John 5 on life, rock and Rocklahoma

With Rob Zombie headlining Saturday night’s festivities at Rocklahoma, we recently sat down with guitarist John 5 to talk music, touring and other things that have kept him busy recently. Drawing influence from several genres of music, John 5 recently released his sixth studio album, “God Told Me To,” and is in his seventh year as lead guitarist for Rob Zombie.


“I can’t wait to get on stage and start playing and be there. It’s tough when you’re home and you have so much going on. I’ve been working so hard and I’ve got so much work. When I’m on tour, it’s kind of like a mini vacation. I don’t think I’ve been more excited to go on tour than I am for these upcoming shows, just because I’ve been working so hard. I am going to kiss the ground when I’m in Oklahoma, I’m going to be so excited.”

“You get up on stage, you’ve got people screaming for you, and  girls taking their tops off. You’re playing great, heavy rock and roll music and you’re with your friends. You’re seeing the country. It’s actually a dream, it’s amazing. The only really bad part is you’re not with your family and things like that. It’s like a fantasy land, it really is a dream.”


“To be honest, I really like doing the festivals. You pull up there, you’re on your bus, but you’re like after catering, I’m going to go see this band or lets go walk around and see the fans. There’s so many bands playing, you get to see people and get to watch all these bands you enjoy and admire. I like when we’re headlining a festival because our gear gets to stay on, but the only stressful part is we don’t get a sound check and things like that but I really enjoy the festivals.”


“I jumped off (a riser) when it was pitch black and I landed wrong and I broke my foot. It was awful because I’m so physical on stage – I’m running around and I like to move around and entertain when I’m on stage. It really grounded me after I broke my foot. I’m 100 percent better and no problems.”


“I’m very physical up on stage, I’m going crazy up there. Offstage I’m working like a dog, I’m always working. It’s more of a business, so I’m not so crazy and wild. It’s a lot of business trying to keep my ducks in a row.”


“A lot of the music has been worked out and when we start going in the studio some things will get changed around, but we have the majority of the ideas ready to go. Luckily, we’ve been doing it for so long – Rob has been making records forever and I have too. We know exactly what we want and how to do it. I really enjoy making albums, it’s a fun process for me. I think anything is fun if you’re prepared. If you’ve prepared at school for a test you know ‘okay, I can do this,’ but if you’re not prepared it makes things more stressful for you. We’re pretty prepared and we’re ready to do this. I believe it’s a collective effort between all of us. Rob, of course, has incredible ideas, but we all put in our two cents and create music together as a band.”


“You’re dealing with oboes, bassoons, trombones, violins, cellos and orchestras and all that stuff. It’s a completely different animal and it’s a challenge, but I really enjoy doing it. I want to have a little celebration when I get on tour because I’ve finished this big project and its gone really well. It’s kind of a little reward for me and a vacation and I’m really super excited. It’s an amazing movie, I’ve seen clips and the visuals are stunning. I’m really excited for people to see it.”


“I have a plethora. I love country music, I’m a massive country fan. I love Doc Watson, he’s an old bluegrass country guy, and I love Chet Atkins. I love, love, love country music. Dixie Chicks, of course Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, all those guys – I love listen to that stuff. Also, of course, Rod Stewart and Elton John, I’m just a fan of music.”


“I’ve played with a lot of people and I’m coming up on seven years playing with Rob, I’ve been in a lot of bands and I’ve learned a lot. Definitely, by far, Rob has been a blessing in my life. I’m so happy to be in a band with him and to be associated with him and having gotten to know him. He’s such an amazing person and such a hard worker. It has been the best seven years I’ve had in the music business, playing with Rob Zombie.”


“It’s another instrumental record that I’m doing and I wanted to chance it up a little bit.  I’ve been putting country, rock and instrumentals (on albums) but I wanted to change it up. Half of the album is acoustic, I’m keeping the audience guessing so it’s not just the same old record again. It’s half acoustic guitar and half crazy, shredding, electric guitar. Rob Zombie painted the color art for it, which I’m very proud of, I’m very happy and honored that he did that. I’m doing a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” on the album and I’ve put a lot of time and effort into this record.”

“There’s a DVD that comes with it showing the studio during recording, me on the road and in everyday life. Back in the day when there was a horror movie on, when they showed these movies there was a horror host. I have someone like that, hosting the DVD. It’s a really great DVD that I’m proud of and I think that people will enjoy it. I offered them a little bit more than just music. I wanted to give them their money’s worth where you get an hour-long DVD and the CD as well.”


“I’m going to have to get a little bit of time to do that, I’ve been very busy. I have to plan my bathroom breaks, that’s how busy I am. Maybe in the future if we take a little break. At some point I’ll get to do it and I’ll make a big event out of it.”


“I put out my first CD “Vertigo” around 2004 and I got such a massive response. This is my sixth album now, and people really love it, it’s widened my range of fans to a degree. I have the goth kids, who I love, musicians, older gentlemen who love country music and young kids. My demographic is pretty wide, which I’m very proud of.”


“When you come to a Rob Zombie show, it’s definitely an experience, that’s for sure. Just be ready for a massive show and to have a great time. Please, if you see me walking around, yell out my name and I’ll come and shake your hand. I love to talk to the fans and meet the fans and listen to the fans. When people come up to musicians and they say ‘I really like this’ and ‘I like that,’ I always listen to what people have to say. I love meeting all of you, and talking to everybody, I really enjoy it. I can’t wait to be there!”

 Photo by: Kevin Pyle