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John 5 on His New Solo Disc, Rob Zombie’s Upcoming Album, and His Love of Electric Guitar

"In my opinion, the guitar is strong and powerful and will never die"

John 5
John 5, photo by Matt Akana

    John 5 performs to sold-out arenas and amphitheaters with horror-rock extraordinaire Rob Zombie, but when he’s not rocking out with the “Dragula” metal icon, he tours the world with his dynamic solo band, the Creatures.

    The guitarist is currently on the road with the Creatures for a tour in support of his new solo album, Invasion. Hardly your ordinary album, Invasion is being released one music video at a time, a tactic John 5 used when rolling out his last album with the Creatures, 2017’s Season of the Witch.

    “I do this for the love of guitar,” John 5 tells Heavy Consequence. “I care about releasing the music and having fun and doing it that way. I don’t care if I can make more money this way or that way. I just want people to have the music and have a good time with it, and that’s what happens with the music videos.”

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    Along with his own new album, John 5 has been working on a new Rob Zombie disc, which is due later this year. He’ll also be on the road again this summer when Zombie co-headlines the “Twins of Evil: Hell Never Dies Tour” with Marilyn Manson.

    John 5 spoke more with us about Invasion, Rob Zombie’s upcoming album, the differences between performing with the Creatures and Zombie, and the state of the electric guitar in popular music. Read the full interview below, and find John 5 online at John-5.com.

    On his favorite thing about touring with his solo band, the Creatures

    I love playing new songs, getting in front of the people, getting really close to the people and meeting them. Just having a good time, because I’m so close to people, and they’re always just so fun. We’re just having a blast. I’m so excited about everything.

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    On the difference in feel between playing intimate venues with the Creatures verses massive arenas with Rob Zombie

    It’s a very different vibe, because we’re playing in small places, and I’m literally so close to the people. I can put my head on their shoulder, because I’m playing right next to them, but with Rob, I can hardly throw a pick to the first segment of the crowd, because those places are so giant. So, I have the best of both worlds, because I can play these major arenas and also do these small venues. It’s just a blast. I couldn’t be happier.

    On what new material he’s performing with the Creatures on his current tour

    We were playing “Zoinks!” on the last tour, because it’s so difficult, and we were trying to figure it out, and it was the first video we released. Then, we just released “Crank It,” and that song sounds so good live. Sometimes you don’t know how it’s going to sound live, and that song sounds great, so I’m super excited about that. All the new songs we’re all really looking forward to playing live.

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    On leaving unfamiliar material out of the setlist on tour

    I only play songs that we have already released, because I’ve done a zillion shows, and I never want to have people be like, “What’s this song?” If you know my music, you’ll know all the songs. Every song that we’re going to play, we have released, because you’re there to entertain the people. You’re not there to entertain yourselves. You’re there to entertain the audience, and the audience is there to hear this or hear that, so I think that’s so imperative to do, because you’re there for them.

    On releasing Invasion as a series of music videos instead of a traditional album

    It’s very expensive and hard to do, but it’s worth it, because you’ll have those videos forever, and people enjoy them. When you release an album now, you work on it for a year, and the album is done a month after you promote it. How many magazines or outlets can you talk to in that time frame? It’s pretty much over in a month to six weeks, but now, if you release a new song every month, your album will be alive for 10 months. We’ll have a physical CD, as well, at the end of July, when all of the songs are out.

    On using YouTube and Instagram as a promotional vehicle to get his music heard

    I love YouTube and Instagram. It’s so important. There are a lot of people who love to use Instagram for whatever, but I use it as a tool. I’m make it my own TV station and play guitar solos and advertise shows, do I kind of do it as “Channel 5” and advertise tours and play guitar in my pajamas. And that’s really what I do at home. I play guitar in my pajamas all the time, and anyone who knows me knows that’s true. I’ll be on the road with Zombie and have these crazy pajamas on. It’s just what I like, and I’m comfortable in them, like we all are.

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    On his recent comments that Rob Zombie’s upcoming album is one of his best to date

    I was always a big White Zombie fan, and I know all of his music. Even before I got into the band, I knew all of his music. There’s something special with this record. He had the melodies and lyrics done before I got into studio, and I would add all of this music to it, and it worked so well. He had such strong melodies and lyrics, and he just said, “Add music to this,” and we did. It just came together, and we’ve made a record like that before, and it’s incredible. We’re super excited about it.

    On how the recording process for Rob Zombie’s new album differed from past albums

    We would usually get into the studio and say, “What do you have? What do you have?” Like most bands do, we would kick around ideas. But this time, it was unorthodox. He said, “I’ve got these melodies and lyrics. Let’s work around that.” It was the greatest way to make a record, for me. We came out with such strong material. We wrote around him.

    On why Rob Zombie has enjoyed such longevity as a musician

    You ask someone, “Do you love it?” And they’re like, “Yeah, I love it.” But if they have any other kind of answer other than “Yeah, I love it,” then it’s something else. I think he just loves it, and it’s who he is, and it’s real. It’s who he is and how it is.

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    On the state of the electric guitar, considering new acts that rely less and less on the instrument

    What a great question. That’s a really great question. The guitar is my whole life. I know it is one of the most important instruments and inventions, the electric guitar, to me, since television or movies or anything like that. So, it’s hard for me to even talk about people not using it as they should. I’ll watch the Grammys and think, “You hardly even see people playing guitar,” and it freaks me out. In my eyes, and in my opinion, the guitar is strong and powerful and will never die. But in someone else’s eyes, maybe it’s different. In my eyes, I’m very positive and want it to live forever.

    On the state of heavy metal music and the genre’s future

    If you write a great song, it doesn’t matter if it’s metal or R&B or anything like that, a great song is a great song. Five Finger, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Ozzy Osbourne, Slipknot — any of these bands are writing great songs. They’ll always be around, because you can’t deny a great song. It doesn’t matter what kind of music it is.

    On his history writing music for pop acts such as Avril Lavigne and Ricky Martin and how he is able to switch between pop and heavy music so fluidly

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    I love music in general so much. I appreciate anything that’s done really, really well. It doesn’t matter what kind of music it is. It can be any genre, really. I just have such an appreciation for a great melody or lyric or chord structure, things like that. I go nuts for it!

    Our thanks to John 5 for taking the time to speak with us. You can pick up his new music at this location, and grab tickets for his solo tour here and for Rob Zombie’s summer tour with Marilyn Manson here.

    John 5 Tour Dates:
    02/28 – Albuquerque, MN @ Launch Pad
    03/01 – Lubbock, TX @ Jake’s
    03/02 – San Antonio, TX @ Rock Box
    03/03 – Houston, TX @ Scout Bar
    03/05 – Austin, TX @ Come and Take It Live
    03/06 – Dallas, TX @ Trees
    03/07 – Oklahoma City, OK @ 89th Street
    03/09 – Indianapolis, IN @ HiFi
    03/10 – Akron, OH @ Empire Concert Club
    03/12 – Sellersville, PA @ Sellersville Theater
    03/13 – New York, NY @ Iridium
    03/14 – Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Loft at The Chance
    03/15 – Teaneck, NJ @ Debonair Music Hall
    03/16 – Hampton Beach, NH @ Wally’s
    03/17 – Lebanon, NH @ Lebanon Opera House
    03/18 – New Bedford, MA @ Vault at Greasy Luck
    03/20 – Quebec City, QC @ L’Anti Bar & Spectacles
    03/21 – Montreal, QC @ Piranha Bar
    03/22 – Ottawa, ON @ The Brass Monkey
    03/23 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
    03/24 – London, ON @ Rum Runners
    03/26 – Thunder Bay, ON @ Crocks
    03/27 – Winnipeg, MB @ Pyramid Cabaret
    03/28 – Regina, SK @ The Exchange
    03/29 – Calgary, AB @ Dickens Pub
    03/30 – Edmonton, AB @ The Starlite Room
    03/31 – Vancouver, BC @The Rickshaw Theatre
    04/02 – Seattle, WA @ Crocodile Cafe
    04/03 – Portland, OR @ Star Theater
    04/04 – Redding, CA @ The Dip
    04/05 – Sacramento, CA @ Holy Diver
    04/06 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Whisky
    04/07 – Anaheim, CA @ The Parish @ Huose of Blues
    04/11 – Las Vegas, NV @ Count’s Vamp’d
    04/14 – San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick

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    Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson Tour Dates:
    07/09 – Baltimore, MD @ Royal Farms Arena
    07/10 – Allentown, PA @ PPL Center
    07/12 – Huntington, WV @ Big Sandy Superstore Arena
    07/13 – Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center
    07/14 – Evansville, IN @ Ford Center
    07/16 – Rockford, IL @ BMO Harris Bank Center
    07/17 – Bonner Springs, KS @ Providence Medical Center Amphitheater
    07/19 – Oshkosh, WI @ Rock USA
    07/20 – Cadott, WI @ Rock Fest
    07/21 – Council Bluffs, IA @ WestFair Amphitheatre
    07/23 – Sioux Falls, SD @ Denny Sanford Premier Center
    07/24 – Bismarck, ND @ Bismarck Event Center
    07/25 – Billings, MT @ Rimrock Auto Arena
    08/04 – Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena
    08/06 – Saskatoon, SK @ SaskTel Center
    08/07 – Winnipeg, MB @ Bell MTS Place
    08/09 – Fargo, ND @ Fargodome
    08/10 – Cedar Rapids, IA @ US Cellular Center
    08/11 – Fort Wayne, IN @ Allen County Coliseum
    08/13 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Van Andel Arena
    08/14 – London, ON @ Budweiser Gardens
    08/16 – Ottawa, ON @ Richcraft Live at Canadian Tire Centre
    08/17 – Quebec, QC @ Videotron Centre
    08/18 – Gilford, NH @ Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion

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