Former GUNS N' ROSES and current SIXX:A.M. guitarist DJ Ashba played his first headlining show as a solo performer — under the ASHBA banner — last night (Friday, November 12) at Green Bay, Wisconsin's Epic Event Center.
ASHBA's sound sees the 48-year-old guitarist melding hard rock and electronic influence to produce a genre he's dubbed "GDM," or "guitar dance music."
"There's a huge overlap of fans between rock and electronic music," Ashba told EDM.com. "I hate putting music into genres because I feel like it’s limiting. I wanted to take what I do and interject that into the electronic world and put my own twist on it."
"I've always been inspired by different styles of music," he continued. "I was trying to come up with something that would not only inspire me, but a whole new generation of kids to pick up an instrument."
Earlier in the month, Ashba released the official music video for his new single, "Bella Ciao". Produced by Ashba, the reimagined track gives a modern day EDM-driven makeover to the Italian folk classic, complemented by DJ's signature guitar work. The new single marked Ashba's first release of 2021 and followed a series of tracks that were released in late 2020 through Edgeout Records/UMG/UMe, including "Hypnotic", "Let's Dance" and "A Christmas Storm".
Last December, Ashba told "The Mark And HooGie Show" that he isn't concerned about getting any pushback from his rock fans over the musical direction of his new venture: "Honestly, I'm at a point in my career where I could give two fucks," he said. "I could care less. If people don't like it, kiss my ass. Go listen to SIXX:A.M. If what I'm doing right now isn't rock enough, I've got a rock band. They can go listen to that then.
"My fanbase, thank God, has been, throughout my whole career, just very, very accepting," he continued. "They know me — they know I'm always trying to really push myself as an artist outside the box.
"If I had to live within this box, I'd rather honestly not play music. Playing music is a form of art, and if I can't truly be an artist and be true to what it is inside — whatever that is that keeps me going… I have to stay inspired. You can only write so many three-chord rock songs. So, to me, this is something that I'm kind of more doing for myself, and I feel like I kind of have earned that at this point in my career. And I'm just having fun.
"Surprisingly… It was weird. I was totally expecting for all my fanbase just to hate it — not get it," Ashba added. "'Cause I really, really go deep down in EDM — I stayed very, very true to the EDM sound — and I really thought they were gonna hate it, and I was okay with that. 'Cause in my mind, I'm writing this for the EDM, the young kids that go to those festivals. This is full-on festival music. And surprisingly, I got no pushback. My rock fans really, really were freaking out on it, which kind of freaked me out. I was expecting them to really not get it or maybe push it aside. But they've been nothing but supportive. I'm very thankful that they gave it a chance."
ASHBA's "Let's Dance" single featured a guest appearance by James Michael, co-founder and lead singer of SIXX:A.M., which he and DJ formed with Nikki Sixx (MÖTLEY CRÜE).
Ashba told the Las Vegas Review-Journal about the musical approach of his new effort: "I would go to a lot of EDM concerts, and their shows are so over the top and, you know, all these young kids just losing their minds, right? And the one thing that I've noticed is … it lacks guitar, you know, and I saw an opportunity, like five years ago, going, 'If I could take what I do and somehow inject it into this world.' A lot of kids are not being exposed to a lot of guitar in that world."
Although Ashba initially started work on the project as a collaboration with Michael — under the band name PYROMANTIC — it has since evolved into an Ashba solo venture, with Michael announcing in 2018 that he was stepping away from the group.
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ASHBA tearing up the stage w/ his new single Bella Ciao ??
Posted by EPIC Event Center on Friday, November 12, 2021Saw ASHBA ?in concert tonight in Green Bay! The show was AMAZING! James and Savannah loved it! He threw a guitar pick to James?. So much fun!
#60SecondsOnTheClock with ASHBA! Performing LIVE at EPIC Event Center NOW!
Posted by EPIC Event Center on Friday, November 12, 2021
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