John 5: my best and worst gigs ever

23rd Jun 2014 | 09:05

John 5: my best and worst gigs ever
John 5: my best and worst gigs ever
The shock-shred star recalls his best onstage moment... and one that wasn't.

Continuing our series My Best And Worst Gigs Ever, Telecaster-totin' virtuoso John 5 talks about one show that stands out in his mind as being the greatest he's ever played – and one that wasn't so much.

“A lot of shows could vie for being the best or greatest, but the one that sticks out for me is when I played with Rob Zombie at the Mayhem Festival last year. It was in San Bernardino, the first show of the tour. The whole thing was a massive production, and the place was packed, packed, packed.

“What made this show truly special for me is that my kids came. They’re older now – 20 and 18. My daughter, Nicole, has seen me play live before, but my son, Jeremy, was never allowed to come to any of the shows. His mother is the worst person ever – you can print that – and she always kept him away. So, finally, he got to come and see me play.

“It was so emotional for both him and me. Just imagine going to see your dad at work – you have an idea of what he does, but you’re not totally sure what it’s all about. So now he finally gets to see me, and it’s this giant show with 15,000 people going nuts. The whole thing was crazy… and beautiful.

“Being on stage in front of that many people is an almost indescribable feeling as it is, but when you know your kids are watching you, particularly your son who’s seeing you for the first time ever, that’s just over-the-top amazing. Plus, it was just a fantastic show: the band was playing great, the response was unbelievable, there’s fire and all of this stuff happening. My son got in the pit and had a brilliant time. Seeing him get into it was a truly magical experience.”

John 5: my best and worst gigs ever
John 5: my best and worst gigs ever

“The worst show for me didn’t have anything to do with my playing or something going wrong with my gear or anything. I was doing the LA Forum with Marilyn Manson. It was my first time playing there, so I was super excited. You grow up hearing about KISS Alive II and all of these other historical concerts taking place at the Forum, so finally you get to step out onto that stage – it’s a really big deal.

“All of my friends came, the venue was packed – I just had the feeling it was going to be the best show ever. We come out on stage, the place goes nuts, and we launch into the first song – amazing. It’s like, ‘Yes, yes, yes! This is the greatest.’ Everything keeps going great and building in intensity. I'm just having the best time.

"Three songs in, it was all over: Manson hurt his ankle on stage, and that was it – we were done. And the thing is, he had a bad ankle to start with. He would get up on these sidefills and jump off of them. I knew this, so I would try to get in front of him so he couldn’t jump. I’d try to act like I didn’t see him, but I’m really just trying to keep him from hurting himself. Sure enough, he jumped... and down he went. It was terrible. The show was called.

“I was crushed. It was like going from the highest of highs to just like, ‘What happened?’ I was so bummed. We did three tunes, and we sounded great… [sighs] That was that. My one time playing the Forum – three songs and out."

You can check out John 5's new single, This Is My Rifle, right here. To purchase the song, click here. To pre-order his upcoming album, Careful With That Axe (out August 16), click here.

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