Ever since Guns N' Roses announced their first Indianapolis
concert in almost 20 years for this Thursday, nine out of the ten people I've
spoken to about it have something negative to say. Yeah, yeah, W. Axl Rose is
fully responsible for a lot of this negative sentiment. After all, he is a man
who thinks nothing of starting a show two hours late.Hell, he has not shown up for entire toursin the past. This is also the man who broke up his
band because he wanted to be more like Elton John or Freddy Mercury, and
started wearing fishnet shirts and spandex boy shorts. This is a guy who
incited riots that caused hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to
venues after walking off stage.
Yet, no one can deny that, despite his disastrous
proclivities, Axl is one of rock's all-time greatest vocalists, if for no other
reason than because he is the last lead vocalist of his kind. He is a prima
donna, but he is not afraid to get his hands dirty.
He rebuilt a new Guns N' Roses with former Replacements
bassist Tommy Stinson and a revolving door of guitarists. It took 14 years to
release the follow up to Use Your Illusion, and when it was finally
done, the response shook the music industry.
That follow up, Chinese Democracy, isn't a bad
record. The tracks "I.R.S" and "Shackler's Revenge" are
killer punches of heaviness, while "Sorry" and "Street of Dreams"
continue Rose's quest to write the ultimate power ballad (a la "Don't Cry"
and "November Rain"). If
you love rock and roll music, it should be mandatory to be in Conseco
Fieldhouse Thursday night, despite any negative feeling you may have about Bill
Bailey (Rose's given name).
I recently had a few minutes with Dj Ashba, the newest
member of the group.He spoke with
me before a recent Canadian stop. Ashba was born in Monticello, Ind. and earned
money for his first guitar in a truly Hoosier way -- by detasseling corn as a
teenager. He eventually made it to L.A., where he joined The BulletBoys.
In the 2000s, he formed Beautiful Creatures and then hooked
up with Nikki Sixx in Sixx A.M. Ashba also penned most of Motley Crue's last
album, Saints of Los Angeles. Outside of his tenures in Guns N' Roses
and Sixx A.M., Ashba also runs Ashba Media, which, among other things, is
responsible for thedesign of
Virgin Megastores and Ovation guitars.
NUVO: How's it feel to be coming home?
Ashba: It feels great. I love coming home.
NUVO: You've come a long way from the cornfields...
Ashba:Yeah, but those corn fields are where I learned a
great set of values and mores that have sustained me. I learned the importance
of hard work in making dreams come true.
NUVO: Your first concert was with Motley Crue and now
you are bandmates with Nikki Sixx. How did that first show affect you?
Ashba: It made up my mind for me that I was going to
be in the rock and roll business. There was nowhere else to go at that point.
From then on, I set out to make my dreams happen.
NUVO: How did you get the call to join Guns N' Roses?
Did your Indiana ties help?
Ashba: The management called me up. I'd met Axl a few
times at that point, but I think I was asked to join because of my involvement
in the Hollywood scene.
NUVO: Tell me about the current tour.
Ashba: This tour is amazing. The production is killer
and the band just sounds incredible. We are doing stuff from all three periods
of G n' R. I don't think anybody's going home disappointed.
NUVO: How long are we going to have to wait before
the show starts?
Ashba: Actually, we been pretty good about starting
on time during this tour. But, y'know this is Guns N' Roses so you can never be
NUVO: What do you do when you see Slash?
Ashba: I've actually had dinner with Slash, and y'know,
it's cool. I always put myself in the fans' shoes. They come to see all of
those great Appetite songs, and who am I to change it up? I'm a fan too,
so my motivation is to stay true to Slash's sound.