Kevin Coffey of Omaha World-Herald recently conducted an interview with GUNS N’ ROSES guitarist DJ Ashba. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Omaha World-Herald: How long have you been in GUNS N’ ROSES and how did you join the band?
Ashba: I’ve been in the band for going on almost four years now. [Editor's note: Ashba was officially named GUNS N' ROSES's guitarist in March 2009 — two and a half years ago.] I got a call. I had just gotten home off tour with SIXX: A.M. I got a call from management. We had the same manager for a time. “On the down low, would you be interested in auditioning?” At the time, GUNS had been auditioning guitarists for a year on the down low. Axl caught wind that I was coming down and apparently he said, “If DJ shows up, he has the gig.” It was pretty much that simple. I had no idea from Axl that I was even on his radar. He had been following me for 10 years, I guess. I met him 10 years ago and he kept his eye on me.
Omaha World-Herald: Were you nervous to jump into this band? You have some big shoes to fill.
Ashba: I didn’t think much about it. The thing with me is I don’t get involved in anything unless I feel like I can bring something to the table. Co-producing and co-writing with MÖTLEY CRÜE was fun for me. I grew up on MÖTLEY and on GUNS. I looked at it like, “I’m not here to replace anybody. What I can do is to stay true to the vision of where it left off.” I just try to do the gig justice and stay as true to what I’d want somebody to play if I was there to see GUNS.
Omaha World-Herald: On the other side of that, how do you kind of make it your own?
Ashba: You just do. Over the many, many years I’ve been playing, if people look me up, they’ll realize, “This guy’s been nominated for Grammys and had platinum records. And, over the years, you create your own style. You’re putting your feel to it and your heart to it. Even though you’re playing the same notes, you’re not playing them the same way. I’m looking forward to the future of GUNS.
Omaha World-Herald: Have you been writing new songs?
Ashba: Yep. I’ve been writing around the clock and Axl has loads of stuff that he’s already recorded. We’re going through tons of material. And we’re asking ourselves, what songs would make the best GUNS N’ ROSES record?
Omaha World-Herald: So, we won’t have to wait another 10 years for a new album?
Ashba: (Laughs) No. Everybody asks that. If we wait, we’ll all be too old to tour.
Omaha World-Herald: What is it like to work with Axl? He’s described as eccentric, to put it lightly, but other people say he’s a genius.
Ashba: I can only speak from personal experiences, but he’s been nothing but amazing. I hear all the opinions and blah blah blah, but the guy treats me like gold. He’s been nothing but an amazing friend and loyal and honest. I couldn’t ask for anything more when it comes down to that. I have really great respect when it comes to the music side of things, too. Sitting down and listening to him play piano, he has stuff up his sleeve. My jaw hits the ground. He’s playing stuff I’m praying the world gets to hear. He has some really great stuff laying around.
Read the entire interview from Omaha World-Herald.