Rob Zombie ‘Was Fine’ with John 5 Leaving to Join Mötley Crüe: “He Was Cool About It”


In the days and weeks leading up to the official announcement last fall that John 5 was going to be replacing Mick Mars as Mötley Crüe‘s guitarist, everyone pretty much knew what was going on. Then when he didn’t show up for Rob Zombie‘s performance at last year’s Aftershock show, it was such a foregone conclusion that once the announcement rolled around, people’s reactions were more “finally” than “wow, didn’t see that coming.”

During yesterday’s episode of SiriusXM’s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk,” John 5 outlined how his transition from being in Rob Zombie’s band to joining Mötley Crüe went down. And as he says in the interview (transcribed by Blabbermouth), it ultimately ended up being a “life’s too short” kind of decision on John 5’s part.

“Well, I’ve been friends with Nikki [Sixx, MÖTLEY CRÜE bassist] and Tommy [Lee, MÖTLEY CRÜE drummer] forever — forever and ever and ever. 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’ [soundtrack]. 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 [Rob] 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.

“But now the hard part was telling Rob [Zombie], 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 said he told Rob Zombie about his decision before the press got wind of it, saying that he remained on to play the Louder Than Life gig before splitting up prior to the Aftershock show, where Mike Riggs officially rejoined the band.

“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.”

Ever since then, John 5 has been touring with the Crüe, as well as writing new music with them. Since making the transition over to the Crüe, John 5 said he hasn’t spoken to Rob, saying he was worried that if he reached out he’d be ignored by his former band mate of 17 years.

In the end, John 5 said the decision ultimately came down to wanting to make sure he left this world without any regrets.

“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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