John 5’s interview with Maine Music News on July 17th was not only generous, it was thought provoking. What about opening more people to the real world of music? Why not start right now with the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival? For that, John 5, thank you. For those who missed our article covering the show – check it out.
MMN – For our readers who may not be familiar with who John 5 is, can you talk a little bit about yourself, where your name came from, and what you are about?
J5 – If your readers don’t know who I am, they will probably skip the interview. I got my name from when I went to meet with Marilyn Manson. They called me and said they were having problems with their guitar player and to come and have lunch. Manson pretty much gave me the name right on the spot and said “your name is going to be John 5 and I would love to have you play with us.” So I didn’t have a need to audition or anything. He just gave me the name right there at lunch. It has a biblical meaning, and I was also the 5th member of Marilyn Manson.
MMN – I have seen you interviewed a few times now on That Metal Show, and you seem like this mellow down to earth guy. Is that an accurate depiction?
MMN – Can you talk about what it is like performing as a character? Do you see yourself performing as you?
J5 – It is me. Nothing is an act, that’s for sure. I get up and I want to entertain people and I enjoy doing it. I am not mean off stage. I treat people how I want to be treated. I have always done that since high school. I was never in those cliques where you are not nice to people, I was nice to everybody. That is how I am today as well.
MMN – Has that served you well in the music industry?
J5 – I have done a lot, ya. You be kind to people, and they will be nice to you as well. I just practice and love playing.
MMN – What are your plans for after the Mayhem tour?
J5 – We are going to do Rock in Rio. Something like half a million people attend it. It’s huge, massive. Everybody is playing there. I really enjoy playing, and I don’t take it for granted. It is an incredible thing that I am getting to do, and I never even dreamed it when I was younger. I just wanted to be a session musician and this kind of came about and I am very thankful for it.
MMN – Can you explain more about wanting to be a session musician? Was there a reason that you set that as an initial goal?
J5 – I loved music, and I loved all these different styles of music. I was very interested in it, and I just wanted to make a living playing music. I just studied and studied and that was what I wanted to do. I just wanted to make records. I don’t like to travel that much. I like to be home, and I like to write music, or play other peoples music, and record it. When I was a really small little kid, I saw this movie called “Session Man.” It was about this session guitar player, and I decided that sounds like a really neat job. I was just little so this was formed at a very early age when I figured out what I wanted to do.
MMN – You are known for your love of all types of music. In a recent interview you talked about your love for country music.
J5 – I have done a lot of work for country artists, adult contemporary as well, I just did some work with Rod Stewart. I have done some Ricky Martin work. I just love the education of the music and the guitar. I find it inspiring to do things like that.
MMN – Do you ever see yourself touring with a country act.
J5 – Of course, I was in K.D. Lang for awhile. We did huge tours, played three nights at Radio City Music Hall, and did these massive tours. So, ya, I have done that. I love it! Those are the best people in the world. They are such good people, those country bands. Everybody is like family. It’s really amazing.
MMN – In a previous interview with Jacob Bunton, he mentioned working with you on the song “Good to be Bad” on Adler’s latest album. Jacob mentioned that you came in and nailed your part in one take. Can you talk about how you did that?
J5 – Jacob is great. I think what it is – I don’t like doing things in one take, I like to do them a bunch of times, and see which one is the best. I literally play all the time. All the time. Before I came out to talk to you, I was playing. So it’s just like if all day you just sat and threw a basketball in a net – that’s all you did all day – didn’t run, didn’t do any tricks but just sat and threw the ball in the net, I guess you would get pretty good at it. That is what I do with the guitar. I don’t try to do this to be the best. It is comforting, it is therapeutic for me. Some people, do other things therapeutic to take their mind off certain things, but that is why I do it. I try to push myself to the limits to occupy my brain as much as possible.
MMN – You mentioned earlier that you don’t like to travel and that you like to stay at home. Do you have special tricks that you use to help yourself travel? Your touring schedule is brutal.
J5 – This tour is not bad. It’s so funny. I am very thankful for what I do, and I would not change it. Doing this is great, I would not change it. The States are very comforting. I know my way around everywhere. I know my way around the mall down the street. I know my way pretty much around every state in America. It is when we go to Europe, Australia, Japan, Korea, South America – that is when it gets a little frightening. For instance, if I want to take a walk and I am in Tokyo, when you get lost, you are LOST in Tokyo. You can’t fathom how the streets are positioned or how things are laid out, so you want to curl up in a ball and cry – that is your only defense.
MMN – So no special tricks?
J5 – It’s tough. It’s hard. I struggle with it. You just do what you do.
MMN – Your new album Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor is out. In a previous interview with Piggy D he gave us the inside scoop on it. Is there anything you want to add about it?
J5 – The new album is great, we have been getting amazing reviews. Everything has been going swimmingly, if you will.
MMN – Here we sit, I’m this middle class guy, I have been married for over 20 years, I own a house, have a daughter, we have a few dogs, and I work an 8-5 day job. That is what I would call normal for me and most people that I know. You are a very successful guitarist and work for Rob Zombie. What would an ideal / normal day be for you?
J5 – When I am home, I get up very early, around 7:30. I usually have a banana and water. I eat very healthy. I have never done drugs. I get up early, turn on Good Day LA. I will sit and play guitar. I answer all of my emails and other stuff. I usually clean up for about 45 minutes because my wife is a little messy. I like to have everything nice and neat and organized. Then I play guitar a little while longer, and then I do sessions during the day. I work and do a lot of sessions. That takes up the majority of the day. When I get home, I will have dinner and maybe go in the jacuzzi. Sometimes I love going to the movies as well.
MMN – That sounds pretty normal. John, thank you very much for your time, and good luck with the rest of the tour.
J5 – Thank you for the interview and have a great day.