Rob Acocella: On your new solo album, The Art of Malice, you've really captured a bunch of different styles of playing. Aside from obviously being a fan of these genres, what made you want to put out something so eclectic?
John 5: To show my appreciation for different styles of music and to have a little variety instead of the same thing over and over again. You won't get tired listening to the cd because you never know what you are going to get next.
RA: You've worked with a lot of big names that would probably surprise some people who weren't familiar with your extensive array of work. Of all those collaborations, writing gigs, recording gigs, etc., who surprised you the most? Meaning, who turned out to be completely different than you had expected going in to the project?
J5: I would say Lynyrd Skynyrd. I had no idea I’d ever get a chance to play with them. That was one of the shinning moments of working with artists. Also playing live with K.D. Lang. I never thought I’d do something for such a great artist as her.
RA: You get quite a lot of sound out of your gear, what does your pedalboard setup look like?
J5: My pedal board setup is almost comical because it’s all Boss pedals except for wah wah
1st I have a noise supressor, 2nd chord, 3rd super overdrive, 4th crybaby wah wah. It’s very simple because I like to have the sound, and do everything with my fingers instead.
RA: Bringing Joey from Slipknot on tour with Rob Zombie seems like a good choice to us. Do you foresee this being somewhat of a permanent position for him despite obvious priorities with Slipknot down the road? Have you guys talked at all about if he's just doing the tour or if he'll be involved in anything more in the future?
J5: We’ve had a great time playing shows and doing the tour with Joey. It’s a great fit and the fans love it a lot. I’ve known him for 10 years and this is the first time we’ve played together so it’s a lot of fun for me.
RA: This is not meant to start any fires, jut an honest, innocent question, but what's it like working for someone like Rob Zombie, who is so involved in many aspects of art? The man makes music, movies, comics... he's probably got a very clear vision of how he wants ever y aspect of the live performance to look. Do you guys get any say regarding the creative process, or do you all pretty much know to step back and let him mastermind the whole thing?
J5: He definitely is the mastermind behind the stage and everything. He does ask our opinions. “What do you guys think, how can we make it better?” It’s never good enough, that’s for sure. I learn a lot watching and hearing what he has to stay about the stage show the look. It’s all a learning process and it’s great.
RA: Your stage image really seemed, to me anyway, to take form during your time with Marilyn Manson. Obviously Rob Zombie is the perfect place to continue your look, but what did you look like before the Manson years? Were you always into the face painting and all that or is that something that became a part of your identity as an artist later on?
J5: I’ve always been into the face painting, as you call it, because of Kiss and things like that. I look at it as entertainment. It’s really a lot of fun to put on war paint before we go onstage.
Lisa Selvaggio: You've worked both as part of a band and as a solo artist. What insight can you give about the advantages and drawbacks of each of those scenarios in today's music industry?
J5: It is tough in today’s industry. There are less and less places to buy music. Record stores are going out of business and it’s harder and harder to buy a CD. But the one saving grace is that music will always be here.
LS: Some of our favorite musicians have said that they don't really listen to the radio because they don't like the music that's out there now. Is that the case with you, or are you more of a fan of today's above-ground bands?
J5: I’m a fan of music, so whatever is good I listen to. Doesn’t matter if it’s new or old. If someone has a great song I am the first to listen and appreciate. How can I keep growing and learning as an artist if I don’t find out what the competition is out there?
LS: How important do you think it is for a musician to be classically trained (i.e. go to college and pursue a degree in music)? We've seen that in some cases, the training stifles the musician's creativity. How much do you think the music classroom hinders or helps a creative spirit?
J5: I don’t think it really affects that much. I’ve only had to read music in a handful of situations. I wish I had more reading gigs, but I am happy with the school I’ve received early on learning music and learning theory.
LS: Seems the music industry is gearing up for a total transition from CDs to digital tracks. How do you feel about this?
J5: I like cds, the physical product of a cd, but on the other hand, I don’t know when the last time I was that I purchased a cd. I go to iTunes and download. Either way I’m fine with it.
LS: Well, John, thanks again for taking the time to do this interview. Is there anything else you'd like to add or promote before we close this interview?
J5: Check out my new solo CD, “Art of Malice” and come see me on tour!