John 5: His Childhood Dreams, Scoring Rob Zombie’s Next Film + More
Guitar hero John 5 is a busy man. Not only is the Southern California-based axeman about to head out on tour with Rob Zombie, he’s also busy scoring the singer’s ‘Lords of Salem’ film, and on top of all that, 5 is issuing ‘God Told Me To,’ a new solo CD/DVD.
The album, which drops on May 8, invites listeners to accompany 5 on a dynamic sonic journey with some of his most adventurous fretwork yet. It truly is all in the family in John 5’s camp, as Rob Zombie himself illustrated the cover art (seen below).
Noisecreep caught up with John 5 and discussed the new album, working with Zombie and his bedtime rituals.
We have to ask — What did God tell you?
The title means more than what it sounds like. I wanted to do this so badly, to be a successful musician. Not even like a rock star. My dreams didn’t go into that area. I want to make money playing guitar. I like prayed inside of my head as a little kid. I didn’t grow up in a religious home, but we went to Midnight Mass. That was the only time I’d go to church, but when I did, I prayed that I wanted to be a successful musician. I got my wish.
I bet some fans might think the title is secretly anti religious!
It’s a lot of things. Many serial killers will say ‘God told me to.’ It’s a spin on it.
You and Rob are working together outside of music, with you scoring his film, him doing your art. Is that process diplomatic? Do you ever butt heads or have you been working together so long that it’s smooth sailing?
He’s the boss. There is no head butting — whatever he says goes. I am scoring the movie with Griffin Boyce, rocking this thing out. I don’t know how much longer we’ll be working on it, but what we have is unbelievable. We saw a little bit of the film with the music. It was incredible. I don’t score that much. But this is special and it looks incredible.
Did you get to see scenes in order to come up with the score or does Rob just make suggestions?
Rob gives direction, and we then take that direction and run with it. Yes, we were looking at scenes. It has been exciting progression.
How about your album art? How did you broach that subject or make that request?
It’s funny We were on tour and I said, “I need a great cover.” He is such a great artist. You know, he is so busy. Live shows, writing movies, but I said, ‘Hey man, you want to do the album art?’ He was like ‘Sure.’ He did it, and it’s so incredible. It amazing what this guy can do. He nailed it.
Did you give direction or did he run with it?
No, there was no direction. What are you going to tell him since he is such an artist? It came out amazing.
Let’s discuss one or two song on ‘God Told Me To.’
‘Beat It’ which is Michael Jackson’s and it’s instrumental and a tribute. And I tip my hat to Edward Van Halen. I wanted to say thank you to him, since he put an amazing solo in the original, and he was such an influence and epiphany. Also, ‘Noche Acasador,’ means ‘Night Stalker,’ and it’s about Richard Ramirez, and it is a Spanish style flamenco guitar piece. People will be surprised to hear it. Another one that I love is ‘Welcome to Violence.’ It starts the record with total brutality
Watch the ‘God Told Me To’ Album Teaser
What makes the DVD so special, too?
You are going to love the DVD that comes with it, since it’s an hour long and shows me in studio recording the stuff. There is a horror host. Scary movies on TV used to have someone like Elvira introducing the shows. We have a horror host on the DVD, introducing it. He has a plot to destroy me, so it is entertaining.
You’ve worked with some big names – Marilyn Manson, Rob Halford and the aforementioned Rob Zombie. Can you pick a fave?
Zombie is my favorite and I am not saying it because I am in the band. It has been such a pleasure and honor being in a band with him. It’s like having an awesome job, where I am psyched to go work every day.
Are you still in contact with Manson?
I talk to him here and there. He is doing great with the music. I have heard some of the new [album], and I think it’s great. He is an amazing talent. I hope he just has continued success through his life. Before I was in the band, I was a fan, since he is so real. I wish him continued success through his life. People want it to be bad, but not like that at all. He is super talented and smart.
Do you have any non music hobbies?
I don’t know. I play guitar so much. Only thing I do kind of well, and this is surprising, I can hit a baseball, and I am not a fan at all. At all. But I will go to the batting cages with 50 mph balls and I can hit every one for some reason.
Maybe it’s a coordination thing!
I dunno. I can hardly pump gas.
What’s your favorite horror movie of all time?
I love the Universal horror movies, ‘Frankenstein,’ ‘Wolf Man,’ ‘Creature From the Black Lagoon.’ I enjoy the theories of these movies. I watch them before I go to sleep. My favorite is ‘Creature,’ then ‘Frankenstein,’ then ‘Wolf Man.’ I love them. Before I go to sleep I watch them til I get sleepy, then shut it off and go to sleep. I do that every single night. Some people brush their teeth, take a whiz, eat or masturbate. I watch horror movies.
Who needs Ambien for the bedtime ritual.
True! And no one knows that about my late night horror watching.
Now we do!
John 5’s ‘God Told Me To’ will be out on May 8.