DJ ASHBA Says Rockers Should Be More Willing To Collaborate With Artists In Different Genres
In a new interview with The SDR Show, former GUNS N’ ROSES and current SIXX:A.M. guitarist DJ Ashba weighed in on the notion that rock is dead, promoted mostly in recent years by KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “In my honest opinion, and I could be wrong… Everybody’s, like, ‘Rock’s dead. Rock’s dead.’ Rock isn’t dead at all, but I think it would be thriving way harder right now if we would all just kind of open our minds and be willing to collaborate with different genres. You know, METALLICA doing a song with Dolly Parton. How fucking random and cool [would that be]?
“Everything always comes back in cycles. It’s just not gonna come back as the rock we grew up on. It could sound like GDM,” he added, referencing his recently launched dance/rock hybrid called Guitar Dance Music. “I’m not saying [it will], but it could be some form or mash of different influences. And it might sound a little different to us, but it’s what the new kids [will embrace as their version of rock].”
Last December, Ashba performed at the Las Vegas Bowl‘s “ONEVEGAS” presented by Toyota, an event that brought the sports and entertainment community together at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas to celebrate their collective year in sports while showing support for the Southern Nevada Sports Hall Of Fame and the Las Vegas Bowl philanthropic community partners. Ashba played his new single “Bella Ciao”, a modern-day EDM-driven makeover of the Italian folk classic fueled by his signature guitar work.
“Bella Ciao” 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”.
In December 2020, Ashba told “The Mark And HooGie Show” that he isn’t concerned about getting any pushback from his rock fans over the musical direction of his new venture: “Honestly, I’m at a point in my career where I could give two fucks,” he said. “I could care less. If people don’t like it, kiss my ass. Go listen to SIXX:A.M. If what I’m doing right now isn’t rock enough, I’ve got a rock band. They can go listen to that then.
“My fanbase, thank God, has been, throughout my whole career, just very, very accepting,” he continued. “They know me — they know I’m always trying to really push myself as an artist outside the box.
“If I had to live within this box, I’d rather honestly not play music. Playing music is a form of art, and if I can’t truly be an artist and be true to what it is inside — whatever that is that keeps me going… I have to stay inspired. You can only write so many three-chord rock songs. So, to me, this is something that I’m kind of more doing for myself, and I feel like I kind of have earned that at this point in my career. And I’m just having fun.
“Surprisingly… It was weird. I was totally expecting for all my fanbase just to hate it — not get it,” Ashba added. “‘Cause I really, really go deep down in EDM — I stayed very, very true to the EDM sound — and I really thought they were gonna hate it, and I was okay with that. ‘Cause in my mind, I’m writing this for the EDM, the young kids that go to those festivals. This is full-on festival music. And surprisingly, I got no pushback. My rock fans really, really were freaking out on it, which kind of freaked me out. I was expecting them to really not get it or maybe push it aside. But they’ve been nothing but supportive. I’m very thankful that they gave it a chance.”
ASHBA‘s “Let’s Dance” single featured a guest appearance by James Michael, co-founder and lead singer of SIXX:A.M., which he and DJ formed with Nikki Sixx (MÖTLEY CRÜE).
Ashba told the Las Vegas Review-Journal about the musical approach of his new effort: “I would go to a lot of EDM concerts, and their shows are so over the top and, you know, all these young kids just losing their minds, right? And the one thing that I’ve noticed is … it lacks guitar, you know, and I saw an opportunity, like five years ago, going, ‘If I could take what I do and somehow inject it into this world.’ A lot of kids are not being exposed to a lot of guitar in that world.”
Although Ashba initially started work on the project as a collaboration with Michael — under the band name PYROMANTIC — it has since evolved into an Ashba solo venture, with Michael announcing in 2018 that he was stepping away from the group.