DJ Ashba has been rocking the six-string with Guns N’ Roses ever since he replaced Robin Finck in 2009. While some GN’R fans weren’t exactly welcoming when it came to a new band member joining their favorite group, in a new interview with Rock Over America, DJ Ashba explained that he got past that quickly, and now, the fans and press are welcoming him with open arms and ears.

“It was just surreal. It was a lot of stress, because I have Sixx:A.M., too. I didn’t realize at the time just how hardcore the Guns fans are,” he said via Blabbermouth. “I was a fan — I am a fan — but you have to win their respect. And stepping in the shoes of somebody like Slash, I just didn’t realize how tough it was going to be as far as winning people over. But at the same time, it makes you a real strong person, and it also was a huge challenge that I was definitely up for.”

“Up until [I joined the band], I had never read a negative thing on me in the press and stuff, and when I first joined [Guns N’ Roses], I got a couple of playing to some middle fingers and some hardcore fans, and I wasn’t used to that. And then once I think people kind of did their homework and realized, ‘Oh, this guy’s been around for a bit,’ slowly I started winning people over and I hope to continue to do so. But the guys [in the band] were really supportive and kept my chin up.”

Ashba also dropped the good news that he hopes to be very involved with the writing process on Guns N’ Roses’ upcoming studio album.

“I don’t get involved with any project unless I honestly feel, as a songwriter and producer, I can bring something solid to the table,” he said. “And with Guns, I really feel like, outside of playing guitar for them, I’m really excited to get in there and collaborate with this band because Axl has put together one of the most amazing bands; I mean, the musicianship in this band is unbelievable. It’s an honor — it’s a huge honor — and I’m just trying to do the gig justice by trying to stay as true to the original vision as I possibly can.”

“Coming into this, I wasn’t coming in just to play guitar; I’m coming in as a songwriter. Obviously, I’m a producer [as well]. I’m not saying I’m gonna produce a Guns record or whatever… But I’m really excited about the future, because the sky’s the limit. And I know my goal is the same as Axl’s [Rose, vocals], and everyone else’s in the band, [which is] to put together what we all feel ultimately would be the next best Guns N’ Roses record. So that, to me, is really exciting, and I’m always up for a huge challenge. So that’s what gets me going.”