Rock Over America recently conducted an interview with GUNS N' ROSES and SIXX: A.M. guitarist DJ Ashba. You can now listen to the entire chat at this location. A couple of excerpts follow.
On his GUNS N' ROSES audition and how the band's fans have accepted him since he joined the group:
Ashba: "It was just surreal. It was a lot of stress, because I have SIXX: A.M., too. I didn't realize at the time just how hardcore the GUNS fans are. I was a fan — I am a fan — but you have to win their respect. And stepping in the shoes of somebody like Slash, I just didn't realize how tough it was going to be as far as winning people over. But at the same time, it makes you a real strong person, and it also was a huge challenge that I was definitely up for.
"Up until [I joined the band], I had never read a negative thing on me in the press and stuff, and when I first joined [GUNS], I got a couple of playing to some middle fingers and some hardcore fans, and I wasn't used to that. And then once I think people kind of did their homework and realized, 'Oh, this guy's been around for a bit,' slowly I started winning people over and I hope to continue to do so. But the guys [in the band] were really supportive and kept my chin up."
On GUNS N' ROSES' future:
Ashba: "I don't get involved with any project unless I honestly feel, as a songwriter and producer, I can bring something solid to the table. And with GUNS, I really feel like, outside of playing guitar for them, I'm really excited to get in there and collaborate with this band because Axl has put together one of the most amazing bands; I mean, the musicianship in this band is unbelievable. It's an honor — it's a huge honor — and I'm just trying to do the gig justice by trying to stay as true to the original vision as I possibly can.
"Coming into this, I wasn't coming in just to play guitar; I'm coming in as a songwriter. Obviously, I'm a producer [as well]. I'm not saying I'm gonna produce a GUNS record or whatever... But I'm really excited about the future, because the sky's the limit. And I know my goal is the same as Axl's [Rose, vocals], and everyone else's in the band, [which is] to put together what we all feel ultimately would be the next best GUNS N' ROSES record. So that, to me, is really exciting, and I'm always up for a huge challenge. So that's what gets me going."
"We've been touring so much since I've been in the band. Axl, we get together quite a bit, and he has played a lot of stuff he has recorded, which I can't wait to sit down with him and get my hands dirty. Obviously, as a songwriter, I've written and demoed up probably about 12 songs, I think. And some of them he has heard, some of them he hasn't yet. But I think when we get a little bit of time off, we're gonna hopefully all get together and piece together what we think is gonna be the next best thing. But ultimately, this is Axl's baby, and I wanna sit down and really get a good grasp on his vision of where he feels the next record should go and then sit down by his side and make that happen."
Ashba joined GUNS N' ROSES in March 2009 following the departure of Robin Finck.
In addition to Ashba and sole original member Axl Rose, the current lineup of GUNS N' ROSES includes guitarists Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal and Richard Fortus, bassist Tommy Stinson, keyboardists Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman and drummer Frank Ferrer.
"Chinese Democracy", the 2008 album released by the current edition of GUNS N' ROSES after a 15-year wait, was officially certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on February 3, 2009 for shipments in the United States in excess of one million copies. The long-in-the-making, 14-song CD finally arrived 17 years after the last full-length collections of original GUNS material, "Use Your Illusion I" and "II", were released, and nine years after the non-album track "Oh My God" surfaced on the soundtrack of the movie "End Of Days".
"Chinese Democracy" was made available exclusively through Best Buy.