Guitarist DJ Ashba also defends Axl Rose: 'Everyone can be an asshole on the wrong day'
Following the revelatory advice dished out to new bands by Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal, guitarist for the permanently-late Guns N’ Roses (he said new bands should always “be on time”) another GN’R guitarist, DJ Ashba, who joined after the band’s ‘Chinese Democracy’ album, has offered some explanation for the band’s repeated tardiness.
“We have a huge rig and pyrotechnics so often it’s the case of fitting all that into the venue,” he told Yahoo’s Australia7 News. “Our number one priority is to make the shows safe. [The criticism from fans on social media] kills us as a band because we’re not doing any of this on purpose. Our main goal is to go and give the fans a show they will never forget and we understand how expensive tickets are. We take that into account and when we do hit the stage, it’s almost impossible to get us off.”
Ashba also took the opportunity to defend his band leader Axl Rose. “I think a lot of people and the press try to blow it up and say he’s an asshole but everyone can be an asshole if you get them on the wrong day,” he said. “One thing people don’t seem to get is that he’s genuinely funny and he’s always joking around and telling stories to make people laugh. I always say that if he wasn’t a musician he’d be a great comedian. I wish the world could see that side of him because it’s the opposite of what people have branded in their brains.”
In May last year, the band angered fans by appearing on stage an hour late at Manchester Arena, going on to play a 33-song, three-hour show, which finished up after 2.15am. This was despite being told by organisers that they had to finish by 11pm. By the end, there were reportedly only 6,000 people in the venue, 10,000 less than the arena’s capacity.
Many ticket goers were angry and took to Twitter to protest. Alison Parker, who was at the gig, tweeted: “I’m angry. Guns N’ Roses? No Goons and Losers. Had to leave for last train before they even graced us with their presence. Disgusted.” A crowd member also reportedly vented their anger by hurling a pint at Axl Rose, which struck him during ‘Welcome To The Jungle’.