Rob Zombie’s rocky horror music show
SINGAPORE — Rob Zombie is living the dream.
As a child, dreamt of being Alice Cooper, Steven Spielberg and Stan Lee, and by all accounts Zombie has fulfilled every single fantasy completely. Since appearing on the alternative rock scene as the frontman of ’90s band White Zombie, he went on to establish himself as a cult film-maker (most notably with his remake of John Carpenter’s Halloween) as well as an on-and-off comic book writer.
“Yeah I guess that’s true. I get to do what I want — it all came true. It’s pretty perfect!” he quipped, during our phone interview.
However, despite establishing himself as a noteworthy film-maker, Zombie still likes to return to his rock and roll roots because “it’s fun. It’s the only reason, which is the right reason. I don’t do it because I need the money or any other reason. I do it because I like being with the other guys in the band and playing music because it’s fun. That’s why the band is better than ever, because we are all doing it for the right reasons.”
Considering how challenging it is to manage a rock star career to begin with, Zombie might have figured out how to juggle that aspect of his life and his burgeoning film-making commitments at the same time.
“Usually if I’m on tour playing shows, during my downtime I would be working on scripts and developing projects. And when the tour ends, I would go and work on the movie,” he explained. “I’m always working. On my day off here, we had a special screening of the Devil’s Rejects and so everything’s always happening at the same time. It’s difficult — but I get it done.”
In a way, Zombie’s films may have had an unintentionally positive impact on his music career. “The films reach a wider audience and that’s brought a lot of people into the music. Maybe they would not have normally listened to it.”
Whether or not any of his movie fans will head down to the Singapore Rock Festival, which happens on March 5 and 6, is anybody’s guess. But those who do go will get a taste of his latest album, Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor. It’s something that Zombie is very pleased with.
“The new record is my favourite one that I made in a long, long time,” Zombie enthused. “I like all the records and every time you make a record you try your best, obviously. But every once in a while, (an album comes along that) seems more special than at other times, and this new record felt that way.”
Part of the reason was because the band with whom Zombie recorded album with were friends. “It’s the first time ever that the band members are all good friends. You try over the years to find the right people but this is the best combination, so I think that had a lot to do with it.”
Despite Zombie’s insistence that there was no grand design behind the concept of the album, sonically or otherwise (“it was more like writing songs, and see where they go”), he did confess to consciously resurrecting some classic rock sounds.
“One of the instruments that disappeared from heavy music is the organ — Deep Purple would really have heavy organ on their songs — so that’s some of what we wanted to bring into this record,” he said. “Our producer Bob Marlette is a phenomenal keyboard player and we got him to play a lot of organ on the record. I just love the sound it gives.”
When asked whether he agreed with the description that his songs were horror movies in musical form, Zombie demurred and said that his inspirations ran beyond pure horror movies. “There was a kind of movie that I loved when I was growing up: Cult movies. Anything from A Clockwork Orange to Pink Flamingos to The Rocky Horror Picture Show to Eraserhead, that sort of underground midnight movie vibe. That’s what I loved. It was that so-called trashy cinema — genius films that were not mainstream — that’s the stuff I really like.”
Rob Zombie plays at the Singapore Rock Festival on March 5 at the Fort Canning Park. Tickets at S$118 (S$148 at the door) from Sistic.