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JOHN 5 On Playing A Telecaster In Metal: "It's Like Wearing A Cowboy Hat To A SLAYER Concert"

Dude knows how to wield it, though.

John 5

When you think of a rock and metal guitarist, a few images might come to mind: leather jackets, spiky hair, and a menacing-looking guitar. However, Mötley Crüe guitarist John 5 is breaking the mold with his unexpected choice of instrument. In a recent episode of The Kenny Aronoff Sessions, John 5 opened up about his unique journey as one of the few metal players who opts for a Telecaster.

The story behind John 5's devotion to the Telecaster is as unconventional as the guitar itself. It all started during his childhood when he fell in love with music and television. He vividly remembers watching "Hee Haw," a popular '70s show that featured live musical performances. It was a banjo-playing child on the show that had a profound impact on the young John 5.

John 5 recalls the moment as an epiphany: "So I was watching 'Hee Haw', that show back in the '70s — I loved it, and the whole family would watch it — and this little kid got up there and played. He was a banjo champion."

"I don't know why that impressed me so much, but it literally changed my life. It was an epiphany. I was so young, but I knew that banjo wasn't super cool, and I was like, 'I want to play guitar.'"

It was the specific shape of the instrument that drew him in. As a six-year-old, he had limited exposure to different guitar types, and all he saw were Telecasters. He thought that this single-cutaway shape was the only form an electric guitar could take.

"I was so little — I had to be six — and I was like, and 'I want to play electric guitar,' and they all were playing Telecasters, so I thought that the only shape was a Telecaster. And I was so obsessed for some reason, it was just more important than food or anything, or sleep or anything, I was just so obsessed with it. And it's kind of what it's like today still."

As host Kenny Aronoff pointed out, there aren't many guitar players in the rock and metal genre who wield Telecasters. John 5's response sheds light on the root of his unique choice: "That's because of the 'Hee Haw' thing… because I thought that was the only electric guitar. It's like wearing a cowboy hat to a Slayer concert. It's just weird, and I wasn't trying to be weird. It's just what I've always played."

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