Just a man and his guitar: John 5 talks latest tour, album “Season of the Witch”!Home,News Adam Lee Price
33 shows in 40 days is the life guitarist John 5 is currently living. On tour for his recently released, solo album SEASON OF THE WITCH, with his band THE CREATURES, laser guitar-wielding musician is no stranger to the road. Playing along side the likes of Marilyn Manson and more recently, Rob Zombie, John 5 is the prime example of a heavy-metal rock star destined for greatness.
Known for his dark persona and wicked riffs on stage, off-stage the well-spoken and passionate artist is more than just a man in monster make-up. Eclectic in his love of music, John 5 has taken instrumental story telling to an entirely new level in SEASON OF THE WITCH. Tracks such as HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER, HERE’S TO THE CRAZY ONES, and the hypnotic BEHIND THE NUT LOVE are just three examples of the diversity and talent it took in creating this album. Now, as the tour comes to a close and John 5 prepares to hit the road with Zombie, Fango was lucky enough to be invited to one of his performances.
More than happy to sit down and talk shop, John 5 opened up to Fango and gave us a behind-the-scenes look at the concert and why he does what he does.
FANGORIA: Let’s just start by saying that this album is pretty damn good. I listened to it on a loop most of the morning.
JOHN 5: Thank you. I worked so hard on this record, with all the art work, with all the [music] videos and everything; I really, really worked super, super hard on it and it shows. People just really love this record and I’m so happy because I’m just doing this for the love with the guitar and the love of music and I’m so psyched. I think people are smart, they can tell that this is from the heart and people can understand that they can get into that. I love when stuff is so real.
FANGORIA: Even though it’s completely instrumental, the songs feel as if they’re telling a story. Did you have any particular story in mind when you wrote the album?
JOHN 5: The story is really, who I am. All these different styles and all this stuff is exactly who I am. I love this kind of music, I play the kind of music, I live this kind of music, and that’s what it is; it’s all about who I am and what I do sitting on the couch.
FANGORIA: Have you ever considered adding lyrics to your music?
JOHN 5: I don’t try to do everything; I’m not one of those guys. There’s a lot of people out there that try to just do everything but with me, all I know about are guitars tits and monsters. But I think I’m just going to leave the lyrics to the lyricists.
FANGORIA: So, you mentioned music videos. Can you talk about that a bit?
JOHN 5: How people listen to, and buy music and all that, has changed so drastically and I luckily have the freedom to kind of do whatever I want with it. So, what I did was I released a song and a video once a month because everything is so visual now. Like, if I said, hey check out this band, you would probably go on YouTube and check it out. Well, that’s what I did and it was incredible. I did that for like six months and then I released the record and there’s always other songs, of course, but people like knew all these songs. When I started playing them live, people went absolutely nuts.
FANGORIA: Are there any videos we absolutely need to see?
JOHN 5: The videos you have to watch; you got to watch HELL HAW, you gotta watch MAKING MONSTERS, and of course you have to watch HERE’S TO THE CRAZY ONES where we’re all made up as PLANET OF THE APES. And we’re not wearing masks, those are real prosthetics. That took like six hours to do this makeup and putting all the hair in my hands. It was pretty insane.
FANGORIA: Where do you get your inspiration from?
JOHN 5: I get my inspiration from everything and everyone, movies and YouTube and Instagram. I think inspiration is one of the biggest gifts that we can get. Even you, when you were a kid something inspired you to go this route and really get into this. Inspiration is so important and it could change your life. You could see something today that would change your life for the rest of your life. So I’m always looking for inspiration, that’s for sure.
FANGORIA: And how did touring come about?
JOHN 5: You know, I didn’t want to tour, I’ve been putting out records for so long, but I didn’t want to tour because I didn’t think anybody really cared. Now that we’re doing these shows it’s unbelievable that these people are coming out in droves and I’m just entertaining them with a guitar. I couldn’t be happier.
FANGORIA: Did it concern you that you are just a man with a guitar on stage?
JOHN 5: At first I was like, how is this going to happen? But here’s the thing, I understood that these guys are going to bring their wives and their girlfriends to the show, and I always use myself as an example; I would do that, I would bring my wife to these instrumental shows. She’s like, ughh I’m dying and this is the last thing I want to do. So, I put together a show, even if you didn’t like the guitar, there’s so many things, visually, that you’re going to look at. There’s so many fun things that the other person is going to get into and it really works.
FANGORIA: It’s like your show is fun for the whole family.
JOHN 5: [Laughing] It really is. And it’s funny that you say that because even last night, we were in Charlotte. There’s all these Bluegrass guys coming, there’s Manson fans, there’s Zombie fans, there’s shredders, there’s a little kids. It’s unbelievable how diverse the crowd is. It’s just great.
FANGORIA: Seems like an exciting atmosphere to be in.
JOHN 5: There’s so many notes and there’s so much going on it’s kind of like watching someone juggle chainsaws. It’s like you know they’re going to drop one of those chainsaws any minute. That’s how intense it is. And it’s a continuous piece of music. I don’t talk to the crowd, and you’ll think this is crazy but I don’t talk to the crowd for about 45 minutes into the show. There’s so many things that happen; monsters come out, all the light op guitars and all crazy stuff, and a lot of interaction with the crowd. We do this medley that’s eight minutes long and has every riff that you’ve ever heard in your, life like RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE and VAN HALEN and LED ZEPPELIN. It’s really something to see.
FANGORIA: As far as the songs, there are two I can’t wait to hear live; HELL HAW and BEHIND THE NUT LOVE. Could you talk about those two?
JOHN 5: When we break into HELL HAW it sounds just like you’re just playing the record but a lot louder. That’s one of my favorites to do live; it’s just so much fun. You just have to come see this show, people just lose their minds.
[On BEHIND THE NUT LOVE] I love the pedal steel guitar; I really love the sound of it, I think it sounds so cool. And I did a little research and I was like, okay, pedal steel guitars tune to one chord and when you bend the note, the other strings ring out. So what I did was I tuned my guitar to an open chord and I just bent all the strings behind. It’s super, super hard but it really is a lot of fun.
FANGORIA: Anything crazy happen on the tour so far?
JOHN 5: That’s a good one. Yeah, I remember we were checking into a hotel in Washington [state] and there was either a murderer or something like that happened because the entire hotel was on lock down. It was crazy and we got out of there pretty quickly.
FANGORIA: So what’s next?
JOHN 5: I’m home for one day and then I start rehearsals with Zombie the next day after. Then we go to South America, we go to Europe, we’ll do a bunch of festivals in the states and then I think we’re going to China with THE CREATURES. So, it’s gonna be a busy year, but it’s what I do.
For up-to-date info on JOHN 5 AND THE CREATURES check out their site, HERE!
Also, be sure to watch the music videos HERE.
Stay tuned here at FANGORIA.com for more on John 5 and the Creatures music and tour dates!