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John 5 recalls how he got the gig with David Lee Roth

John 5
Photos from John 5's Instagram and @erikmillerdesign

Classic Rock

John 5 recalls how he got the gig with David Lee Roth

Guitarist John 5 recalled in an interview with The NFR Podcast (Transcribed by Ultimate Guitar) how he got the gig with Van Halen‘s David Lee Roth back in the 90s. The musician also recalled how it was to meet the singer for the first time.


John 5 recalls how he got the gig with David Lee Roth:

“I remember sitting on the couch. I loved Van Halen, loved David Lee Roth, and I’m going, ‘I wonder what Dave’s doing…’ So I called this number on the back of ‘Crazy From the Heat,’ I had like a promo book. It was like to his office, I didn’t know if it worked or not.”

“And I called the back of this book, and it was Ed Anderson, who was Van Halen’s security. I said, ‘Hey, my name’s John, I’d like to send some songs for you guys if you are looking for any songs.’ He was like, ‘Yeah, you can just send it to this address.’ So I sent it to the address. I can’t believe it, I just did my best Van Halen song impression, and that was the song ‘Slam Dunk!'”

“They called back, Ed Anderson called back, and he goes, ‘Dave really likes these songs.’ I sent them three songs, they were like, ‘Can you give us three more?’ I had no money, but I was like, ‘Well, I guess, I’ll do my best…’ Getting studio time back then was impossible. So I did three more, and he’s like, ‘Yeah, Dave really likes these songs, will you give us three more?'”

He continued, saying:

“I’m like, ‘I can’t, I’ve used up every favor in the book…’ He goes, ‘Dave wants to meet you. Why don’t you come to his house? Here’s his address.’ So I drive up – boom, there’s the gate, the gate opens, there’s the Panama car, and there’s a motorcycle with horns on it. There’s Dave in overalls. ‘John, nice to meet you, great work!’

“I couldn’t believe it. It was my first time meeting David Lee Roth. I was freaking out. He goes, ‘We’re going to make a record, just like the old Van Halen days, we’re going to do everything live, great songs, we’re going to have this, that, and the other thing…’

“I was freaking out, just looking around, going, ‘Oh my god, what is happening?’ I was playing with Rob Halford at the same time, and I said, ‘Well, Mr. Roth, I’m going to be doing this tour with Rob Halford, we rehearse at noon…’

“He goes, ‘OK, well, I don’t want you tired after rehearsal,’ which was very smart. He goes, ‘I don’t want you tired, so we’re going to have a downbeat at 6 AM, we’re going to start the record. I want you fresh.’ I’m thinking, ‘I’m going to be really tired at 6 AM but alight.’ And that’s how it happened. A year later, I was like, ‘Hey Dave, why don’t you sign the book where I got your number from?’ And you can see it here [shows signature], it’s really cool.

John 5

Born in Grosse Pointe, Michigan back in 1970 John 5 worked with artists like David Lee Roth, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Avril Lavigne, Rob Halford, Garbage, Meat Loaf, Scorpions, Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, Steve Perry and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

As a solo artist he recorded 9 albums: Vertigo (2004), Songs for Sanity (2005), The Devil Knows My Name (2007), Requiem (2008), The Art of Malice (2010), God Told Me To (2012), Careful With That Axe (2014), Season of the Witch (2017), Invasion (2019).

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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