DJ Ashba says that he is "grateful" to have "gained a lot of fans" while he was a member of GUNS N' ROSES.
Ashba, who joined GUNS N' ROSES in March 2009 following the departure of Robin Finck and stayed in the band until July 2015, spoke about his time with the group during a recent interview with Butch Bradley.
Asked if he ever got any flak from GUNS N' ROSES fans for stepping into Slash's shoes, Ashba said (see below): "Oh, yeah. [I] got the 'Fuck you! You're not Slash.' I'm, like, 'I never was trying to be Slash.' I respect him so much. I love the music he created with GN'R.
"I immediately went from having the coolest gig in the world to, like, 'Woah! Wait a second.' It was one of those things where it's just, like, you try to do that gig justice and you go out on stage and give your all every night."
According to Ashba, his GN'R bandmates advised him early on not to pay attention to the haters. "I remember the band going, 'Don't go to message boards,'" he said. "'Cause they've been in the band longer, and they're, like, 'Whatever you do…' And I remember going to message boards and [reading], 'You homo.' And I was, like, "Woah!' They're, like, 'You're smoking a cigarette. That's because you're trying to be Slash.' I was, like, 'No, honestly, I've been smoking since I was 14.' But it was just this weird… 'You're wearing a hat.' It's, like, 'Yeah, I wore a hat in SIXX:A.M.'
"There was times where, fuck, I just wanted to hang myself in my hotel room," Ashba admitted. "But I look back now and I'm so thankful and grateful to have these memories. And I gained a lot of fans — don't get me wrong — and for that I'm grateful. I have memories that nobody can take from me and money can't buy."
Three years ago, Ashba told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation" that there were "multiple reasons" why he left GUNS N' ROSES, "the biggest" one of which was that "I needed to get back to my roots, back to what I really truly believed in, and that was playing songs I helped write with [SIXX:A.M. bandmates] James [Michael] and Nikki [Sixx]."
During the "Trunk Nation" interview, Ashba also once again claimed that he was approached about being part of GN'R's "Not In This Lifetime" tour, but that he declined, citing his desire to pursue SIXX:A.M. full time.
"Axl [Rose] called me and he really wanted me a part of the reunion, and I turned it down," Ashba said. "I felt if Slash is coming back, that's great — that's what the fans want, and I can go off and do what I really wanna do now… And we left [off on good terms]; everything is good. And I couldn't be happier for the fans out there. I'm a fan. Half of the band reunited, which excites me."
Ashba is currently working on the debut album from his PYROMANTIC project.
Although he originally formed PYROMANTIC as a collaboration with Michael, the project has since evolved into an Ashba solo thing, with James announcing last year that he was stepping away from the band.
Photo credit: Michael Pool