John 5 on Eddie Van Halen’s Legacy: ‘He’s Like Benjamin Franklin’
"It changed my life forever."
John 5 is talking about the effect that the first Van Halen album, released forty years ago, had on him. It sounds like it could be hyperbole, but the fact is, so many guitar players have said the same thing about the 1978 release in subsequent decades.
The six-stringer, who has played with David Lee Roth and Marilyn Manson, and who currently plays for Rob Zombie while leading his own band, was talking to Loudwire's Gear Factor host Squiggy about the impact of Van Halen - the album, Van Halen - the band, and Eddie Van Halen as both a guitarist and an inventor.
John 5 tells Squiggy that he first heard the album when it was brand new: he was turned on to it by his guitar teacher. "When I heard it, I was blown away. I couldn't believe it. I was just like, 'Oh my God, that's so incredible.' It just moved me and it was totally an epiphany for me. I still listen to it all the time. It was a game-changer. It was something that changed music forever."
"I don't think any of us had ever heard a guitar sound like that before," he added. "Everyone's trying to get the sound, and the right amp and the right pedal and the right cord and the right pick and the right strings and I really do believe it's just all in his hands. Because I've heard him play through a little practice amp, and it sounds just like Eddie Van Halen!"
He continues: "Not only was Eddie an unbelievable musician and songwriter, but think about this: what an inventor he was. Look at the design he came up with: the striped guitar. Dude, it's unbelievable. That's one of the most iconic symbols: you see that [guitar], and you're like, 'Oh! Van Halen!' The black and white, and then the black and yellow, then the red, white and black one, it's just totally iconic."
Discussing Eddie Van Halen's signature 5150 amps, he says, "There's so many different versions of it, I've used it multiple times on records, absolutely. I've played through his rig and, oh my God, he is like Benjamin Franklin, he just knows where everything goes and it sounds unbelievable. He's an inventor, on top of an amazing guitar player and an amazing songwriter!"
John 5 and the Creatures' album, It's Alive! is out now; he's currently on tour. See his upcoming dates here.
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