy and Duff shared the rest equally. I'm not getting into whether the original split was fair or not. Maybe it wasn't, but I don't have enough information to say so - none of us fans has.

Imo Steven changed his version in an attempt to present his case as part of a pattern which included what happened with Izzy and Slash later; and to adjust his story to the pattern, it had to be all Axl's fault. I think it's indicative that in his early interviews and in his lawsuit he blamed it on all the band (or at least Slash and Axl equally and even a little more on Slash), then, later, he started blaming it more on Axl.

From what Adler's lawyer said, the probation contract didn't abolish his publishing rights (his 15%) as Steven claimed. What possibly happened is that his royalties were being withheld temporarily during the probation period and he was given an amount for his expenses.

I've read somewhere - I don't remember who the quote was from, I'll look for it- that it was Slash who came up with the publishing splits formula for the UYI's as well. There is also a quote from Izzy saying that Slash was the one who kept records of who had written what.

I'll address the rest (Niven etc.) later. I also owe a reply to your other post (the lengthy one).

----------------

(* )The full excerpt of Steven's 1991 press release I found online (updated the OP with it):

They told me I had a drug problem, well, who the fuck were they to tell me that? A couple alcoholics and heroin users? Did they take some time in between fucking strippers to decide they were going to throw me out of the band? Doug Goldstein took me to have an opiate blocker, which made me very sick. I told them [slash & Duff] that I felt sick and couldn't record. Slash told me we had to, because we couldn't waste the money. I said "Money? What about the money we wasted last year [referring to the 1989 Chicago rehearsal/recording sessions] when Izzy was cleaning himself up, and Axl was nowhere to be found? Why was it okay for those guys to waste the money, but not me [in order to] get well?" So anyway, they bring me into the studio and I feel like shit. It took me forever to get the song [Civil War] right, and they got frustrated with me. So next thing I know, Doug has a stack of papers in front of me that I could never fucking read because they were about five inches thick! He's telling me 'sign here, sign there' and telling me I was signing an agreement saying I was on "probation", meaning I was going to detox in time to record, or else. But it turns out, those papers weren't really giving me that chance. So I don't hear a fucking thing from anyone for awhile, then I got these notices saying 'you're out of the band'. Through my lawyers, I discovered that the "probation" papers that Doug had me sign were actually the rights to my partnership and all my royalties, which I was unknowingly signing away! They completely screwed me out of everything, these guys, [who were] my friends, my family. It hurt more than anything. My royalties were from playing, writing, and [use of] my image such as t shirts and shit.

When we recorded [Appetite for Destruction], Slash came up with this system where whoever wrote got credit. But then when it came time to actually divide them up, suddenly everybody was getting credit but me. I mean, [for example] Izzy wrote the song "Think About You" by himself before we started playing it, yet Slash, Duff, and Axl were also going to be receiving royalties for it, since they supposedly "added to it". I said, "well what about me? Did I add nothing?" I mean Izzy wrote the fucking song, I thought that's how the writing credits were determined, but the other guys were getting credit for something they didn't write, and I wasn't. Same thing for all the other songs, Axl would get credit for songs such as "Brownstone" [written by Slash and Izzy] and "It's So Easy" [written by Duff and West Arkeen], even though he didn't write anything on them, and the other guys [who didn't write also got credit] too. So why not me? So Axl gave me a portion of his [to compensate for not being included], and my name was put beside the rest of theirs [in the writing credits] and that was that. But now they've screwed me out of those royalties and my other ones too.

Your breakdown and post is very on point.

I was trying to figure out how I was going to explain it as you did.

I think people are quick to take one quote as truth forgoing past quotes.

In my opinion to many stories changer after said person telling it left the band or lawsuits happened.

A prime example is how several of them said Slash kept records and csme up with thr formula. It was said in court by both sides in Stevens lawsuit. Later as you said once Slash and Duff left Slash changed his story and Steven changed his to fit Slash's.

It's been a very common thing. It's always easy to blame one over another or push all the blame to Axl as it was a theme then. But once you understand how the split is you know that Steven was likely truly given royalties by Axl as he claimed.

Also does anyone remember Axl on the Howard Stern show? I believe Howard told Axl he should take all the money and he said for the first album they agreed to split equally.

I'm gonna look it up and post it here if it lends anymore to this conversation

Edited because I found the interview. It was around 1989 and even there Axl said his cut was around 41% but they agreed to split the first album up so everyone could make a decent chunk.

On a side note I miss these old Howard Interviews.

 

.

 

 

Edited by BOSSY78
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From a legal standpoint:

 

Generally speaking, any significant contribution to melody, lyrics, or structure can count as songwriting.

We generally think of a songwriter with their guitar writing the songs and strumming chords, and the melody coming from a combination of those chords and the vocal. But a signature guitar riff (like Keith’s famous lick in “Satisfaction” or the riff in “Smoke on the Water”) might count as songwriting.

Or the bass line on Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”, or drum intro on their classic “We Will Rock You”. It’s hard to imagine these songs with any other bass line or drum beat, and they form as much of the structure and in fact melody of the songs as the guitar and vocals.

A great example is the Procol Harum case, wherein organist Matthew Fisher sued the band for past royalties due from their massive 1967 hit “A Whiter Shade of Pale”, on which he played the main organ theme. Mr. Fisher was never given songwriting on the song, and felt that his organ riff was a critical part of the song’s structure and melody. At trial, his contribution to the song was deemed to be 40%, which amounted to millions in retroactive royalties since 1967. Sadly for him, he lost it all on appeal, with the court declaring his delayed claim “excessive and inexcusable” (he had waited 38 years to make claim, as he knew it would be the end of his tenure in the group!).

However – generally speaking – adding a guitar solo or drumbeat or organ over an existing song structure (and not contributing to the actual structure or melody of the song) is not typically considered songwriting. As you can see, what constitutes songwriting is very much a question of degree. 

http://lawyerdrummer.com/2017/03/what-constitutes-songwriting/

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the guy fucked up on so many levels, that I wonder he's still around and somebody is talking to him. a complete douche, wreck and parody of a man, no matter how great drummer he was 30 years ago.

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It sounds more like honestly a combination of things:
-Axl and Adler never got along, for a variety of reasons: Adler challenging Axl, their personalities might not just have ever clicked as well (even beyond Adler challenging Axl)

-The band were left often to deal with Steven on their own and he annoyed them and eventually their patience wore out

-They needed to record new material and Steven was more interested in getting high, and money as such was being wasted.

-Steven didn't play the new songs in a way which satisfied Slash and Duff

-They needed to get back on the road and Steven was clearly not in any state to tour

-The speedball incident was probably the final straw which turned Adler being out of the band into Adler being fired. By this point, the other members (except Izzy) probably agreed

Saying it was 'just drugs' is really simplifying the issue. Saying it was an Axl power move is simplifying the issue. It was a combination of a lot of things and honestly, everyone except for Steven and Izzy benefited from his firing. Axl got a guy he didn't like to begin with out of the band and got to replace him with someone he felt would be more docile and easier to controll. Slash and Duff got someone less whiny and easier to work with musically who would play what he was told and whose personality seemed to click with theirs better. Doug Goldstein got further in Axl/the band's good graces (especially Axl's) and furthered his own standing. The band as a whole was able to record now at a much faster rate with a competent, "do what I'm told" drummer who could handle the new material in a way the band wanted it to be played. 

To pin down Steven's firing to drugs or to Axl or Erin really simplifies what was a complex situation which seemed to go on for almost a year. It's not like they woke up one morning and said "let's fire Steven." It seems like they spent most of 1989 and half of 1990 trying to make things work, and they just didn't

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On 3/5/2018 at 5:37 AM, RONIN said:

Adler couldn't get his head around the Illusion songs. From Niven's interviews, it sounds to me like even a perfectly healthy Adler would have been unable to grasp the musical shift that Axl was pushing towards. I think once that became clear, the band began to cut him out of the creative process during rehearsals and it was over. Slash has also taken a shot at Steven's playing ability in the past. 

Unfortunately for ol' Slash, this was going to affect everyone eventually. Adler was the first fall guy in the band. The others soon followed. They were evolving past Izzy on Illusions - he wouldn't have been able to hang with mid-90's GNR. Then Slash had to drop out because he couldn't wrap his head around whatever experimental styles Axl was playing with. Ditto with Duff. Axl musically outgrew all of them eventually.

That's not strictly true. Steven Adler was more than capable as a musician to grasp Axl's musical shift (although arguably less capable than Matt Sorum). The only reason the band begun to cut him out, as they have admitted, is because he was getting increasingly fucked up and unreliable, and Slash and Duff had a cliquey drugs & booze compatibility that Adler didn't share - both of them being high functioning wasters, unlike him. As for Izzy not being able to hang with mid-90's GNR, he actually (secretly) rejoined for a couple of weeks in 1995 and spent a lot of time writing with Duff. I agree, he probably wouldn't have fared that well with the CD material, although Richard Fortus was very much cast in his mould when the band finally resurfaced. 

Slash didn't drop out because of musical styles - he loves Chinese Democracy and has played on at least 6 songs from the album on the NITL tour. He stopped being able to communicate and work with Axl. The biggest factor, according to Duff, was the absence of Izzy, who had always been an effective mediator in the past. It's lazy to point the finger at Axl too, as everyone has done. He's never held back in expressing his feelings directly, and it's not his fault that his 'brothers' in the band were too reserved/lazy/cowardly to show him the same. I'm not saying he made it easy for them, I'm sure it was anything but, but it takes 2 to make a marriage work - or not. Anyway this will all come out, and history will be rebalanced, soon. How? You'll just have to wait and see. :)

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On 2/18/2018 at 3:16 PM, Blackstar said:

He wasn’t necessarily fired, we worked with Adam Maples, we worked with Martin Chambers, and Steven did the Guns N’ Roses thing and got his shit together.

Wow interesting.  I never heard those two names in relation to GNR.  Whaddya say @Gambit83.  Perhaps an AFD show interview?? ;)

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13 minutes ago, WAR41 said:

Wow interesting.  I never heard those two names in relation to GNR.  Whaddya say @Gambit83.  Perhaps an AFD show interview?? ;)

There is a bit more here:

https://www.a-4-d.com/t4989-11-1990-moving-forward-with-a-new-lineup#19370

Check also the full GN'R history chapter for 1990, for a comprehensive presentation of the situation with Steven:

https://www.a-4-d.com/t4989-11-1990-moving-forward-with-a-new-lineup

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