DJ ASHBA Says He Walked Away From 'One Of The Biggest Paychecks In The World' When He Left GUNS N' ROSES
December 17, 2021
In a new interview with Darren Paltrowitz, host of the "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz", DJ Ashba spoke about his decision to leave GUNS N' ROSES more than six years ago and eventually launch a dance/rock hybrid called GDM (Guitar Dance Music) with his ASHBA project. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Financially, thank God, I'm in a place to where, honestly, I never have to hit another note. Everything I do at this point in my life is pure passion; it's not money motivated.
"When I created this new sound… I left arguably one of the biggest bands in the world, one of the biggest paychecks in the world, and I did it because I had a vision in my head to create something new," he continued.
"I've always gotten more pleasure out of carving my own path in life, going against the grain... If the whole crowd's going right, I'll be the first to go left. I love those odds; I love to take chances and try things, because what have you got to lose, really? You only lose if you don't try. If you don't go after whatever that idea in your head is, then you're already defeated. So my thing is if I would have never got in that mini-van and had the balls to drive to L.A. when I was 20 — think about that — none of this would have happened. So I've made a living off of making choices that would scare most people.
"I'm a big advocate on follow your dreams," Ashba added. "Because the worst you're gonna do is learn so the next time you go after your next dream, you'll probably succeed. You're gonna learn something, and that knowledge is so valuable. So it's, like, what have you got to lose?"
Ashba, who joined GUNS N' ROSES in March 2009 following the departure of Robin Finck, issued a statement in July 2015 saying that he was leaving GUNS N' ROSES "to dedicate myself to my band SIXX:A.M., my adoring wife and family, and to the many new adventures that the future holds for me." He later claimed that he was approached about being part of GN'R's "Not In This Lifetime" tour, but that he declined, citing his desire to pursue SIXX:A.M. full time.
Ashba previously discussed his departure from GUNS N' ROSES in a November 2016 interview with SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk". He stated at the time: "Well, there [were] multiple reasons [why I left GN'R] — a couple that I won't go into — but the biggest reason was I needed to get back to my roots, back to what I really truly believed in, and that was playing songs I helped write with [SIXX:A.M. bandmates] James [Michael] and Nikki [Sixx]. We [SIXX:A.M.] have five albums out [and] we have a ten-year career together. So we did a tour, 'Modern Vintage' tour, where it was, like, nineteen shows, and that tour really changed my life and put my career back into perspective — you know, being out on the stage and connecting with the fanbase."
Ashba also once again claimed that he was asked to stay in GN'R for the "Not In This Lifetime" tour, but that he decided against it, preferring instead to pursue his own career path.
"Axl called me and he really wanted me a part of the reunion, and I turned it down," Ashba said. "I felt if Slash is coming back, that's great — that's what the fans want, and I can go off and do what I really wanna do now… And we left [off on good terms]; everything is good. And I couldn't be happier for the fans out there. I'm a fan. Half of the band reunited, which excites me, but at the same time, it's the best of both worlds — I get to do what I really love to do, and that's play in SIXX:A.M."
Only Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan from GN'R's "Appetite For Destruction"-era lineup are taking part in the band's current reunion. They are being joined by keyboardist Dizzy Reed, guitarist Richard Fortus and drummer Frank Ferrer. Also appearing with them is second keyboardist Melissa Reese.
Four years ago, former GUNS N' ROSES bassist Tommy Stinson said that he found it "funny" that Ashba "made such a big deal about" quitting the band at a time when "there wasn't really anything going on" with the group. Stinson, who was in GUNS N' ROSES from 1998 until 2014, told HardrockHaven.net: "[DJ] called me up on the phone and told me that he was gonna quit, you know, and this that and the other thing… [It] seemed like it was kind of inevitable that there was going to be a reunion happening, so I think he… I don't know if he [laughs] tried to get in front of the curve to, you know, drum up some extra fucking press for himself. I don't really know what the deal was, but I thought it odd. I thought it an odd time to make a big stink about quitting, you know?"
Ashba recently released a new single "Bella Ciao", a modern-day EDM-driven makeover of the Italian folk classic. The song marked Ashba's first release of 2021 and followed a series of tracks that were released in late 2020 through Edgeout Records/UMG/UMe, including "Hypnotic", "Let's Dance" and "A Christmas Storm".
Ashba is also the founder and CEO of Ashba Enterprises, where he draws upon his executive and entrepreneurial skills to run his many companies, utilizing his longtime experience and expertise from years of developing his own brand in entertainment, multimedia, touring, and merchandise. Through Ashba Media, a design and creative agency, he advises clients, including Cirque De Soleil, hotel, hospitality and entertainment industries, to create state-of-the-art custom props, themed environments for events and exhibits around the world.