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APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
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.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

2014.04.25 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with DJ

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2014.04.25 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with DJ Empty 2014.04.25 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with DJ

Post by Soulmonster Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:51 am

Listen to it here: http://www.captaint.com/oneonone/oneononeeps006.mp3



Transcript:

Mitch Lafon: Hey DJ, how's it going?

DJ: I'm good. How are you?

ML: Good, good. So a lot of, a lot of ground to to cover here and we've only got 15 minutes to do it. But let's start off with the, the residency in Vegas, "No Trickery, an Evening of Destruction". How different is it preparing for an entire residency as opposed to, you know, different shows in different towns, sort of a regular tour?

DJ: Well it's quite different. I mean for one, we get a chance to plant our feet into the ground [?] so speak for, you know, a good solid three weeks, which allows us many things. We can do a completely different unique show for people. You know, we don't have to tear down our show right after and get to the next city. So, you know, last residency there were like flying pianos and aerial harness and strippers everywhere. And it was just a really fun experience. And you know, I think that's the coolest part about doing their residency, you know?

ML: Yeah, absolutely. Now, the last time you did it, a year or two ago, you had videotaped it for a DVD release. Is that still coming out?

DJ: You know, I heard it is, and then I heard it wasn't, then I heard it is. [?] it's as unpredictable as, you know, the next song in our show, you just never know what to expect, pretty much. But, you know, I hope it does because, you know, they did like a crazy amount of camera shoot that's all shot in 3D and it's really, really cool, you know? So hopefully the fans will get a chance to experience that soon.

ML: So, you know, you've been with the Bullet Boys, Beautiful Creatures, SIXX:AM and of course now Guns N' Roses. How does it compare? How do the bands compare? How does it compare for you, working as the guitarist in Guns N' Roses, as to those other projects?

DJ: Well, it's completely different, you know? You know like for instance SIXX:AM, it's a labor of love. It's completely a different animal. You know, with Guns N' Roses I'm stepping into some pretty big shoes, which I've taken very serious. You know, I was a fan growing up, you know. You know, I realize how important these songs were to me and how important these songs are to fans so, you know, as the guitar player stepping in those shoes, you know, I'm doing whatever I can to do those shoes justice, so to speak. You know, to come in, not try to rewrite the book because you know, a lot of those solos are classic, you know, you don't want to fuck with that, and I wouldn't want to be in the audience watching some new guy up there fucking up these solos either. So with me it's one of those things, "What would I want to see?" You know, being in the crowd. And I would want somebody to show respect for the parts and playing as close to the album because they really bring back memories for people, you know. It does for me as a kid when I hear an old Guns song, it's like I remember when I was in high school and, you know, vandalizing cars and stupid stuff and whatever memory it brings back. But you kind of want to create.... you know, music's one of those things where you got to concerts and forget about your troubles and you reflect and it brings back, kind of takes you back to good times, bad times, with songs, you know, too. So it's one of those things where.... Yeah.

ML: But-

DJ: A long answer for a short question.

ML: Yeah, but you also want to inject your own personality into the songs, right?

DJ: You do, you do. And that naturally comes through, you know, because I am my own person, you know, so, you know, the way I attack things are completely different. And, you know, you do put in your own thing, but, you know, the thing, you know, there's time for that in the future of Guns N' Roses where I can put my stamp on things and that's, you know. But right now it's, like, you know, you pay respect to the songs and, you know, there's plenty of time for that.

ML: What do you think, you just mentioned the future. What do you think is the future for Guns N' Roses? Is it just a touring entity that comes out every summer and does a few shows or-

DJ: I think, no, I don't think that at all. I joined this band. I'm a songwriter, I'm a producer. I feel, as a songwriter/producer, that I could bring something to the table. If I didn't, I wouldn't be in the band. I've turned down more gigs out there than I've taken, but this is something where I feel very passionate about the music and passionate about the band, and I feel like I personally can help bring something to the table. And you know, I think our main goal in the future is to write the next best Guns N' Roses record. That's what I'm excited about.

ML: Yeah. And have you started on that process at all?

DJ: We have tons of material. You know, before I even joined the band, there were three albums worth recorded. There's tons of songs already recorded that Axl's been playing me. And, you know, of course I'm a writer, everybody in the band writes songs Everybody has their own piles of songs too, so lack of material is not our problem, it's, you know, taking all the material that we have, you know, and making sense of it, focusing it into what we feel would be just a kick-ass album, you know?

ML: And I think that's what fans obviously like myself want to hear.

DJ: Yeah, absolutely.

ML: You mentioned you're a songwriter and of course... you know, I really got to know you with Beautiful Creatures but then later on you wrote for Mötley Crüe on Saints of Los Angeles. How did you approach that album?

DJ: How did I approach it?

ML: Yeah, in the sense like, well, why did they come to you, basically? Why did they say, "DJ, we need-"

DJ: The same way I would approach, you know, when I first the Neil Diamond Christmas album, it's like you... with me... Part of a songwriters job I've always believed that you got to go in and study what makes that band sound like that band. So, you know, I put the fact I'm a guitar player very last and I go in and I study Tommy's, the way he plays, the way Mick plays, and I do it through every song. Where does Vince's voice sound the strongest? What keys does he... And you really dissect everything about that band. And after you do that, it's real simple to turn around and write a song, in my opinion, that will sound just like off of the era of whatever albums you are studying with that band. You know, if you want to write something that sounds like it's off of Appetite for Destruction, well you got to kind of start with the basics, you got to go study every guy's style in that band and together that chemistry is why that band sounded like it sounded. Or Mötley Crüe Girls, Girls, Girls album or... you know what I mean. Whatever band you're writing for.

ML: It's sort of the Rick Rubin approach but instead of a producing, it's the Rick Rubin approach to songwriting where you go back and you study the early work and say, "OK, this is what is," you know, "Black Sabbath."

DJ: Yeah, absolutely. You know, and there's so many things from tones and and miking techniques to, you know, I mean, that give it that raw reckless sound or whatever it is to that. But there's, yeah, that's your template, it's all laid out for you. Just got to do your homework.

ML: Just got to do your homework. Now, you know, at the time where you were working on the Saints of Los Angeles a lot of rumors around the Internet were swirling that you were gonna replace Mick Mars in Mötley Crüe. Of course, that never happened. Was there any foundation to those rumors, or was that just pure nonsense?

DJ: They're pure nonsense. No, I was there working on the album with them, co-writing. I co-wrote 11 of the 13 songs and co-produced it. And I guess because I'm a guitar player, people assumed that... No, not at all. It wouldn't be a Motley Crue without Mick. And, you know, I wouldn't... if it was even offered I probably wouldn't have taken it just out of the respect because I'm a huge fan and it's one of those things where, you know, I mean, Mick's one of my closest friends, you know? So I knew he was, you know, he's always going to be fine.

ML: He's always going to be fine. But of course, it led to SIXX:AM with Nikki. What's the status of that... or not that album, but that band? Is that still a going entity or have you sort-

DJ: Absolutely. No, no, we just finished a brand new album. It'll be coming out towards the end of this year, very, very beginning of next year. But the album is completely recorded and completely done and it's one of my favorite albums we've ever done. We just titled it, which is great, but I can't tell anybody the title yet, but it's awesome. It's something where we really pushed beyond and pushed, you know, really painted outside the line, so to speak. We really wanted to push ourselves as musicians and, "Hey, you know, we've done this, the other type of song, let's really..." You know, we brought in, like, some, you know, we wrote a ragtime song on it that just blows my mind. I'm just like, "Wow!" and, you know, push myself as a guitar player playing like Mary Scotty Moore type guitar stuff on certain things and, you know, it's just fun. We had a lot of fun with this album.

ML: I can't wait to hear it. The first one, Life Is Beautiful, or at least that song was absolutely phenomenal.

DJ: Yeah.

ML: You know, since you've been in Guns N' Roses there's always been controversy around the band in terms of, you know, "They got a guy who looks like the other guy," and, "They always show up late," and all this and all that. But I've seen the band three or four times with you, at the Metropolis in Montreal last summer -- crazy great show -- I saw you out in Hartford. Do you think any of the criticism is deserved or is it just silliness on part of Internet fans? Because if you go to the show, they're great, they're great.

DJ: Oh yeah, well, it's all the same thing. I don't really take it personal because it doesn't matter who stepped in those shoes. You're stepping in one of the biggest guitar slots in rock and roll. And, you know, it's kind of 'damned if you do, damned if you don't'. You know, I mean, if anybody can honestly look at a picture of me and Slash next to each other and go, "Wow, these guys look just alike," I mean, okay, I don't see it. But, you know, I have a lot of respect for what he has done for this band, you know, and I'm a fan of this band. And you know, that's the one thing that kind of shocked me, that they immediately tried to pin me against him and him against me. I mean, you know, I mean, I've run into him a couple times, I don't know the guy, but he's, you know, we don't know each other well enough to have issues with each other. It's one of those things where it's just, it's the Internet running wild and they're gonna make their own opinions and I just kind of stay numb to it. And I just kind of, you know, just stay focused and try to do this the best job I can. And that's it, you know, that's all anybody can do in there and in this position. But at the same time, you know, I've won a lot of those people over and, you know, I think more people are starting to dig and go, "Who is this guy?" They're starting to realize, "Oh, wow! You've done this and that and this." And they know I'm just not fresh off the turnip truck. But, you know, it's one of those things where it's a tough gig because of that. But other than that, you know, at the same time, I'm very honored, very thankful and, you know, it's a blessing to be in a position like I am, so it could be worse, you know.

ML: It could be a lot worse. And I think a lot of people... just there's been this constant criticism of the band starts late. But, you know, quite frankly, the band has always started around 10:00 o'clock when I've seen you, it's always been like right on time.

DJ: Yeah, yeah, I think that's an old stigma. I mean, you know, because since I've been in the band, you know, granted we went on a few shows were late and whatever, but for the most part, the last year and a half, he's been dead on and in fact, you know, some of the shows we've gone on early, you know? So but you'll never hear about that, you know? So it's one of those things, like I said, [?] 'damned if you do, damned if you don't'.

ML: And the other thing you don't hear about is also the fact that you do about 30 songs a night. I mean you'll go see any of the arena acts right now -- and I don't want to start naming names to slag anybody -- but they'll do 15 songs, pack it up and go home. But you're doing 3 1/2 hours. Is that physically demanding on you?

DJ: It is. You know, and I don't think people really realize, it is brutal, you know. I mean, if anybody, let alone running around for three hours performing, but you know, you're carrying a 10 pound Les Paul for 3 1/2 hours straight. It's one of those things where it is tough on your body and you know.... but we absolutely want to give the fans the best show we possibly can. And you know, I think people see it. They might not talk about it too much, but I think the fans appreciate the effort that we put in for sure.

ML: And I can see our 15 is almost stopped. Let's quickly talk about Ashba Swag. You started this clothing line probably three or four years ago, or maybe longer. What are you doing with it or is it still going on? Are you still coming up with new-

DJ: Yeah, it's still... Yeah, every month we've been putting out two brand new designs, one for for females, one for males. But we used to have over 400 items and I felt the stores were just losing focus and too cluttery. So in the last, you know, eight months I've gotten rid of pretty much everything. Now our main focus is just really cool, you know, modern, cool style of design t-shirts. Simplistic designs, really super kick-ass [?], and mostly T-shirts, beanies, bandanas, hoodies and jewelry is our main thing now. We do these big, huge baggy beanies everybody tends to really like and those fly off the shelves, and now we're going to start doing really cozy, cool, like rock'n'roll sweats with graphics and cool stuff on them too. So more just real comfy clothes, you know?

ML: Is that stuff that you design yourself or is it fans-

DJ: I do. I personally do. I'm a graphic artist, I own a graphic media company and I've always enjoyed creating and designing with graphics and it's kind of just my release, you know? If I'm not on tour, if I'm on tour and sit in my hotel room, I just really enjoy pushing my brain coming up with cool new designs, you know? And it's really neat to look out in the audience and see people wearing those designs. To me, there's some sort of.... To me, that's like a hit song. It's like, wow, that's like, really cool that somebody actually liked it enough to go buy it and wear it to the show. It's really cool.

ML: Absolutely. And let's just finish with the last show, Columbus, OH, coming up very soon, the Rock on the Range, it's you and Avenged Sevenfold and Kid Rock.

DJ: Yeah.

ML: Wonderful festival show. Those also have got to be a little bit different because you're not always using your stage and your lighting and....

DJ: Right, yeah, but festivals are so much fun and real quick, not to stay on that, but as an aside: We've never sold clothes outside of on our online and this is the first concert where we're actually setting up an Ashba Swag tent. We're going to throw party out in the, you know, wherever our tent's at, but we'll be doing signings at the tent and stuff. It's the first time we're gonna actually bring clothes to the venue to actually sell for people at the, you know. So that'll be a lot of fun for us and, you know, to be able to hang out with fans and just party and stuff. Because it's a reason to party to be honest.

ML: If they go see you in Vegas at the residency, will you bring out the Ashba Swag as well?

DJ: I don't know. I don't know yet, but definitely we'll have it trailer shipped [?] whole company out there for Rock on the Range. You know, it'd be nice to have it, you know, at Vegas, but we'll see. But other than that, and not to take focus off the Rock on the Range, because that's an incredible festival that Danny Weaver, a close friend, has put together over the many years and he just built something that's just really, really cool out there. It's a great festival.

ML: It really is. Anyway, I can see that we've ran our 15 minutes. I just want to thank you. It's always a pleasure talking to you-

DJ: Yeah, man.

ML: Looking forward to my next Guns N' Roses show. They've always been fantastic.

DJ: Awesome. Come out and we'll have a drink.

ML: Absolutely. Thank you, DJ.

DJ: Yeah, man. Thank you.

Kim: Thank you, Mitch!

ML: Thank you, man. Bye. Thank you, Kim.


Last edited by Soulmonster on Thu Aug 25, 2022 8:14 am; edited 11 times in total (Reason for editing : Added video)
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2014.04.25 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with DJ Empty Re: 2014.04.25 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with DJ

Post by Soulmonster Thu Aug 25, 2022 8:16 am

Just finished transcribing this.

I believe this is one of the first interviews where DJ slips a bit and admits it hasn't been just easy taking over Slash's spot.
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