John 5 – Illuminates NAMM Jam 2016
Anaheim CA 1-22-16
Review and photos by Robert Cavuoto
John 5 and his band, The Creatures, were the headlining act at the 2016 NAMM Jam at The Grove in Anaheim CA as part of the NAMM convention (National Association of Music Merchants).
One of the hardest working musicians on the planet has to be guitar virtuoso John 5. He was out touring with Rob Zombie in October, in November he embarked on a string of West Coast instrumental dates, he put out a Greatest Hits CD/DVD of fan favorite instrumental songs and if that wasn’t enough he is currently working on a new instrumental studio CD.
Tonight John 5 dazzled a packed crowd with his guitar prowess! The audience might not have known the name of every song he played but they were certainly there to see him play! To witness his ability to cross and mesh guitar styles. He can go from a beautiful acoustic piece to a warp speed shredding lead with ease. He has the perfect combination of brilliant technique and style, a true innovator mastering techniques like fingerpicking, speed picking, tapping, playing above the guitar nut, flamenco and sometimes all in the same song. He is a visionary player that can sculpt sound and bend minds in equal measure.
Dressed in his undertaker overcoat, ghoulish white make-up, and armed with a few Fender Telecaster guitars, John cranked out; “This is my Rifle,” “The Flight of Vulcan Kelly,” “Jiffy Jam” and medley of old school metal songs. Highlight of the show was when he came out with his light-up Telecaster and performed “Sin.”
Prior to the show I asked John 5 about the secret to his chicken picking technique and his country root. His commented “I like to play what I love and I think more people are getting introduced to country music. Artists like Chet Atkins and Jerry Lee Lewis were the shredders back in their day. The original gunslingers! More and more people are getting educated on that style of music and learning how to play it. I just put it in a minor key like E minor as most heavy rock tunes are in that key. You can chicken pick with distortion; you just have to be very precise when hitting the open strings. That’s the trick; with distortion you’re going to hear every little thing.”
Just when he and his band had the crowd fired up, the set was over. I truly hope he comes to the East Coast later this year!