DJ Ashba’s 5 Essential Guitar Albums
Current Sixx AM and former Guns N' Roses guitarist DJ Ashba picks five of the very best albums from five influential axemen
DJ Ashba has proven to be quite a versatile guitarist - whether it be exposing his “shred side” on his all-instrumental solo album, Addiction to the Friction, or displaying his “songwriting side” with any of the releases issued thus far by Sixx: AM (including their latest, Prayers for the Blessed, Vol. 2, out now). Here, DJ lists several of his favourite six-string showcases by others.
Van Halen - Van Halen (1978)
My favourite would probably be Van Halen I, of course - it’s probably everybody’s favourite. [Laughs] I just love it - Eddie is one of my biggest influences ever. He changed the way guitar was played, and he became a huge influence on me. He’s one of the #1 reasons why I picked up a guitar. It just blew my mind, the way he approached the guitar. It was just incredible. So that would definitely be way up on my list, for sure.
Ozzy Osbourne/Randy Rhoads - Tribute (1987)
I’m a big Rhoads freak, and the collection of those songs really captures just what a genius Randy was - at such an early age. It just always baffles me, because god, what would he have been like to this day? He was so advanced on the guitar back then, and I’ve always been just a huge admirer and he’s always been a huge influence on my playing, as well.
Elvis Presley [with Scotty Moore] - The First Years (1983)
I’m a big fan of Elvis, and Scotty Moore is one of my favourite guitar players. I don’t play anything like him, but I just absolutely love his approach. I love the way of just that rockabilly feel that he has - all of that finger picking and chicken picking. It’s such a cool style to listen to, and he’s so good at it. He is such a talent. It’s hard to see past obviously the presence of Elvis himself, but man, if you go back and watch those old videos and watch the way Scotty Moore played, it was just unbelievable to watch.
Joe Satriani - Surfing with the Alien (1987) and Steve Vai - Passion and Warfare (1990)
My next two favourite guys would probably be Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. Passion and Warfare is a killer album, but it’s equally as good as Surfing with the Alien. That’s a hard toss-up to me, so I’m going to put them both at #4. Steve Vai, just the way he plays guitar, generally he is one of those extraordinary guys. His brain, the way it works, even his compositions are just so incredible. If you really sit back and listen to the stuff he does outside of just guitar records, he’s a genius when it comes to music. And because of him, I got into Satch, because Satch was his teacher. And learned very quickly you could hear Joe’s influence in Steve. And then you really see where he picks up a lot of his tricks, and you learn, “God, he’s Kirk Hammett’s teacher, he taught a lot of really outstanding guitar players.”
Stevie Ray Vaughan - Live at Carnegie Hall (1997)
I’m a massive fan of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Stevie is I think hands down, the best blues player ever to walk the earth. You can pick up any album, and that band was on fire. You see some of these live concerts of Stevie Ray back in the day, and you can see there is just something flowing through him. There is a higher power going through his body, and it was just 120% feel. It’s so influential and so inspiring to see all these old videos of him playing.