John 5’s Subtle Counter-Attack On Johnny Van Zant During Their First Meeting

John 5 is known for his work with both Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson’s bands, however he has collaborated with many rockers in the industry, including Lynyrd Skynyrd. John 5 got into the studio with the band to and co-wrote six of the 12 songs on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 2009 album ‘God & Guns.’

One track from that album that stood out to Johnny Van Zant was ‘Floyd.’ The frontman recalled in a 2009 interview with The 9513 how their paths crossed with John and how the track came to be. Johnny explained:

“We know this guy John 5 [John William Lowery] who plays with Rob Zombie. He actually played with Marilyn Manson for a while. We were in Nashville looking for some different people to write with and a friend of ours turned us on to John. When he comes into the room for the first time, he looks a little freaky. But we look around and think, okay we’re all up for that.”

Before the rockers became friends, initially Johnny thought John 5 was a ‘freak.’ He expressed:

“He walked in with a furry kind of hood thing on and make-up on. It was totally different than us. I looked at him and said, ‘Man, you’re a freak.'”

John 5 responded with a subtle counter-attack and said:

“And he said, ‘Man, I was thinking the same thing about you.’ (Laughter) So we hit it off and became great friends. And the very first song we wrote was ‘Floyd.'”

The frontman of went on to explain what kind of a guitar player John 5 is and the licks he came up with; he continued:

“This guy is an unbelievable guitar player. He can play anything. He can play any of the country stuff and any of the rock stuff. He’s an unbelievable talent. I can’t say enough about him. You never can judge a book by its cover. He actually came up with the lick. And we just started messing around with him. It just came out as ‘Floyd’ and it had a great old swampy feel to it.”

Regarding John’s talent, Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Rickey Medlocke, who participated in the collaboration, also gave Billboard his two cents on what the guitarist brought to the track and the album. He expressed:

“We’ve been doing quite a bit of writing with John 5. ‘Everybody thought, my god, you are going to write with this guy? How is that ever going to work?’ But this guy came in and is really multitalented in all genres.”

Zant also made a point to talk about Rob Zombie, who also came out and gave his vocals to the track. The singer said:

“Of course with his [John 5] relationship to Rob, we asked if he’d want to sing any of this thing with us. He does all the movies and the Halloween movie stuff. And he said ‘Sure, let’s do it.’ My hat’s off to Rob. He was right in the middle of directing this new Halloween movie that’s coming out. And he took the time to come into the studio and sing on this thing. It’s really great.”

You can read Johnny Van Zant’s 2009 interview with The 9513 here and listen to ‘Floyd’ below.