Guns N’ Roses had one of the most successful debut albums of all time, then followed it up with Use Your Illusion I and II. But according to former bassist Duff McKagan, the band toured behind those albums for 2 1/2 years to break even. As a recent guest on the Jasta Show podcast, McKagan broke it down, stating that the massive set and stage crew they had added to the cost:
I know we generated a lot of money on that Use Your Illusion tour. Oh crap, we generated a lot of dough. Our crew was a hundred and thirty people… A hundred and thirty! 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 also spoke about the band’s lawsuit against Geffen Records:
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,; aoutid our record company. Before that I lived in this sort of fantasy world that they were our partner in this thing. We were going out and attacking the world together. Well, they didn’t pay us on something like 6 million records. That’s what we found. And they said ‘Okay, fine. We’ll pay you for two. Or you can sue us.
The label and band settled out of court. McKagan would know a thing or two about finance, as he eventually went to business school and founded a wealth management company in 2011.