REVIEW: John 5

REVIEW: John 5

The Coach House
San Juan Capistrano, CA

February 12, 2015

Writing and photography by

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When you cut your proverbial stage teeth backing the likes of metal masters ROB ZOMBIE and MARILYN MANSON, it is completely understandable how you might end up being as much a performance artist as a great musician.  But, if you are REALLY good at what you do, you end up stepping out from behind these giant shadows and you make a name for yourself. And that’s exactly the case with JOHN LOWERY, better known to the world of metal music as simply JOHN 5.   Now out touring in support of his most recent solo album entitled “CAREFUL WITH THAT AXE” (a nod to rock greats Pink Floyd?), we caught up with FIVE recently at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano.   
Known for his shredding guitar, his ample aptitude, his humble attitude, and his extreme versatility, you might be surprised to also know that FIVE, who had a solid Midwestern upbringing, not only rivals the best of the metal guitar masters, but he can also pick his way perfectly through a CHET ATKINS song with a finesse reserved for someone with perhaps a more classical background.   
So it’s no wonder that he can take his guitar out on the road and fill rooms on his current solo tour – even as an entirely instrumental set (no wailing or screaming singers overpowering the band on this stage).  And it’s no surprise to us that his fans follow him even far south, to the bowels of Orange County. Why?  Because FIVE SHREDS.  That’s the bottom line.  A self-admitted obsessive player (he mentioned his ever-understanding wife actually puts up with his constant practice – even when just lounging at home, he picks up the guitar and continues to hone his craft), it all pays off when FIVE hits the stage and you watch in awe as his fingers (and even his tongue at one point!) literally dance over those six strings.  He’s a true virtuoso.  In another era, he’d probably have been a solo violinist playing some composer’s masterpiece at some powerful King’s court.  YES, he’s THAT good.   
And not to discount his backing band, THE CREAURES – the very talented RODGER CARTER on drums (who has spent years working with some of rock’s greatest) and newcomer bassist IAN ROSS supplied the appropriately heavy rhythm section to round out FIVE’s sound.      
Together, JOHN 5 and THE CREATURES put on one hell of a show – all that great music combined with make-up, costume changes, lots of volume, and even monsters (a wily Frankenstein, provided by FIVE’s busy guitar tech, had a few moments on stage, handing out monster-themed guitar picks to the crowd) made for a completely enjoyable show.    

And if that wasn’t enough, for a guitar enthusiast like me, the parade of really cool guitars (sometimes modified with lights and even snow-globe effects) was worth the price of admission alone.   
Not made it out yet to a gig?  Well, you had better catch FIVE on tour with THE CREATURES before he’s back out on the road with ROB ZOMBIE this summer.  You won’t be disappointed.  

Ticket information available here:

SPOTTED IN THE CROWD:  John’s lovely wife RITA LOWERY, and a whole lot of METAL HORNS.     
Want to see him in action?  


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