Rob Zombie Makes Rare Appearance
By Shout Omaha Staff
Rob Zombie is more than just the front man for heavy metal band White Zombie. He’s a writer, director, husband and horror film connoisseur. From his stage get-ups to album art to music videos, his music (both as a member of White Zombie and in his subsequent solo career) has always had a huge visual element.
“I never had a moment where I thought the visuals are important–it never even crossed my mind that they weren’t important,” he says. “I was more shocked when people would act like they weren’t. Visuals have always been incredibly important to rock music. Would anyone have cared if Jimi Hendrix was fat and bald, or if Jim Morrison was ugly? Rock has always had a lot of style.”
White Zombie came out of the New York art scene of the mid-’80s that also included Sonic Youth and Live Skull. But at some point, they were accepted in the heavy metal community, where he now enjoys near-icon status. His metal fanbase has supported him for over two decades now.
“The biggest thing about metal audiences that other forms of music don’t have–some of them do, I’m sure–the longevity and the loyalty,” he says. “You’ll see people, they love it forever. They’ll say, ‘It’s my 50th time seeing Iron Maiden!’ That’s what’s great about it. It’s that frozen in time loyalty to the bands that they love.”
White Zombie formed in 1985 and officially disbanded in 1998. During that period, they earned a Grammy Award nomination for 1992’s “Thunder Kiss ‘65” off the album La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One. The album launched them to mainstream recognition. They followed up with 1995’s Astro Creep: 2000. Although it was their last album, it proved to be their most commercially successful, peaking at number 6 on the Billboard 200 chart. The album included the huge singles “More Human Than Human” and “Super Charger Heaven.”
After the breakup, Zombie began his solo career with the release of his 1998 debut album Hellbilly Deluxe. The album was both a critical and commercial success, spawning three hit singles, reaching the Top 5 of the Billboard 200, and selling over three million copies worldwide. Hellbilly is Zombie’s highest selling album to date. He followed the success of the album with 2001’s The Sinister Urge. Following his success as a musician, Zombie began directing, writing and producing films. His first film The House of a 1000 Corpses was released in 2003, something that felt very natural for Zombie.
“It happened organically in the sense that I always liked doing all sorts of different things,” he says. “As a kid growing up, I was always drawing and painting—always doing art. But I also loved movies and music, so as I started doing everything, I liked every aspect. It’s not really that I am a control freak; it’s just that is what I love. Even in the early days of the band, in addition to the music—the look of the band, the design of the band, drawing artwork for the flyers–every part of it was just exciting to me. As the years have gone on, that just keeps amplifying, because there is so much to do. The biggest problem I have is just having enough time to get everything done.”
Despite his hectic schedule, Zombie still manages to tour heavily, but struggles to balance music with film. On April 17, Zombie told The Pulse of Radio that he had started work on new material for his sixth studio album in January, and plans to resume work on it in May. On September 14, Zombie appeared on The Pulse Of Radio to tell them that he has nearly completed his upcoming sixth solo studio album, but also stated that he would be taking a break from touring for a while to concentrate on making his film called 31. His upcoming appearance at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs might be the last change to catch Zombie for quite awhile. The show should be nothing short of mind-blowing.
“The energy is really phenomenal and that is what I strive for,” he says. “Sometimes I feel like people don’t even know how to react in some situations because of online culture. Since [many things] are online, you might not react to something that is happening live—the moment when that starts breaking down and someone is like ‘oh fu*k that is happening right in my face,’ you can feel the tide shift. It is very funny sometimes to watch. You’re so used to seeing things on a screen that they don’t realize this guy could jump out and punch me in the face if he had to—this is happening in front of me. So yeah we try for the most intense live experiences we can create.”
Rob Zombie, September 24, at Mid-America Center, Council Bluffs, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $63. Visit www.ceasars.com for more information.