John 5 is best known for his work as former guitarist for Marilyn Manson and also as guitarist for Rob Zombie. He has one of the most impressive resumes in rock having working with artists like, K.D Lang, Lita Ford, Meatloaf, David Lee Roth, Salt-N-Pepa, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. His latest solo effort is titled “The Art of Malice.” I sat down with him recently to talk music and what he would most like to do otherwise.
The Art of Malice is a dynamic record that peaks and troughs well throughout its 12 tracks. Just as you get comfy immersing yourself within the drama of slower tracks like ‘Can I live Again’ and the tension of ‘Fractured Mirror’, you’re beaten over the head by thrashy outbursts and millions of notes in tracks like ‘Portrayed as Unremorseful’.
The album starts off with a blast with ‘The Nightmare Unravels’, as atmospheric guitar sounds give way to an explosive riff and lightning-fast soloing. This track truly exhibits what John 5 does best, pairing lead pyrotechnics with catchy melodies. ‘The Art Of Malice’ is a shorter track of bluegrass picking, another of John 5′s calling cards, and features no additional instruments beyond the guitar. As the album continues on, the tracks almost seem to be divided between heavy and mellow, occasionally crossing paths as some bluegrass picking finds its way into the heavier tracks, but the album almost seems to alternate between the two styles.
ohn 5 is an artist determined to flourish in the music world. By continuously challenging himself, he has shared the stage with musicians as disparate as Marilyn Manson and k.d. lang. On The Art of Malice, his signature sound (by way of Fender Telecaster) becomes all the more recognizable.
It’s almost insane how quickly this record goes from crushingly heavy to groove to twang, yet somehow it all flows. “The Art of Malice” proves John 5 to be as much a shredder as any of the guys that came out of the style’s 1980s heyday, but also a bit of a mad scientist, stitching together seemingly incongruous elements into an imposing Frankenstein monster.