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John 5 at the Token Lounge, 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2019

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Any list of hardest working performers in show biz, and certainly in rock music, is not complete without John 5.

Being part of Rob Zombie's band as well as a frequent score composer for his films would be enough for most artists. But 5 -- born John Lowery in Grosse Pointe -- also maintains a steady solo career, with an album release every year, and tours frequently with his trio the Creatures. And his collaboration resume is a who's-who list that includes fellow Detroiter Alice Cooper, Meat Loaf, Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss's Paul Stanley, Avril Lavigne, Rod Stewart, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many more -- and, last year, ex-Journey singer Steve Perry on his comeback album "Traces" and Motley Crue on new songs for the movie "The Dirt."

This year 5 has released another instrumental album, "Invasion," with the Creatures, and he made a surprising appearance on HGTV's "A Very Brady Renovation" with "Brady Bunch" alumnus Susan Olsen. 5 and the Creatures are on the road too, of course, and there's plenty on his future docket as well...

5 -- a married father of three who resides in California -- says the solo albums and performances allow him to show off different musical inspirations and influences than fans might expect from him. "I didn't really think anybody would care or show up, but it's been so successful and we have so much doing it -- and people see how much fun we have doing it. It's, like, a crazy, funhouse show, almost, with all this insane music and bluegrass music and banjos and mandolins and guitar solos. We're just having blast with it and so are the people, which is the best part of it."

He's having such a good time, in fact, that 5 expects his next release may be a live album. "We've been recording a lot of these shows, and I want to put out something called 'Live Invasion.' We could have songs from Australia or Michigan and so on and so on. We have such a good time playing; We want to see how perfect we can get it. So we're recording, and I think that's what I want to do next."

The Invasion album includes the track "I Am John 5," a statement piece that 5 says came about spontaneously. "I've been using this Talk Box, like Peter Frampton, and we felt like we should open up the record with something really cool. We were trying to figure it out and were just stuck, and I said, 'Man, what if I was like a robot, doing destruction everywhere, and all I would say is 'I am John 5?' And it worked so well. It's really hook and fun, and it's become a fan favorite."

5 found working with Steve Perry to be a bit of a blast from the past. "We got together and he started warming up his voice, and it was unbelievable. We warmed up on some Journey stuff and it sounded like you were listening to an unplugged version of it all. His voice has not changed at all. It sounded perfect. And when he talks, he's got that same voice, like his singing voice. It's just really natural and really cool to experience that."

Besides "Invasion" 5 has spent much of the year working with Zombie on his next album, which he describes as "heavy -- very, very heavy, but very hooky. Great melodies. Great riffs. Aggressive, because Rob did the lyrics and melodies first over some very basic music, and then I came in and just went crazy on it. We're looking forward to having it finished and out there."

John 5 performs Friday, Nov. 1, at the Token Lounge, 28997 Joy Road, Westland. Jared Nichols James and Reverend Jack open. Doors at 7 p.m. $25. 734-513-5030 or tokenlounge.com.

Web Site: www.tokenlounge.com

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