Former GUNS N' ROSES manager Irving Azoff has denied that he tried to pressure the band's lead singer, Axl Rose, into reuniting the original lineup of the group, explaining that "nobody tells Axl to do anything."
Rose was sued by Front Line Management in March 2010 for nearly $2 million dollars in unpaid commissions. The company filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles, claiming that Rose owed the company $1.9 million, or 15 percent of the more than $12 million that Rose had earned from performances in Europe, Canada and South America, based on an oral agreement.
Rose responded by filing a countersuit that claimed Azoff tried to bully Rose into doing a reunion tour with the original GUNS lineup. According to The Pulse of Radio, Rose claimed in his suit that Azoff did everything he could to sabotage the most recent version of GUNS after Rose said no to the reunion idea, alleging that Azoff tried "devising and implementing a secret plan to set up Rose and the band for failure so that Rose would have no choice but to reunite with the original GUNS N' ROSES members."
Rose's suit added, "Upon realizing that he couldn't bully Rose 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."
In a brand new interview with The New York Times, Azoff was asked about Axl's claim that that the manager had tried to pressure the singer into reuniting the original GN'R lineup. Azoff responded: "I would never go to an artist and say, 'I want you to reunite.' If he had asked me if I thought it was a good idea, I would have said yes. But by the way, nobody tells Axl to do anything. He does what he wants to do."
Azoff also commented on the recent announcement that Rose was reuniting with GUNS N' ROSES guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan to play a number of shows later this year, including two at California's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April. He said: "Slash and Duff McKagan are terrific people. Axl is a complicated individual that I wish nothing but success for. I think this is a good historical moment that the public deserves to see. I hope it happens."
Rose and Azoff settled their lawsuits in June 2011 concerning commissions and concert touring.
In October 2010, Azoff filed an official answer to Rose's charges by asserting 14 affirmative defenses to Rose's claims he breached fiduciary duty, committed constructive fraud and breached a contract. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Azoff stated in his response that Rose claims "are barred by statute of limitations; there was a waiver; There was an accord and satisfaction; that Rose consented to Azoff's actions; that Rose failed to take reasonable steps to mitigate the damage; and that any harm that came to Rose was due to the singer's own negligence, fraud or misconduct."