John 5 & The Creatures are touring Australia for the very first time in April (with blues-rock phenom Jared James Nichols in tow)! It’ll be a night of pure guitar-driven ecstasy. I caught up with John 5 to talk about the tour and why he’s a devotee of his BOSS pedals.
So John five, welcome to I Heart Guitar!
Well, thanks for having me.
No problem. So big news. You’re you’re coming to Australia with Jared James Nichols.
Yes, I’m really, really super excited. We are coming there in April and you know, I haven’t been there in quite a little while now, so I’m coming there with Jared and then also coming with a band called From Love To Violence who’s from Australia. So we’re ready to do this.
I saw you play at NAMM a few years ago. For those who haven’t seen you, which I guess is most Australians apart from those who have been overseas, you put on such a dynamic show. There are so many different kind of musical feels. And I know at the time I saw you, you ended with this like massive riff medley. That was just one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.
Yeah! We have a new new one I’ll play when we come over there.
Cool. Are you chucking in some classic Aussie riffs? I mean there’s gotta be some AC/DC in there at the very least.
Yeah. There’s all sorts of everything!
Yeah. I mean, speaking of a little bit of everything, your latest record is pretty diverse. There are some songs that I think you can kind of pop on in the background and groove to, and then it’ll switch to the next track and it’s like a really attention-grabbing thing. That’s a real wild ride.
It definitely is a wild ride. Maybe I should have called it A Little Bit Of Everything. It definitely has a lot of stuff in it and a lot of note, that’s for sure. And what we’ll do is we’re going to be recording a live record, so we’re going to be recording the the shows in Australia. But what we do is we play the songs just like how they are on the record, which is very difficult to remember all of that stuff. But it’s exactly how it is on the record and it’s a challenge, you know, and there’s no improv. It’s just how it’s written and that’s how we play it.
Well, there’s currently a bit of a debate in the guitar world where there’s a lot of bands are using too many backing tracks… I think it’s fine if a band uses tracks to fill in some things here and there. But there have been some examples lately where people have obviously been like basically miming to certain guitar solos that are too hard to play and stuff and it’s like, you know, it’s, it’s worth doing it right. Tbe whole point is ‘I can play this,’ not ‘I can put this together in the studio and then fake it,’ you know? And I think you’re a great example of someone who can play their ass off while being entertaining.
Yeah. I think that’s what it’s what it’s all about. It’s all about entertainment and that’s important because the audience, you know, I’m part of that audience too. I go to shows all the time and I look to see what to do and what not to do and I try to use that in my own show and just to keep it entertaining for not only the fan, but maybe the person that was dragged there by their husband or boyfriend or something like that. So, you know, they’re entertained as well, even if they’re not a fan.
Yeah. Well that’s the thing is like when you transition from being the guitarist in a band to being essentially the focal point when you’re doing something solo like this, it’s got to be a slightly different set of skills to what you use when you’re playing with a vocalist like Rob Zombie. You’ve got to be the guy.
that is true. You have to, you have to keep everyone entertained with that guitar and that is your microphone. And it’s, you know, it was very stressful to do that cause I didn’t think anybody would really care. But, um, you know, and that’s why that’s the truth is that’s why I didn’t tour for so long because I didn’t think anybody really cared.
Oh, we care, we care!
It’s the truth. Cause I was so, you know, worried that like people don’t want to hear that, you know, but I’m very happy that they do. So that’s why I’m touring and, and uh, you know, cause I enjoy it so much.
So let’s talk guitar because you know, it wouldn’t be I Heart Guitar guitar if I wasn’t nerding out about stuff. What are your, what are your current guitar guitar obsessions, whether it’s a piece of gear or something to play, like a song or a style. Where are you at right now?
Well, I don’t have much gear. I kind of don’t want gear because people are like, ‘Here, check this out, check that out.’ And I don’t really want it. I just want to play. I just wanna play, play, play. And so I guess what I’m doing right now a lot is just playing. I just love picking and I’ve been just writing, I’m always writing. I’m trying to think of different things, different styles, trying to just get better all the time. That’s what’s most important to me.
When you’re at your level, how do you get better? Like it’s always possible, but there’s got to be a point where you’re like, you know, where do I go from here?
You can always get better. I’m always looking for inspiration. I’m looking on the internet for different guitar players and what they’re doing and seeing how I can use that sound, what inspires me. And that’s, that’s exactly what I do. I love just trying to, just being inspired and looking for new things that are going on.
Yeah. You know, the other night I was watching the movie Tangled on Disney+ and Mandy Moore plays one of the characters in it and the first song in the movie she sings, and I was listening to that and I was thinking, ‘Man, if I could cop that phrasing on guitar, that would be pretty cool.’ So it’s like, now I’m kind of stealing ideas from Mandy Moore.
That’s right. You’re just being influenced. That’s right. Yeah.
Wherever it comes from, as long as it comes out as cool guitar music, what the hell?
Yeah, exactly. That’s what inspiration is.
Yeah. So you’re a long-time Telecaster guy. Have you picked up any cool new ones recently or cool old ones?
Not really. I’ve been just concentrating on playing. I’ve been just playing so much and trying to make everything like simplified equipment wise, like gear wise, just trying to make it easy. I just tour with a couple of BOSS pedals and a regular amp and that’s it. So I just want to make it as simple as possible. So I’m curious because one time I was touring and my gear went down and I remember my tech freaking out cause it was only a few hours before we went on and I said, ‘It’s okay. Just go to a music store and get whatever there is.’ And I could do the show because everything I use is stock, just right off the shelf. It’s not modified or anything.
So what else can we talk about in the minute we have left?
Well, the shows are coming up and, you know, try to get to the shows because we’re making this live record so we’re going to record a lot of the shows in Australia. We’re super excited about that.
Tickets from: https://bit.ly/j5au19
Thu 16 April – Melbourne – The Prince
Fri 17 April – Brisbane – The Zoo
Sat 18 April – Sydney – Manning Bar
I feel like I’d practice guitar a million times more often if I wasn’t so sensorily distracted: that is, if I feel encumbered by cords and stuff – especially if I’m playing along to tracks through headphones – it really takes me out of the moment. I’ve always wished there was a really good headphone amp. BOSS seems to have risen to the challenge with the Waza-Air Wireless Personal Guitar Amplification System. It consists of two physical elements – a pair of wi-fi headphones and a wireless transmitter to plug into your guitar – plus the free BOSS Tone Studio app.
Now, an easy way to get Waza sounds into your headphones would be cool enough, but what really makes this system extra-interesting to me its its spatial intelligence. There are three modes designed to provide natural ‘amp-in-room’ tone rather than just cramming the direct sound into your head: Surround Mode puts the amp in a virtual room, and you can think of this as sitting in the control room of a studio listening to your perfectly mic’d amp through your cans. Stage Mode recreates the sound of the amp coming from behind you as you perform (and this can be a very valuable thing to learn to get used to if you’re a newer guitarist who isn’t used to performing onstage yet: it can be very different to playing in your room, and often early on you’ll be on a small stage with no monitors). But for me the most exciting mode is Static Mode, which places the amp in a virtual location in a room, with the amp and room sound changing depending on how you move your head. That just sounds like lots of fun to me.
Here’s the official press release.
BOSS Introduces Waza-Air Wireless Personal Guitar Amplification System
Revolutionary New Wearable, Over-Ear Guitar System with Natural “Amp-in-Room” Tone
Los Angeles, December 5, 2019 — BOSS, a leading manufacturer and distributor of some of the world’s most popular electric guitar effects and amplifiers, introduces the Waza-Air Wireless Personal Guitar Amplification System, a revolutionary new wearable, over-ear sound system for guitarists. In BOSS Waza tradition, Waza-Air combines decades of expertise with cutting-edge innovation to present a breakthrough musical product that truly pushes the envelope. Melding BOSS’s premium amp, effects, and wireless technologies with dynamic 3D sound and natural “amp-in-room” tone, Waza-Air delivers a unique guitar amplification experience that’s never been available until now.
While often necessary to avoid bothering others, playing guitar through traditional headphones offers a less-than-satisfying experience that lacks the depth and dimension of playing a real amp in a real room. Waza-Air changes all that, restoring the natural dimension, resonance, and “moving air” feel to provide an engaging and inspiring monitoring environment for the player. An integrated gyro sensor tracks head movements as the user plays, driving sophisticated 3D algorithms that produce an immersive sound field with extraordinary spatial realism.
Waza-Air’s advanced ambience setups provide three realistic environments to play in. Surround mode places the amp in a virtual room, providing an immersive experience like playing a recording studio. Static mode provides natural spatial localization, where the combined amp and room sound continually changes depending on where the user moves their head. Finally, Stage mode places the user center stage, with the amp sound coming from a virtual backline behind them.
Waza-Air features tones and controls from the stage-class Katana amplifiers, with full customization available using the free BOSS Tone Studio app for iOS and Android. Five amp types deliver tones from classic clean to high gain, plus a full-range voice that’s ideal for bass or acoustic-electric guitar. Over 50 effect types are available as well, including mod, delay, and reverb effects optimized for Waza-Air’s unique spatial experience. And with six onboard memories, users can store favorite setups and recall them with dedicated buttons.
In addition to providing a wireless connection to BOSS Tone Studio, Waza-Air’s built-in Bluetooth lets the user jam along with songs from their mobile device. When used with Stage mode, the streaming music plays from the backline along with the amp sound, simulating a live performance environment. It’s also possible to remotely control volume and playback functions with a multi-function lever on Waza-Air.
All audio connectivity with Waza-Air is 100-percent wireless, allowing users to move and play in complete freedom. Advanced wireless tech from BOSS’s acclaimed WL series provides premium sound quality, effortless set up, and great playing feel with ultra-low latency. The headphones and included transmitter also feature auto standby and wake functions, conserving the life of their built-in rechargeable batteries between playing sessions.
Availability & Pricing
The BOSS Waza-Air Wireless Personal Guitar Amplification System is available December 5, 2019, for $399.99.
Press kit including hi-res images, press release, specs and more is available here.
To learn more about Waza-Air, visit www.boss.info.
BOSS, a division of Roland Corporation, has achieved legendary status among guitarists by offering a diverse, world-leading product lineup that includes amps, compact effects processors, multi-effects processors, digital recorders, rhythm machines, metronomes, tuners, vocal products, and more. For more information, visit Boss.info.
BOSS’s DD series of compact digital delay pedals have long been the standard in easy-to-use, great-sounding delays, but over the years they’ve added more and more advanced features without sacrificing the ease of use. Two new DD series pedals take two different approaches; the DD-3T is an update of the venerable DD-3, this time featuring tap tempo and some other fancy features. And the DD-8 takes over from the DD-7 as the most advanced delay in the compact series with all sorts of wild tricks up its sleeve. Here’s the press release.
New Digital Delay Models in the Iconic Compact Series Bring Players Expanded Features and Increased Versatility
Los Angeles, CA, September 26, 2019 — BOSS announces the DD-3T and DD-8, two new digital delay pedals added to the famous compact series lineup. The DD-3T replaces the long-running DD-3, updating the classic pedal with tap tempo and other modern features. The DD-8 takes over from the previous-generation DD-7 as the most advanced delay in the compact series, enhanced with numerous sound modes and features that make it the most full-featured delay pedal in its class.
In continuous production for over three decades, the DD-3 has been the go-to delay stomp for countless players, revered for its warm, round delay tone and simple controls that make it easy to dial in sounds fast. The DD-3T retains the same sound circuitry and controls as the DD-3 while adding useful functions for today’s guitarists.
A key addition the DD-3T brings is tap tempo, an essential feature for creating the rhythmic delay effects at the heart of many styles. The onboard pedal switch can be used to input tempos, and it’s also possible to connect an external footswitch for instant-access control. The DD-3T also features a dedicated direct output like the DD-3, which allows users to send effect-only and dry sounds to separate destinations. On the DD-3T, this output has been moved next to the main output jack to make pedalboard connections easier.
Equipped with a diverse selection of delays, the DD-8 packs impressive sonic range into one small pedal. Clean digital delays, vintage analog and tape types, and modulation echo are available, plus specialty delays like shimmer and reverse. There’s a new Warm type for softer echo tones, and a +RV type that blends delay and reverb together. Warp is perfect for dynamic ambient textures, while the new GLT type provides glitchy rhythmic effects. A Looper mode is even included, with up to 40 seconds of recording time and unlimited overdub capability.
The DD-8 features full stereo I/O support with three different output modes. Independent mode provides linked parallel delays on the left and right channels, maintaining the true balance of stereo input sources in the effect sound. There’s also a panning mode for ping-pong delay effects, and a wide stereo mode for enhanced spatial depth. And with the Carryover switch, users can set whether delay trails continue or stop when the effect is bypassed.
With the DD-8’s extensive real-time control options, players can easily bring their music to life. It’s possible to tap in tempos with the onboard pedal switch and control the Warp and GLT modes for unique expressive effects. Adding one or two footswitches unlocks more creative possibilities, like on-demand tap tempo, extended looper control, and a unique Twist effect. Alternately, an expression pedal can be used for continuous control of level, feedback, or delay time—or all of them at once.
To learn more about the DD-3T and DD-8, visit www.boss.info
Summer NAMM Show (Booth 923), Nashville, TN, June 20, 2016 — The new Waza Craft CE-2W Chorus is a premium analog pedal made exclusively in Japan to proudly honor the 40th anniversary of BOSS effects. Introduced in 1976, the CE-1 Chorus Ensemble was not only the first BOSS effects pedal, but also the world’s first chorus effect in pedal form. Three years later, the CE-2 Chorus brought this original BOSS effect to the iconic compact pedal lineup, where it’s been represented ever since. Celebrating 40 years of BOSS innovation and craftsmanship, the Waza Craft CE-2W brings the sounds of these legendary pedals together in one stompbox with enhanced features. Read More …
PRESS RELEASE: BOSS (Booth 300A, Level 3) is pleased to announce the ES-5 Effects Switching System, an advanced audio command center for pedalboards. Offering the essential features of the flagship ES-8 in a smaller size, the ES-5 is ideal for ready-made pedalboards and pro travel rigs. Equipped with five audio loops, extensive real-time control capabilities, MIDI and more, the ES-5 allows all guitarists and bassists to explore the benefits of BOSS’s powerful switching technology. Read More …
PRESS RELEASE: BOSS is excited to announce the Steve Vai Legacy Tone Capsule, a user-installable voicing circuit for the innovative BOSS Waza guitar amplifier. Developed by BOSS engineers in partnership with guitar legend Steve Vai, the Tone Capsule changes the sound and response characteristics of the original Waza amp to provide custom voicings approved by the artist himself. Read More …