Solo guitarist formerly of Marilyn Manson. John 5 chats with us about his latest record Songs for Sanity, and much more.
September 4, 2005
Guitarhoo!: Hello John 5 welcome to Guitarhoo! How did you come to start playing guitar and who were your influences?
John 5: It all started when I saw Hee Haw as a kid. Some little kid was playing a banjo on there, thats when I knew I wanted a guitar. I also loved The Monkeys. Later on got into Kiss . I love country music. I got into Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Hendrix and Yngwie.
G!: Have You Ever Taken Formal Lessons? i.e. Music school, or lessons as a kid?
J5: I still take lessons. You should never stop learning!
G!: You have played with many big names: K.D. Lang, Rob Halford, David Lee Roth, Marilyn Manson and now Rob Zombie. How do you prepare for each artist?
J5: I get into the band before hand. I get as many live concerts as I can to hear arrangements, ’cause they are different live sometimes.
G!: Those artists are pretty diverse. How did you get the call to join each project?
J5: I would just get into the artist. That’s the key – become a fan.
G!: Have you ever thought of doing a full on country record?
J5: Not really. If I did that, that would get boring. I like to keep it fresh and do different styles.
G!: Your new CD “Songs For Sanity” is 10 times better than Vertigo, well I think so. How did you come up with all that new music so fast?
J5: Thanks, I was trying to make a better record. I am always playing guitar and writing is something I am always working on. Guitar music is hard to make interesting. Glad you like it.
G!: On the track “Perinium” you have a guest and that guest is Steve Vai. Both of you play great. How did Vai end up on your record?
J5: I love Steve Vai! He is a genius. His parts are so classy, so professional. I am inspired by him. I asked him to play on it and he did. I sent him the track, and I think his parts are first take!
G!: “Death Valley” features Albert lee. Was it wild playing with Albert? Did it affect the way you played?
J5: I asked Albert to play. He actually came on down and played. It rocked and was insane having him there.
G!: “Behind The Nut Love” was that you bending behind the nut?
J5: I love Pedal Steel! I have always wanted to get that sound. I love that pedal steel sound in Country bands. So I just tuned to an open tuning and with an idea I got from Adrian Legg I was watching the Simpsons and came up with that track.
G!: “Songs For Sanity” really displays your diversity. Was it a conscious effort to do that?
J5: Yes. I like to mix it up and keep it fresh, to stay inspired.
G!: One of my favorite tracks from S.F.S is “Gods and Monsters” I always love that electronic/heavy/shred thing. Were you ever tempted to do a full out shred neo classical thing?
J5: Not really. I was more into heavy, like Buckethead and Classical. Neo-Classical sounds too 80’s to me. But you never know what will show up on the next record hahaha!
G!: Your Fender signature Telecaster. I have only played the Mexican version and its cool! How did this come about?
J5: I love telecasters. I was built for the road with Manson. It needed to be tough. I love telecasters they are my favorite guitars. I just bought a 55 for $30,000. The money is an investment. These guitars will not always be there.
John 5’s Signature “J5” Telecaster Guitar
G!: Is there a chance of an American Signature model besides the custom shop version?
J5: I dont know. That’s up to fender
G!: On the Cover of “S.F.S” there are 2 Tele’s: one Maple Neck, One rosewood. Any plans to modify your signature series?
J5: If you look closely you will notice one is a “Sub-Sonic”. There are plans for a new signature series. It has 3 humbuckers, you’re the first to know about it.
G!: “2 Die 4” is an acoustic tune. Do you play much Acoustic music? Any plans on a full acoustic record?
J5: I do, I love acoustic guitar .I have a Gibson J-45 a Gibson J-200. My fender J5 acoustic. I like to keep it fresh, perhaps the next record will have a Dobro piece.
G!: I hear you’re a huge Buckethead fan. Have you ever met Buckethead? Would you ever jam with him?
J5: Yeah I love Buckethead. I met him after a Deli Creeps show. He had the mask on and everything. It was so cool!! He said he liked my CD Vertigo. I was floored by that. I would love to jam with Buckethead!!! I love Cuckcoo clocks of hell, Bucketheadland 2, the Cobra Strike stuff all of it!
G!: Any up and coming players we should know about?
J5: Scotty Anderson will blow your mind. He is like Brent Mason only with Chords. He is amazing.
G!: How is the Zombie tour going?
J5: It’s great. Everybody is great. It’s probably the best tour I have ever been on everyone is so professional.
G!: Any advice for guitarists?
J5: If you wanna make it, move to a place with an active music seen like L.A. And practice your ASS off.
G!: John 5, thanks for taking the time to chat with us.
Interview © 2005 Guitarhoo!
John 5 on the web