How a pummeling Garth Brooks cover helped hard-rocking Oklahomans Fist of Five tackle social stigmas

DJ Windle and John Gates
(Image credit: Fist of Five)

This article is part of Guitar World's series of interviews and features with artists addressing and raising awareness around themes of mental health, particularly as they relate to musicians.

After answering classified ads, playing covers at local bars in Norman, Oklahoma, and a few personnel changes, Fist of Five solidified their lineup in 2006 with vocalist John Gates, guitarists DJ Windle and Steve Jones, bassist James Cyrus, and drummer Josh Anderson. Their goal was to write great music and simply enjoy the process. In June that year, the band produced and recorded their debut album, Broken Roses, only to amicably split a year later. 

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Alison Richter is a seasoned journalist who interviews musicians, producers, engineers, and other industry professionals, and covers mental health issues for Writing credits include a wide range of publications, including,, Bass Player, TNAG Connoisseur, Reverb, Music Industry News, Acoustic, Drummer,, Gearphoria, She Shreds, Guitar Girl, and Collectible Guitar.