Guitarist John 5 Shreds for the Sinners

Guitarist John 5 (he of the creepy horror-movie make-up) would appear to have all of the bases lined. He is in regular demand as a guitarist-for-hire (Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, David Lee Roth) whereas sustaining a parallel solo profession, with ten albums to his credit score. And did we point out that he’s a extremely sought-after songwriter, offering tunes for Avril Lavigne, Ozzy Osbourne, and Lynyrd Skynyrd? Houstonians may have the chance to witness John 5’s distinctive model of instrumental mayhem when he alongside along with his band The Creatures carry out at Warehouse Live on April 29 in assist of his newest album, Sinner.

Since he’s greatest recognized for his affiliation with heavy steel bands, an off-the-cuff observer may assume that the fiendish trying Mr. 5 could be a blood-drinking Neanderthal in platform boots who bangs groupies two at a time when he isn’t busy performing human sacrifices in tribute to his Dark Lord and Master. That supposition could be improper.

Speaking by way of Zoom from his dwelling in Los Angeles, John is, no less than on the floor, resoundingly regular. Sure, he has a bunch of tats and a few earrings, however that, as they are saying, doesn’t make him a foul particular person. It could, at this level, be a requirement for getting a rock and roll union card.

John is personable and interesting, sitting in a sun-filled room and attired in an LA Clippers basketball jersey, aviator shades in place, prepared to debate the upcoming tour and the brand new album. “I think everybody can relate to the title [Sinner],” John says, “because it doesn’t matter who you are, there is a little sinner in everyone.”

John spent his youth in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, an prosperous suburb of Detroit. Did he develop up in a very spiritual setting? “We went to church on special occasions,” he says. “It was enjoyable. We would go to church for midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. It was fun, because you were up really late. You were supposed to be in bed. We weren’t really religious, we were just taught to be good people. It doesn’t matter what religion you are. If you’re a good person, that’s good enough for me.”

John knew early on that he needed to be a musician, drawing inspiration from the tv present “Hee Haw,” with Buck Owens and Roy Clark pickin’ and grinnin’. “I loved ‘Hee Haw.’ They had all these great musicians on there. And I was so little that I couldn’t believe that this was happening on an instrument. And that’s why I have such an appreciation for bluegrass and the crazy, crazy instrumentalists from that country era.”

This catholic view of music has at all times been a part of John’s method, as evinced on his new file. In addition to the anticipated slamming steel instrumentals, John slid in a few wild playing cards, the Hoagy Carmichael customary “Georgia on My Mind” and “How High the Moon,” which was recorded by Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, and the duo of Les Paul and May Ford.

click to enlarge John 5 is highly regarded as a guitarist and as an individulal.  “It’s half the battle being a good musician.  The other half is that you have to be a good person." - PHOTO BY JEFF GRAHAM

John 5 is highly regarded as a guitarist and as an individulal. “It’s half the battle being a good musician. The other half is that you have to be a good person.”

Photo by Jeff Graham

Aside from prompting unexpected repertoire choices, spending time with the music of another period had an impact on John’s approach to the recording of Sinner. “We had so much time on our hands [during the pandemic], and I was listening to a lot of “40s Junction” on Sirius XM. It’s all music from the Forties. I used to be like, that is so good, and it’s so insane, and it’s all dwell. And I believed that was fascinating. So I attempted to make lemonade out of lemons. I needed to carry out the songs utterly dwell. I didn’t wish to do any overdubs. So whenever you hear this, you’re listening to a whole take, and that’s what’s cool. I’m not saying I bought it on the primary or second or third take, however what you’re listening to is a whole, dwell take. And that’s one thing I’m proud  of.”

And what do his followers consider what may seem like off-the-wall tune selections? “They actually react more than they do with the rock stuff! It’s from the heart, and they react crazier than they do for the heavy stuff. Because I think they are so used to hearing heavy stuff throughout their lives. Like every concert, every album. But then when you get something like ‘How High the Moon,’ they’re like, ‘What the hell?’ Even if they don’t like it, they will cheer, because it’s something that was shocking.”

By all accounts, John’s success within the music enterprise has as a lot to do along with his affable character as his monster guitar chops. “It’s half the battle being a good musician. The other half is that you have to be a good person, because you’re working with all these different people,” John says.

“I take from experience,” he continues, “and I always look around to see what’s going on, because I’ve played with the best in the business. I always listen. And I always listen to both parties. So what I do is treat everybody — the road crew, the band — the same. I treat everybody with kindness and respect. I never talk down to anybody. Everybody is equal. And it’s worked so well. It’s so much easier to be a nice person.”

Speaking of these” greatest within the enterprise” varieties, John graciously agrees to provide fast takes on a few of his extra notable musical associates.

David Lee Roth (Van Halen): “He was my hero and still is. Van Halen, they were everything to me. And I always wanted to be Eddie Van Halen. And so I got a chance to be Eddie Van Halen for a little while.”

Rob Halford (Judas Priest): “It’s weird. I think Rob is like a robot, because he sings so perfect every night. I don’t this he’s human, because he was so on the money every night. It was very strange.”

okay.d. lang: “I think k.d. taught me more than most artists that I’ve played with. It was an incredible experience.”

Marilyn Manson: “That was where I got my name. He gave me my name, John 5. It was New Year’s Eve, all the time. We had the biggest records, we had the biggest shows. It was insane, the success. And I could see it going up and up and up. It was incredible.”

Rob Zombie: “He was the one that changed my life more than anyone. With life, with music, with business. Really one of the smartest people I know.”

The Sinner tour will focus totally on golf equipment, however John doesn’t see that as a comedown from enjoying stadiums. “I love playing these shows,” he says. “Now here’s why. I love people. And I really like to talk to fans. And with these shows, you’re really close. You can hear everything so well. I love playing arenas as well. Obviously, it’s so much fun. It’s crazy. But the fans are – it’s hard to throw a pick to the crowd because the fans are so far away. So either way. I enjoy the clubs, I love the arenas, so I literally have the best of both worlds.”

The interview involves an abrupt finish when John has to chase down Vlad, considered one of his Sphinx cats that has been roaming round through the dialog, often peering into the digital camera. As quickly as Vlad discovers an open door, it’s off to the races. “I have four hairless cats,” John says, hopping up. “and they’re all monsters.”

John 5 and The Creatures will carry out at Warehouse Live, 813 Saint Emanuel, on Friday, April 29, on a invoice with Fozzy, GFM, KrashKarma, and the Nocturnal Affair. Doors at 6 p.m. Tickets $10 and up. For extra data, go to warehouselive.com.

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