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DJ Ashba Describes Getting the Call to Audition for Guns N’ Roses

Ian Hitchcock, Getty Images

Call it a rock ‘n’ roll fairytale. DJ Ashba’s first concert was a Motley Crue show when he was just 16 years old, and now, the expert six-stringer is a bona fide member of fellow ‘80s rock icons Guns N’ Roses, who are set to get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year. That’s a killer career trajectory, no doubt!

So, how does one score the ultimate guitar gig: holding down leads for Guns N’ Roses? As DJ Ashba explains, it all came down to one phone call and great chemistry. “[Axl Rose] didn’t tell me why he picked me,” DJ Ashba told the Denver Westword. “What happened is that I got a call, basically saying — I got a call at Sixx: A.M., and we had a number one hit at the time, and it said: ‘Listen, Guns has been auditioning guitar players for about a year and a half on the down low. They can’t seem to find the right guy.’”

They asked if he would be interested in coming down and checking out the band. Of course, the answer was, “yes!” “I guess Axl got wind that I was going to come down, and he called management and said, ‘If he even shows up in the room, he has the gig,’” he added. “So it was kind of that easy.”

What really surprised DJ Ashba was how closely Axl followed his career over the years. “The first time I sat down with him after joining the band, he had known about my entire career. It blew my mind,” he said. “He remembered meeting me ten years ago, probably even longer than that now, when Sharon Osborne introduced us, while I was making the Beautiful Creatures album. He said, ‘If I knew you would have been up for this, I would’ve came after you years ago.’ I didn’t even know I was on his radar, so it was pretty flattering.” Read what Ashba has to say about how Guns N’ Roses divvies out parts when writing music together, here.

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