Chicago Music Magazine interviews John 5
Chicago Music Magazine Assistant Editor Alex Kluft has sat down with John 5 during the Zombie/Megadeth co-headliner for an interview. Read it here and see below some of the images Alex took of the recent shows.
CMM: Who was the guitarist that made you want to play guitar and why guitar?
J5:I used to watch a lot of tv back in the day so I’d say it was the Monkees, the TV show “Hee Haw” and I just really liked the guitar and I was very taken back by that so I think that’s what made me want to start playing guitar first, but my first guitar heros were Ace Frehley, Jimi Hendrix, and Eddie Van Halen, they took it to the next level for me.
CMM:Where did your country influences come from?
J5:Like I said before the early shows like “Hee Haw.” I used to really love those tv shows and I was always very interested in the Country music and how they played so it was always inside of me and those guys can play just as good as the rock guys I just loved how they played like that.
CMM:How much has Kiss influenced your stage persona?
J5: Everything is from when you’re a little kid and seeing those guys as a kid just being monsters like that on stage. I used to think they weren’t real. It was so larger than life to see something like that. It was really huge and so big and incredible for me to see Kiss onstage, because I loved monsters like Frankenstein, the Mummy, Creature From the Black Lagoon, and Wolfman… It was like having monsters onstage with guitars, so it was a huge influence.
CMM:How’d you become a studio musician?
J5:I started becoming a studio musician through people getting to know you and say “This guys good, and he can do this, and knock this out really quick.” So I think it was just word of mouth.
CMM:How did you get to play with Lynyrd Skynryd and Rod Stewart?
J5:My Publisher set up the Lynyrd Skynyrd thing and I went in there, they didn’t know me, I didn’t know them., but we really just hit it off, and we ended up making a great record called “God and Guns” With Rod Stewart, Kevin Savigar, who used to play keyboards with him, is a friend of mine. Kevin called me and said lets work with Rod.
CMM:What are some challenges involved with writing for established artists?
J5:Well it is a big challenge, because you don’t know what they want, and luckily I know their catalog what they sound like, what they like to do so It’s fun. I love challenges and you never know what your going to get, wheter its going to come out great or crappy. I’ve had really good luck in the past with it.
CMM:When your not on the road with Rob Zombie, would you do a solo tour for your new album?
J5:If I had time, of course I would do a solo tour and things like that, but I’ve been so packed for time with gigs and touring and making a new record. I will tour at one point or another, but ill make it a different kind of thing. I want to make it special in someway. Someday I’d like to go out and play some shows and make it real special.
CMM:Who played on “God Told Me To?
J5:”I’m playing most of it, except drums, we used Roger Carter.
CMM:How did you come up with the concept for half acoustic/ half metal?
J5:On my previous records I would do a bunch of heavy tunes and put some country stuff in there. This time I wanted to do something completely different and make it half acoustic which I haven’t done before and put a dvd with it to make it really special.
CMM:You’re playing both Rocklahoma and Rock on The Range this summer, what do you look forward to?
J5:I can’t wait, I’m looking so forward to them. Those are so much fun
Have you done Rocklahoma and Rock On The Range Before?
J5:I’ve done ROTR I don’t think ive done Rocklahoma before.
CMM:You’ve been both a guest and guest guitarist on That Metal Show, what do you like about that show?
J5: Its my favorite show on tv, and when I went there they were trying to explain to me all this stuff, “OK so now were going to do this and that’s when you play,” and I said “Listen I know the show, don’t worry about it, because ive seen every episode.
CMM:You’ve been a solo artist for 7 years now, what can you do on your own albums that you can’t while playing with an artist?
J5: I like both, being with Rob Zombie, and I love making my instrumental records, so I kind of like that, the best of both worlds, it’s a blessing, its great. Im really happy about it.
CMM:You’ve been played with many artists in a variety of genres, is there anyone that you would like to play with that you haven’t play with yet?
J5: I would love to work with Prince someday, people like that. I’d like to be a guest on a record of his so it would be a lot of fun.
CMM:What kind of preparation goes into a live show with Zombie?
J5: We prepare like a month before we go on the road, there’s a lot of preparation.
CMM:Do you have any crazy David Lee Roth stories?
J5: Being in a room with DLR is an honor and crazy itself, everday was a crazy story. I don’t think I have have enough time to tell them, but it was one of the best times of my life.
CMM:Being heavily influenced by Eddie Van Halen, and coming after Steve Vai what was it like being in DLR’s band?
J5: Incredible, I love Steve Vai and Eddie’s one of my guitar heros. I loved being apart of the DLR history if you will.
CMM:What do you think of “A Different Kind of Truth” [New Van Halen Record]?
J5: It’s the best, its incredible, I love it. I think they did a top notch job.
CMM:What are you looking forward to on the upcoming Zombie tour?
J5: I’m looking forward to seeing everybody and having a good time.
Interview and Photography by: Alex Kluft of Chicago Music Magazine