Duff McKagan stopped by Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta's podcast recently to talk about his time with Guns N' Roses. The bassist explained some of the financial aspects of the iconic rock band, like the difficulty of getting royalties nowadays and how much the group was paid for its exhaustive, two-year Use Your Illusion jaunt in the 1990s. According to Blabbermouth, McKagan has some issues with his former record company.
The GN'R back catalog, which includes Appetite for Destruction and both Use Your Illusion albums, belongs to Universal Music Group. With hits like "Welcome to the Jungle," "Paradise City" and "Sweet Child O' Mine," the collection nets the company plenty of dough, but the musicians responsible for the songs are not as lucky.
"It's, like, the second biggest catalog item they have. It sells. In 1994, I'd just gotten sober and I was kind of figuring some stuff out. And our lawyer said, 'We're gonna audit Geffen,' audit our record company. Before that, I lived in this sort of fantasy world that they were our partner in this thing," he said. "We were going out and attacking the world together. Well, they didn't pay us on something like 6 million records. Six million records! That's what we found."
The members have audited the record label every three years and only ever receive a third of what they are owed. The company has too many resources to take on the musicians.
McKagan also noted that because of the size and scope of GN'R's Use Your Illusion tour, the group really did not make any money.
"Our crew was a hundred and 30 people... A hundred and 30! We had two stages going — we had an 'A' stage and a 'B' stage going — around the world at all times. That's why we toured for two and a half years, 'cause it took us two years to break even — just to break even — on that tour," he added.
Listen to the entire interview below: