Justin Manning is a local southern CA rocker born and raised Los Angeles and is currently one of the
founding members and lead guitarist for the heavy metal band Crowned By Fire. This shredder started his
musical journey as a drummer at the age of 10 and became the “First Chair” drummer in his Junior High
marching band and local school band. He always inspired to be a guitarist and it was not until the age
of 12 when he received a red and white Fender Stratocaster for Christmas from his father. Not knowing
where to begin playing guitar, Justin used his knowledge of reading drum music to incorporate it into his
guitar playing, a distinct signature to his rhythm playing still heard to this day.
He listened to records from the likes of Guns N Roses, Van Halen and Ozzy Osbourne and learned
playing the solos off the records by creating music patterns and on many occasions played guitar with his
friends to gain more experience.

At around this time, he met a graduate of Musicians Institute who became his mentor and taught Justin
to play scales and on many occasions would take him to various band rehearsals with the likes of Lemmy
from Motorhead, El Duce (The Mentors), Jimmy Bain (Dio) and other major rock stars. Justin would
sometimes sit in as a drummer for these bands when the actual drummers missed their rehearsals. It was
at this ripe age of 13 that Justin’s calling to be a musician came to be.

At the age of 16 with a bass his mother bought him, he joined the local band Men in Black as a bass
player and played the local clubs on the sunset strip. He shortly left the band to start a new Pantera-
esque inspired band, again taking the helm as lead guitarist. It was during this time that he met Zakk
Wylde and was asked to be his guitar tech and in less than 24 hours was on a plane to Arkansas to start
the Black Label Society and Crowbar tour. This gave Justin the opportunity to meet some of the greats,
most notably the members of Pantera and other notable rock stars. This opportunity gave Justin a taste of
what life on tour really is as well as a vast amount technical experience.

When he returned back home from the BLS tour, Justin became the personal assistant to Zakk’s wife
Barbaranne, helping with her the various necessities. He also became Zakk’s protégé during the Ozzfest
tour that same year and appeared on the TV show the Osbournes.

Justin started various bands and held regular day jobs at ESP and Schecter Guitar Research as a guitar
technician. While at ESP he became acquainted with George Lynch (Dokken, Lynch Mob) who gave him
the opportunity to work as a bass tech for Anthony Esposito (Thin Lizzy, Lynch Mob, Ace Frehley) and he eventually took the reigns as Georges tech. Justin
was asked on several occasions to actually play on stage with Lynch Mob as a second guitar player
doubling the rhythm and leads for the guitar legend himself.

Upon his return home he started a few bands one which will eventually turn into the current band
Crowned By Fire with co-founder John Fitterer and released an EP and their latest full album “Prone To
Destroy” recorded in Florence, Italy and distributed under a European label.

Justin still remains close friends with Zakk Wylde, George Lynch and also with Tommy Victor (Danzig,
Prong, Ministry) who has offered him a gig as his guitar tech on the Danzig Legacy Tour which includes
Danzig, Samhain and The Misfits on their tour in the coming months. Justin carries various major
endorsement deals and mainly plays his favorite Les Paul specially given to him by the great Zakk Wylde.


the Hellion


Justin took time from his busy schedule to call me and give an intimate interview on Crowned By fire and their up and coming take over of the world. Take your time, sit back, grab a tasty beverage and listen……

thanks Justin! It was a pleasure speaking with you as always.

the Hellion

Dream band lineups


One of the questions I see the most is “What would your dream band lineup alive or dead be?” I have pondered this question many times and I come up with different answers each time. So I decided to  write about it and come up with three bands. One with band members who are no longer with us, one with all living band members, and comprised with both. I will try to give reasons why and even try to give my fantasy bands an appropriate name.

From the other side,


Bon Scott, AC/DC (deceased 19 February 1980) – vocals

Dimebag Darrell, Pantera/Damageplan/Rebel Meets Rebel  (deceased December 8, 2004) – guitars

Randy Castillo, Lita Ford/Ozzy/Motley Crue  (deceased  March 26, 2002) – drums

John Entwistle, The Who (deceased  27 June 2002) – bass

I can only imagine what a jam session with these guys would sound like. I hope that they are hanging out on the other side. I think the combination of these “gentlemen” would make for a unique sound. I chose the name “Sophisticated Hooligans” for them because the oxymoron just suits the attitude I imagine they would have.

Still with us,


Sebastian Bach, Skid Row/Solo – vocals

Zakk Wylde, Ozzy/Pride & Glory/Black Label Society – guitars

Justin Manning, Crowned By Fire – guitars

Geezer Butler, Black Sabbath – bass

Mike Portnoy, Dream Theater/Adrenaline Mob/Flying colors – drums

I shudder to think of the destructive power this band would have, hence the name “Cosmic Destruction”. There would have to be a warning label on the CDs and at the live performances. All of these players have that explosive power that would give this band the ability to crush your chest and have you thank them for it.


Some still with us and some not


Paul Rodgers, Free/Bad Company – vocals

Randy Rhoads, Quiet Riot/Ozzy (deceased  March 19, 1982) – guitars

Flea, Red Hot Chili Peppers – bass

John Bonham. Led Zeppelin (deceased  25 September 1980) – drums

The mixture of Paul Rodgers beautiful voice combined with Randy Rhoads melodic playing style would compliment each other so well. Combine that with Flea holding down the bottom end and John Bonham keeping the beat and WOW! I know this lineup seems kind of weird but I think it could work. As for calling the band “Retrograde”, I think it just sounds cool.


There you have it those are just my thoughts, please share yours!!!

the Hellion