|Guns N' Roses: DJ Ashba|
I had the pleasure of speaking with Guns N Roses and Sixx A.M. guitarist DJ Ashba. What a very unique and fantastic person. Althought I had a ton of questions ready to be asked, I was only given ten minutes. Still got some very interesting insight to an interesting and hard working musician. Hope you enjoy the interview.
Shockwave-I know Guns N Roses are getting ready to go out and do a few dates in the States, and a few dates over seas in May. How's the preparation been going for these dates?
DJ-It's amazing and we're all excited to play some smaller venues. It will be a fun change and be a little more personable. We're all looking forward to it. I can't wait to get back out there and hang out with the guys and the fans. We're playing Chicago which is cool and we're playing New York which is going to be a lot of fun. Just to get out there and see some friends and family.
Can the fans plan on seeing, or hearing anything new and what can they expect from these shows?
You know what, I don't know. It's always kind of a surprise to everybody. We'll get there and it's kind of whatever the mood of the night brings. Axl's really good at kinda feeling out the crowd and the night and he kind of takes it in one direction, or the next. We're just ready for whatever. It's exciting for everybody as it makes every show different, unique and fun for everybody.
Any plans for a new Guns N Roses record?
Yeah that's obviously one of the main goals is to put together what we feel is going to be the next Guns record. I don't know exactly when as we have no set dates on anything. There's been a lot of talk about finally getting in the studio and putting a bunch of stuff that we already have demoed and I know Axl has tons of stuff prior to me being in the band that I'm excited to work on. That's one of the many goals that we have.
Were you a big fan of Guns N Roses before you joined the band?
Yeah, absolutely. I grew up on bands like Guns N Roses, Motley Crue and all those types of bands. It's very surreal. If you were to tell me I was going to play lead guitar in Guns N Roses when I was a kid, I would ask you what kind of glue you were snorting. It's a huge honor and I'm here just trying to do the gig justice.
In December 2009 Guns N Roses played almost a 4 hour gig in Tokyo, Japan. Was that a planned event, or was it just a spur of the moment thing?Like I said every night is nothing that this band has planned and that's what makes it kind of reckless and spontaneous which I absolutely love. We had no idea and the crowd was such a great crowd and Axl felt that and wanted to give them an extra special show, but we didn't set out "Hey tonight we're going to set the all time Guns N Roses record for the longest concert ever". It kind of just naturally happened which was fun about it.
Did the crowd look exhausted by the end of the set?
No they were insane. They ran down barricades. It was a crazy, crazy night. I still have a broken Les Paul from that night.
From which Guns N Roses record do you most enjoy playing live?
I've been asked that before and really honestly there isn't a favorite album. I love "Illusions", I love "Lies", I love obviously "Appetite" and I love "Chinese." They're certain favorites off of each one of those albums like I love playing "November Rain" and "Patience", "This I Love" and "Shackler's Revenge" and of course "Sweet Child" and "Jungle" and those. There's some like "Brownstone" and some of the other ones that are a lot of fun like "Catcher In The Rye". Just so many great songs like "Used To Love Her". I could go on for days.
What do you think drives Axl now a days?
He would be the one to answer that. I really don't know. I can't speak for him. I'm sure it's like anything else, the passion for music and the fans. He's definitely an entertainer at heart. I think it just kind of in the blood. Again I don't want to speak on his behalf. If I had to put money on it, I think that's what it would be.
Of course you're also a member of Sixx AM. How does that work being in Guns N Roses?
It works out really well. I mean we tour a lot with Guns, but Sixx AM is just a really cool, fun side project. We never set out to say "Hey, let's start a band". We don't have a drummer to this day and when we get together and Nikki takes a break from Motley and I take a break from Guns and James takes a break from producing other bands, we all three get together and it's more like best friends getting together to make music for fun. We never set out to really do anything more than that. We never ever could have dreamed of the success it has created, so we're all kind of scratching our heads. When we wrote "Heroin Diaries" places wouldn't carry it because they couldn't have an album with the word heroin on it and we were like "we don't care if you carry it." We weren't praising heroin, we were actually trying to send out a message to help people with their addiction. Once they realized that they ended up carrying it. From the beginning we didn't care. We weren't going to change the name of it. It was never about selling records. That's what I think is so special about Sixx AM.
What are the future plans for Sixx AM?
We have a brand new record out called "This Is Gonna Hurt." We have the single "Lies Of The Beautiful People" at number one. "This Is Gonna Hurt" is in the Top Ten now. We just released an all acoustic version only available on iTunes called "Seven." It's seven acoustic songs from the first two albums. We have some surprises coming up for Sixx AM, but no touring plans, or anything in the works. Definitely creating a lot of new music is one of the goals for sure.
How did you get into playing guitar and when did you realize that it was something you wanted to pursue as a career?
Probably when it was an instrument Mom didn't make me practice. I had a piano at such a young age and she would make me practice and I hated it, so once I bought my first guitar when I was about nine, it was just one of those things. I lived on a farm and there was nothing to do, so it was kind of my escape from reality. I grew up without tv's in the house and a very religious family, so it was kind of my Xbox. Just a way to get away from it all.
Walk us through a typical day in the life of DJ Ashba when you're not on tour?
When I'm not touring, I'm working hard on a lot of things. Of course I produce and write for a lot of different artists. One of my main things that I have a lot of time into is my clothing line that I'm very passionate about. It's called Ashba Swag (www.ashbaswag.com). What we're doing is I feel is really unique. We're kind of bringing real authentic stage clothes from the lady who made my stage clothes and many other bands from like thirty years of clients from Manson to Motley to you name it out there, she's done them all. We teamed up and created Ashba Swag and it's basically bringing real authentic stage clothes to not only the fans, but the ordinary every day person. We have stage clothes for kids and infants and all kinds. Yeah so it's a lot of fun.
Any last words for our readers?
Thanks for the many, many years of support. The fans out there have been unbelievable and the love and support they give me when it comes down to Guns N Roses and Sixx A.M., it's just been overwhelming and just awesome. I could never thank them enough. Look forward to tons more music coming from me.
Also don't forget that Guns n' Roses plays The Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland on Thursday February 23rd. This may be your last chance to see Axl and the boys for quite a while. Don't miss this chance to see them live and up close. Go to www.fillmoresilverspring.com for more information.