In a recent issue of Classic Rock magazine, ROB ZOMBIE/ex-MARILYN MANSON guitarist John 5, who played with JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford in the ill-fated TWO project, spoke about his first experience meeting Halford and his impressions of The Metal God, both from the perspective of a metal fan and a fellow musician.
"I loved going to concerts when I was about 13, and one of the bands I used to see was JUDAS PRIEST," John 5 said. "One time, I remember I was waiting outside their hotel in the rain after a show — and I saw Rob Halford coming towards me. So I was like [hysterical fanboy voice]: 'Rob Halford! Rob Halford! Nice to meet you!' He just walked straight past, and left me standing there in the rain. So I always gave him a hard time about that later on, when we started playing together in TWO.
"When I first heard Halford's voice, I just thought, 'This guy is incredible.' I even realized that when I was a little kid. He was in a class of his own. He has such an incredible voice, he's such a great writer, and he's a great person on top of that. He's one of the nicest guys I've worked with. He doesn't play up to any kind of offstage persona.
"I don't think people give Rob enough credit for what he did — visually — for metal. He's a very smart person. He said to himself, 'Okay — I'm not only going to capture the audience with my incredible voice and stage presence, but I'm also going to have a look that's gonna blow everyone away.' So he put on leather, spikes and bad-ass sunglasses, and came out on a motorbike, and it changed everything. If that look's become a cliché, that's cool too. I wish I could start a heavy metal cliché.
"I really cherish the time I spent with Rob in TWO [in the late '90s]. We'd hang out, go to lunch, write — just have a great time. And it's funny, because even though I worked with him so closely, he never stopped being an icon. There was always that element of, 'Oh my God — that's Rob Halford standing next to me onstage!' or 'Oh my God — I'm at the movies with Rob Halford!' We saw each other in Las Vegas recently and it's still like, 'Wow, there's fuckin' Rob Halford!' The king. The icon, y'know?
"He changed heavy metal. He changed the look. He changed the sound. He changed everything about it. It's kinda like Hendrix on guitar — Rob Halford did that for heavy metal. He changed it all."
As previously reported, John 5 (ROB ZOMBIE, ex-MARILYN MANSON) will be the featured guest on the nationally syndicated radio show "Rockline" airing Monday, January 29. The live show begins at 8:30 p.m. PT / 11:30 p.m. ET, and fans are encouraged to call in with questions during the program at (800) 344-ROCK (7625). To find a station near you, check out www.rocklineradio.com.
John 5 will release his eagerly awaited third solo album on April 3, 2007 via Shrapnel Records. Entitled "The Devil Knows My Name", the CD will feature guest appearances by Zakk Wylde (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OZZY OSBOURNE), Joe Satriani, Tommy Clufetos (ROB ZOMBIE, ex-ALICE COOPER), Piggy D. (ROB ZOMBIE), and Matt Bissonette (DAVID LEE ROTH), among others.
John 5's second solo album, "Songs for Sanity" (2005), featured guest guitar solos from Steve Vai and Albert Lee. John also worked with KISS frontman Paul Stanley on Stanley's second solo album, "Live to Win", which was released in October.