Tree Riddle of the Flint, Michigan radio station Banana 101.5 Rocks recently conducted an interview with GUNS N’ ROSES guitarist DJ Ashba. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Banana 101.5 Rocks: GUNS N’ ROSES is nominated for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame this year and there is a lot of talk about an original lineup reunion. Usually Axl [Rose] doesn’t address that topic out of respect for you guys because he is happy with the band he has now — but if a reunion did happen, would you be offended?
Ashba: No, not at all. I get asked that a lot and my honest opinion is that I don’t ever foresee that happening, to be honest, just from what I know. But I would be the first person in line to buy a ticket, that’s for sure. So I have no problem with it whatsoever.
Banana 101.5 Rocks: There was a long period of downtime between “Use Your Illusion” and “Chinese Democracy” where Axl did a lot of recording and working with a ton of other musicians. Have you heard a lot of stuff from the lost period of GUNS N’ ROSES or does Axl keep it under lock and key?
Ashba: After every show we usually end up throwing a party here or there and it always ends up being moved to somebody’s room — usually Axl‘s room. He’ll sit down and play me stuff then, and it’s good, man. He has a lot of really solid, solid songs that nobody has ever heard. I produce and write for a lot of artists and I can’t wait for people to hear some of the stuff he has up his sleeve.
Banana 101.5 Rocks: Speaking of new material, when do you think the band will record or at least start getting something together? Is that a conversation the band has or is that a topic that never really comes up?
Ashba: No, it definitely does — that’s our main focus. I’m obviously a writer — I write and demo around the clock. So I have quite a few songs already written and Axl has a bunch of stuff obviously recorded, so it’s just kind of getting together as a band and putting together what we feel would be the ultimate GUNS N’ ROSES record for the next release.
Banana 101.5 Rocks: Why do you think people are making such a big deal about late set times, because GN’R has been doing that for years now…
Ashba: They’ve done that since day one [laughs].
Banana 101.5 Rocks: I saw them in 2006, we came in at 6:30 p.m. and I went right down, front row and stood there until 2:30 in the morning and I didn’t have a complaint because it was a great show. But a lot of people are bitching about the set times. What do you think is behind that?
Ashba: This is no disrespect to anybody — I think in ’91 it wasn’t as big of a deal. Now everybody is 10, 15, 20 years older now, too. Of course, we have a lot of newer fans because they grew their kids up on them and it’s really cool to see how many young people are in the crowd. But I think it’s that — people work and people have jobs but it’s been like that since day one. So it is kind of what it is, and I don’t know — I’m the new guy [laughs].
Banana 101.5 Rocks: You’re going to see GN’R, you can take a night off or go to work hungover or whatever you gotta do the next day.
Ashba: Yeah, it’s like a once-a-year-type thing, if that. It’s kinda been like that since day one, so I just tell people, “Hey, if you come out, you’re gonna get two and a half to three and a half hours of high-energy rock and roll that’s gonna blow people’s minds.” I mean, the shows are just incredible, so if we go on when we go on… when we do go on. Just buckle up. It’s just a great fun night of rock and roll.
Banana 101.5 Rocks: There’s not many other bands you can go see and get three hours of rock and know everything.
Ashba: And that’s one thing, just me as a fan /outsider, I give a lot of props to Axl. ‘Cause he takes a lot of heat for going on an hour late here or there or whatever, but what people don’t really point out is the guy goes on and sings his balls off for three hours solid… and not one GUNS song is easy to sing. So I just think the world of the guy, I think he’s the real deal.
Read the entire interview from Banana 101.5 Rocks. You can also listen to an audio recording of the chat at the same location.