One of the most interesting men in hard rock is none other than Rob Zombie. In fact, he’s so interesting, that Dos Equis should’ve chosen him for their “Most Interesting Man In The World” campaign. Rob has one of the most recognizable voices and sounds in rock ‘n’ roll that can still be heard in strip clubs across the U.S., and he’s also become one of the most prolific horror filmmakers in Hollywood. In the past 20 years since his former band—White Zombie’s impressive major label debut, La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Volume One—Rob’s hard work and dedication to his craft has left an undeniable mark on pop culture. His cult movie classics such as House Of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, and the Halloween remakes, have also given Rob a name in the horror movie industry. His name in film became so popular that last year, he was asked to create a commercial for Woolite, and he gladly obliged with his creation of The Torturer! This is something that you’ll have to look up on YouTube, but you’ll recognize Rob Zombie’s work right away!
Rob Zombie is currently wrapping up production on his sixth feature film, Lords Of Salem, and this month, the Rob Zombie band heads out on a month-long tour with Megadeth and Lacuna Coil, which kicks off right here in Holmdel, NJ, at the PNC Bank Arts Center on May 11. As soon as the tour is over, Rob and company head into the studio on June 1 to record a new Rob Zombie CD that should be out later this year. Excited about his very busy year, Rob was able to take a quick break from the action to give me a call to talk about everything! Here’s what he had to say:
Hey Rob! So, why didn’t Dos Equis choose you to be “The Most Interesting Man in the World? You have so much going on…..
It’s probably because my beard isn’t grey enough yet. They like that grey distinguished look, but we’re working on it. Unfortunately, I’m getting there.
Now, you’re kicking your tour off right here in New Jersey with Megadeth and Lacuna Coil. Can we expect to hear any new material on this tour?
No! (Laughs) No way! Nobody wants to hear new material when they buy a concert ticket. I mean, I don’t. You? Nothing is worse than a guy saying, “Hey! Here’s some new stuff!” It’s like, “Really?”
Well, don’t you want to test the waters with some of your new stuff? Especially when you’re heading into the studio?
Yeah, well, we haven’t got enough songs finished yet to play live, and testing the waters with them doesn’t really make any sense because they’ll change anyway, and if you played them live, I guess you would just come to the conclusion that they’re terrible because no one’s gonna know what they are anyway. I’ve never done that, so no sense in starting now.
What song do you look forward to performing live when you’re on that stage?
It’s all a blur to me, truthfully. I don’t really care. For me, the fun of songs is the songs the crowd likes the most. Truthfully! I mean, every once in a while, it’s fun to play something new and add a song into the set that we haven’t played in a lot because I’ve played certain songs so many times, it is almost a blur. Like, there will be times when I’m playing a song and I literally won’t remember and I’m like “Is this the first verse or the third verse?” It just goes by in my mind like such a blur. We’ve been playing the song “Pussy Liquor” off of the House Of 1000 Corpses soundtrack for a while, and that’s always probably the most fun moment just because it was such a ridiculous, almost throwaway song that has now become so popular. Everyone used to request it, but we would never play it because I thought they were kidding. So then we started playing it and it’s become a show highlight. It’s pretty funny.
You’re heading into the studio in June. Who does the majority of the songwriting? Because I know that you’re an amazing songwriter, but you also have John 5 on guitar, who is an amazing songwriter as well…..
We do it all together! Really, the process is everybody is separate right now. Everybody is off on their own, writing bits and pieces. No one will ever go, “Here’s a finished song!” I mean, maybe they will, but it will never remain that way. It will get ripped apart, and put all back together. So, everyone just comes in, and the more stuff they present the better. We may use it, we may not use it, but a good way to start it is with John. He’ll come in and say “I have like 25 different things going and stuff, so…”
Is it difficult for you to go from director mode into producer mode when it comes to the music?
Sometimes it’s difficult to make the switch because you’re so caught up in one world and then you make the switch to the other. Luckily, the tour in between is almost the mind eraser. I’ve been working on the movie for a long time, and am pretty much in that mode. Then if I had to go in to make a record, I might not be thinking in that right mindset or space. Yeah, by going on tour, for whatever we’re doing—four weeks or whatever—that’ll get us all back crazy into music and the camaraderie of the band. So we’ll come right off the road and right into the studio and it will be good.
Are you going to produce this new record or do you have a producer in mind?
Um, I’ll probably produce it, I guess. I don’t know what’s going to happen. We have engineers we like to work with, and maybe other people come in and produce a couple songs. I’m gonna do this one in a different sort of way because I want this record to be really special. So, I’m kind of just like, “Whatever it takes!” If the producer is great, and after a couple of songs, he’s burnt out, we’ll bring in somebody else for more songs. Whatever it takes to get a great record!
Now, you’re just wrapping up on your sixth feature film, Lords Of Salem. Can you tell us what it’s about?
This week, I’ll be wrapping up the editing, and then from there….Well, there’s still a lot of work to do from the color timing and the sound mixing and all that stuff. I won’t actually finish before the tour. I’ll have to come back to it after the tour to finish it. It’s a different movie for me. I hate calling it a horror movie because it’s more than that. It’s very much like a psychological terror film, and it’s a very different style. The other films were very in-your-face violent. This is more like a total mindfuck movie, and it’s just very different, but I’m very excited about it because the fans of what I’ve done will love it, but it’s a very different trip than I’ve tried before because I didn’t want to just go and do the same thing again—and after doing two Halloween films in a row, I wanted to break the mold of anything like that—but very, very different.
Well, my girlfriend and I saw a commercial last year called The Torturer, and right away, we said that it had to be a Rob Zombie piece, and it turned out that it was a piece you did for Woolite! Are there any more commercials in your future?
Yeah, I shot three commercials about a month or so ago. They haven’t aired yet. They were products that were summer related, so they’ll probably air pretty soon. They were for a bug killing product that’s called Amdro. I shot three different spots, and they’re all pretty crazy, and one of them stars Clint Howard, which was fun. Again, when you see them, you’ll know. You won’t question it. The people from this company loved the Woolite commercial, and they sort of hired me wanting something similar, I guess.
Here’s a weird question for you. Since you’re a film director and a musician, would there ever be a chance that we’ll see a Rob Zombie Broadway musical? Maybe, House Of 1000 Corpses: The Musical?
I’ve talked about it before. First, it started off almost as a joke, but then after I talked about it more, I thought it was a good idea. I would like to. I don’t know when or how or whatever, but on one hand, it sounds ridiculous, but I think that the reality of it is that it is possible. Because if you look at Broadway now, it’s all becoming that sort of pop culture, and I think that House Of 1000 Corpses has very much led itself to that sort of scenario because the whole movie plays almost like a bloody Rocky Horror Picture Show, anyway.
I know that you’ve always been this huge horror movie fan. Is there any classic horror movie, besides Halloween, you’d like to remake, personally?
Actually, no I don’t. Every single movie will be made eventually. There’s a chance that there could be other movies I do remake someday because it keeps getting harder and harder to get original films made. Really, the studios only want to do remakes. That’s why there’s so many. I mean, you’re just at a point where you have no choice because you want to work and you want to make movies. I want to avoid it as much as possible. It’s a weird scenario especially after doing the Halloween movies. You want to be able to make things where people can judge them based on what they are, and when you’re making a remake, a lot of times the movies get judged on what people thought they were supposed to be or what they expected. It just becomes very strange.
One last question for you, Rob, since I know you have movies and music to make! What is the one thing that Rob Zombie fans will be shocked to learn about you?
They’ll be shocked to learn that I never answer that question because I don’t know (laughs). They’ll be shocked to learn everything probably! I mean, nobody knows anything about me, which is kind of good! I keep it that way. Everybody thinks that they know everything, but they don’t know anything, and that’s the way to be.
You can catch Rob Zombie on tour with Megadeth and Lacuna Coil at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ, on May 11. For more information, go to robzombie.com.