UPDATE: A rep for Guns N’ Roses confirmed that guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal is also no longer with the band, according to Philadelphia radio station WMMR.
After a six-year stint with Guns N’ Roses, guitarist DJ Ashba has parted ways with Axl Rose’s band. “It is with a very heavy heart and yet great pride that I announce that I’ve decided to close this chapter of my life and encapsulate the wonderful times that I’ve shared with Guns N’ Roses into fond memories,” Ashba wrote in a long handwritten letter to fans that was subsequently translated to Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and French.
With no tour dates on the horizon for Guns N’ Roses – and no inkling of a follow-up to 2008’s Chinese Democracy in the works – Ashba writes that he’ll instead focus on his family as well as his side project with Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx. “I have reached a point in my life where I feel it’s time to dedicate myself to my band Sixx:A.M., my adoring wife and family, and to the many new adventures that the future holds for me,” Ashba wrote.
Ashba was hired to join GNR in 2009 following the release of Chinese Democracy to replace guitarist Robin Finck, who departed to rejoin Nine Inch Nails. Ashba served as the band’s touring guitarist for six years, although the band hadn’t performed together since their spring 2014 Las Vegas residency.
“[Six] years ago I received a call that changed my life forever. It was an offer to audition for Axl Rose and earn a role in arguably the biggest rock band of my time,” Ashba wrote. “While I thought it was a complete long shot, I decided to go ahead and give it a try. Much to my shock and surprise, I got the gig. And so began the most incredible journey I could have possibly imagined. I was blessed with the opportunity to not only work with one of the most talented bands but also to share the stage with a living legend and a truly gifted human being, Axl Rose.”
Although Rose infamously split with former GNR band mates Slash, Matt Sorum and Steven Adler under tumultuous circumstances, Ashba had nothing but praise for the singer. “As I sit here writing this letter, I want to take a moment to thank Axl from the bottom of my heart for not only the most incredible experience of my life, but for truly believing in me,” Ashba wrote. “You are a true friend and a champion of mine and I am forever grateful. And even as I move on to pursue other endeavors, I will always remain one of your biggest fans.”