"You know all those geeks who go into music stores and buy all the instructional videos? Well, that's me!
With his heavily tattooed arms, snakeskin platform shoes, feather boa and liberal use of rouge, Marilyn Manson's new guitarist, John5, is the picture of glam rock-inspired decadence. But when it comes to playing, 5 (a.k.a. John Lowery), is about as dutifully diligent as they come.
"The rest of the band always makes fun of me because I practice for like 5 hours a day on the tour bus," says 5. "I like to divide the time up and run through all the styles I like playing: country, jazz, blues and, of course, metal."
Mr.5's fondness for woodshedding has certainly served him well. Since moving to L.A. when he was 17, his guitar skills have been in constant demand for countless sessions, and he has recorded, performed or toured with artists as varied as former Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford, rappers Salt-n-Pepa and country chanteuse k.d. Lang. Perhaps the most obvious and dazzling display of 5's Val-meets-Halen lightning chops can be found on DLR Band(Wawazatll,1998), David Lee Roth's most recent solo release. The guitarist who worked very closely to Roth and even helped co-write several songs on the album, is quick to point out that, regardless of what some two-hand tapping source would have us believe, the ex-Van Halen frontman is far from being a musically clueless buffoon.
"David is awesome," 5 says emphatically. "He has an incredibly acute musical sense and is aware of every detail in every song."
5 was saddened when he had to part ways with Roth after receiving a surprise call from the Manson camp, but any remorse he might have felt has long been replaced by a much more pressing concern:survival on a tour that he describes as "crazier and wilder than anything you could ever imagine," the guitarist has already suffered the loss of a tooth in an onstage mishap. And while everything is currently with his darl master of ceremonies, 5 is all too aware that Marilyn Manson has a nasty habit of firing his guitarists almost without warning, plunging them back into the obscurity whence they came.
"Yeah, I worry about the Manson guitar player curse",he confesses."But what can I do?I keep my head down, play my parts as well as I can and hope for the best."