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An Early Morning Chat With Legendary Guitarist John 5

An Early Morning Chat With Legendary Guitarist John 5

Photo by James Villa Photography

John 5 has one of rock and roll’s most impressive resumes, having worked with a laundry list of world-renowned artists such as Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie over the course of his 30-year career.

The guitarist will be performing at The Beachland Ballroom this Friday Feb. 16 with his band The Creatures to promote new live double album It’s Alive! Recently, I had a very nice conversation with John about the album, the tour, and being a vegan.

Dave Sebille: Do you have any fond memories or crazy stories about Cleveland?

John 5: I know this is not the answer you’re looking for, but I always have my family come down when I’m in Cleveland. It’s always very tame because they are here. It makes Cleveland a very warm comforting place for me.

DS: You moved from Michigan to Los Angeles when you were 17. Do you still feel any connection with the Midwest?

J5: Let me ask you a question. This is absolute truth, too. Why does the midwest have such amazing shows? Such great crowds. What is it?

DS: Maybe the lack of sunshine.

J5: Even when bands tour in the winter, it’s crazy, dude. I don’t know what it is but it totally kicks ass.

DS: Tell me about The Creatures and It’s Alive!

J5: We didn’t plan on making a live album. Someone at a venue just asked us if we wanted to have the show recorded, so we had one chance to nail it. It came out so great, I felt like we had to put it out. So we did.

DS: Knowing the show was being recorded, were there any last minute tweaks to the set?

J5: We didn’t change anything but we were very, very, very, very careful. We play a game with ourselves anyway to see how perfect we can get it every night.

DS: What is a John 5 and The Creatures crowd like?

J5: It’s everyone. It’s Manson fans. It’s Zombie fans. It’s guitar players. It’s young people that love to dress up for the show. It’s such a wide array of people that come to these shows, I just think it’s so cool.

DS: I’m glad you mentioned the kids dressing up for the concert. Do you enjoy the theatrical side of performing?

J5: I do. It’s entertainment; people come to be entertained. You can catch a lot of great musicians, but why not put a great show along with it. It’s what I would want to see, and that’s how I go about this whole thing.

DS: Where does the show’s dark and scary theme come from?

J5: Before I got into guitar, I was in love with monsters and that kind of stuff—and like I said, I just do what I like. If people dig it, then awesome. Horror and metal have always gone together, but when we start playing the bluegrass shit, aw man, that’s when shit gets scary.

DS: How do you keep your own energy up on such a long tour?

J5: I’m a vegan. That really helps a lot. I eat well and healthy and don’t have any problemsknock on wood.

DS: How long have you been vegan?

J5: Seven years, and you know, if you have aches or pains or just feel like crap in general, that’s all about the food you’re eating. If you do this, and it is hard, your body ends up feeling perfect.

DS: Do you enjoy living in LA?

J5: I love it, I love the heat and the people. But when you get to the Midwest you’re just like, “whoa dude, rock is alive and well.” It’s not just me, everyone says that.

DS: What are you plans after this tour?

J5: I have a lot of work to do with Zombie. We’re putting out a new album and touring for that. So yeah, right back in to it, it’s pretty much nonstop for me, but I love it so much.

Want to see John 5 & The Creatures? Buy your tickets online and head to The Beachland Ballroom Friday, Feb. 16.

John 5’s new live album, It’s Alive!, is out now and can be ordered via

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