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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

2011.11.03 - Omaha World-Herald - GNR Guitarist Brings His Own Style (DJ Ashba)

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2011.11.03 - Omaha World-Herald - GNR Guitarist Brings His Own Style (DJ Ashba) Empty 2011.11.03 - Omaha World-Herald - GNR Guitarist Brings His Own Style (DJ Ashba)

Post by Blackstar Thu Dec 09, 2021 4:27 pm

GNR guitarist brings his own style

By Kevin Coffey
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER


Guns N' Roses came to us bridging the musical gap between glam and grunge, the musical missing link between Motley Crue and Nirvana.

Somewhat metal and somewhat punk, the band actually toured with the Crue and GNR bassist Duff McKagan cut his teeth in Seattle before joining the band.

These days, McKagan, Izzy Stradlin and Steven Adler aren't in the band, leaving Axl Rose as the only original member of the group that produced "Welcome To The Jungle," "Sweet Child o' Mine" and "November Rain."

Assisting Axl these days are a cadre of musicians including Dizzy Reed on keyboards, Tommy Stinson (formerly of The Replacements) on bass, Chris Pitman on keyboards, Richard Fortus (of Love Spit Love) on guitar, Bumblefoot on guitar, Frank Ferrer on drums and DJ Ashba (collaborator of Nikki Sixx and Motley Crue) on guitar.

Only some of them appeared on the band's 2008 album, "Chinese Democracy," which became famous for taking the band nearly a decade to produce.

Now the band is back on tour, hitting the United States for the first time in years.

We called Ashba at his Orlando hotel to talk about his time in Guns N' Roses, the new tour and if the band's making new music.

Q. Have you started your U.S. tour yet?

A. We just actually got here. We've only been here a couple days. Tonight's the first night in the U.S.

Q. How was the South American tour?

A. It was amazing. Rock in Rio was absolutely a blast to play. Everywhere we went was massive and sold-out and tons of fun.

Q. Are you excited? It's the first time Guns N' Roses has played the U.S. in a long time.

A. Yeah, the first time, like, in five years, so it's exciting. It's fun because for one, just being in the U.S. is awesome because so many things: you get to have friends and family coming out to see you play and hang out with people.

Q. I heard you're doing all the hits.

A. Yeah, we're doing about a two-and-a-half-to-three-and-a-half-hour show usually. We're playing all the way from "Appetite" to "Chinese." It's a lot of fun out there. It keeps me in shape, I guess, so that's good.

Q. How long have you been in Guns N' Roses and how did you join the band?

A. I've been in the band for going on almost four years now. I got a call. I had just gotten home off tour with Sixx A.M. I got a call from management. We had the same manager for a time. "On the down low, would you be interested in auditioning?" At the time, Guns had been auditioning guitarists for a year on the down low.

Axl caught wind that I was coming down and apparently he said, "If DJ shows up, he has the gig." It was pretty much that simple.

I had no idea from Axl that I was even on his radar. He had been following me for 10 years, I guess. I met him 10 years ago and he kept his eye on me.

Q. Were you nervous to jump into this band? You have some big shoes to fill.

A. I didn't think much about it. The thing with me is I don't get involved in anything unless I feel like I can bring something to the table. Co-producing and co-writing with Motley was fun for me. I grew up on Motley and on Guns.

I looked at it like, "I'm not here to replace anybody. What I can do is to stay true to the vision of where it left off." I just try to do the gig justice and stay as true to what I'd want somebody to play if I was there to see Guns.

Q. On the other side of that, how do you kind of make it your own?

A. You just do. Over the many, many years I've been playing, if people look me up, they'll realize, "This guy's been nominated for Grammys and had platinum records.

And, over the years, you create your own style. You're putting your feel to it and your heart to it. Even though you're playing the same notes, you're not playing them the same way.

I'm looking forward to the future of Guns.

Q. Have you been writing new songs?

A. Yep. I've been writing around the clock and Axl has loads of stuff that he's already recorded. We're going through tons of material. And we're asking ourselves, what songs would make the best Guns N' Roses record?

Q. So, we won't have to wait another 10 years for a new album?

A. (Laughs) No. Everybody asks that. If we wait, we'll all be too old to tour.

Q. What is it like to work with Axl? He's described as eccentric, to put it lightly, but other people say he's a genius.

A. I can only speak from personal experiences, but he's been nothing but amazing. I hear all the opinions and blah blah blah, but the guy treats me like gold. He's been nothing but an amazing friend and loyal and honest. I couldn't ask for anything more when it comes down to that.

I have really great respect when it comes to the music side of things, too. Sitting down and listening to him play piano, he has stuff up his sleeve. My jaw hits the ground. He's playing stuff I'm praying the world gets to hear. He has some really great stuff laying around.

Q. Are you doing anything else with your other projects?

A. Sixx A.M., we just put out another record. We have two songs in the top 20. "Lies of the Beautiful People" No. 1. We have tons of fan support out there. Everybody's calling the stations. We released the album, and Nikki has this photography book, so we put them together. It's a really cool, really fun project to be a part of.

I have my clothing line, Ashba Swag, we're putting out stage clothes. You can check it out at ashbaswag.com.

Q. Even though you're a rocker, you're a Midwest guy. You're from Indiana, right?

A. I was born there and grew up in Fairbury, Ill. Then my dad's side of the family lives in Indiana still and my mom's lives in Illinois. But yeah, I was born in Indiana.

I'm big-time country art. I grew up on the farm. It's always funny to me with Axl saying (in the song "One In A Million) "Just a small town white boy trying to make ends meet." He grew up 30 minutes away from where I did, so I can relate to that.

Q. What do you say to people who say you're not the real Guns N' Roses or call this lineup a "Guns N' Roses cover band?"

A. It is what it is. If people come to the concert with an open mind and accept that this isn't the original lineup, but this lineup is unbelievably kick ass and come out with that, you're going to love it.

If you come expecting to see Slash, well...

Times change people change and bands change. People have a hard time with change, but I love change. It's what keeps the world interesting.

You can't really worry about it. You'll wear yourself out if you try.

https://web.archive.org/web/20111105051503/http://www.omaha.com/article/20111103/GO/711039943/0
Blackstar
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