Angela Villand of Guitar International recently conducted an interview with GUNS N’ ROSES/SIXX: A.M. guitarist DJ Ashba. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Guitar International: Describe this CD [SIXX: A.M.‘s “This Is Gonna Hurt”] in comparison to the first SIXX: A.M. CD, for someone that may have heard the first one and liked it but is apprehensive, curious, and clueless about the new CD. How is it different? How is it the same?
DJ Ashba: I would say that there are a lot of differences in it. Like I said, we really tried to up the songwriting, the production, and the lyrical content and we focused a lot harder on the overall message on this album. “The Heroin Diaries” showed the whole “animal” in itself, and I was doing really quirky orchestra music for it, like “Life After Death”, and “Xmas in Hell”, and “Intermission”. With this one, we started out writing some “circus-y” type stuff for it, and then when we got in the studio, we just felt like we’d been down that road. We said “You know what — we gotta do something different with this.” “The Heroin Diaries” deserves to be what it was, and it’s a special album. I felt like we were kind of cheapening “The Heroin Diaries” if we went down the same road. So I said, “Ya know what, let’s leave ‘The Heroin Diaries’ as it is, that’s a special thing.” And on this one, we all decided to focus more on the songs and the song writing. Now we know that radio is accepting SIXX: A.M. and the fans “get it.” Let’s dive even deeper, let’s push it musically just a little harder. I’m super proud of the record; I think it’s some of the best guitar playing I’ve ever done in my life and I’m just really proud of it.
Guitar International: Do you have any favorite tracks on the album, any that were especially fun to write or play? What particularly do you like about the songs that do stand out to you?
DJ Ashba: I love “Goodbye My Friend”. That song is a musical journey, it’s very theatrical sounding and it’s just a lot of fun. The guitar solo was really fun to play and the overall message is cool. There’s so many though: “Lies of the Beautiful People” is such a fun song — the riffs in it are cool. “This is Gonna Hurt” is another one where the riffs are just really fun to play. You know, that’s the thing with each one of these songs, they’re all so different, but we really (all three of us) sunk our heart and soul into each song. I think that’s why it’s an album you can listen to, from beginning to end, and you don’t get bored. It’s just a really solid record from start to finish. That’s kind of a rare thing, usually especially, by chance, people are downloading singles, you know. The fact that we kind of focused on an overall album and a concept and were not really worried about “OK, here’s our single.” I think there are many songs on this record that could be singles.
Guitar International: You spent quite a bit of time with GUNS N’ ROSES and Axl [Rose]. Did you come home with any hilarious or epic stories?
DJ Ashba: Oh, there are so many funny times. Oh my god, I’m tryin’ to think, man — with all the chaos that went on, there are so many good ones.
Guitar International: Did you pull pranks on each other?
DJ Ashba: Definitely, yeah, we do. I remember there was a time when me and Axl got in a bar fight. We kicked the livin’ shit outta this dude. [Laughing] First of all, he snuck into this private after show party that was just held for the band and the crew. So it was this drunk, obnoxious guy, big dude. He walks in and he’s telling everyone there he’s our manager and we’re like “What the fuck is he talking about?” Anyway, he was asked to leave several times and didn’t. He actually turned around at one point and punched one of our tour managers. I saw it so I grabbed the guy by his throat and slammed him up against the wall and I said, “You need to fuckin’ leave now!” I walked him over to the door, and he turned around and punched me in the face, so I just started unloading on him. Axl saw him hit me and flipped and jumped in, so we’re stompin’ this guy to a pulp, but it was all in good fun. Then, what was funny about it is, about three hours later we get done partyin’, went up and the guy’s a bloody mess sittin’ in the lobby. We walk up and he apologizes for being a douchebag and then he asks if he can get pictures with us and autographs. So we’re taking pictures with this guy we literally kicked the shit out of. It was all good; we all laughed about it at the end, he even laughed. He was like “Yeah, it was my fault. I was bein’ a total dick.” It was one of those things where it was just a funny moment.
Read the entire interview from Guitar International.