Nikki Sixx, John 5 and the ongoing Mötley Crüe brouhaha – only in the new Guitar World

october 2023
(Image credit: Rob Halfin)

I guess everyone expects me to say something nice about the person who’s on our cover. I mean, it’s not like I'm ever gonna say, “Yeah, I know he’s on our cover, but this guy sucks!”

That said, I don’t think I’ve ever been in the presence of a more “precise” guitarist than John 5 (BTW, I was tempted to add the word “dedicated” to that sentence, but I don’t want to piss off all the other guitarists I’ve met in my 12.5 years at GW. But I’m still tempted to add it…).

The last time Mr. 5 was physically in the “Guitar World space” was March 2019, when he dropped by our studio to shoot a few videos tied to his upcoming album with the Creatures, Invasion.

Everything was done in one take. And I mean everything, including, “Could you please play bars 16 to 21 again for this other camera angle, Mr. 5?” This ain’t normal (at least on my planet) – and this is also where the word “dedicated” re-enters the conversation.

When I get home at 2:30 a.m. after a Friday-night gig, I might not say hello to my Telecaster again until 10:30 p.m. the following Friday. And I’ve met pros who’ve told me similar stuff, including the great Albert Lee. But John 5, well… As he told us a couple of years ago, "I play so much guitar that it might not even be healthy – and I’m not joking. I was playing just before you called, and I’ll be playing again as soon as I get off the phone.”

So whatever you or the loudmouth down the street think about the whole Crüe/Mars/5 situation, all I can say is the band got themselves a good one. And on that note, our coverage looks a bit like this:

Crüe to the 5th power: Monster guitarist John 5 details his love of Mick Mars, his sudden need for a Floyd Rose (or two) and, of course, his apparently no-brainer ascension into the ranks of Mötley Crüe (by Joe Bosso).

When Sixx met 5: “We never saw it coming that Mick Mars wasn’t going to be able to tour and was going to have to have to quit the band!” Nikki Sixx provides his own account of how the recent (and ongoing) Crüe brouhaha went down – and how John 5 entered the fold (by Joe Bosso).

If Sixx was 9: A guitar-centric look back at Mötley Crüe’s nine studio albums (by Andrew Daly).

Time to change yer strings!: 10 times a band swapped out their famous guitarist for a fresh face (by Andrew Daly).

My Pedalboard: What Mötley Crüe’s new guitarist sees when he looks down (by John 5).

The ultimate poltergeist: How John 5 decided to revolutionize one of the oldest electric guitar designs for this year’s eye-catching Fender John 5 Ghost Telecaster (by Amit Sharma).

This issue (AKA the action-packed October 2023 issue of Guitar World) is available right here, right now.

October 2023

(Image credit: Ross Halfin)

Elsewhere in this issue...

Six blazing bluegrass guitarists you need to know about – yes, besides Billy Strings and Molly Tuttle!

On the eve of his farewell tour, living legend Buddy Guy looks back on his nearly 70-year career (and a particularly unforgettable Fender Bassman). Plus, how two vintage Buddy Guy tracks had a major impact on Stevie Ray Vaughan’s 1983 debut album, Texas Flood.

Former Oingo Boingo guitarist Steve Bartek talks about “Dead Man’s Party,” Back to School, upcoming shows with Danny Elfman and a lifetime of scoring films.

With a new solo album shaking up the interwebs, Nita Strauss discusses the importance of taking risks, stepping out of your comfort zone and never settling.

In Flames reignite the death metal fire with Foregone, an album that marks ex-Megadeth master Chris Broderick’s recording debut with the band.

We also have interviews with Drug Church’s Nick Cogan, Dave Mason (who talks about his recordings with George Harrison), Tracii Guns (who shows us his Boss-heavy pedalboard), Jax Hollow, Melanie Faye, Duane Betts, Richie Faulkner, Dirty Honey’s John Notto, the Undertones’ Damian O’Neill, Marcus Machado and more.

In our Columns section, Joe Bonamassa discusses the finer points of the 1959 Gibson ES-335 (with ye olde Varitone circuit), Andy Aledort shows you how to build three-part lead harmonies in stacked 3rds, Josh Smith shows you how to use a ii - v - I approach to improvisation, and Andy Timmons shows you how to play his Welcome Home guitar solo.

This month’s (four!) transcriptions are Fear of the Dawn by Jack White, Gossip by Måneskin (featuring Tom Morello), Jumpin’ Jack Flash by the Rolling Stones and a Pink Floyd-style guitar interpretation of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata (first movement) by GW’s Jimmy Brown.

We have reviews of the Orange OR30 amp, the new Yamaha FG9 M acoustic, the Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR E, the EarthQuaker Devices Aurelius Tri-Voice Chorus and Seymour Duncan’s new Hyperswitch. In Power Tools, Chris Gill explores the history and allure of the DiMarzio Super Distortion humbucking pickup.


You can buy new issues of Guitar World at Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Hudson News, Books a Million and other stores – and online from Magazines Direct. And, while you're at it, why not save on every issue by subscribing?

october 2023

(Image credit: Ross Halfin)

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas, was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron, a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums. He now plays in two NYC-area bands.