Things aren’t turning up roses for Guns N’ Roses leader Axl Rose. First, although Chinese Democracy was expected to top the sales charts around the world, it has only reached #1 in Canada, Brazil and Finland since its late November release. Second, many people are blaming Rose’s seclusion and lack of promotion for the record’s somewhat disappointing sales. Lastly, Dr. Pepper won’t apologize to him. The Dr. Pepper Snapple Group was hit with the threat of a lawsuit after they offered everyone in the U.S. a free soft drink coupon if Guns N’ Roses released their long-awaited album before 2009. When GNR set the Nov. 23 release date, Dr. Pepper made coupons available on its website for that day only. Fans flooded the site and crashed it, which left millions thirsty. Rose didn’t think that was very democratic (or maybe he just didn’t get a can of pop) and threatened to sue the company. But the Texas-based Dr. Pepper Snapple Group won’t be sucking up to the band anytime soon. “We are disappointed that GNR’s lawyers are turning a fun giveaway into a legal dispute,” said a statement released by the company. “We simply commented on the delayed release ofChinese Democracy and openly encouraged the band to release it before the end of the year. Axl even expressed support for our efforts earlier in the year. “This was one of the largest responses we have ever received for a giveaway, and we’re happy we were able to satisfy the thirst of so many Dr. Pepper fans. We wish Guns N’ Roses the best with their album.” GNR lawyer Alan Gutman wrote Dr. Pepper and requested full-page newspaper ads apologizing for the site crash, an extension of their free pop offer and, of course, “appropriate payments to our clients for unauthorized use… of their publicity.” The Dr. Pepper Snapple Group extended its online offer by an extra day and opened a telephone hotline to compensate for the crashed site. Maybe Rose can use this debacle for inspiration when he releases his next album in 2023.
GNR’s Hard Rock Vs. Soft Drink