GUNS N' ROSES guitarist Daren Jay "DJ" Ashba tells Las Vegas Review-Journal that one of his favorite things about being in the band is the unpredictability of the group's live shows — including the time they take the stage and the songs they will perform during each concert.
"That's what I've always loved about playing in the band: You just never know what's going to happen from song to song," Ashba said.
"We don't have set lists onstage," he added. "We might have a rough idea of the way the show will go, but [singer] Axl's [Rose] great at feeling out the crowd. I always get the next song right after we finish (the previous song), it's like, 'OK, 'Brownstone'.' And then the whole crew switches — lighting, pyro, everybody switches from song to song. That's what makes it so exciting. I don't know many bands who really run their ship that way."
Ashba's stance appears to be in direct contrast to that of fellow GUNS N' ROSES guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, who told the "Totally Driven Radio" podcast last year that he was not pleased with GUNS N' ROSES' shows consistently starting very late due to Rose's tardiness. Although he said "that hasn't happened for a long time," Thal revealed, "I absolutely had the hardest time out of anybody in the band with that stuff… I mean, hell, if I have to wait five minutes longer in a doctor's office, or in traffic or something like that, I'm starting to get annoyed. So imagine, if that's five minutes, imagine two hours. Yeah, I get it; I totally get it. It's not like I don't care, it's just — there's nothing I can do."
Thal continued, "There's been times when I just walked off stage and started throwing a fit on the side… it's not just the waiting, it's the fact that, if you're gonna do that to someone that isn't expecting that and has a babysitter waiting, or you have to be up in four hours for work, or the buses are gonna stop running soon, or whatever it is…"
Thal added, "There's always the fans that are, like, 'Nah, it's a rock concert. They should be three hours late.' Maybe for you, but not for the other 20,000 people… Everyone's got responsibilities. Rent isn't what it was in the '70s. There's a lot more living hand to mouth, and you can't fuck with that."
The guitarist reiterated that the band is doing better with starting its show on time, saying, "I'm really, really happy that we've been going on time, close to on time, sometimes early. And I know the fans are very happy; the people that come to the show are much happier about that."
GUNS headlined Rock On The Range last night (Friday, May 16) before heading to Las Vegas to begin a residency.
Ex-GUNS N' ROSES bassist Duff McKagan performed with the band at this year's Revolver Golden Gods event, marking the first time that McKagan has performed with the group on U.S. soil in 20 years.