He is one of the most prolific guitarists of modern times and his statue in the music world is cemented by the acts in which he has performed for. To solidify his reputation as an immense talent, in 2009 Dj ASHBA joined Guns N’ Roses and his star has continued to rise and rise since then.
But, in person Dj ASHBA is not at all what you would expect of someone of his degree of international fame.
Sweet, funny and quite evidently very sensitive, he is a joy to meet in person.
Having previously interviewed him, we got a chance to catch up with him at the London Hotel in New York for a little one-on-one time (no rude pun intended).
Firstly, there is no pretence of a rock demigod when you meet him– in fact, ASHBA has the natural ability to put you at ease and make you feel comfortable .We start our conversation about cars– yes cars– because he now has his own car company, ASHBA Automotive Group. Yep, you read that right!
And it all started because he was looking for something original and the ”The Death Ride” 2012 limited edition Dodge Challenger SRT-8 was born.
“In this business, you have to be authentic and have your own style,” he says. ”And that relates to cars and clothing– when you are doing red carpets, you can’t wear the same thing twice.”
Which brings us nicely into our segue of his clothing line.
Around the hotel room, his throughly unique pieces are everywhere and they run the gauntlet of day-to-night wardrobe choices. From headbands, jeans, jackets to bath robes, his label ASHBA Swag seems to have all those fashion needs covered.
“It is really about having clothes that are one of a kind,” he says.
Where ASHBA’s real persona away from the rock star image shines through is when he opens up about the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father, which has made him an advocate to help other children who have been bullied through the website BullyVille.com.
“Nobody teaches you how to deal with abuse and being bullied,” he says. “You feel so alone and you don’t understand it.”
He then proceeds to reveal a tale of how he still, to this day, has never really learnt to shave because he had no father figure to help guide him as he grew up.
“I have never used shaving cream, never really shaved because I had no father to show me how to do that sort of stuff,” he explains. ”You have to figure a lot of for yourself when you don’t have that guidance in life.”
Dj ASHBA candidly admits that music saved his life– it was therapy for him.
“It was a way to escape– and escapism,” he says. ”You don’t know a reality different from your own when you are growing up, music helped me get things out and I think music saved my life.”
Given that his own father was relatively non-existent in his life, the natural question is, does Dj ASHBA want kids of his own and how does he think he would rate as a dad?
“I think I would be a good father,” he says. ”I have no hard feelings for my dad anymore– it’s not his fault. It was a cycle that he inherited from his own father. He never dealt with his issues, and thankfully, I didn’t have kids straight away, and now when I do, I have time to make things right– to break the cycle.”
But fatherhood is not on his agenda just yet.
Firstly, Guns N’ Roses are kicking off a residency in Las Vegas (move over Celine Dion) on Halloween and the band will perform 12 dates at The Joint at The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (our featured vacation getaway this week).
And ASHBA is also throwing a party at the hotel on September 1st, and with it already being sold out, he urges people to bring their bathing suits and get ready to rock out.
But he is not done yet!
“There are so many things that I still have not done and need to — I have only started,” he explains.
And by that, he means, he is set to take over the social media world when he launches his own social media website titled “ASHBALAND.COM, A Rock n’ Roll community”.
He describes it as “the ultimate place on the net for fans to unite, come together, and share their love for music”.