Ex Guns N’ Roses Manager Took on Don Henley in Contract Gamble


Former Guns N’ Roses supervisor Alan Niven recalled the political ploy he pulled to safe the band a greater deal for the discharge of their Use Your Illusion albums.

Forward of the 1991 launch, he advised label boss David Geffen that he’d put manufacturing on maintain and ship the band on tour if its share wasn’t elevated. That led to an argument that included Eagles member Don Henley, as Niven advised Vinyl Writer Music in a brand new interview.

“I had invited [Geffen executive Eddie] Rosenblatt to a birthday dinner for my then-wife,” Niven mentioned. “After the chardonnay had been flowing, I quietly advised him that he ought to inform David that I used to be about to place the 1991 tour on sale and that we might exit on the street and make pots of cash however go away the document unfinished if David didn’t enhance the band’s royalty charge. It was at a brand new signing charge of 12 %.”

Geffen, he continued, “went ballistic” on listening to the information, “yelling and screaming that he wouldn’t be intimidated or taken benefit of.” However, Niven added, “the extra he yelled, the extra I spotted he understood that he was going to must relent.” When 10 days had handed, Niven began to assume his plan had failed, however the label boss then pulled a trick. “I obtained a summons to Geffen’s workplace. I arrived to seek out all his A&R and government workers within the room. I used to be there alone. Most importantly, I used to be alone and with out the band’s authorized illustration. I had been bushwhacked.”

Niven recalled, “Geffen requested what I needed in a contract. In truth, I had not had time to think about any such particulars, however I knew what my idea was: ‘I need one of the best contract you’ve gotten with an artist on Geffen.’ ‘Can’t be completed,’ Geffen replied. ‘Why would that be?’ I requested. ‘As a result of Henley has that, and he has a well-liked nations clause.’ Which suggests it’s a place solely he can have.

“‘Nicely, that’s not an issue,’ I responded. ‘We’ll have the identical phrases as Henley, and each time you account to the band, I’ll go to Metropolis Nationwide Financial institution and get an ideal, uncirculated, $1 invoice and ship it personally to Don.’ At that, David stared at me for what appeared just like the longest L.A. minute. He dismissed the others within the room and advised me to get the band’s lawyer to name and begin renegotiation. The door had been pried open.”

By the point the brand new deal was minimize, Niven was now not managing Weapons N’ Roses as a result of his relationship with Axl Rose had collapsed. Recalling that he refused the invitation to handle the band twice earlier than relenting, he mentioned his first impression of the members was that they had been “fuck-ups.”

He added, “However that meant they weren’t your typical, calculating L.A. wannabes who had extra ambition than expertise. … A band is one thing that should be cast within the fireplace of adversity. Keep collectively and permit private chemistry to percolate. Tackle unattainable odds. Fuck ’em all; it’s us towards them. That was Motley. That was Great White. That was Weapons. Us towards the whole lot. One for all and all for one.”

He admitted he was nervous at instances that GNR’s debut album, Appetite for Destruction, would by no means be accomplished. “I had simply develop into a guardian,” he mentioned. “The album put us $365,000 in debt to Geffen. Now would come the prices of video and touring on high of that. I figured I’d by no means see a goddamn penny.

“I acquired insomnia at this level in my life. It was now not enjoyable. It was stress, fear, and strain from there out. I questioned if I had made the most important mistake of my profession. In some methods, I had.”

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