PRO recently sat down and interviewed John 5. You can read the interview here: pressrecordonline.squarespace.com/interviews/2010/7/14/john-5.html
Interview by Levi Buckley
John 5 is not a stranger to playing with great bands. In his career he has worked with Marilyn Manson, Garbage and currently is a part of Rob Zombie and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Levi Buckley caught up with John to talk about what he has going on at the moment.
It seems as though you’re constantly busy these day, do you ever get time to sleep
No I don’t, which is good cuz I guess I’ll sleep when I’m dead right
So do you get much time to relax and do normal things like watch TV or is it just always work with another musicians and your solo stuff?
Actually I watch a lot of TV because that’s where I do a lot of my song writing. When I watch TV I love it I find it very therapeutic, to play guitar and watch TV I love it.
Is there a particular TV show that inspired you more than others?
Well you know I love movies of course I love Family Guy, The Simpsons and Curb Your Enthusiasm and shows like that. I just love watching movies and TV you know and having a guitar in my hands
Your latest solo album is called The Art of Malice can you tell us about the album and the recording process?
Well this is my fifth instrumental record and you know with the whole John 5 and the fifth record it was very close to my heart. I wanted to have the album like it’s hard to explain it but kind of like if you had you iPod on shuffle and you just never know what songs going to come on next. That’s kind of how I wanted it I just wanted a bunch of different styles of music, it’s kind of like a guitar players wet dream because there’s so much on there is country, heavy rock, metal, acoustic work there’s everything on there it’s really fun I love it.
Do you find you have more freedom doing your own stuff?
Well yeah I can play whatever I want but in any other situation they would be like ‘what are you doing that for?’ and it’s a lot of fun and that’s why I think a lot of people recognize me because the music is so different I’m not just another clone ripping off other guitar players
Well there’s not many metal guitarist that have a bluegrass influence as well…
Yeah I just love that kind of music and hopefully I can inspire some players out there because that’s what happened to me and I love being inspired more than anything else and hopefully I’ll do that for some guitar players
You’re actually going to be playing two sets at the Rock star Mayhem festival, one with yourself and one with Rob Zombie are you looking forward to this festival?
Yes actually we leave tomorrow, it’s a month long tour it’s going to be a blast Korn, Lamb of God, Shadows Fall, Five Finger Death Punch you know it’s going to be a blast.
So what is the reaction like to your solo shows? Do you find it’s mainly guitar nerds or are there Zombie and Manson fans there as well?
Actually lets there’s Zombie fans, Manson fans, guitar shredders there’s actually older men there too that love country stuff. It’s really cool there’s such a wide range of people and it’s so much fun to do things like this because the shows get so packed it’s really cool
Speaking of shows do you have any plans to bring your solo stuff or Rob Zombie to Australia?
Actually there is talk that Rob Zombie might come there in February, there’s talk I don’t know whether it will happen or now but there talking about it, and my favorite place besides the United States is Australia I love it there so much
So when was the last time you played in Australia?
It was awhile ago, and if were there in February that’s your summer right?
So where are you Sydney or Melbourne?
No, were based in Brisbane
oh okay Brisbane I love it
Your regarded as one of the best guitarists you’ve released a few instructional DVD’s, is there any secrets or is it just practice, practice, practice?
Its practice and it’s playing something you love, people say what should I learn and I say if you love Black Sabbath learn a Black Sabbath because you will never be able to put the guitar down because you’re learning something you love. That’s what you should do with everything learn something you love because you will always want to play it
So when you practice what exercises do you mainly do in your routine?
Usually what I do is I write instrumental songs with hopefully different styles. Right now I’m really in Spanish flamenco guitar playing I’m trying to incorporate that as much as possible I done that a bit on the new instrumental record. At the beginning of the song ‘The Art of Malice’ you will hear some of the Spanish style, that’s what I usually practice when I’m writing instrumentals because it’s really difficult that stuff but it’s fun to play and fun to write
There are a lot of guitarists out there that think you need drugs to be creative but I know you definitely don’t think that way. Is it hard to stay away from that influence in the rock scene?
It is very hard because the norm so many people do it, the normal think to do is do drugs I’m the abnormal one not doing drugs. There’s so much around especially in the line of work I’m in, there’s so many musicians that drink and do drugs it’s like working in a candy store and saying ‘you know what I don’t really like candy’
So what vices do you have instead of drugs is it just playing guitar and music or is there something else
I like and think I spend too much money on vintage guitars and I think I play to much guitar because it sacrifices other parts of my life.
I actually watched something on YouTube about your telecaster collection how many are you up to now
I haven’t really counted, counted but I think close to 200. I just love buying guitars and I love telecasters more than anything
It looked like you mainly just have telecasters do you have many Les Paul’s and Stratocasters as well?
Oh I have Les Paul’s I have Strats I have hollow bodies, Gretsch’s, Flying V’s I have everything.
What is it about Telecasters you love?
That’s a great question it was our very first solid bodied electric guitar. I always have loved the telecaster it does a lot of different cool tricks you can do the wah-wah and you can play behind the nut and make it sound like a steel guitar, I just love the look of it and I love the history of it with Fender it being our first solid bodied electric guitar I love it
Over the years you have played with some massive artists from Meatloaf to Marilyn Manson to Lynyrd Skynyrd if you were to choose one favorite who would it be?
Rob Zombie, it’s the best band I’ve ever been in the most fun I’ve had in my whole life
If you were to pick a second favorite who would it be?
Let’s see I really love David Lee Roth I love everybody Dave and Manson and Paul Stanley and Skynyrd it’s all a blast