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Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.


2013.07.02 - Rock Cellar Magazine - Guns N’ Roses Guitarist DJ Ashba Breaks the Cycle

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2013.07.02 - Rock Cellar Magazine - Guns N’ Roses Guitarist DJ Ashba Breaks the Cycle Empty 2013.07.02 - Rock Cellar Magazine - Guns N’ Roses Guitarist DJ Ashba Breaks the Cycle

Post by Soulmonster Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:13 pm

Guns N’ Roses Guitarist DJ Ashba Breaks the Cycle
On Music, Fashion and Working with Anti-Bullying Website Bullyville
July 2013 by Ed Rampell

Daren Jay “DJ” Ashba was born in Indiana in 1972 and grew up in rural Illinois. In 2009 Ashba joined one of the most successful bands of all time, Guns N’ Roses. Gn’R was founded in 1985 and went on to record the best-selling debut album in U.S. history and to wound up having its original members inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.

Using his celebrity stature as a bully pulpit, Ashba recently partnered with high tech guru James A. McGibney, who appeared on Dr. Drew’s daytime TV talk show, to speak out against one of society’s scourges – bullying.

Ashba was interviewed by Rock Cellar Magazine shortly after devastating twisters hit Oklahoma. In this candid conversation Ashba discusses Guns N’ Roses, his other hard rock band, his fashion line, the creative process, child abuse and his crusade to stamp it out, and more.

Rock Cellar Magazine: Guns N’ Roses is supposed to go to Oklahoma in a few days. What’s happening with that considering the tornadoes?  

DJ Ashba: Yeah. The tornado is a tragedy. I urge all the fans and readers to go to Red Cross. Please help out. Guns N’ Roses, we’re going to donate a bunch of memorabilia to help build these homes back up and help out these families and stuff. It’s not going to affect [the concert at] Rocklahoma, because it’s about 150 to 200 miles away from Moore. But it is still really sad and our hearts go out to everybody over there.

RCM: Great. What else is happening with the GN’R tour?

DJA: We just got home from Australia with ZZ Top. We’re going to do about 2 weeks in the States, hitting all the festivals. We’re going to hit San Antonio, a bunch of different places, we’re doing Governor’s Ball [in New York City on June 8], Rocklahoma. Yeah, we’re just excited to get out there.

RCM:  Is a new Guns N’ Roses album in the works?

DJA: Yeah, it is. That’s our main focus, to collectively as a band put together what we feel is going to be the next best Guns N’ Roses record.

RCM:  Any idea when it will come out?

DJA: No idea. The way I look at it, you know, no matter what album I’m working on, we’re never going to be in a rush to put out a bad album. So it will be done when we feel it’s done and when it’s right. You know, but it’s art, and you can’t really put a time on that, I think. I mean, we’ll all know when it’s ready to go out, and as soon as it is, you guys will be the first to know.

RCM: What’s happening with Sixx: A.M.?

DJA: We’re working on a new record right now. We’ve got a huge jump on it. And we’re really excited. It’s definitely going to be one of my favorite albums. So far, the stuff is turning out killer. We couldn’t be more proud of it. Sixx: A.M. is working just as hard on that, as well.

RCM: When will the new Sixx: A.M. album drop?

DJA: We’re trying to push it for the end of the year. But we don’t — it’s one of those things where, you know, everything timing has to line up with just release dates and stuff. So, we’re not sure. Again, we’ll put it out the minute we feel it’s ready to go. But we should be wrapping that up pretty soon.

RCM: Tell us about your fashion line, Ashba Swag. Do you design any of the wear?

DJA: I do. I do. Everything goes through me. If my name is on it it has to be quality. My name is everything. So, when I’m stamping my last name on things it’s — my whole thing was, I started seeing all these kids showing up with homemade outfits, kind of trying to dress like me, you know, wow. It’s an honor, but how cool could it be if they go to my store, see what I’m wearing onstage and buy the exact same outfit from the same exact maker.

Cody Varona is one of the best in the industry. We teamed up and created Ashba Swag. She’s just awesome. She’s done everybody’s stage clothes for the last 30 years, from Marilyn Manson to Rihanna to Motley Crue — the list goes on and on. She’s made my stage clothes for 15 years, so there’s just no better person to team up with. We have about 350 items in the store. We just launched two pop up stores — one at Forgotten Saints in Los Angeles and one in Henderson Harley-Davidson in here in Las Vegas… It’s really killer stuff. We have a little bit of everything, from robes to you name it, T-shirts to stage clothes to kids clothes.

RCM: Are you yourself a father?

DJA: I am not. It’s like I kinda grew up helping my mom raise my sisters and stuff like that. So it’s one of those things where I just respect parents with kids and I know how much time and dedication that takes. There’s really not anything cool out there for kids to wear, like real cool rocker stitched up clothes. It’s very rated “G” stuff. I wanted to come out with really cutting edge baby clothes and kids clothes for the little more edgy parents out there.

RCM: Speaking of your childhood, you recently signed on as a spokesperson for

DJA: I did, I did. And it’s the best thing I could ever have done. Bullyville is just — James McGibney [Bullyville’s Founder & CEO] and me teamed up on it. He’s just doing some amazing things with Bullyville. And we’re taking down bullies, left and right. He’s doing a great job with that. They go after everything from people that are getting bullied to child molesters to pedophiles to and you name it. And they’re going after them hard.

They’re taking down — our big goal is to take down all these revenge porn sites that underage kids are getting posted naked on. We’re just doing some really good things out there and hopefully making a difference.

RCM: You have very extensive tattooing. Do you think that psychologically you were trying to give yourself another defensive layer of skin to protect yourself?

DJA: I don’t know. I don’t know what the — I guess maybe. I grew up in a family with a dad who beat the shit out of me and stuff and it’s one of those things where maybe — maybe it was my shield of armor. Maybe — I don’t know; I can’t really say. I’m a huge art fan. I’m an artist myself. I’ve always — instead of collecting art for a wall, I collect it and put it on my body, I guess.

RCM: Do you have any clue what made your dad so angry and abusive?

DJA: You know, I don’t know really to this day. All I can say is I don’t blame — I don’t hate him for it. I’ve forgiven him for it. I think you’ve got to look past that. Like, how did he get that way? I don’t know where it came from. But I don’t think he was just born pissed off at the world. I think his childhood was probably very similar to mine.

All I know is that all I can do is break the cycle, and that’s to do what I’m doing: Be a spokesperson for Bullyville, try to help kids out  that are getting bullied, try to bring awareness to it and do whatever I can to break that cycle.

The bullies out there, people don’t realize, they don’t hate you – they actually hate themselves.

They just take it out on other people. So it’s trying to figure out how to break the cycle more than anything and bring awareness to it. Letting kids that are getting bullied know that they are not alone and they can get help.

Go to your principal, go to your parents — if your parents are abusing you, go to your neighbors’ house. Don’t live with it — because you don’t have to.

RCM: Why does there appear to be an epidemic of bullying in America today?

DJA: I think it seems to be more rampant now than ever, but I don’t believe that’s true. I believe the Internet just exposed it. I think it’s always been that way. Like I said, way before the Internet came along, I was dealing with it. I think it’s always been out there. I don’t think every family is the “Stepford Wives” family, even though a lot of family’s try to come off that way. Behind closed doors there are a lot of issues. This world is tough. This life is tough. With the stress of bills and the economy I think people tend to take it out on the people they care about the most — which isn’t necessarily the right thing to do. Because of the Internet we’re finding out more about it now.

But I don’t think it’s any worse; I think it’s always been ashba fb

RCM: Has becoming a rock star helped you to psychologically compensate within yourself for the abuse you suffered?

DJA: Not at all. No, I mean nothing is ever going to take that away. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living — doesn’t matter — I think it gave me the drive to become successful because I was so angry inside myself. But, instead of using that for something negative, I turned it around and said:

   “I’m going to use this for positive. I’m going to go out there and try to become something, make something of my life and try to help people.”

And that’s my way of breaking the cycle.

RCM: Have you composed any particular songs that deal with bullying and abuse?

DJA: Yeah, there’s a lot. You listen to Sixx: A.M., there’s a lot of substance abuse. There’s drug addiction — bullying, in my opinion, you can bully yourself. You can do coke night after night, and in a sense, that’s bullying your own self, that’s cheating your own self, that’s abusing your own body. Bullying doesn’t just stop at somebody… with one person picking on another. It definitely, you absolutely can bully yourself. Writing songs such as Accidents Can Happen,  and things like that, letting people know, hey, you’re better than that and you can live a good life.

RCM: Guns N’ Roses has been known as “The most dangerous band in the world.” Do you think that softening the persona of the band and trying to avoid setting off riots, as unintentional as that may be at concerts, might be a way to make society less violent so there might be less bullying

DJA: Oh, we can’t really — we do what we do. We’re entertainers — these crowds, the Guns N’ Roses fans are the best fans a band could ever have. They’re so passionate and sometimes our crowds get out of control. But I think it’s more out of the passion to the music and the energy that’s in the air. But I’m talking more about the real issues, like kids that are getting abused. Like for instance, it just happened here in Las Vegas, a 15 year-old-kid was walking down the street with his iPad and two guys jumped out of their truck, tried to grab the iPad from him, $200 iPad, and the kid wouldn’t let it go… And they ended up dragging this kid and running him over and killing him over an iPad. It’s just things like that, there’s just horrible things in the world that we’re just trying to bring an awareness to and try to get people to really step up and help in any way.

Talk to your kids, do whatever you can to show your kids you love them and that they do mean something in this world.

RCM: It’s really commendable that you’re doing that. I know that at concerts over the years Axl Rose has spoken in between songs to audiences about issues on his mind. Have you ever spoken about this issue of bullying and abuse at concerts?

DJA: Not with Guns N’ Roses because I don’t really — I’m there to do a show. Rock and roll to me has always been a vacation from world problems. You go to a concert to get away from it. You know what I mean? You write songs to portray messages so when we’re actually singing certain things the message is still getting across. But nobody…I don’t believe anybody is paying to come and preach to them. I don’t think that’s the right way to approach it.

You can’t force a message on people unless they’re ready to hear it.

So, my thing is that people who are getting bullied can go to Bullyville; people who are bullies and want to become a better person can go to Bullyville. Together, we can do this.

RCM:  What question have you never been asked publicly that you would like to discuss?

DJA: Oh my god. I think I better — I couldn’t even answer that. I’ve been asked every question under the book, I think.

RCM: What was it like playing with Neil Diamond? He and his music seem so different from you?

DJA: Neil Diamond is just a super close friend of mine and I’m such a fan. And to co-produce his Christmas record with him and write some songs and stuff for him, it was just awesome. I just couldn’t say enough nice things about the guy.

RCM: Thanks a lot. Keep up the great work, man.

DJA: Thank you, brother.

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