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Metal master: John 5 & The Creatures blend a variety of styles into hard rock

Becoming famous was not on John 5’s agenda when he started playing guitar.

The guitarist began gaining renown after working with metal heavy hitter Rob Zombie and shock rocker Marilyn Manson.

Now John 5 has a number of solo albums under his belt, and he’s on tour promoting John 5 & The Creatures live album “It’s Alive!”

“When I was a kid, I was never, like, ‘I really want to be famous’ at all, because I thought it was too far away,” John 5 said. “It just couldn’t happen. There is no way that this could happen. It’s just impossible. I always thought, ‘Oh, I just want to make records. I just want to be a session guy and things like that.’ I never thought anybody would ever want to take my picture or would care about anything like that, so it’s really a wonderful dream, and I couldn’t be happier actually.”

John 5 has established a respected career in the metal scene, but his range of style is not limited to heavy music. Influences of bluegrass, country, Spanish guitar, and other styles are prominent within John 5 & The Creatures songs. John 5’s range has allowed him to work with a number of artists from various genres.

“Luckily, I love to study music and I love to understand all kinds of music,” he said. “It’s just like learning a different language or something and I love knowledge. … If you loved motorcycles, you would really know everything there is to know about motorcycles. It’s the same with music. I just want to know everything there is, so if I get a call from Ricky Martin or (Lynyrd) Skynyrd, I know everything to do and what not to do, so it’s really wonderful. And I’m honored to be a part of the history.”

John 5 also plays banjo and mandolin. His bluegrass and country influences started early with his love of the TV show “Hee-Haw.”

“I just absolutely loved ‘Hee-Haw’ and I love great musicianship, and those guys were such amazing musicians,” he said. “I just would sit on the couch, and I’d play all these styles of music, and when I thought, ‘Oh, I’m going to put out an instrumental record,’ I thought, ‘Well, I’m going to do exactly what I like to do,’ which is very out of the norm of Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson type of music, but I kind of just did it for the love of the music. Not to sell records, not to do anything like that. … I really enjoy this, and I am going to record like this and write songs like this. … It’s coming from the heart, and I think people really recognize that and enjoy that.”

John 5 & The Creatures drummer Logan Miles Nix shares John 5’s musical range. Nix, who grew up in Albuquerque, was in marching band, jazz ensembles, wind ensembles, percussion ensembles and more while attending Sandia High School. He later went on to study music at the University of New Mexico and then moved to Los Angeles. He frequently returns to Albuquerque to visit family and play gigs with friends.

“I am well-rounded,” Nix said. “I know a lot of different styles, and that came from being so involved with lots of different things in my younger years, college and high school. In my early gigging career, I was doing lots and lots of different things. It’s kind of interesting that it led me to the John 5 gig. A lot of people think that John 5 music is typically metal or rock, and there’s a lot of that, but there’s also a lot of different styles mixed in where we are playing some very bluegrass-inspired type of stuff, because John is a picker, as they call it. So it’s kind of cool that a lot of the different styles have come together and I can play all of them on a nightly basis now.”

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