Saturday, February 11, 2012

The #90 Guitarist of the Rock Era: John 5

The guitarist at #90 has played in several groups but one thing has remained constant--top-notch guitar playing and wild riffs.  Here's John 5:

#90:  John 5, David Lee Roth, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, 26 years as an active guitarist

John William Lowery was born July 31, 1971 and is known by his stage name of John 5.  He has played for David Lee Roth, Marilyn Manson and now Rob Zombie.  John has also recorded six guitar albums.  He is also a staff writer for Chrysalis Records, working with the Scorpions, Ozzy Osbourne, Avril Lavigne, Garbage and Meat Loaf and has written and recorded with Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Lowery began playing guitar at age seven after watching the television show Hee Haw.  He would play in bars as a teenager, accompanied by his parents.  When Lowery was 17, he moved to Los Angeles and became a session guitarist.  He joined the group Alligator Soup, which led to meetings with Rudy Sarzo of Whitesnake and producer Bob Marlette. 

Marlette had Lowery working on TV and movie soundtracks (including Speed 2:  Cruise Control) and commercials and infomercials.  This exposure led to a job playing guitar for Lita Ford in opening for Kiss.  This also paid dividends as Lowery began long-term friendships with the members of Kiss.  Lowery was then chosen from 2,000 guitarists to play with k.d. lang on her tour.
In 1996, Lowery auditioned for the guitarist in Marilyn Manson's band but that spot went to Mike Linton, who became known as Zim Zum.  So Lowery joined Rob Halford, lead singer of Judas Priest, drummer Sid Riggs, James Wooley (keyboards) and bassist Ray Riendeau in the group 2wo.  The group put out an album (Voyeurs) and were part of the Ozzfest world tour, but when the tour was halted, 2wo broke up. 
In 1998, Lowery submitted six tracks that he had written to the management for David Lee Roth, the former lead singer of Van Halen, who had just been fired from that group for a second time.  Roth was impressed and scheduled a meeting wanting to hear more.   Lowery was chosen by David Lee Roth, former lead singer of Van Halen, to play lead on his album DLR Band.  John gained significant notoriety for his ability and the passion of his playing.  Lowery also wrote and recorded "Thug Pop" for Roth's 2003 album Diamond Dave.

The same year as Roth's album DLR Band, Manson fired Zim Zum and once again was looking for a new guitarist.  After a European tour with Rob Halford, Lowery met Manson for lunch and he was hired by the end of the meeting.  By this time, Lowery had taken the name John 5 and he joined the group for the Mechanical Animals tour.  His first live performance with Marilyn Manson was on the MTV Video Music Awards.

Lowery also worked with the band Plague with lead singer Jason Lowetz.  Marlette produced the album but it never was released.

In 2004, John 5 left Manson and formed the band Loser with lead singer Joe Grah, bassist Charles Lee and Glendon Crain on drums.  With help from producer Marlette, the group released the album Just Like You.  The group had some success, but John 5 was also working for Rob Zombie and opted to disband from Loser due to touring conflicts. 

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