The Pissed-Off Album John 5 Wrote After Marilyn Manson Fired Him

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It’s been well-established at this point that Marilyn Manson can be a pretty awful person to deal with.

Guitarist John 5 helped define Manson’s early 2000s output, shaping both Holy Wood and The Golden Age of Grotesque with his unique vision for riffs and songwriting.

His time with Manson came to a boiling point in 2003 when both musicians got into an altercation at Rock Am Ring. Marilyn Manson kicked John 5 on stage, and the two got into a scuffle. While these days John 5 says he doesn’t blame Manson for what happened, his leaving the band in early 2004 sort of says otherwise.

John 5 didn’t waste any time sitting around and not making music. On August 31, 2004, John 5 released his debut solo album Vertigo, which was the first salvo in defining his post-Manson output.

Right from the jump on “Needles, CA” it’s immediately clear how pissed off an album it is. The track sounds like Ministry at their heaviest, with the added twist of John 5 absolutely tearing the hell out of a solo. His guitar work bounces between classic shredder solos and warping his guitar into synthetic sounds.

On first listen, there are many songs that sound like they would be right at home on a Manson album, though we’d bet he wouldn’t be able to keep up with John 5’s tempo. “Feisty Cadavers” easily could have been turned into a Manson track, though John 5 seems to replace any need for a singer with extremely expressive solos.

The record is also the first evidence of John 5’s interests beyond the industrial metal he was making up until that point. Songs like “Salt Creek” show off his love for blues and classic rock, while “Zugg Island Convict” would be a mighty audition for a band like Metallica.

Vertigo is an important record in John 5’s discography. It sounds like a heavy middle finger to Marilyn Manson for not understanding what he had, while also a sign of things to come as a future member of Rob Zombie‘s band and his latest gig in Motley Crue.

John 5 will be remembered as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, and this record is a great argument for why. Check it out below.

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