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John 5 (guitarist)

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John 5
John 5 performing in 2019
John 5 performing in 2019
Background information
Birth nameJohn William Lowery
Also known asJohn Lowery
Born (1970-07-31) July 31, 1970 (age 53)
Grosse Pointe, Michigan, U.S.[1]
  • Musician
  • songwriter
Years active1987–present
Member of
Formerly of

John William Lowery (born July 31, 1970),[3] who is known by the stage name John 5, is an American guitarist. Lowery first took the stage name in 1998 when he left David Lee Roth's solo band and joined the rock band Marilyn Manson. Lowery later became the guitarist for Rob Zombie, and in 2022, became the touring guitarist for Mötley Crüe, being promoted to a full member the following year.

He is also a solo artist having recorded ten guitar albums: Vertigo (2004), Songs for Sanity (2005), The Devil Knows My Name (2007), Requiem (2008), The Art of Malice (2010), God Told Me To (2012), Careful With That Axe (2014), Season of the Witch (2017), Invasion (2019), and Sinner (2021). He also has a remix album, Remixploitation (2009), and live albums It's Alive (2018) and Live Invasion (2020). As a staff writer for Chrysalis Records, he has worked with artists such as Avril Lavigne, Rob Halford, k.d. lang, Garbage, Meat Loaf, Scorpions, Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, FeFe Dobson, and Steve Perry, and has written and recorded with Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd.

His stage name was given to him by Manson and refers to both the Bible chapter and him being the fifth member of Manson's band.[4]

Early life[edit]

Lowery is a native of Grosse Pointe, Michigan.[3] He first started playing guitar at seven years of age after watching Buck Owens and Roy Clark's television show Hee Haw with his father. Specifically, Lowery recalls seeing a young Jimmy Henley playing banjo that drew his inspiration.[citation needed]

His parents supported his playing as long as it did not interfere with his education. He also took guitar lessons from Detroit guitarist Robert Gillespie who taught him classic blues and rock 'n' roll. They also accompanied him at the adult bars he would play during the evening.[5][6]

His early musical influences came from the Monkees, Kiss, Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Jimi Hendrix, Yngwie Malmsteen, and country music.[6] He actually chipped a tooth trying to imitate Jimi Hendrix playing "The Star Spangled Banner" on the guitar. [7]


1987–1995: Early career[edit]

Lowery started his career as a session guitarist having moved to Los Angeles from Michigan at age 17. His first band in L.A. was Alligator Soup, which led to an important meeting with Rudy Sarzo from Whitesnake who recruited Lowery for his band Sun King giving him his first real bit of exposure. This also saw him meeting producer Bob Marlette, who has worked with, among others, Tracy Chapman, Alice Cooper, Rob Halford and Black Sabbath.

Lowery began working on numerous projects with Marlette including television show soundtracks, movie soundtracks including Speed 2: Cruise Control, and commercials and infomercials. This in turn saw Lowery being picked to play with Lita Ford, opening up for Kiss. He started another long time friendship with the various Kiss members, including a close friendship with Paul Stanley which resulted in his guesting on Stanley's Live to Win album.

Lowery's next role saw him working with Randy Castillo, in the short-lived projects Bone Angels and Red Square Black, who issued the Square EP via Zoo/BMG. The band disbanded when Lowery was picked to play with k.d. lang on tour.

1996–1998: 2wo[edit]

In 1996, Lowery heard that Marilyn Manson was looking for a guitarist and attempted to cold-call the studio Manson was working with to request an audition, but was hung up on, as the guitarist role had already been given to Zim Zum. Lowery teamed up with then-former Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford, along with Sid Riggs (drums), James Wooley (keyboards), and Ray Riendeau (bass) to work on an industrial metal-inspired album, under the band name of 2wo (Two). The subsequent album (Voyeurs) was recorded at Trent Reznor's New Orleans studio and was released on Reznor's Nothing Records label, under the parent company Interscope Records (Universal). The album was not a commercial hit but did produce one video, made by director Chi Chi Larue, for the first single "I am a Pig".[8] It featured some S&M scenes and so was not widely broadcast, but the video was not banned as has been previously rumored. The band embarked on a world tour and were part of the Ozzfest lineup, but the tour was pulled and 2wo disbanded.

1998–2003: David Lee Roth[edit]

John 5 played lead guitar on former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth's 1998 release DLR Band.[9][10]

Regarding how he came to meet Roth, in Guitarist Magazine, Lowery relates that, "when I was little, my dream was to play with David Lee Roth. One day I was sitting at my friend's house and... I wonder[ed] what... Roth is doing now. I'm gonna call up his manager and see if he needs any songs."[11]

John 5 submitted six tracks that he had written to Roth's management. Roth scheduled a meeting and then scheduled a recording session that lasted two weeks and resulted in the fourteen track DLR Band album. "I remember before we started, he [David Lee Roth] said, 'If you can't do it in two takes, you can't do it.'"[11]

In 2003, while still lead guitarist for Marilyn Manson, Lowery (then called John 5) was invited by David Lee Roth to write and record the single non-cover song for Roth's 2003 album Diamond Dave.[12]

1998–2004: Marilyn Manson[edit]

After the recording of Mechanical Animals, Marilyn Manson was again looking for a guitarist to replace Zim Zum who had been dismissed from the band during the recording process. Again John went to try out for the band. Following a tour with Rob Halford in Europe, John received a call from Manson's manager asking if he would like to meet Manson for lunch. At the meeting Manson asked John to join the band. Lowery accepted and Manson gave him the name "John 5". As Lowery put it, "right then and there. It was obviously something he'd been thinking about.".[13] 5 signed on for the Mechanical Animals tour and to work on the next album. His first live performance for Marilyn Manson came on the MTV Video Music Awards.

During the opening bars of "The Beautiful People" at the 2003 Rock Am Ring festival Manson was moving across the stage when he hit Lowery's guitar and chest with his boot. Lowery was outraged and threw his guitar while screaming at Manson, which led to much speculation. According to Lowery, the Grotesk Burlesk tour had been a high-pressure endeavor, and just weeks before he had suffered losses of very close family members. Lowery later commented on his behavior, calling it unprofessional and stating that there was no bad blood between Manson and him.[citation needed]

During this time period, Lowery also worked on a band called Plague with Jason Lowetz as the frontman. The album was produced with Bob Marlette but never made it out of the studio. Lowery was considered for the job as frontman for Velvet Revolver before Scott Weiland took it on.

In 2004, Lowery and Manson parted company. Confusion was rife as certain press reported that he had been dumped unceremoniously from the band, but in reality the two came to a mutual agreement that they wanted to go their separate ways. "What actually happened was, at the end of the tour, we were just on different roads. It was completely amicable. He just wanted to write with other members of the band, and I wanted to do other things."[14] While working with Manson, Lowery stated that Manson may have harbored resentment toward him since he does not do drugs or drink alcohol, whereas Manson "is not like that." However, Lowery claims Manson never stated this explicitly to him, and remains unclear on why or whether Manson has ill will toward him.[15]

2005–2006: Loser[edit]

In 2005, Lowery formed the band Loser. Recruiting vocalist Joe Grah, Charles Lee on bass, and Glendon Crain on drums, they began working on their debut album Just Like You. The band was also partly co-founded by friend and producer Bob Marlette. Vocalist Joe Grah already had a significant amount of success in his home state of Texas, with the band Jibe. Marlette recommended Grah to Lowery, and so Lowery hopped on a plane to Texas to see the band play. Grah flew back to L.A. and was hired on the spot.

The name Loser came about as an affirmation to Lowery's past: "I was from Grosse Pointe, Michigan, which is kind of an upper-class area, and I was always that rock kid," John explained. "I started playing guitar at age 7. I always had a rock shirt on, and I had that tattoo early on. I looked like a loser because everyone around me was wearing Polo and Brooks Brothers. But now if you go into a club wearing Polo, you're called a loser. So I think everyone can relate to that name, and the album title, Just Like You, sums it up."[16]

The band had initial success not long after signing with Island Records, when the track "Disposable Sunshine" became part of the Fantastic Four soundtrack.

During this time, during the recording of the soundtrack, Crain briefly left the band and was replaced by drummer Elias Andra, a friend of Lee's. Andra had some success himself with the band Psycho Plague, his own creation, an industrial metal band, which toured as a headline act with Linkin Park as an opening act at the time. However, Andra soon left after promotional shots had been taken, and Crain returned. Andra went on to become the drummer for Julien-K.

At the same time, Lowery was also working for Rob Zombie and a working conflict occurred. As Zombie was also touring, Lowery tried to find a live replacement for him while Loser were touring on conflicting dates. However, even with promo material for the debut album out and a release date in the bag, Island Records did not like the idea of Loser without John and so dropped the band from the label.

"Being the founding member of Loser, my decision to leave was not an easy one", said John 5 in a press release. "I've been juggling two careers both with Loser and Rob Zombie for over one year now. I found it impossible to be in two places at once."[17]

The album has been put on the backburner, and no word on a release date has ever been issued. The official Loser Myspace page has tracks available for download (working on April 11, 2012).[18] The album was never officially released, but promotional copies were distributed to radio stations and music industry insiders, and have become collectors items among fans.

2005–2022: Rob Zombie[edit]

John 5 performing with Rob Zombie in 2006

While Lowery was working with Loser, he also began to work with cult rock artist and movie director Rob Zombie. Meeting at the Camp Freddy benefit gig, Lowery and Zombie hit it off immediately and Rob asked Lowery to play with him at Ozzfest 2005. "I'm totally ecstatic about having the opportunity to play with Rob on Ozzfest! He has been one of my favorite artists for the longest time. I had the opportunity to play with him a few weeks back and never thought that I would have the chance to share the stage with him playing the Zombie songs we all know and love!"[19]

Lowery worked on Rob Zombie's 2006 album Educated Horses, co-writing eight out of eleven tracks with Zombie. When he left Loser, Lowery took up the role of Rob Zombie guitarist as a permanent gig. "Rob is the best I have worked with. He's great. We have a great time on stage together. It has been the single greatest experience I have had working with someone, hands down."[20] John is also the guitarist on Rob's latest albums, Hellbilly Deluxe 2, released February 2, 2010,[21] Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor, released April 23, 2013, The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser, released April 29, 2016, and The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy, released March 12, 2021.

In early 2011, Lowery was joined by fellow ex-Marilyn Manson bandmate, Ginger Fish, as a member of Rob Zombie's band.

In October 2011, Zombie announced that Lowery would be scoring the soundtrack for his latest movie The Lords of Salem.[22][23]

In May 2021, John 5, along with Rob Zombie, Nikki Sixx, and Tommy Clufetos, formed the supergroup L.A. Rats.[24] Their debut track, "I've Been Everywhere", appeared on the soundtrack to the Liam Neeson film The Ice Road.[24]

2022-present: Mötley Crüe[edit]

On October 26, 2022, it was announced that Mick Mars would be retiring as a touring guitarist from Mötley Crüe due to ongoing health issues.[25] Rumors had been circulating that John 5 would take over as Mars' replacement, especially since John did not show for a Rob Zombie concert at Aftershock in Sacramento, California.[26] On October 27, Mötley Crüe confirmed that John 5 had taken his place.[27]

2004–present: Solo career[edit]

Starting in 2004 with Vertigo, Lowery has recorded eight instrumental records. His works have featured many guest players. For example, Songs for Sanity had Albert Lee, and other records have had Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Jim Root. In 2009, John released a remix album, Remixploitation. Lowery has also released an instructional DVD entitled The Devil Knows My Name (2007). In July 2009, on his Twitter page, John 5 announced that he is now six tracks into the next solo album.[28] On October 2, 2009, he played with Slash at a tribute to the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.[29]

In a Twitter update January 6, 2010, John 5 had this to say about the progress of his upcoming fifth studio album; "Just did all the guitar, bass for my new solo CD, Tommy Clufetos played the drums and killed it!"[30] and a following Twitter update January 8; "Did the photo shoot for the new record today!",[31] January 18: "Just had Billy sheehan play on the the [sic] song (ya dig), this record is going to rule".[32]

In June 2011, John 5 officially closed his MySpace page.[33] John commented on his own website, "There are a number of reasons, mainly the decline of Myspace as a platform to reach you, the fans. ... So today, the steps were taken to close the account at the Myspace page."[33]

In February 2014, while giving an interview at the Soundwave festival John 5 announced his seventh solo album entitled "Careful with That Axe", which would go on to be released in August of that year.[34]

John 5 released his eighth solo album titled Season of the Witch on March 3, 2017. He released his first live album, It's Alive, in early 2018 and toured in the early and late months of 2018 in support of it. John 5 released his ninth solo album entitled "Invasion" on July 31, 2019. He was on the road in early and late 2019 in support of the "Invasion" album.

In January through March 2020, John 5 and The Creatures opened for Queensrÿche.[citation needed]

John 5 released his tenth solo album entitled Sinner on October 29, 2021.

Personal life[edit]

John 5 has been married three times.[35] He married his second wife, actress Aria Giovanni, in 2005, but they divorced in 2006.[36] He then married hair stylist Rita Lowery (nee Aghajani) on June 7, 2009.[37] John 5 has three children, two from his first marriage and a step-son, who is the son of Rita Lowery.[38][39][40] John 5 also has a grandson.[41]


During 2005, John 5 used Marshall amplifiers and cabinets, Boss pedals, Fender Telecaster and J5 guitars, and Dean Markley strings.[42] Prior to that, he used Ibanez guitars and was an endorser for that brand.[citation needed]

Discography and Films[edit]



  1. ^ "John 5 biography". AllMusic. Retrieved April 28, 2023.
  2. ^ Morgan, David (April 21, 2022). "Heavy metal and bluegrass guitarist John 5 on his musical obsessions". CBS News. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "BIOGRAPHY". JOHN 5. January 19, 2011. Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  4. ^ "John 5 Explains the Meaning of His Name". www.ultimate-guitar.com.
  5. ^ "Official Biography". John-5.com. January 19, 2011. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "John 5 Interview". Guitarhoo!. Guitarhoo.com. September 4, 2005. Archived from the original on May 8, 2016. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  7. ^ "Howard Stern promo for John 5 "Songs I Want to Hear" special". Retrieved February 26, 2024.
  8. ^ "Halford enlists Chi Chi Larue". MTV. February 3, 1998. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  9. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (June 9, 1998). "DLR Band – David Lee Roth | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  10. ^ "The Daily Vault Music Reviews : DLR Band". Dailyvault.com. August 14, 1998. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  11. ^ a b "Guitarist Magazine". Guitarist.co.uk. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  12. ^ Prato, Greg (July 8, 2003). "Diamond Dave – David Lee Roth | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  13. ^ von Lupton, Aaron. "5 Across the Ears". Rue Morgue Magazine, April 2016, p. 19.
  14. ^ "John 5 says split with Manson was "amicable". Blabbermouth.com". Ultimate-guitar.com. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  15. ^ Wiederhorn, Jon (April 6, 2004). "Fired Marilyn Manson Guitarist Wonders What Went Wrong". MTV News. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
  16. ^ Wiederhorn, Jon (April 7, 2006). "Ex-Manson guitarist John 5 proud to be a Loser". MTV. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  17. ^ "Former Marilyn Manson guitarist John 5 leaves Loser to focus on Rob Zombie. Blabbermouth.com". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Archived from the original on December 30, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  18. ^ "Myspace Loser". Myspace.com. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  19. ^ "The Official Website". John 5. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
  20. ^ D, Piggy (July 10, 2010). "Zombie Rob html". The Gauntlet. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
  21. ^ "ROB ZOMBIE UNEXPECTEDLY SWITCHES LABELS MOVES TO ROADRUNNER RECORDS' LOUD & PROUD IMPRINT TO RELEASE HELLBILLY DELUXE 2 IN EARLY 2010". Robzombie.com. Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  22. ^ "Rob Zombie Facebook". RobZombie. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  23. ^ "JOHN 5 DISCUSSES NEW PROJECTS WITH NORMAN FROM NORMAN'S RARE GUITARS". John-5.com. October 9, 2011. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  24. ^ a b Squires, John (May 20, 2021). "Rob Zombie Forms New Band L.A. Rats With Nikki Sixx and First Song Will Debut Tomorrow!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  25. ^ Aswad, Jem; Halperin, Shirley (October 26, 2022). "Motley Crue Guitarist Mick Mars to Retire From Touring". Variety. Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  26. ^ Owen, Matt (October 21, 2022). "Is John 5 about to be announced as Mick Mars' replacement in Mötley Crüe?". Guitar World. Retrieved October 27, 2022.
  27. ^ Kielty, Martin; Wilkening, Matthew (October 27, 2022). "It's Official: JOHN 5 Joins MÖTLEY CRÜE". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved October 27, 2022.
  28. ^ john5guitarist. "John 5 Twitter working on new instrumental album.. about 6 songs in!". Twitter.com. Retrieved November 5, 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  29. ^ "Slash & Friends concert lineup released". The Rock Radio. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  30. ^ john5guitarist. "John 5 Twitter Just did all the guitar, bass for my new solo cd Tommy Clufetos..." Twitter.com. Retrieved January 6, 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  31. ^ john5guitarist. "John 5 Twitter Did the photo shoot for the new record today!". Twitter.com. Retrieved January 8, 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  32. ^ john5guitarist. "John 5 Twitter Just had Billy sheehan play on the the song(ya dig) , this record is going to rule". Twitter.com. Retrieved January 19, 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  33. ^ a b "» John 5 Myspace closes today John 5 Official Website". John-5.com. June 30, 2011. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
  34. ^ "Interview: John 5 (Rob Zombie) at Soundwave Festival 2014 (Sydney, Australia)". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
  35. ^ "Meet All Of Guitarist John 5's Children. Is A Father Of Three Kids, Two Sons And A Daughter". Ecelebritymirror. March 24, 2020. Retrieved November 1, 2022.
  36. ^ "Famous Hookups". Famous Hookups. Retrieved August 6, 2016.
  37. ^ Lowery, Rita. "Wedding Anniversary". Instagram. Archived from the original on December 26, 2021. Retrieved August 6, 2016.
  38. ^ "John 5 - Happy 17th Birthday to my son Jeremy". Facebook. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  39. ^ "John 5". www.facebook.com. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  40. ^ "John 5". www.facebook.com. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  41. ^ Pervan, Melek Nur (October 21, 2020). "Rob Zombie Guitarist John 5 Met With His Grandson And Played Guitar For Him". Metalhead Zone. Retrieved November 1, 2022.
  42. ^ "John 5's 2005 Guitar Rig". Guitar.com. Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
  43. ^ "JOHN 5 – New Album, Season Of The Witch, Due In March". Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles. December 29, 2016. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  44. ^ Bienstock, Richard (June 7, 2019). "John 5 and Guthrie Govan's Aristocrats Announce One-Night-Only Co-Headlining Show in L.A." Guitar World. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  45. ^ "imvdvd.com/john-5 – website". Imvdvd.com. Archived from the original on November 7, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  46. ^ "imvdvd.com/tommy_clufetos.htm". Imvdvd.com. Archived from the original on December 22, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  47. ^ "The Castle – the new single from John 5 coming December 20". john-5.com. December 6, 2011. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  48. ^ "Fantastic Four soundtrack on Amazon". Amazon. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  49. ^ "garbage-discography.co.uk". garbage-discography.co.uk. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  50. ^ "garbagediscobox.com". garbagediscobox.com. November 11, 2003. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  51. ^ "John 5 leaves Loser and Island, Blabbermouth". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Archived from the original on December 30, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  52. ^ "Loser Official My Space Page". Myspace.com. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  53. ^ Harris, Chris (November 30, 2007). "Richard Patrick MTV interview". Mtv.com. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  54. ^ "Lynyrd Skynyrd write with John 5, set album for 2009". Musicradar.com. August 26, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  55. ^ "MUSICA+ALMA+SEXO Album Credits". rickymartinmusic.com. January 30, 2011. Archived from the original on February 8, 2011. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
  56. ^ "News – Sebastian Bach – John 5". Knac.Com. July 27, 2009. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
  57. ^ "» Purchase Steve Adlers 'Good to be Bad' featuring John 5 [Watch John 5 in studio] John 5 Official Website". John-5.com. October 26, 2012. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
  58. ^ "John 5 discusses new projects with Norman from Norman's Rare Guitars". john-5.com. October 9, 2011. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
  59. ^ BraveWords. "Cellist TINA GUO Releases Metal Album Featuring JOHN 5, NITA STRAUSS". bravewords.com. Retrieved September 24, 2022.

External links[edit]