John 5 doesn't just play the guitar. His guitar is an extension of his soul and through it his music has become the Frankenstein birth penetrating the ear drums of fans and admirers worldwide. For John 5 the music is not just about playing, but living, breathing, feeling and passion.
His impressive resume has seen him work with some of the most renowned musicians in the industry and has cemented his name into the annals of rock history. John 5 may have been underrated when he first began his solo career four years ago but he should not be underestimated.
His work is both extensive and eclectic. His range sees him fit into many different genres which makes him hard to label. He has however become one of the best shred guitarists of recent years and has won the admiration of artists such as Paul Gilbert, Bumblefoot, Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani – to list but a few.
John 5 was born John Lowery, in Grosse Point Michigan. He started playing guitar at the age of seven, inspired by Saturday morning TV show Hee Haw: "I didn't know any...musical genres. I was just in awe of the players". His parents were supportive of his learning and permitted him to play in bars and clubs on the condition that he kept his grades up. Aged 18, John moved to California to pursue a career as a professional session guitarist.
John began working on a number of projects for producer Bob Marlette, including TV shows, commercials and film soundtracks. This in turn saw a major break with Lita Ford, opening up with her in support of KISS. John then met Ozzy Osbourne drummer Randy Castillo and formed "Red Square Black". However, RSB was a short-lived project after John was selected from 2000 guitarists to tour with KD Lang.
In 1996, John narrowly missed out on an audition with Marilyn Manson following the departure of original guitarist Daisy Berkowitz. John teamed up with Rob Halford (Judas Priest) and formed industrial/classic rock band "2wo" (Two). John's next project came in 1998 when he teamed up with ex Van Halen front man Dave Lee Roth. John wrote six tracks and submitted them to Roth's manager. Familiar to the style Roth played John used this to help write "The DLR Band" album in the space of two weeks.
In 1998 John was asked to lunch by Marilyn Manson: "...he asked me to join the band - right there". The name John 5 bestowed on him that day, John joined Manson et al, for the Rock is Dead tour. Following the tragic events of April 1999, at Columbine High School, the group began work on "Holywood: In The Shadow of the Valley of Death", an angry response to the media witch-hunt the band suffered, and was the first album John wrote on.
During this time, John also continued working a session guitarist contributing works to several albums, including the Jimi Hendrix Tribute album "Hazy Days" and reuniting with Dave Lee Roth for the track "Thug Pop".
In 2003, John released his first custom guitar - The John Lowery Signature Fender Telecaster. Guitarist Magazine called it "the sexiest new signature guitar on the market". 2003 also saw the release of Marilyn Manson's The Golden Age of Grotesque.
In 2004, John 5 and Marilyn Manson parted company. "I had a great run with Marilyn Manson. It was a lot of fun [but now] I'm busier...than I was on tour". Work began in earnest on Vertigo, a deeply autobiographical album pulled from turbulent personal memories on the last Manson tour
John also began working on a new "radio rock project" Loser, comprising the vocal talents of Joe Grah, formerly of Texas band Jibe. Added to that, John began working with cult rock artist and movie director, Rob Zombie. John joined Rob for 2005's Ozzfest tour: "[I] never thought I would have the chance to share the stage with him playing the Zombie songs we all know and love".
In 2005 John released Songs For Sanity, a second solo album, grittier than the first: Guesting on the album were Steve Vai and Albert Lee.
Work with Rob Zombie continued and John contributed to eight out of eleven tracks on 2006's Educated Horses. Due to conflicting commitments with Zombie and Loser, John had to make a hard decision: "Being the founding member of Loser, my decision to leave was not an easy one." Touring continued with Zombie and John also contributed works to Meatloaf, Paul Stanley and FeFe Dobson.
After touring for almost a year, John took time out to work on his third solo album. Devil Knows My Name saw contributions from Joe Satriani and Jim Root. It also won him an accolade for Best Shred Album from Guitarworld.com. Working with Hal Leonard, John 5 also released his first tuition DVD, a ground breaking instructional that mixed live lessons with horror movie inspired fillers. Sales flew through the roof.
His fourth solo album Requiem (June 3 2008) sees him carry his work solely on his own back and again reinventing, remoulding and restyling sounds that have become a part of his own style but marrying them to those more unfamiliar. He also embarks on a Guitar Center tour of West Coast America. For John 5 this is the best way he feels he can repay the fans for all their support and loyalty over the past four years. 'You'll notice the tour is also free, and this is also me paying back to the fans and saying thank you for the support, for buying the albums.'
So what does the future hold? 'Well we're working on the new Zombie album and that's keeping us busy, and I'm still working on the new Lynyrd Skynyrd album and hopefully that will be done soon. And I've just worked with Filter. So it's really busy and there's so much more work I am doing at the moment. It's work, work, work but I'm loving it.'
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