John William Lowery, aka John 5, is an American metal guitarist best known for his versatility that has evolved from a gradual transition from one genre to another. Having tested his mettle with a number of instruments and in different genres, John 5 celebrates the uniqueness of his style that makes him stand out and outshine, successfully making it through multiple eras since 1987.
Unlike many of his contemporaries, it was a kid’s TV show that sparked his passion for music. Having gained the support and encouragement from his family, little John started playing at a local bar at the young age of 7. This focus helped him polish his natural strengths and acquire an elementary knowledge that later provided a sound ground for him to experiment and improvise on. While his initial aptitude was heavily inclined towards the country and bluegrass genres, his style was also influenced by the likes of Eddie Van Halen, The Monkeys, Jimi Hendrix, and Yngwie Malmsteen.
By the time he turned 17, John 5 formally started his music career by joining Alligator Soup, an underground band in Los Angeles. Although the band was still in its incubation phase and did not have a significant feat on its part aside from a couple of performances, the style and technique of John 5 were bold enough to catch the interest of Rudy Sarzo. After a small series of consultations and meetings with him, he officially offered John 5 to join Sun King.
The association brought him into the limelight and opened up doors for many future associations, the most promising of which turned out to be the one he had with producer Bob Marlette. After a couple of meetings, he assigned him a couple of his projects, including movie scores and television commercials. Meanwhile, he also expanded his domain of collaboration and partnered with Lita Ford, Paul Stanley, Randy Castillo and other members of Kiss.
In the later part of 1996, John 5 became a part of a temporary band setting formed by Rob Halford, Ray Riendeau, James Wooley, and Sid Riggs which was called 2wo. Although their first release titled ‘Voyeurs’ did not fare well, it did not revoke or decelerate the pace of prominence John 5 had started achieving due to his unique techniques. His next milestone made him meet his childhood dream in the face of David Lee Roth. After contributing a couple of lyrics for his songs, Lowery moved on to partner with Marilyn Manson and was later recalled by David Lee Roth to write lyrics for his upcoming album ‘Diamond Dave’.
John 5’s career is entailed with many notable associations with numerous bands and music virtuosos. Aside from David Lee Roth and Marilyn Manson, John 5 has teamed up with an impressive array of bands and groups such as Rob Zombie, Loser, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Red Square Black, and Meat Loaf. He has also focused on establishing his solo profile since 2004 and has added a significant number of studio albums, single tracks, and DVDs to his profile.
John 5 continues to rule his forte and has been raising the bar through his smooth and fluid tones that transition from the country and bluegrass to the metal and industrial genres. Fusing the essence of a variety of genres, John 5 still has a long way to go to amaze and enthrall the music enthusiasts through his innovative and groundbreaking techniques. We caught up with John to speak about his new album.
How would describe your playing?
J5: I like to play guitar and like to be a little bit different. We already have the great Steve Vai and the great Yngwie and the great Paul Gilbert. I don’t want to do exactly what they’ve been doing for years. I try to just be my own person. I keep those guys as my heroes and do my own thing.
Whose idea was it for you to put the face paint on?
J5: Well, I did that even as a kid. I loved KISS just so much. So even when I was playing in clubs when I was really little, the same thing.
With your Invasion album, did you want to do something different from your previous releases?
J5: All these DJs are so popular, they’re playing arenas with a turntable and I can appreciate all kinds of music, and there are some absolute good riffs. They use these hooks and people just dance. So I thought, I’m going to put together, like a really good riff and then be my own DJ and do everything on guitar. That’s where I got songs like Crank It and I Am John 5, and I Want it All, and a song called, I Like the Funk, it’s different, but there is crazy guitar all over it. People love it. And I
am so happy. I am so thankful for that.
Tell me about your old band Pepperland
J5: Oh wow…..We did like cool covers like Joe Satriani and a bunch of others. It was a fun band.
of cool stuff. It was a fun band.
I know a lot of people have asked you about this album with David Lee Roth, and it’s
just the talk of the town. Does he have any motivation to release it or is it just going to sit on the shelf as it has been?
J5: He’s always doing stuff. So I don’t know if he’s working on that. Time will tell as they say.
How long has that album been recorded? Has it been a while?
J5: It’s been a little while now. A few years, that’s for sure. But, you know, he’s with our favorite band, Van Halen. To be honest, I’d much rather have him in Van Halen than release the album. I love Van Halen that much.
What is your rig set-up these days?
J5: It’s so simple. I wanted to have the most simple rig, so, god forbid, any of my stuff gets
stolen, I can just walk into a Guitar Center and grab whatever I need off the shelf and play a gig. So, its a Telecaster, Marshall 900 and a Super Overdrive. And that’s all I need to do any kind of show with Creatures or Zombie. That’s all I would need. Simple. I don’t even have a manager.
J5: I do everything myself. The only other person I have is an agent who books the tours, and that’s it. Everything else I do myself.
What’s the rest of 2019 have in store for you?
J5: There’s another Zombie record that is going to be coming out. A Creatures tour that is
happening. The Manson tour ends on the 18th. We don’t have anything else booked beyond that. I mean there is so much going on. More videos to come too
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