And he’s added another reason to the list of excuses GnR use for their habitual lateness: health and safety.
Ashba tells Yahoo News: “I think a lot of people and the press try to blow it up and say he’s an asshole – but everyone can be an asshole if you get them on the wrong day.
“Axl is in a position where he doesn’t have to be cool with the band, but he treats us like gold. He lets us write our own solos and gives everybody their time to shine on stage.
“He has no problem sharing the spotlight. In fact, he quite likes it – otherwise he’d be doing this interview and not me.”
In 2011 Rose admitted he’d suffered from poor timekeeping all his life. In the same year Wednesday 13 of the Murderdolls said Rose had told him: “I need to get into my zone.” Later a band statement warned fans GnR would hit the stage whenever they felt like it. Then in 2012 Classic Rock revealed a concert crew had been told to expect a late show 13 hours before it was set to begin.
But Ashba says the real reason for shows starting late is safety concerns. “We have a huge rig and pyrotechnics so often it’s the case of fitting all that into the venue,” he says. “Our number one priority is to make the shows safe.”
He admits the angry reaction from fans gets to them: “It kills us as a band because we’re not doing any of this on purpose. Our main goal is to go and give the fans a show they will never forget.
“We understand how expensive tickets are. We take that into account and when we do hit the stage it’s almost impossible to get us off.”
In the four years since GnR’s massively delayed album Chinese Democracy appeared, Ashba says he’s seen the audience reaction to its songs improve. “A lot of people are singing along to them now that they’re more familiar,” he reports.
Of the often-discussed follow-up record he notes: “It won’t be another Chinese Democracy – but then again we’re in no rush to make a bad record. Failing is not an option, so we’re putting our heart and soul into this one.”
GnR teased an unmixed clip from their upcoming live 3D movie earlier this week.