Dj ASHBA of Guns N’ Roses hosted a charity pool event at The Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas on Saturday on behalf of BullyVille.com, which aims to help stamp out bullying in our society.
Stars who attended the event included NFL player Bret Lockett, Survivor’s Parvati Shallow and singer Chris Brown.
ASHBA tells us that he was thrilled with how the event turned out.
“I am happy to have done this event with BullyVille.com and thank everyone for their support,” he says. ”It’s an amazing cause and we are just trying to spread the awareness as it’s a serious issue and I’m proud to be a part of it!”
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”.
He picked up a guitar at just nine, and then went on to perform with the likes of Neil Diamond and Motley Crue before joining Guns N’ Roses in 2009.
Talented, bright and, extraordinary humble despite his success, we got the lowdown from Dj ASHBA on a plethora of things that pertain to a life of being the stuff of a rock legend.
And, also, most importantly, his mission to help those who are bullied.
Check out our interview below….
Celebzter: You’ve had quite a prolific career, did you ever think that it would evolve like this?
Dj ASHBA: I appreciate you saying that, but in my mind, I’m just getting started. There are so many things that I am creating and working on for the future that I am very excited about.
Celebzter: When did you first pick a guitar and realize that was the thing you were meant to do?
Dj ASHBA: When I was 9 years old I bought my first guitar for 89.00 out of the Sears catalog. The moment I felt it in my hands it was love.
Celebzter: Who are your musical influences?
Dj ASHBA: Elvis Presley. My mom grew me up on Elvis.
Celebzter: Was it a dream come true when you got the call in 2009 to join Guns N’ Roses?
Dj ASHBA: It was very surreal, but it didn’t really hit me until the first concert I played with Guns.
Celebzter: We have to ask, what is Axl really like?
Dj ASHBA: He’s a f’n prick! haha! nah I’m only joking!
He’s actually very misunderstood by the media and people who don’t know him. People like to assume shit, now granted I can only speak for me, but truth is he is one of the funniest and coolest motherf%$#ers out there. I would take a bullet for him.
Celebzter: What do you make of Slash’s recent comments that the band will never “reunite” in their original form?
Dj ASHBA: I would have to agree with him.
Celebzter: What has been the highlight of your professional career so far?
Dj ASHBA: Joining Guns N’ Roses, working with other great artist such as Neil Diamond and Motley Crue. Building my dream clothing line www.ASHBAswag.com And of course being a member of Sixx:A.M.
Celebzter: I’m sure that you have countless wild tales from life on the road, can you share just one with us?
Dj ASHBA: Waking up drunk in the closet, sleeping in my suitcase comes to mind.
Celebzter: Is life on the road all it is cracked up to be?
Dj ASHBA: And then some, but it’s brutal hours and a lot of hard work. It takes a toll on your mind and body.
Celebzter: What advice would you give to an aspiring musician?
Dj ASHBA: Don’t ever give up. You can be or have anything you want in life, you just have to be willing to work as hard as it takes to get it.
Celebzter: What makes you happy?
Dj ASHBA: Family, friends and of course all of my fans. I would be nothing without them. Also, reaching the goals that I set for my self.
Celebzter: How did you come up with the whole ASHBA SWAG company?
Dj ASHBA: I have always been an artist, even before a musician. I created ASHBA Swag for my fans. Some people paint pictures and hang them in galleries for others to enjoy. I love the fact that people can wear my vision, our creation for years to come. My main goal was to create a place that had something for everyone. A place where seasons don’t exist.
Celebzter: What other projects are you working on? BullyVille?
Dj ASHBA: I am working with BullyVille.com to help spread awareness to people getting bullied. It’s a huge problem, and together we can make a difference. I also am launching my very own Social Network. It will be a Rock N’ Roll Community for Fans to unite together! Its gonna be bad ass! www.ASHBALAND.com will be coming soon to an internet near you! I also am happy to announce that I started a company called AAG (ASHBA Automotive Group) with the Ryan Friedlinghaus CEO of West Coast Customs. We are launching the Limited Edition ASHBA Challenger by Dodge. “The Death Ride” it is the sickest muscle car on the market and will be available later this year. So I am very excited about all of this!
Celebzter: When you look back on your body of work, what do you hope people will see as your lasting legacy?
Dj ASHBA: Ya know, that’s a good question, I don’t really think about that stuff.