Who is Dj ASHBA?
Dj ASHBA™ is best known for his work as lead guitarist for the bands Guns N' Roses and Sixx: A.M. There is a lot more to the man behind the trademarked name than that, though! (Trademarked name is Dj ASHBA™ but for ease of reading and less capslock abuse, this lens will refer to him simply as Dj Ashba).
Outside of playing guitar, Dj is also a songwriter, producer and entrepreneur. He is involved in so many different projects that it's hard to even imagine how he fits all of his work into days that only last for 24 hours, but somehow he does it! This lens will give you a little bit of information about who Dj is, and some of what he does... It would be impossible to cover everything!
Image used under the Creative Commons license via Wikimedia Commons
The Early Days
Born Daren Jay Ashba, on November 10th, 1972 in Monticello, Indiana, Dj Ashba was raised by his religious single mother in Fairbury, Illinois. A classical pianist, his mother began teaching Dj about music when he was just a toddler, leading to him performing his first piano recital (Beethoven's "Ode to Joy") at the age of five.
When he was eight years old, Dj took a job working in the corn fields so that he could earn enough money to buy himself his first guitar from the Sears catalog. A guitar player from a local band, who he rode the bus with, taught him a new chord every day on a makeshift fret board that the two had carved into the back of a bus seat. Dj would sometimes spend up to 17 hours a day practicing his guitar skills at home.
When he was still a teenager, Dj packed up and moved out to Los Angeles to set out on fulfilling his dream, leaving his life and loved ones behind, something he has said was the hardest thing he's ever had to do.
He joined and toured for two years with the band Barracuda before leaving to put out his first instrumental solo album, "ASHBA: Addiction to Friction", in 1996.
Ashba formed the Beautiful Creatures in 1999 with Joe LestÃ©, the frontman for the band Bang Tango, after meeting him while touring with his previous band, Bullet Boys. The band was signed to Warner Bros records and released their debut, self-titled album in 2001.
1 A.M., a track from the album, was featured in the soundtrack for the movie Valentine and the television series Smallville, and another song from the record, Ride featured on the soundtrack for the movie Rollerball in 2002.
The band went on to play the Rolling Rock tour, Ozzfest and dates with Marilyn Manson before eventually being dropped from Warner Bros label after the AOL/Time Warner merger due to poor record sales. Ashba left the band in 2002 on good terms, and they found a replacement and continued on as a band.
After departing from Beautiful Creatures, Dj formed another solo project by the name of ASHBA. He recruited guitarist Michael Thomas, who was his replacement in Beautiful Creatures until 2003, drummer Bones Elias and bassist John Younger.
Beautiful Creatures on Amazon
Dj Ashba was only with the band to record their first album, but features on their second - Deuce - on the added bonus tracks only.
In 2007 Ashba formed the band Sixx:A.M. with the bassist of MÃ¶tley CrÃ¼e, Nikki Sixx, and record producer and singer, James Michael. The band's name comes from the surnames of all three band members (Sixx:Ashba. Michael.).
The band released their first album, The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack, which accompanies Sixx's book "The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star" in August 2007.
Originally, Sixx:A.M. never had any intentions to tour but due to popular demand and overwhelming support for the band, they scheduled a tour to start in spring of 2008 after holding a nationwide vote for tour dates. The tour was unfortunately postponed due to unforeseeable circumstances.
In July 2008 the band toured as part of MÃ¶tley CrÃ¼e's CrÃ¼e Fest, along with Trapt, Buckcherry and Papa Roach. As the band have no drummer (James Michael does the programming for the drums in the studio), Papa Roach's Tony Palermo served as the drummer throughout the tour.
The band released a deluxe edition of The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack in November 2008, which included "Live is Beautiful", a bonus EP which featured recorded live performances from the summer tour.
The critically acclaimed follow up to their debut album, This Is Gonna Hurt, was originally scheduled to be released in March 2011, again accompanied by a book by Sixx of the same name, with the album serving again as a soundtrack. The book was actually released in April, with the album following in May. Later that year, in November, the band released "7", an EP containing seven songs from their previous two releases in acoustic form.
Sixx: A.M. performed for the first time in four years at the Revolver Golden God Awards in Los Angeles on April 11, 2012. They performed only two songs ("This Is Gonna Hurt" and "Are You With Me") and released music videos for both songs later, with clips from the show.
In October 2012, the band confirmed they were in the studio working on their third album.
Sixx:A.M. on Amazon
Sixx:A.M. Music Videos
Dj Ashba is not only an incredible guitarist, but he is also a renowned songwriter and producer and has worked with artists such as Drowning Pool, MÃ¶tley CrÃ¼e and Neil Diamond.
Guns N' Roses
Imaged used under the Creative Commons license via Flickr.
Dj Ashba joined Guns N' Roses as their new lead guitarist in 2009, after the previous guitarist - Robin Finck - left the band to rejoin Nine Inch Nails. Since joining the band, Dj has toured the world with them, playing shows around the US, Canada, Asia, South America and Europe. In December, the band are heading to Indonesia and India for the first time.
Ashba has since stated that he and Axl Rose have a mutual respect for each other and that the front man told him that he had been following his career for 10 years.
Check out these videos of Ashba performing solos live during Guns N' Roses shows.
Aside from music, Dj Ashba has also dipped his fingers into the world of fashion with his clothing line, Ashba Swag, and car design, teaming with Dodge to produce the Ashba Challenger as a part of Ashba Autos!
Ashba Media, Inc. & Ashbaland
Dj founded his creative design agency, Ashba Media, Inc. (AMI) in 2003 and beat over 100 other agencies to become the agency for Virgin Megastores. AMI is responsible for the look and feel of each store. Other notable clients of AMI include Royal Underground Clothing, Ovation Guitars and Sony Playstation.
In addition to AMI, Ashba founded production company, Ashbaland, two years later, where he write and produces music for other artists. Ashbaland's clientele includes MÃ¶tley CrÃ¼e, Run-DMC, Drowning Pool and Neil Diamond. In 2007 he wrote and co-produced MÃ¶tley CrÃ¼e's Grammy nominated album, Saints of Los Angeles.
Dj & His Fans
Dj Ashba is also known for being down-to-earth, humble, and appreciative of his fans worldwide. He often interacts with them over social networking sites personally, and never takes them for granted.
In April 2012 Ashba became a spokesperson for anti-bullying website, BullyVille. He spoke out for the first time of his childhood struggles, growing up being emotionally and physically bullied by his father who walked out on the family when he was just 3 or 4 years old. Ashba stated that he told his story in the hopes of letting other kids and teenagers that are going through similar situations that they are not alone and that they can achieve whatever they want to do and be anything they want to be and says that he is living proof of that.
Ashba Playing the National Anthem
Check out Dj Ashba performing the National Anthem at Arrowhead Stadium before the Kansas City Chiefs vs Arizona Cardinals game on November 21st, 2010.
- Dj ASHBA Online Portal
AshbaLand: The online portal to all of Dj ASHBA's projects.
- Dj ASHBA Official Website
The official website of Dj ASHBA.
- Dj ASHBA on Twitter
the official Twitter page of Dj ASHBA.
- Dj ASHBA on Facebook
The official Facebook page of Dj ASHBA.
- ASHBA MEDIA
The official website of ASHBA MEDIA, Dj ASHBA's creative agency.
- ASHBA Swag
The official website of Dj ASHBA's clothing and accessory line, ASHBA Swag.
- ASHBA Auto
The official website of the ASHBA Automotive Group.
- Dj ASHBA on Google+
The official profile of Dj ASHBA on Google+
Eli Roth's Goretorium
Songs for the Demented Mind
In 2012, Dj Ashba composed and produced "Songs for the Demented Mind" for Eli Roth's Goretorium, something that can only be described as an audio horror story. As well as composing the musical arrangements throughout the CD, he also takes on the lead role in the soundtrack. Not only is he great musically, but this proves that he's an impressive vocal actor, too!
Check it out here!
Guitar lessons from Dj!
Here Dj gives a breakdown of a couple of songs from Sixx: A.M.'s album "This Is Gonna Hurt".