Most people should be familiar with the name Rob Zombie -- whether as the front man for the rock band White Zombie, through his solo music career, through his directorial forays via movies such as House of 1,000 Corpses, Devil's Rejects or the Halloween remakes, his recent stint as director of an episode of CSI: Miami or through his skills as an artist. They say there's no rest for the wicked and Zombie rarely finds time to relax. This spring, he's heading out on the road for the Gruesome Twosome Tour with Alice Cooper in support of his latest CD, Hellbilly Deluxe 2. I recently spoke with Zombie by phone from his California home to discuss the tour, his band and how his music compares to the old White Zombie days.
Creative Loafing: A tour with you and Alice seems pretty logical -- you've known each other for years. How did this come about, or why did it take so long to come together?
Rob Zombie: I'm not sure why it took so long, truthfully. We're both kind of scratching our heads at that one. We've been talking about it for so long that it really did feel like it was never going to happen -- 'if we haven't done it by now, when are we gonna?' I guess it was just one of those things... the timing was never right. You know, I'm glad we never did it until now because this is going to be so great. It's going to be the most spectacular show ever and maybe it wouldn't have been as good back then. I feel like now is the time. Our schedules didn't match up. I don't know what it was. But the timing is right, it's all good and it's gonna kick ass.
Is it a co-headlining situation or are you rotating?
He'll do his full show first and then I'll do my show. It's two full shows. We won't switch the order 'cause it's way too confusing. (laughs)
What kind of influence was he on you?
I think Alice's influence on me and on everyone is beyond calculable -- you can't even calculate it because he did everything first. He was amazing. Besides the incredible music -- I mean, the music and the songs he has are just amazing and stand the test of time and are so intricate and strange -- the stage theatrics and the persona and the vibe that he brought is just amazing. He's so smart that the stuff he was doing back then -- it wasn't just a spooky, horror rock thing, it was so much more. It was so ahead of the curve of what everyone else was doing. It just blew me away as a kid. He was just a classic show business entertainer on all levels. It wasn't just that he was one thing and that's what I loved about him.
While I was doing research for this article, I read an article about Devil's Rejects and how there was no way you were going to call it House of a 1,000 Corpses 2 because sequels in titles are such a bad idea because people will expect Part III and Part IV. Now you've released Hellbilly Deluxe 2 ... so, care to explain yourself?
I don't know, I've done like 100,000 interviews, so I don't know what I was saying or why. I think probably what I was referring to at that point was, I didn't want to call it House of 1,000 Corpses 2 for many reasons and I still wouldn't want to. I wanted to make a completely different movie in tone in every sense and I thought that House of 1,000 Corpses 2 for me, at that moment in time -- it felt weird. It wasn't right. If the movie was exactly the same in tone -- 'cause Corpses was kinda wacky and campy and more like Rocky Horror Picture Show than anything else -- I would have. But I knew with Devil's Rejects I wanted to make something that was a post-modern, bleak Western and I wanted it to be perceived differently. If it was exactly the same type of film as Corpses, then I would have called it House of 1,000 Corpses II and been fine, but I wanted it to be seen as something totally different. That's why I did it. Sometimes, it's hard. Even with Halloween, I didn't want to call Halloween 2, Halloween 2. I wanted to call it something else, but that wasn't my decision to be made. I tried my best, but it didn't work.
With the music, you had Hellbilly, then released two other albums. Is there a reason you went back to the Hellbilly name when you were naming this album? Was there something that tied it back into that?