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SoulMonster

2011.11.16 - Interview with Dj - Saratogian Mobile

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2011.11.16 - Interview with Dj - Saratogian Mobile

Post by Soulmonster on Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:04 pm

ALBANY — “I didn’t look at it like I’m coming in to replace Slash,” said Dj Ashba, lead guitarist with Guns N’ Roses. “I don’t get involved in any project unless I feel honestly in my heart I can bring something to the table as a songwriter and a producer.”

Guns N’ Roses, once named the world’s most dangerous band, will play the Times Union Center in Albany Wednesday, Nov. 23. Ashba is the latest in a long line of replacements in the band, fronted by the only original member left, Axl Rose.

The group got the “dangerous” title after two fans were trampled to death in 1988 at the Monsters of Rock Festival at Castle Donington in Leicestershire, England. The group also has a reputation for being hedonistic, rebellious and punk-driven.

Rose, who is notorious for his tardiness, last week kept VH1 interviewer Eddie Trunk waiting 15 hours. So when I called Dj Ashba at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kansas City and asked for him under his assumed name at 1:15 p.m. local time on the day after his 39th birthday, I figured my chances of actually getting to talk to him were about one in 10. He answered the phone on the second ring, and that was just my first surprise.

In a 45-minute interview, Ashba convinced me that he’s more than just a hired gun. He co-produced and co-wrote Motley Crue’s last album, “Saints of Los Angeles,” and said he’s functioning in the same capacity for Guns N’ Roses.

“I co-wrote and co-produced the Motley Crue album, and I was a fan. So, as a fan, it was easy for me to sit there and go, ‘This is what I’d love to hear from this band that I’m working with.’ It’s kind of easy to write from a fan point-of-view and say this is what I would absolutely love to hear from this band.”

Ashba said the current Guns tour has members on stage for 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours.

“In Tokyo, we broke the all-time Guns record for the longest show. I think it was around three hours and 47 minutes,” he said.

Most arena shows have a predetermined set list. Not Guns.

“We have something pretty solid we stick to, but you never know,” he said.

Already in the set are two songs by Ashba — his solo piece leading into “Sweet Child of Mine” that he calls “Ballad of Death,” and “Mi Amour.”

Ashba practices guitar three hours a day in preparation for a tour.

“The last thing I even think about when I’m on stage is what notes (to play),” he said. “It’s such an instinct thing at that point, to where you can run, jump, do a cartwheel, jump off a metal railing and still be playing.”

So, is Guns N’ Roses still the most dangerous rock band in the world?

“It’s pretty dangerous, but I think in a good way,” Ashba said. “I don’t think Axl is getting arrested as much anymore.

“The shows are just unbelievable — tons of fire, rockets and bombs, and it’s just high energy from song one until the end. As soon as the lights go down, you see bomb fires going off and just crazy stuff, gates flying up in the air and people flying up in the air.

“At Rockin’ Rio, we played to 100,000 people and it was just incredible, just the energy. I think what makes it so dangerous and reckless is you never know what song is coming up next.”

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