GUNS N' ROSES manager Merck Mercuriadis released this statement following the band's sold out show in Oslo, Norway last night (June 28) — their first since frontman Axl Rose was released from jail in Stockholm on Tuesday:
"We are very unhappy about Tuesday's events in Stockholm. To put this in context, we are in the middle of a tour — with sold-out shows last night in Oslo, tomorrow in Copenhagen, and Saturday in Zurich rounding out this week alone — and continuing until the beginning of August.
"The Swedish authorities were very aware of this, yet continually threatened us over a 12-hour period with between 5 days and 3 weeks incarceration without bail if Axl did not 'cooperate.' They were fully aware that there were millions of dollars at stake, not to mention the hopes of tens of thousands of fans who had paid for tickets to see GUNS N' ROSES.
"The point is, the police report should not be taken at face value, and if one were to be explicit, this experience is tantamount to being held for ransom. If the context were any different, Axl would probably have preferred to spend the time in jail in order to ensure that all the facts were a matter of public record.
"In addition to this, we are also not happy at the treatment he received. He was arrested after being accosted by a security guard in his hotel, following which he was physically mistreated by the arresting officer in the process of which a valuable bracelet went missing not to be returned. While in custody, he was held down by 5 police officers while a doctor tried to take blood to administer a drug test 3 different times. This illustrates not only the level of incompetence, but malice involved. The results of the test were negative, but the exercise was a clear example of an authoritarian approach trying to flex its muscles. This is the same draconian approach that assumes the security guard in question is telling the truth just because he has a badge.
"Here you have a situation where authorities are skewing information their way, with the media all too ready to run with the biased reports. I did not receive a single phone call Tuesday to verify or comment on any of the reported events. There is a long history of claims by law enforcement, media and others against Axl that have not held up against scrutiny, legal or otherwise. He has had countless baseless lawsuits brought by numerous attorneys and nothing of any merit has ever held up.
"This is not a criticism of the people of Stockholm. The 15,000 people at the show Monday night were amazing, and everyone we met before and after were terrific, until the encounter with the over exuberant security guard. That is where encounters with real people stop and the authorities attempt to take over. There were a number of people involved who treated Axl well, while the conduct of some was questionable and others still deplorable. Regardless, GUNS N' ROSES will return to Sweden where they will play once again for the people, not the authorities.
"Love him or hate him, don't get it twisted."