Former GUNS N' ROSES and current SIXX: A.M. guitarist DJ Ashba says that GN'R singer Axl Rose wanted him to be a part of a partial reunion of the band's classic lineup but he "just didn't feel like it was [his] place."
Ashba, who joined GUNS N' ROSES in March 2009 following the departure of Robin Finck and stayed in the band until last July, was asked by Metal Insider if he knew that the GN'R reunion was going to happen this year. He responded: "Absolutely. In fact, Axl wanted me to be a part of it.
"I couldn't be more happy for it happening," he continued. "I was stoked to find out about it.
"People have got to remember, if I wasn't a fan of the band, I wouldn't have joined the band.
"I have great admiration for Axl, Slash and Duff [McKagan] and Steven [Adler], Izzy [Stradlin] and [what] everybody's put into that thing. I have even more respect now after playing in the band for so many years.
"I couldn't be more happy. I'm just as big a fan as I've always been.
"I'm so happy for the fans that they get to go out there and see at least half of the band reunited; it's a big deal. This is what the fans have been wanting, me included in that."
He also explained why he chose to exit GUNS N' ROSES before the band made its return to the live stage earlier this month. He said: "I just didn't feel like it was my place.
"If Slash has come back, I couldn't be more happy; this is great. At that point, it's best I go do what I'm really good at doing. It's kind of the best of both worlds. I get to have my favorite band back and I get to go play in my favorite band again. It's a win-win."
Only Rose, Slash and McKagan from GN'R's "Appetite For Destruction"-era lineup took part in the seven shows the band has played this month. They were joined by keyboardist Dizzy Reed, guitarist Richard Fortus and drummer Frank Ferrer. Also appearing with them was second keyboardist Melissa Reese.
Ashba issued a statement in July 2015 saying that he was leaving GUNS N' ROSES. His statement read in part: "It is with a very heavy heart and yet great pride that I announce that I've decided to close this chapter of my life and encapsulate the wonderful times that I've shared with GUNS N' ROSES into fond memories. I have reached a point in my life where I feel its time to dedicate myself to my band SIXX: A.M., my adoring wife and family, and to the many new adventures that the future holds for me."
Ashba added: "I want to take a moment to thank Axl from the bottom of my heart for not only the most incredible experience of my life, but for truly believing in me. You are a true friend and a champion of mine and I am forever grateful. And even as I move on to pursue other endeavors, I will always remain one of your biggest fans. I also would like to thank each and every one of you fans for your love and support throughout the years."
Ashba said earlier in his statement that working with GUNS N' ROSES was "the most incredible journey I could have possibly imagined."