Mary Ouellette and Antonio Marino Jr. of They Will Rock You recently conducted an interview with ROB ZOMBIE/ex-MARILYN MANSON guitarist John 5. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
They Will Rock You: Congrats on your new solo album "The Art of Malice" — we're big fans. A lot of times when a guitar player releases a solo album it tends to be more attractive to guitar players rather than music fans in general. I think with your new album what you've accomplished is writing an album that draws in all kinds of music fans not just guitar players. Was that something you considered when writing it?
John 5: When I do an autograph session I get such a wide array of people that come to say hello. It's hard to explain because you get the goth kids and the shredder guys and then an older demographic and it's great, people are just appreciating the music. I'm just trying to inspire some people and have people enjoy music. It's not about making a ton of money, it's just appreciating music. There's not some big machine behind me trying to pump every dollar there is out of people, it's not about that. This is really about music and hopefully people will appreciate.
They Will Rock You: Given your versatility and your fondness for many genres of music, how hard was it for you to rein things in and decide what you were going to put on the album given that you are drawn in a lot of different directions stylistically as a player?
John 5: I put a lot of time and thought and effort into it. I wanted to put a little bit of everything in there — some slide music that I've never done before, a lot of country stuff, a lot of rock stuff, a little Spanish-style guitar playing. I really just wanted to have everybody be able to listen to this record and appreciate it. It's kind of like when you have your iPod on shuffle, you don't know what song you're going to get and that's the vibe that I wanted for this record.
They Will Rock You: This marks your fifth solo release (not counting the remix CD) I know you have your hands full with ZOMBIE but do you foresee doing something like Satriani's G3, where you tour exclusively as a solo act for a whole tour?
John 5: I do. I think that would be a lot of fun. I was doing these clinics and they were a lot of fun because it was interactive; I got to meet fans and you can't really do that at a club. I would shake everyone's hand, listen to what they had to say and take their questions and I really enjoyed that. It was free, it was all ages, and I think it's really the way to go. I think I'd like to do more of something like that because I was able to perform as well and people really enjoyed it a lot. Where else can you meet the artist, get a performance, shake a hand get an autograph — I mean, if I could go to a VAN HALEN show like that…
They Will Rock You: Two of the bands you looked up to when you were learning how to play guitar were KISS and VAN HALEN. You've now recorded with Paul Stanley and David Lee Roth and you got to jam on Ace's [Frehley] DVD. Given those checks on the bucket list who would you still like to collaborate with?
John 5: I would love to work with Prince one day. I think that would be fun. He's amazing.
They Will Rock You: It was recently revealed that Joey Jordison from SLIPKNOT will be joining the ZOMBIE gang out on tour this summer on drums. How did that fall into place?
John 5: Our drummer quit and we were like, "Huh, let's see, who do we know?" And I mentioned Joey, who's a friend of mine, to Rob because I knew SLIPKNOT had a little down time while the guys were working on the STONE SOUR album. Joey said he was down and it's great because I've known Joey forever, for probably ten years, and it's so much fun to have him up there. He's a friend, so it's really great.
They Will Rock You: I can't wait, I'm really looking forward to that tour, and it's going to be a fun summer.
John 5: I'm looking forward to it too! We haven't played an actual show yet, we played the Golden Gods show but I'm really looking forward to the tour and the live shows.
They Will Rock You: The period immediately following your time in Manson, from a fan stand point, seemed chaotic. I was wondering if there was ever a point in the aftermath of that where you considered continuing your career as John Lowery and leaving the John 5 persona behind?
John 5: That's a great question. I wanted to release an instrumental record and in doing that I wanted to keep the name because no one in Russia or Australia knows me as John Lowery, they all know me as John 5. It's just like when Ace Frehley left KISS, he wasn't going to go back to being Paul Frehley, he's going to stay Ace Frehley. That's what I did, I don't have any bad blood towards Manson, we're friends and I was proud of my years with him, so I kept the name.
Read the entire interview at They Will Rock You.