John 5 was a guest on the The Kenny Aronoff Sessions and sat down for a fascinating in-depth conversation about a life in music, but the best was yet to come when Aronoff posted a bonus video with the Mötley Crüe guitarist on blazing form with his new signature Fender Telecaster.
This was John 5’s chance to put into practice some of the things he was talking about on the podcast, a chance to put The Ghost Telecaster through its paces and prove that maybe you don’t need a super-sized pedalboard after all to make your guitar sound extra-terrestrial, just so long as you’ve got an onboard killswitch and chops to burn.
Aronoff, who will be behind the drum kit for Joe Satriani’s upcoming tour dates, is not exactly easy to impress. He has been there and done that, spending 17 years in John Mellencamp’s band. But John 5’s casual virtuosity left quite the impression. “And you have no foot pedals, no accessories? It’s the instrument,” says Aronoff, aghast at what he’s just witnessed. “Dude, that’s just awesome. It’s awesome.”
It begins with Aronoff asking to demonstrate the sort of thing that John 5 would do with Rob Zombie, whom he left to join Mötley Crüe in October 2022. It is a conversation mediated by electric guitar.
John 5 highlights the connection between White Zombie riffs such as the syncopated single-note chug of the Thunder Kiss ’65 riff to AC/DC, via Highway To Hell – simplicity the through-line.
“Dude, it’s like the whole audience is moving, and now you could read the alphabet,” says Aronoff, singing along. “A, B, C / D, E, F! It doesn’t matter. Everyone’s moving.”
After discussing the simple pleasures of AC/DC and the monolithic grandeur of Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir, and a quick highlights reel of the best riffs in the Mötley Crüe canon, they move onto jazz rhythm, the lessons from session playing, and the country pickers like Jerry Reid who informed his style. John 5 pivots from one to the other like he was changing the channel on the remote. Hot For Teacher? Easy.
“[It's] fun stuff,” says John 5. “I try to learn as much as I can.”
You can check out the full conversation between Aronoff and John 5 above or wherever you get your podcasts. Check out the video at the top of the page to watch a master at work.
John 5 also released some new music today in the form of a shred-heavy instrumental track named after and inspired by his signature guitar, The Ghost.
“The guitar is, to me, the perfect guitar,” he said in a statement accompanying the release. “It has everything; looks, durability, amazing sound, so the only thing I could do is create a song that shows all of its glory. When the guitar came out, I went right into the studio and recorded this song with the new guitar, and I couldn’t think of a more fitting title than The Ghost.”
You can catch John 5 live with the Creatures as he tours the US in the New Year. See John 5 for dates and tickets. The Ghost is available to download/stream now. And with that, John 5 has done his bit to send us all to the woodshed. It's practice time.