Today, SixxA.M. released their third album. Prayers For The Damned (Vol. 1). As can be ascertained from the title, it’s one of two albums the band will be releasing this year. It’s also the first release since guitarist DJ Ashba left his previous band, Guns N’ Roses and bassist Nikki Sixx wrapped up a 30+ year career with his other band, Motley Crue. We spoke to Ashba about how the two volumes of Prayers For the Damned fit together and his decision to leave Guns N’ Roses.
How would you say Prayers For the Damned differs from your earlier material?
Well, we went in with the intent to make a more aggressive album then the past few records. We wanted to capture the live element on these songs so when we went in the studio, this is the first time we brought our live band to help us record it. We went in to do a double album, but we knew we weren’t going to release it as a double album. We’re going to release them some time apart. I think this one comes out on the 29th and Vol.2 will come out around September, October. What we wanted to do, our goal was to go in knowing we’re going to be playing as Sixx:AM from here on out. We wanted to add to our catalog some big arena rock type songs. We’re really excited about the future and how these album turn out and we can’t wait for the people out there to hear it.
Is the second volume different in any particular way? Is the first one the “arena rock” one and the second one, I don’t know, the “dubstep/trap” album?
No, its very cohesive. Basically we wanted to make two separate albums that complemented each other. Meaning, I designed the album artwork and the way I designed the artwork was much like I wrote the record. The album artwork and the first album tells a complete story on its own and its very satisfying. Its like watching a good movie, it has a great beginning, middle and end and the artwork really sums it up. Meaning, if you never saw or heard Vol. 2, you’d be completely satisfied with the art and the music. It all goes nicely together, however, if you do pop in the next album, its just a continuation of where we left off and the journey continues. If you physically hold the album artwork from the second album to the first, it actually makes a completely bigger picture if that makes sense, and that was all done very intentionally.
You and Nikki were in a couple of other small side projects before (laughter). At what point in time were you like “Sixx AM is going to be a full time thing.”
It was one of those things where being in two bands myself, being in Guns N Roses and Sixx AM. One, Sixx AM has always been a labor of love. We’ve never really set out to be a band. We were all best friend, songwriters, producers that got together. Because of the fans and radio really took to the songs that we wrote, we kept putting out another album, songs kept going number one (at rock radio)and so on and so on. Next year is going to be the 10 year anniversary for The Heroin Diaries. We just felt the fans aren’t going away, the fans keep growing by the numbers and the songs that we write, they’re touching a lot of people in many ways that we never thought this was going to grow into what its become. This has been very organic how its grown over the last 10 years, we’ve never tried to force a band down people’s throats. In fact, the fans have tried to force us to be a band, its one of those things where you’re together for so long. You look back, you play some shows and you have so many hit songs to pull from. We have a massive catalog of songs that we’re all proud of and we just did a double album. The last nineteen days that we did the headlining Modern Vintage tour, something clicked.
I’ve been playing with Guns for six years, it was awesome but no amount of money, no feeling quite like when you look out into a crowd and you’re playing your songs, songs that came from your heart and you see them connecting with people. You see tears in peoples eyes because its touching them in a way. The songs have always meant the world to me because I helped write them all. When you see how they affect other people, that just kind of did something to me and it kind of put me on the right path. I just knew in my heart, I’ve had a blast playing in Guns N Roses, but its time to go and be true to my own music and give the fans what they’ve been dying to see.
It seems like its working out well for everyone. Did you know that the GNR reunion was going to happen this year?
Absolutely. In fact, Axl wanted me to be a part of it. I couldn’t be more happy for it happening. I was stoked to find out about it, people have got to remember, If I wasn’t a fan of the band, I wouldn’t have joined the band. I have great admiration for Axl, Slash and Duff and, Steven, Izzy and everybodys put into that thing. I have even more respect now after playing in the band for so many years. I couldn’t be more happy, I’m just a biggest fan as I’ve always been, I’m so happy for the fans that they get to go out there and see at least half of the band reunited, its a big deal. This is what the fans have been wanting, me included in that. I just didnt feel like it was my place. If Slash has come back, I couldnt be more happy, this is great. At that point, its best I go do what I’m really good at doing. Its kind of the best of both worlds, I get to have my favorite band back and I get to go play in my favorite band again. Its a win win.
Prayers For The Damned is out now on Eleven Seven Music.