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2014.05.09 - Interview with Dj Ashba in Soundmagazine

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2014.05.09 - Interview with Dj Ashba in Soundmagazine

Post by Uli on Tue May 13, 2014 1:43 am

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What’s up DJ?

Hey Brother what’s up!

You guys are getting ready to play Rock on the Range in Columbus, OH.

Yeah I’m really excited! One of my super good friends Danny Wimmer runs the whole thing – it should be a great festival. Also for the first time we’re going set up the tent/booth there for the Ashba clothing line and I’ll be giving out free shots of Jager and Monster Energy. I hope people come out and say hello, it’s going to be a lot of fun.

It’s cool to see you guys playing in front of a large American audience again.

It is cool you know! Outside of the US we’re used to the big shows. In the United States it’s a lot tougher these days. It’s cool how all these bands are coming together to put on a weekend of good music and partying. It should be tons of fun for everyone, I’ve never been there. But I’ve heard a lot about it so personally I’m really excited to go there.

I know you guys have been playing a lot of festivals around the world. Is it nice to get back to the states and some of the summer festivals?

It is yeah, I love playing in the US obviously! I think this is one of the biggest rock festivals out there. It’s going to be insane.

Do you miss playing in front of the large American audiences?

I do for sure! You know – I’ve played a lot of festivals like Ozzfest, Crue fest, and all those going through the US. Not so much with Guns because we don’t play many festivals in the US so this is going to be very special for all of us.

Do you notice a difference in fan reaction to GNR from country to country?

You do slightly, but there is something about the Guns audience. They are just die-hard and hardcore. They hear the intro to “Welcome to the Jungle” or “Sweet Child”, or any of those classic songs and every crowd we play for just lights up. Like “Paradise City” where the entire crowd is jumping, it is just pretty insane.

I see in a few weeks you are going to be starting another run at the Joint in Las Vegas. Are you looking forward to playing those shows?

Absolutely! I just bought a house in Las Vegas. It’s home to me – so it’s going be a lot of fun. The last residency was just awesome. The cool part is that we have a chance to play to the crowd. We don’t have to worry about tearing down to get to the next city or state. It allows us to do a little bit extra – fun things and we get to turn it into a real theatrical type show and have a lot of fun with it.

Is it tough playing the same venue every night?

No, it’s actually fun! Especially Vegas! It is the perfect city for GNR – we like to play long shows. It’s a city that never sleeps – We like to Sin! – a lot, LOL! The after party’s are awesome. We’re all staying in these hotels that are just massive. Some of the fans work their way in – It’s cool you get to run into fans in the hotel a lot. It’s cool meeting these people who allow you to do the things you do for a living.

Does the band try to change up the set list from night to night?

We do. You know the real cool thing about a Guns show is that it’s so unpredictable and so exciting, especially being in the band it’s really exciting. I have a vague idea of the set list. Very rare do we follow it. I don’t ever physically see a set list for a 3 hour show that we play. So every song we play we call one after another because that’s how we play it. Every night varies which is cool and makes it exciting. We like to throw in surprises and Vegas is the perfect place for that.

First it was Elvis doing a big run in Vegas now it’s Guns and Roses. There’s got to be something historical and very rock and roll about that?

It is and Elvis is one of my biggest influences – I grew up on him. So for me being in Vegas, the whole spirit of Vegas is Elvis Pressley to me. It’s not just awesome to play there but to live there. Las Vegas is like an adult Disney Land. People come from all over the world to Vegas to see these types of shows and attractions. It’s really cool.

Can you tell us when fans can expect some new music from Sixx:A.M.?

Yeah actually I just got in town and I’m heading to over to Nikki’s house now. We’re finishing up the very last song on the album. Everything else is finished done and recorded. We thought we’d do one extra song- just as a little treat.

I saw this morning Nikki tweeting pictures of him and his dog listening to the new Riff Raff CD – so he was listening to hip hop with his dog this morning. Should be a fun afternoon!

Yeah it’ll be fun.

Though you’ve been with the band a while it still must be exciting to play those opening riffs to ‘Sweet Child ’O Mine” or “Welcome to the Jungle”?

It is, I can’t even put it into words how grateful I am. I realize the position that I took and I take that very seriously. I mean Guns and Roses- I cut my teeth on when I was a kid, you know I never dreamed I would be in the spot I am in. I guess by the grace of God I am and it’s cool. I try to do everything in my power to stay true to the original songs as possible and do them justice. That’s all anybody can do, I’m super thankful that the band has welcomed me in and it’s just the beginning, I’m really looking forward to the future.

We can’t do a GNR interview without asking about Axl—how is he doing these days?

He’s doing great. He’s been texting me funny texts all morning. He is in good spirits and he’s really excited about Vegas and Rock on the Range.

It’s still amazing to see him perform a 3 hour set – does it tire you out?

Oh yeah it does, not many people realize how physically demanding it is to do a 3 hour show. Physically, it takes a lot out of you that you’re running around with a 10 pound guitar for 3 hours. It tires me, watching him sing the songs.

I’m sure he keeps you on your toes it must be cool to play with such an iconic guy.

It’s a trip you know. I remember the first time we walked on stage I had been in rehearsals and the first time we actually played together was in front of like 60 thousand people and I remember him walking on stage. You have to catch yourself cause you realize FUCK – I grew up listening to him. It’s just a real honor to know him. He’s not the guy the press wants to make him out to be.  From my perspective he’s always been a good friend to me. It’s been nothing but an awesome blast in this band.

You guys are not a cover band you’re a real band that makes music. When can fans expect to see some new music from GNR?

Hopefully soon, that’s everybody’s main focus. With Guns the engine is a lot bigger to turn then let’s say Sixx:AM where there’s only 3 of us. The thing about guns is that we have so much recorded material. It’s not a matter of a lack of material. It’s actually the opposite and sifting through tons of songs and figuring out what is going to be the next Guns and Roses album. I think that’s the challenge.

Well DJ looks like we’ll see you in Columbus next week. Thank you for your time.

Thank you, make sure you come see us at Rock on the Range.

Interview by: Keith Lovett
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