Kelly Koolstra-Aplin, had the pleasure of catching up with one of America’s leading guitar shredders John 5. Chatting with him about his current tour, the talented musician reminisced about his 21 years in the music industry! With a very impressive resume, playing alongside some of the world’s most legendary musicians including Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Rob Halford, David Lee Roth, Rod Stewart and more, he is now proving to be legendary in his own right. Known for his amazing guitar skills, he definitely deserves to be front and centre.
How’s your tour been going lately?
Good! Well we just finished up and I just got home to LA, but I am going to Mexico tomorrow with Rob Zombie for one show. I’m gonna do that and then I have all of December off to spend it here with family.
So congratulations on the huge success of your new album ‘Invasion’. What was the inspiration behind it and how long did it take to write?
Well I’m always writing so I don’t know how long it took because I’m always creating when I’m on tour. While I’m on tour, you don’t have much to do so I always have a guitar in my hand taking advantage of the time, so whenever I’m home and I have a little time off, I go into the studio and record and things like that so I don’t know how long, but I’m not really sure but you know, I’m super happy with how it turned out. I really worked hard on it. I couldn’t be happier,
You should be. It’s absolutely amazing.
The latest album, while having some truly amazing guitar playing, is perhaps almost second place to some of the other placed sounds from electronic synths to background samples. Are these pre-meditated before the guitar work is written or are they added for colour?
They were kinda. I had that in mind. A lot of it was done with the guitar too. So I had a vision my son was listening to a lot of EDM stuff and I thought ‘oh my gosh that’s really cool riffs. Maybe I could use that’. I just thought, while they have these DJs just spinning records, I think I can play the music and I act as my own DJ like you know playing the music myself, at the DJs going up there playing crazy on a guitar, yeah so there’s so many different kinds of music on there as well country all that kind of stuff.
Yeah it was amazing. My son is a musician. He was blown away from it and he just said it was amazing. So that’s great feedback from a 28-year-old too.
Your single “I want it all” channels are daft punkesque vocoder intro, while later on, funk inspired baseline. What are some of the not as hard rock/ metal that inspires some of the soundscapes in your music?
Well you know it’s a, boy well…. and I don’t even know how to answer that. I’m such a fan of music and I love music so much and I just, I always try to push myself and make myself a better musician. I play songs as much as I can and that I will enjoy, and that the fans will enjoy. It’s a challenge you know. It’s really hard to write a instrumental record. I just play guitar all the time and I just really enjoy doing it, so it’s a challenge.
It’s difficult to pinpoint your particular genre when you cover such a variety, so what would you call your own personal genre if you could?
Oh boy, I just always wanted to be a guitar player. I want to be known as a guitar player, a musician and that’s it. I don’t wanna be lumped in like a rock guitarist would be the easiest.
KKA: Oh you’re so humble. Well my son and I have come up with a name for your genre. We think it should be a John 5 genre
Oh that’s very nice
There are so many festivals going on at the moment. If you could play anywhere, where would it be?
I do enjoy playing anywhere. It doesn’t matter. I’ve played everywhere, all over the world, so many times and I just like to play so it doesn’t matter if I’m in a small venue, doesn’t matter if I’m in front of 100,000 people, as long as I have my guitar around me, I feel good.
That’s so awesome, your passion for music. You can just see that you just want to play all the time
I just want to play all the time
So throughout your career, you have played and rocked out with some of the biggest and most influential rock legends in the world. Who have been some of your favourites and why?
They’ve all been such heroes of mine. Like Rod Stewart, Paul Stanley, Motley Cure, Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson, everybody and so I would say I’m just happy to be a part of these amazing musicians history. I never thought anybody would know my name, so everything is just such an honour and a privilege to be a part of what is going on in my life. I just can’t believe it, so I’m super.. I’m just so honoured and happy to be doing what I’m doing it’s great.
Behind every great man, there is even more a greater woman- his wife, would you say this is true?
You know, I always say behind every great man is a great woman and vice versa. It’s so important to have a great team. My wife is the one that said to me you should go out and play some live shows and I was like nobody wants to hear that and she was really the one who really pushed me and kinda said you gotta get out there and play. She was right you know. It’s really really something else and I’m glad she made me do it.
You really do! There’s no ‘I’ in team. You just work as a team.
Yeah. It’s true you know. Without her, I probably wouldn’t be doing this, so very happy that she pushed me to do that, because I really didn’t think anybody really wanted to hear it live.
Well we are glad you have that’s for sure.
You are classed as one of the world’s best guitar shredders. In your opinion, who are some of the best?
Well I always have a epiphanies, but I would say you know even when I was a little kid, I would say starting with like Hendrix, Eddie, Van Halen to Yngwie Malmsteen to Port Gilbert. I’m just always looking for inspiration and that’s what’s really fun for me. To find inspiration, because I’m always looking for it and you know that’s why I look on Instagram all the time and do all of that. It’s wonderful. I think inspiration is one of the most important things we have in life. It’s like something inspired Henry Ford to make the automobile or something inspired Steve Jobs or Mozart or anything like that. It’s inspiration. So without that, we’ve got nothing.
What has been your greatest achievement?
I think just being able to play guitar and be happy. That’s such an achievement. Just to be able to play guitar and be happy in life because I think doing what you love is the meaning of life. I really think if you’re doing something you love you’ll be happy and I think that’s one of my greatest achievements is finding that.
Thank you so much for your time. and I will see you in Australian in April.
Great thank you so much and have a great day and a great night
Get set for a night of pure guitar driven ecstasy where shred meets the blues and plenty of technical genius on display.
John 5 and The Creatures April 2020 Tour Dates:
Thursday 16th April – MELBOURNE, The Prince
Friday 17th April – BRISBANE, The Zoo
Saturday 18th April – SYDNEY, The Manning Bar
Pre-sale: Wednesday 18 Sept at 9:00am until Thursday 19 Sept at 5:00pm
General on sale: Friday 20 Sept at 9:00am