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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.


2014.01.27 - Talking Metal Podcast - Interview with DJ

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2014.01.27 - Talking Metal Podcast - Interview with DJ Empty 2014.01.27 - Talking Metal Podcast - Interview with DJ

Post by Blackstar Sat Apr 30, 2022 11:10 am

The interview starts at 21:46 minute mark.


JO: Guys, on the line we have the one and only DJ Ashba checking in with us. DJ, how are you today?

DJ: I'm good, man. How are you?

JO: I'm doing good. I'm doing good. Congratulations on your recent marriage.

DJ: Thank you.

JO: Married life treating you well?

DJ: It's amazing, yeah, yeah. When you marry the right person, it's amazing.

JO: Very good, cool. Hey, the new Ashba signature Les Paul, which is going to be released by Gibson in March, is looking great. I wanted to talk to you about that. How did this signature model guitar come together?

DJ: You know, it was really weird. For many years I played on Ernie Balls and the Music Man and I really like the simplicity of the Music Man. Every time I would do an album, I love the tone of the Les Paul, so I'd always record with Les Pauls and live I would play with Ernie Balls. You know, it was one of those things where I just had an opportunity with Gibson to create a guitar that fit me. So, you know, the one thing that was always difficult for me for some weird reason is dealing with two different volume knobs on the guitar. And when I'm in a live situation, the last thing I wanna think about is the guitar itself, I wanna, you know, concentrate on entertaining and putting on a great show. So, to me, getting rid of one of the volume knobs was essential. And moving the three-way, because when I would do a lot of funk stuff style playing on a Les Paul, I would always for some reason hit the three-way. So moving that out of the way, moving that down where the secondary volume was and putting a kill switch in with three ways was the three main things, and then the radius of the neck, the compound radius of the neck. So all these little changes, you know, Gibson worked really hard for a couple of years with me designing the perfect guitar that fit me. So now, you know, it's kind of like having the best of both worlds, having the tone, the feel, the the perfect all around guitar.

JO: Now when you say a kill switch, so where the toggle switch normally is in a Les Paul, is this kill switch. For listeners who may not be familiar with the kill switch, what does that actually do?

DJ: It kills the signal of the guitar. So basically, when you hit a note, you hit it, it's basically, like turning on and off the volume at a rapid pace so you can kind of hit a note or a chord and tap a pattern, even [hums a pattern]. You know, you can just have fun doing different little tricks while, you know, rhythms or solos. And it's a little gadget to play around with, to kind of be a little more creative when you're writing songs or, you know, creating solos.

JO: Fun, fun stuff. And what about the pickups? What kind of pickups can we expect?

DJ: Yeah, they're Seymour Duncans because I have an Alnico 2 Pro in the neck, which gives it a nice buttery, you know, tone to the leads and stuff. And then Jeff Beck in the back, which gives it the more rip and... you know. So yeah, they're killer.

JO: And do you know what the list price of the guitar will be?

DJ: I don't yet. I should know probably, but my focus wasn't so much on the price of it. It was just, you know, designing what I felt would be the ultimate Les Paul. So I'm not sure. I haven't even talked to them about that.

JO: Yeah, it's strange, I know some of the signature models are so expensive, they've become something really only for collectors. And then there's some which they make more affordable for the-

DJ: Yeah and we're talking, we're trying to possibly gonna do an Epiphone version of it too so more people can afford these, you know.

JO: Nice. And when you're playing live, what type of amps and effects are you using?

DJ: You know, it's very minimal. In fact, I went from having, you know, with Guns N' Roses, I tried ten different guitar rigs, the biggest, best heads, you know, cabinet combinations you could put together, a very, you know, extravagant rigs, and I actually ended up finding that less is more. So I just literally run through a Fractal unit and I don't use cabinets at all. I have no cabinets. I don't personally tour with any cabinets. So I go direct out right into the PA, right into [?], and it's the best tone I've ever had and it's [?] I don't have to deal with. You know, like, you know when you might [?] cabinets and you know from night to night, that was always a big thing with me is the tone would always vary from room to room, from arena to arena, and my placements would get bumped in... It really affected the tone. And I'm all about tone. You know, if any guitar player the tone is right, if it's perfect, there's really, you almost feel like Superman on a guitar. There's not a lot that you feel you can't play and play well because you're playing off the inspiration of the tone, you know? And it's very consistent playing and every night it sounds identical. So to me, that's the way for me to go anyway.

JO: Excellent. And I definitely want to talk to you about Guns N' Roses. But first, there's gonna be a new SIXX:AM album coming out.

DJ: Yeah!

JO: Talk about that.

DJ: Yeah, we're really excited about it. I just finished up all the guitars. James is finishing up the last, I believe the last song. I think he may even be done by now, but with vocals. And for the first time we're having a live drummer on the album. And Nikki's playing his ass off, I mean, the songs are sick. We're not going after, a theme [?] record by any means on this. We kind of sat down, the three of us and said, "You know what, let's just write us sick record from beginning to end. Just every song has to count, you know, let's push ourselves musically, each individually," you know? You know, we've really pushed each other to a whole different level and we really focused on trying to get out of our comfort zone with SIXX:AM and really pushing the boundaries. And I think that's what SIXX:AM is kind of about anyway. So we explored some new territory for sure on this record.

JO: Excellent. And can you tell us who the drummer is?

DJ: I don't know if I could say anything yet. I'm not even sure if I...

JO: No problem.

DJ: But I will-

JO: Excellent.

DJ: -at some point.

JO: Excellent. We look forward to hearing that. And I was a big fan of the album that you basically co-wrote with with Nikki for Mötley Crüe, Saints Of Los Angeles.

DJ: Oh, cool!

JO: And I guess James was involved in that heavily, too. Now, were you just a songwriter on that or did you work on production of the album?

DJ: I'm sorry. Sorry, I had somebody else yelling. I'm gonna just throw it out there. Jeff Fabb is the guy who played on our record.

JO: Oh, okay. Okay, cool.

DJ: If I get in trouble, fuck him.

JO: Jeff we know of course from [?]

DJ: [?] He came in and just slaughtered these songs and, you know, me and James and Nick you were talking, we were like, "God," we wish we would have had a live drummer on the other three and instead me and James programmed all the drums on these last few records. But what a difference [?] a live drummer can manage [?]. So we're really excited about having him on the record.

JO: Jeff is great. I've seen him with In This Moment, he was in Filter for awhile. Great guy. And then he was actually the guy from... I forget his name, the guy from American Idol, he was in his band for a while.

DJ: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

JO: I forgot the guy's name. But anyways, when you were working on Saints of Los Angeles, I realize it was a while ago at this point, but were you involved in the production of the album too?

DJ: I was, yeah. I co-produced the record and I co-wrote 11 of the 13 songs on it.

JO: Cool. I was just reading Vince Neil's book and I found it funny. He said when he was recording that record, he'd show up to the studio for like 2 hour blocks and just simply leave after that and he seemed to like that, you know, that it was a real structured production.

DJ: I mean it was a weird record. We did all the guitars at my studio, all the vocals were done at James' studio. We recorded Tommy on the drums up at Tommy's Studio, and then we did a lot of the bass at my studio and.... I think we did most of the bass at my studio if I remember right.

JO: Cool. And as far as Guns N' Roses goes, it looks like you guys are headed back out on the road?

DJ: Yeah, March, we head out, we're doing the Heaven and Hell Festival, we headline that and then we're off to South America. So very exciting. I can't wait to get back out there and see all the fans again.

JO: Any chance that we might hear new material in the set list?

DJ: I'm hoping so. I'm hoping we pull out some. That would be a lot of fun for everybody.

JO: I guess that answered the question, you guys have been working on new material?

DJ: Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely.

JO: Cool. Very good. And I wanted to also mention your clothing line that you have, Ashba Swag. And I was checking this out and I thought it was refreshing that it's just not all, you know, kind of rocker T-shirts with skulls and stuff. I mean, you have some of that, but you also have like-

DJ: Well, no, but I'm glad you-

JO: -sweatshirt.

DJ: Yeah. I'm glad you said that because, you know, I never wanted to have a merch line, you know, I mean, with the clothing, you know, I really wanted to push my creativity and try to appeal to an audience even outside of the rock audience if possible. So kind of, you know, finding that fine line where it feeds my inner creativity, but, you know, the fans, my fan base really dig the clothes. And also, you know, somebody that doesn't even know who I am, you know, might dig the T-shirt too. So that's kind of the route I like to go on this.

JO: Cool, we encourage everybody to check out the site, it's Ashba Swag and you can buy the clothes right on there.

DJ: Yes, Yeah.

JO: Cool. Where's the best-

DJ: [?] revamped the entire thing and coming out with basically just funneling out all the old clothes, we originally had over 400 items in the store and I was just trying everything, seeing what's working, what's not working, what are the fans really like? What don't they? And, you know, lately we did a lot of changes after a lot of years of trying different things, and we found out that our market is definitely T-shirts, beanies, bandanas and jewelry. That's kind of... and hoodies, but those five. So we went from about 400 items down to and focusing more on five items. And putting a lot more love and care into those five things to be really working out really well for us now.

JO: Cool. Would you ever consider, you know, getting the stuff in stores or is it already in stores?

DJ: Yeah, I mean, we have a store, a pop-up store, at Harley-Davidson in Henderson in Las Vegas here. And we've been approached by quite a few stores, which is another whole reason why kind of revamping the whole designs and look and feel of Ashba Swag is because now I actually have a legit clothing line that I could put in stores worldwide which is definitely the enxt step for [us].

JO: Excellent. And also circling back to Guns N' Roses, how did you first meet Axl?

DJ: I met Axl... God, in probably... 1999 or 2000. I was in doing the Beautiful Creatures album and Sharon Osborne came over to my studio and they were in the next room working on Chinese, and she took me over there and introduced me to Axl. We got along great. He was a really cool guy. Way different than I was expecting him to be because, you know, you only know what you read, but super, you know, respectful, polite, really cool guy, and that was the first time we met.

JO: Nice, cool. Great. Well, where is the best place besides the Ashba Swag website, you know, the best place online for fans to get in touch with?

DJ: You know, just go to, you know, and that's kind of my whole entire world. I own a media company,, but everything is on... You can contact the agency, you can contact the clothing store, all under if you go there.

JO: Excellent. We'll have them linked through today's show notes on Cool. Thanks so much, man. Have a great after noon.

DJ: You got it, brother. Thank you.

JO: Talk to you soon.

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2014.01.27 - Talking Metal Podcast - Interview with DJ Empty Re: 2014.01.27 - Talking Metal Podcast - Interview with DJ

Post by Soulmonster Mon Aug 22, 2022 8:16 am

Transcribed the DJ parts.
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