APRIL 10th 2018



Guitar wizard John 5 is currently on tour in support of his live effort titled ‘It’s Alive!’ The guitarist caught up with Metal Titans on 4.5.18 to talk about the live record and his past works with 2wo, David Lee Roth [amongst others] and the upcoming co-headlining tour with former bandmate Marilyn Manson. Before that however he has this tour with The Creatures that he must wrap up. Metal Titans will be on site for coverage of his Portland, Oregon show on 4.20.18, for now catch this interview.

Ruben Mosqueda

Metal Titans: Prior to working with [Rob] Halford in 2wo you had an industrial band.

John 5: Yeah, Red Square Black and it featured Randy Castillo who played on Ozzy’s [Osbourne] band. Ozzy was great to us; he allowed us to rehearse in his rehearsal space.

Metal Titans: How long was Red Square Black in existence? I know there was an EP released in ‘94.

John 5: We were around for a couple of years, I did my first tour then. It was exciting, that was a memorable experience for sure. 

Metal Titans: From there you move on to the 2wo project. How did you connect with Rob Halford?

John 5: I met Rob through producer Bob Marlette. It was an awesome and incredible learning experience. I didn't know a lot at the time and working with Rob was an education for me. Rob was so inspiring to me. I have to tell you in my time working with him he never had a bad night. His voice was always spot on, it was incredible.

Metal Titans: There’s a version of ‘Voyeurs' that's more guitar oriented is there not?

John 5: There is, what happened was that the record was a heavy guitar oriented record; we were signed in 1997 and Nine Inch Nails was huge. We also happen to be signed to Trent Reznor’s label Nothing Records. It was incredible. I went on tour and while I was away he went to mix the record and at the time guitars weren't ‘the thing’ so they wound up taking a lot of them out. The result was more of an ‘industrial’ record which is cool but I personally think the guitar record is much better, but what can you do?! [laughs] I wasn't there to speak my peace. A good song is a good song and you can hear that on the record, people love the record. I proud of it.

Metal Titans: Do you think the alternate ‘crunch' version will even see the light of day?

John 5: I don't know. That's really up to Halford, but I have to tell you I was just listening to that version a little while ago. Damn! It's so good dude! [laughs] It’s really a great record.

Metal Titans: 1998 was a big year for you because that's the year you also did the DLR Band record. How’d you connect with David Lee Roth?

John 5: That was pure luck. I was submitting demos, I knew everything Van Halen. I knew how to play that stuff so well. Dave took a liking to my submissions. I was invited to meet Dave, we got along wonderfully and the rest is history. That reminds me! Maybe I should invite Dave to The Whisky [A-Go-Go] to see if he can make it out! [laughs]

Metal Titans: There was no touring with Roth, jumping back to 2wo. How much live stuff did you do with 2wo because I recall some Southern California dates supporting Rammstein.

John 5: That's right! We did more touring, we also went to Europe.

Metal Titans: Tell me about Loser, I remember the label taking out ads in magazines like Metal Edge at the time. There was initially promotion for the debut album but the record was shelved.

John 5: That was another phenomenal band! What happened with Loser was signed to Island Records then I met up with [Rob] Zombie and we really hit it off. We did the first Ozzfest together, I had to pick between Zombie and Loser and 13 years later I'm still here! [laughs] It was one of the best decisions I made in my life! [laughs]

Metal Titans: So Loser was shelved because you jumped to the Zombie camp?

John 5: That's exactly right.

Metal Titans: You also had to make a decision when you were with Roth and the opportunity to work with Manson came you way.

John 5: That's correct! [laughs] What dilemmas, right?!  [laughs] Those are good problems to have! [laughs]

Metal Titans: Was there ever a point when you were in the Marilyn Manson band, that you thought to yourself; “What did I get myself into?!”

John 5: Actually, no. Writing the songs and playing the songs was all well and good. It was before and after the shows that was...it was like New Year's Eve! It was crazy! [laughs] It was like it was the end of the world! [laughs]

Metal Titans: How would you describe your relationship with Rob?

John 5: I have learned more from Rob than anybody else in the business. I also happen to love the guy. I love his music and I love what he does in life. Rob works harder than anyone that I have ever seen, his work ethic is unbelievable and he has such focus. If I can just get a little percentage of that---I going to alright in life.

Metal Titans: You have two live records out at the moment; your live solo album ‘It's Alive’ and Rob Zombie ‘Astro Creep: 2000.’

John 5: That's right.

Metal Titans: On ‘Astro Creep: 2000’ how important was it to you to keep it true to the original studio record?

John 5: It was very important. I want to include every little squeal every little noise in the live recording. When Rob said we were performing the entire ‘Astro Creep’ record in its entirety I was so excited. We were so prepared so when Rab said we were recording the show, I was thrilled. ‘Astro Creep’ is may favorite White Zombie album.  I'm so proud of being a part of White Zombie history.

Metal Titans: Are you doing the ‘It's Alive’ record in its entirety on this tour?

John 5: We mix it up a little bit, but that album is really live. We try to perform the songs are perfectly as possible. Each night our goal is to see how close and how perfect we can get the songs to the studio versions. It's a lot of fun. You're going to be at the Portland show and that's just about sold out.

Metal Titans: You have Knights In Satan’s Service Instagram which is dedicated to KISS memorabilia.

John 5: Yeah, I was talking to Gene Simmons a while back and I was like “Hey Gene, wouldn't it be great if there was a website where you could get a little bit of information on each and every piece of KISS memorabilia?” So I took it upon myself to start this Instagram page called Knights In Satan's Service which will spotlight a piece of KISS memorabilia daily and share a little bit of information on it. It's crazy, right?! [laughs] I don't know long we can keep that going but at this point well past a year! [laughs]

John 5 Official Website: https://john-5.com/main/
John 5 Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/John5official/
Knights In Satan’s Service Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/knightsinsatanservice/?hl=en
Rob Zombie: https://www.facebook.com/RobZombie/