By BRANDON JUDEH
John 5 has lived a “More Human than Human” life, playing guitar with everyone from David Lee Roth to Paul Stanley, and Marilyn Manson to Rob Zombie.
The virtuosic guitarist has been keeping busy by doing a plethora of projects that include a new solo album, “God Told Me To”; scoring the soundtrack for Zombie’s forthcoming movie “Lords of Salem”; and currently touring with Zombie on the “Twins of Evil” tour that also features his former boss, Manson.
John talked to The Vindicator after a sound check in Lincoln, Neb.
Q. How’s the tour going so far?
A. It’s going great, the crowds have been amazing and we are getting great reviews. Things couldn’t be better.
Q. What can fans expect to see from Zombie? Anything new?
A. Wow, where do I start? There are a lot of new things, we have a 14-foot devil puppet and a satanic tractor that is so big it almost knocks me down every time. We are playing different songs and mixing it up a lot. It’s really a huge production, and fans will be getting their money’s worth.
Q. I read that you worked closely with Zombie on his upcoming album. How did it go?
A. We are still working on it, but it is my favorite album, very aggressive and raw. I was always a fan of “White Zombie” as well as “Rob Zombie” and I am psyched for this album.
Q. Speaking of Zombie, how cool was it for you to write the music for his new movie, “Lords of Salem?”
A. It was fun, a great accomplishment for me because I had never scored an entire film by myself. It was tough at times, but it turned out great and is definitely out of the ordinary.
Q. Talk to me about your sixth studio album, “God Told Me To.” It seems that about half the album is acoustic while the other half is electric.
A. The album is a nice change of pace; it came out of left field. It gives listeners a break, being half acoustic, half electric. To me, songs like “The Castle,” and “Creepy Crawler” really stick out, plus it comes with a DVD that gives fans an inside look at me playing and recording.
Q. How about your career, working with legends such as David Lee Roth and Paul Stanley. What has it been like and what was the most fun you have had on a project?
A. Growing up, I was the typical kid; my wall was covered with KISS and Van Halen posters. To get to work and be friends with Paul Stanley and all the members of KISS, as well as David Lee Roth, is amazing. I have an amazing life and I am so blessed. To be honest with you, the best time and most comfortable I have ever been, working on a project, was with Rob. We get along great and it’s just a lot of fun.
Q. Is it weird touring with Manson again? Also, it has to be neat playing with Ginger Fish (former Manson drummer, current Zombie) again.
A. Actually, it’s not weird at all, it’s cool. Our rock community is so small so bands like ourselves, Manson, Slayer, Megadeth, Metallica and so on all know each other and we are all very close. As for playing with Ginger again, it’s great. It worked out perfectly for all of us.
Q. Tell me a little about your time in Manson. You narrowly missed out after Daisy Berkowitz was kicked out of the band in early 1996, but joined right before “Mechanical Animals” came out in 1998. What was it like joining at the height of the band’s fame?
A. Weird. I was playing with Rob Halford on Trent Reznor’s record label, Nothing Records, and they already had a guitar player (Zim Zum), so the time wasn’t right. When “Mechanical Animals” was nearing its release, I got the call and was in the band for the next five years. I wouldn’t trade those times for the world. I had a lot of fun, and Manson even gave me my name, John 5.
Q. This is your second time in Youngstown. Any memories from the first?
A. I’m being honest with you when I say I love playing in this part of the country. I’m from Michigan and I just love the Midwest. The people are insane, it’s great.