Guitarist John 5 Shares How Rob Zombie Reacted When He Joined Mötley Crüe

Guitarist John 5 Shares How Rob Zombie Reacted When He Joined Mötley Crüe

Mötley Crüe has been in the rock headlines plenty lately following the lawsuit from the band’s former guitarist Mick Mars

The 71-year-old co-founder of the band said he was basically forced out of the group when he revealed he no longer wanted to tour due to health reasons. His replacement was John 5, former Rob Zombie guitarist. John 5 has had a long friendship with Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee. 

“Well, I’ve been friends with Nikki and Tommy forever — forever and ever and ever,” John 5 told Eddie Trunk.

“I’m so close to Nikki. We talked, like, probably 80 times a day for a decade. And we’ve done so much work together. We worked on the Meat Loaf song together, ‘The Monster’s Loose’; Sixx:A.M., of course; L.A. Rats; ‘The Dirt’. But other than music, we were just always around. I mean, he was the best man at my wedding. And we’d always go to the mall and ride bikes and just do total normal stuff.”

“So when this came about… We were talking to each other on tour, like, ‘All right, dude. I’m going on stage.’ And he’s, like, ‘All right, dude. I’m going on stage. I’ll talk to you after the show,’ and blah blah blah. So we talked pretty much every day when he was on tour and I was on tour at the same time with the Zombie thing. We were doing ‘Freaks On Parade’. It was great — great shows, packed to the nines, and having a good time and laughing and making music. And the tour ended. We went home. Actually, I went to do some Creatures shows, my instrumental thing.”

“And Mötley was finished. They were off tour. And I was still doing some shows. And Nikki called and said, ‘Listen, Mick is going to retire. And we have these obligations from Live Nation. We have South America booked. We have Europe booked. Would you wanna come on board?’ And I was, ‘Absolutely.’ I mean, it’s just like your brother asking you or something like that.”

John 5 went on to explain that while Rob Zombie wasn’t thrilled with his exiting the band, he understood. 

“But now the hard part was telling Rob, because we never had a negative word between us. And he’s my buddy and we made great music and great live shows together for 17 years, and we never really had a problem. But I was thinking to myself, I was, like, ‘Life is short.’ And I’m being completely honest with you — ‘Life is short. I wanna experience as much as I can in life.’ And I was thinking about myself. And I was, like, ‘I wanna do this for me, because I’m 51 years old’ at the time, and I was, like, ‘I wanna do this. I want to experience this.’ How many times do you get a new chapter in your life at this magnitude later in life?”

“And I talked to Rob, and he understood. Rob is a smart, rational person. I mean, he wasn’t psyched, but he understood. And I think that was amazing of him. And he was just, like, ‘Go get ’em.’ He was fine about it. And then they got (Mike) Riggs, who I think is a great addition. That’s who he was using when Rob did the early solo records, and I think it’s a great addition. And they’re kicking ass.”

John 5 went on to explain how the change came to be. 

“I told Rob before it got out in the press. But I agreed to Nikki. And I called Rob and I said, ‘This is what’s happening.’ And we did a show, Louder Than Life, together, and that was my last show [with Rob] in Kentucky. And then they got Riggs and were rehearsing with him and did the Aftershock show. And then it was announced — my time frame is not great, but then I believe it was announced a little bit after that. But it was no bad blood or anything; it wasn’t anything bad; it wasn’t dramatic or anything. And Rob was super cool. He was, like, ‘Hey, I get it.’ He was cool about it.”

Sadly, John 5 said he hasn’t spoken to his former boss since his exit. 

“To be honest, I haven’t, and I miss talking with him and texting with him,” John 5 said. “I’m more worried about him not texting me back or not replying. I think that would really break my heart. That’s the thing. I think I’d be really bummed out about that. But I haven’t. To answer your question, no, I haven’t.”

The guitarist said he has been asked to join other bands, but Mötley Crüe was the one gig he couldn’t pass on. 

“In the 17 years of being with Zombie, I got asked to join a ton of bands — a ton of bands. But, listen, I am so close with the guys, and with Mick too. So close with the guys. Something said, ‘You’ve gotta do it.’ It’s just something I really wanted to do. Because life is show. I wanna experience everything. I don’t wanna be laying in my bed at 126 years old — that’s what I plan to live to be — laying in my bed at 126 years old going, ‘God, I wish I would have done this, that and the other thing.’ But I’ll probably say that to myself anyways. But it’s been an amazing ride so far.”

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