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DJ Ashba Says Guns N’ Roses’ Punctuality Problems Are Over

Axl Rose Punctuality Award
Frazer Harrison, Getty Images / Buena Vista Pictures

Of all the knocks that Guns N’ Roses have had to take from the press throughout their career, perhaps none have been as long-lasting as their lack of punctuality. However, in a new interview, guitarist DJ Ashba says that Axl Rose has successfully changed his stripes.

“The last year we’ve been going on pretty much dead-on,” he told 93.9 KWSS. “Axl has made a very big point to be on stage on time. It’s funny, ’cause it’s nothing that media races out and reports. They tend to get the bigger hits when they have something negative to report. So you don’t really hear about that so much. But yeah, I’ve been really happy. Everybody has been really on it, and the fans are happy, and it’s really cool.”

In the band’s early days, they developed a reputation for taking the stage late, something their former manager chalked up to stage fright on Rose’s part. Two years ago, they caused controversy on their U.K. tour when a late start in Manchester caused many to walk out before they had taken the stage.

Rose himself addressed the issue during his 2011 ‘That Metal Show’ interview, leveling part of the blame at former bandmates and technical problems — but also admitting that tardiness has been an issue all his life: “I lived right behind my school, and I couldn’t make it to the class in grade school. I had a job at the grocery store down the street, and I’m running down the street with wet hair, trying to tie my tie, with a sandwich in one hand… it’s a comic strip.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Ashba says he doesn’t believe three guitarists are fully necessary on stage for Guns N’ Roses, but that Rose wants it that way in order to recreate the album experience as closely as possible for fans.

“Could two of us pull off those songs?” he continued. “Absolutely. But I think what’s cool, and where Axl is coming from is he wants it to sound like the record; Axl is very big on that. You know, everybody that’s ever made a record, usually there’s more than two guitar tracks on a song; you’ve got rhythms and lead and overdubs. So it’s kind of cool.”

Ashba, who has been in the band since 2009, is joined in a triple-axe attack by Richard Fortus and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal. They’ve been with the group since 2002 and 2006, respectively.

Rose has “really put together an incredible pool of musicians,” Ashba adds. “He handpicked everybody in this band and I’m honored to be a part of it. Everybody in this band is top-notch players. So, yeah, could two of us do it? Of course. But to me, we can do all the bells and whistles … and it sounds very authentic that way, I think. We can really make it sound like the record, like a really cool live experience for people.”

Rose has recently indicated that they could be ready to begin work on a follow up 2008′s ‘Chinese Democracy.” Ashba adds that he has plenty of songs ready to go once the group comes off the road. This weekend, Guns N’ Roses will conclude their second residency at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. A concert film focusing on their initial stint, called ‘Appetite for Democracy 3D,’ is due on July 1.

Next: Five 'Chinese Democracy' Songs You Should Hear Again

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