John 5: Rock’s not dead, it’s changed

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Rob Zombie guitarist John 5 insists rock isn’t dead – but says it has changed dramatically in recent years.

Kiss mainman Gene Simmons sparked debate earlier this year when he stated: “Rock is finally dead. The death of rock was not a natural death. Rock did not die of old age, it was murdered.”

That comment led to a string of artists defending rock music, including Rob Halford, Joe Perry, Mark Tremonti, Corey Taylor, Scott Ian and Slash. Now John 5 has given his take on the state of the industry, saying although piracy is a problem, the music lives on.

He tells Icon vs Icon: “The industry has changed dramatically. It has changed so drastically, it’s like night and day. It’s not dead, but it changed. We just have to keep writing great songs and doing great shows to keep it alive.

“It’s not just rock. It could be rap, country or anything like that. Music is a tough business because there’s so much piracy out there. I know what it was like because back in the day, I was around when people were standing in line to buy a record. It has definitely changed a lot.”

But the guitarist, who released his eighth solo album Careful With That Axe earlier this year, says he wouldn’t discourage anyone from pursuing a career in the music business.

He continues: “I would say, if you don’t do it, somebody else will. If you really want it, just do it. If you do something to move closer to your career every day, even if it’s just making a couple of phone calls, you’ll get there eventually.”

Earlier this year, Zombie said John 5 was the only musician he could trust. And the guitarist, who is working with the frontman on the follow-up to 2013’s Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor and the soundtrack to his film 31, says the pair are best friends.

He adds: “Our relationship couldn’t be better. We have such a great working relationship in the studio and on the road. We are like best friends, so it’s such a pleasure to work with him. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”