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DJ Ashba Talks the Future of Guns N’ Roses, Jamming With Sixx: A.M. + More

DJ Ashba
Ian Hitchcock, Getty Images

Guns N’ Roses are always a hot topic when it comes to rock’ n’ roll and lead guitarist DJ Ashba has been one busy axeman. He is also the guitarist of Nikki Sixx’s band Sixx: A.M., so when DJ Ashba spoke to Sandman of Loudwire Radio, he dished on everything from the future of Guns N’ Roses and uncertainty about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as working with Sixx: A.M. and their upcoming performance at Revolver’s Golden Gods awards. Check out the interview below:

What’s the band up to right now?

We’re on a little break. We just finished a U.S. run. We did, like, an ‘up close and personal’ really small stadium type — about a month, month and a half long — tour through the US, doing, like, House of Blues’ and things like that and had a lot of fun. We leave again in May to go to Europe for about two and half months.

And Thin Lizzy is your opening act.

Yeah. I just read that.

That’s amazing. There’s a couple of pretty good guitar players in that band, as I remember. I think Scott Gorham is still with them…

Yeah, absolutely. It’s going to be exciting.

And then you’ve got the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony coming up April 14th, you’ll be playing with the band that night too, right?

Well, I don’t know. There has been- There’s actually been zero talk about it. So, um, not to my knowledge. But, um, yeah. I have no idea. I’m kind of anxious and interested to see what goes down that night. Either way, I’m sure it’ll be fun.

I’m sure you will be there and getting an award, regardless.

Haha, yeah. I don’t, uh, I don’t even…I’m not even really…I don’t really know what’s going on with it. As of right now I really don’t even have plans to go, you know, because I just haven’t heard a whole lot about it. Nobody’s really talking about it. You know, if I get a call from Axl and he wants me to be there then I’ll go. Other than that, you know, I’m gonna just kinda sit back and see what happens.

Dude, I was gonna say, if you wanna come over and watch it at my house, you’re invited.

Yeah, okay.

I’ll get the beer, man. I’ll get the beer and the chicks!

Haha. No, but, I think it’s a huge honor and I think it’s awesome and, you know, actually, I’m super happy for Axl. I mean, and all the other guys and all, they’re just, you know…It’s a huge honor and I think everybody…it’s a big night and, you know, hopefully everybody can kind of put aside their differences even if, you know, nobody performs. I think it would be great for the fans to see everybody on stage and…you know, we’ll see, we’ll see what happens.

I could not agree more. Now tell me, you’re a fairly young man, as you were growing up were you in cover bands that played Guns N Roses songs?

Yeah, actually, I was. Haha. I think everybody was. Yeah, I mean, I was in band since I’ve been, like, 13 years-old, so, yeah, I mean I caught my teeth on people like Eddie Van Halen and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe ‘Satch’ [Satriani], Steve Vai, Slash, all those guys, you know, are just phenomenal players and have been huge inspirations.

And now you yourself are a phenomenal player and kids are learning your solos, your licks.

I know. It’s so weird, right?

Yeah, it’s just a generational thing, man.

Yeah, it’s really cool, I mean it’s flattering and it’s pretty surreal when I see that I’m kind of inspiring a young generation and it just…it makes me…it kind of reminds me of when I was growing up going ‘wow’ you know, it’s really trippy. And one day those kids, that hopefully I am inspiring, will inspire a new generation and I think that’s what’s so great about music.

Now, you’re also one of the initials in Sixx A.M. You’re the ‘A’ in ‘A.M’.

Haha, yeah I am.

What’s going on with that band? Just a hiatus while the Guns N Roses stuff is taking place? You guys planning on getting back together later?

No, no, we’re working all the time. We are performing at the Golden Gods Award Show — I think its April 11th. And we’re coming out with a brand new single which I am excited about. And I just wanna thank everybody, like, ‘Lies of the Beautiful People’ went No. 1; ‘This Is Gonna Hurt’ was in the top 5, I believe and this one, this one’s gonna be a big one so hopefully everybody calls in and digs the song and requests it.

I think one of the things that people, I’ll speak for myself as a rock fan, that I like about Sixx AM, much like Guns N Roses, it’s just good straight-ahead melodic hard rock.

Yeah, it really is and I love it because it truly…it’s a project where I can truly just be an artist. We touch on subjects that seem to be helping people but we know it’s kind of like our therapy, you know. We go in and write about stuff that we have to struggle to get through and we’re kind of finding out, “Hey, we’re not alone.” There’s a lot of people with similar issues, or issues that allow them to relate to our songs which is…it’s great.

I know you can’t read what the future’s gonna hold but, do you feel like you’re gonna have an opportunity to write new material with Guns N Roses, in the future?

Yeah, I actually do and it’s something we’ve all been talking about pretty heavily and I’ve demoed up 10 to 12 songs right now just on my own that I’m gonna throw in the pile and I threw Axl a couple of songs and he got right back to me and really seemed to dig it a lot. So, yeah, I think it’s gonna be good, man. He has a lot of stuff on his sleeve, he has a lot of stuff recorded that I can’t wait to get on and kinda do my thing to so, it’s exciting but it’s a big, big engine to move. Sixx A.M. — there’s three guys; there’s no one else involved.

Right.

No management-I mean, we have management and all that, but nobody gets involved when it comes down to creative process. And with Guns it’s a big huge thing. So, it takes a little bit longer to get the wheel turning, but, you know, when it finally turns it’s hard to stop it. It looks good.

DJ, now that you’ve been out playing some shows with Guns N’ Roses, tell me what song in the repertoire is your favorite or maybe the most fun for you to play.

DJ: You know, I love playing off the old stuff. I love playing stuff like ‘Brownstone’ and ‘So Easy’ and ‘My Michelle’ and some of those type of songs and, of course, ‘November Rain.’ Some of my favorites lately is ‘Civil War,’ and ‘Estranged’ is really fun to play. But off the new stuff I would definitely have to say probably ‘This I Love’ is one of my favorite solos to play just because it’s…the one Robin wrote for the album, it works in the studio but I found it wasn’t for me, it wasn’t translating live so I had to kind of rewrite it a bit just to fit me so I could deliver it and sell the solo. That one is a lot of fun there’s a feeling to it and I just think it’s a beautiful song.

Loudwire Radio’s interview with Guns N’ Roses’ DJ Ashba will be broadcast this weekend all over the U.S. To see the full list of stations that showcase Loudwire Radio, click here.

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