The rock bot that destroyed Hollywood
John 5, former Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie guitarist, plans his ‘Invasion’
If you’re into campy call-backs to old horror movies, watch these two music videos from guitar shredder John 5. Start with the cartoon “ZOINKS!” which sees gothed-out John and his sidekick, sound engineer Dirty Chavez, battling a cyclops for his kidnapped wife Rita. With some tricks from his trusty guitar, John beats the beast, which—almost like an episode of Scooby-Doo—is actually a robot helmed by Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx.
“And I woulda gotten away with if it wasn’t for you and that motherf***in’ John 5,” Sixx declares from the cyclops’ exposed cockpit brain. The story ends in a monster concert, in which the late Lon Chaney from London After Midnight introduces John and his band, The Creatures.
That’s part one.
In part two, “I Am John 5,” robot John destroys Hollywood monuments. It ends with Invasion, the guitarist’s new album, out in the summer.
The videos feature a slew of oddball cameos and collaborations. Susan Olsen from the Brady Bunch lends her voice, while Butch Patrick (who voiced Eddie Munster) plays a mad scientist. Fred Coury, who drummed in the glam metal band Cinderella, co-wrote “ZOINKS!”’s ooo-wee-ooo score. Brett Boggs, an animator at Disney who worked on Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen, produced the animation.
The videos are a labor of love for John 5, who over the last 30 years played with David Lee Roth, Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson, to name a few artists. Since 2004 and 10 albums deep (counting live and remix records), he’s taken his solo show on the road, an acid-trip circus that’s as zany as the shock-rockers.
“It’s like an instrumental Alice Cooper,” John says.
He says listeners can expect a wherever-I-may-roam approach to his 11th album. Bluegrass, mandolin centered-melodies and Electronic Dance Music-inspired guitar drones make this Invasion, he says.
“I heard my son playing this EDM, and I said, ’Man, there’s really good riffs on this stuff,’” John says. “What if I did something like that, but played it? You see a deejay out there playing in an arena spinning a turntable, what if I did all these songs on guitar?”
The album’s newest single, “Midnight Mass,” keeps it traditional; Thrash metal drilling and more blistering guitar solos. Its music video, released Monday, is part three to that horror saga, though this story only features live performance and touring footage.
The guitar player passionately appreciates new technology. Sites such as YouTube have allowed him to expose his music more than ever, he says.
“You used to be at the mercy of record companies just to put your posters up,” John says. “[YouTube is] just an amazing tool, and I’m happy with it.”
It’s exactly how he likes it, and his daily routine doesn’t sound so bad, either: lounging in front of a television set, watching the cat roam, shredding.
“If I’m not walking or showering, or eating or sleeping, I’m playing guitar,” he says.