John 5 Loves the Arizona Heat and Vintage Telecasters

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"I was so obsessed with the guitar that my left hand grew larger than my right hand, so my left hand is actually physically, and noticeably, different," says John 5.

When he was 18, John 5 (real name: John Lowery) moved to Los Angeles, and during a gig with his band Alligator Soup, he took center stage and shredded when the lead singer was pulled off, tending a bleeding head wound. In the audience was Rudy Sarzo, who was so impressed he asked John to work with him, ultimately leading to John meeting legendary producer Bob Marlette (with whom he still works today).

His August 2014 album, Careful with That Axe, showcases his usual fretboard acrobatics and audacious style, but it turns up the heat even higher. Titled as a nod to Pink Floyd's 1968 jam "Careful with That Axe, Eugene," it refers to a guitar as an ax, and "ax murders" (some of the song titles center on killers).

But the name also has a personal charm for him: He is a Fender Telecaster connoisseur, and owns one from almost every year since 1950. His rare 1950s Broadcaster cost him about $135,000, so you'd better believe he knows how to be careful while navigating his gigantic collection, which also includes about 50 Les Pauls, and a bunch of Gretsches and SGs. However, he also looks forward to the guitars of the future, designing his own custom Teles based on bizarre concepts, like the lava lamp Tele and the Tele-vision.

Currently John 5 is working on the score of Rob Zombie's newest horror flick, 31, and finished up two albums with Zombie, a live one and a highly anticipated studio one. He also hit the road for his first solo tour, and will be in Scottsdale at Pub Rock Live this Saturday, February 14.

Up on the Sun talked with John 5 about his love for Arizona, Rob Zombie's upcoming album, and his next custom guitar design.

Up on the Sun: Your solo albums tend to pay homage to your influences. So was there a different concept you were going for with 2014's Careful with That Axe as opposed to your last 2012's God Told Me To?

John 5: Well, God Told Me To was half-acoustic, and this one is completely different because I did it with a band; a drummer and a bass player. And we all played at the same time and there was just magic there because when it came out, I was so proud and happy of how it came together. It was sort of like training for a boxing match -- just training and training and training -- and then you go into a studio and do it. I'm so happy with how it turned out, and it's by far my favorite record I've ever done. And now we're taking it on the road!

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Lauren Wise has worked as a rock/heavy metal journalist for 15 years. She contributes to Noisey and LA Weekly, edits books, and drinks whiskey.
Contact: Lauren Wise