(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Merck Mercuriadis, CEO of the Sanctuary Group, sent a scathing open letter to The New York Times in response to a lengthy article by reporter Jeff Leeds, published March 6, titled “The Most Expensive Album Ever Made.”
Leeds article detailed the 11-plus years of production process surrounding Axl Rose’s long-awaited project, “Chinese Democracy,” describing the trials and tribulations of the Guns N’ Roses frontman. Leeds painted Rose as insolent and indulgent, disappearing from the studio for months at a time, overreacting to any criticism or pressure, and over-spending Sanctuary’s money to the highest degree.
Leeds listed the total production-cost-to-date at $13 million.
The article focused on the album’s history, dating back to the conception in 1994, and detailing the “ever-changing roster of musicians, four producers and a decade of music business turmoil.”
The story even published one source who told Leeds, “The crew rented one piece of specialized equipment, for example, for more than two years – at a cost well into six figures, and used it for perhaps 30 days.”
Mercuriadis was quick to point out that the majority of Leeds sources were listed as either anonymous or haven’t been involved with the project for years.
In his letter to the Times, Mercuriadis accused Leeds of lying: “Your journalist Jeff Leeds – is this the return of Jayson Blair under a pseudonym? – contacted us last Thursday the 24th of February to inform us he had been working on an article about the ‘process’ of making the album.
He continued, saying, “Contrary to his blatant lie that he was told by ‘management’ that W. Axl Rose ‘could not be reached for comment,’ I made it clear that we could not consider his request for an interview with either Axl or myself until we knew who the other people involved in the article were, as we were not going to lend credibility to an article that was based on hearsay from people that have not only had nothing to do with the album but whose only agenda was to recapture their 15 minutes of fame in an industry that had cast them aside and left them unemployed many years ago."
Mercuriadis concluded his statement by saying, "As one of the few people involved in the making of this album I can tell your readers the following: W. Axl Rose is not interested in fame, money, popularity or what the New York Times or any other paper for that matter might think of him. His only interest is making the best album he is capable of so that it can have a positive effect in 2005 on people who are enthusiasts of music and interested in GUNS N' ROSES. His artistic integrity is such that he has chosen to do so without compromise at great personal sacrifice, which makes him a soft target for the sort of rubbish you have chosen to print. I believe he will have the last laugh." –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers