His resume includes names like Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie, but John 5 is not your typical shock-metal guitarist. In fact, much of his new DVD shows him running down country licks… in full goth-god makeup and regalia. But there’s no arguing his mastery of banjo rolls, behind-the-nut bends, pedal-steel bends, and chicken pickin’.
Included in the DVD repertoire are run-downs of several songs from his previous album of the same title. And while those cuts are definitely metal, they’re also full of an odd mix of country licks, and John 5 does a fine job of tutoring, and slowing down the notes that have made him a regular on lists of “fastest guitar players.” His chops are amazing.
While the DVD is instructional, before you rush out to buy your aspiring pre-teen (or teen!) guitarist a copy, know there’s a lurid side that includes bare-breasted women and strong S&M imagery. There is a parental advisory, and to J5’s credit, his rendition of “Sugarfoot Rag” should keep (or get) kids focused on what he’s doing.
J5’s latest CD, Requiem, again offers the odd mix of metal and country. The songs have great melodies, even at their loudest and most metal, and his command of the instrument is amazing. The track “Cleansing the Soul” may just create a musical genre. Think metal with a hoedown feel. Regardless, it’s a guitar tour de force. Now, ’bout the whole “musical persona” thing, there, Mr. Lowery…
This article originally appeared in VG’s Sept. ’08 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.