Mayhem 2013: Interview with Rob Zombie

Posted on November 11, 2013

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Mayhem: Interview with Rob Zombie

Rob Zombie performs on the Main Stage during Mayhem Festival at Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville, Ind. on Friday, July 26, 2013. (Photo by Rachael Mattice/Journal & Courier)

Rob Zombie performs on the Main Stage during Mayhem Festival at Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville, Ind. on Friday, July 26, 2013. (Photo by Rachael Mattice/Journal & Courier)

By: Rachael Mattice

Hoosier metal fans gathered for the festival of the year on Friday, July 26, 2013 at Klipsch Music Center – Rockstar Energy Drink’s Mayhem Festival.

Mayhem 2013 bands included Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Mastodon, Amon Amarth, Children of Bodom, Job for A Cowboy, Machine Head, the Butcher Babies, Huntress, Battlecross, Motionless in White and many more.

Q&A with frontman Rob Zombie:

Question: It’s been an incredible year for you creatively – releasing an album, “Lords of Salem” debuted and Mayhem, among several other projects. You played Mayhem and the main stage a few years ago in 2010, what’s different this time around?

Answer: Our show is different obviously – different production, different songs. I don’t remember what we did before, but we built a bunch of new stuff and configured the show. It’s a much bigger show than last time.

Q: In past performances, you came out into the audience on the edges during “Thunder Kiss ‘ 65,” why do you choose to do that for this song?

A: Well, I usually come out during John’s solo, which usually falls within that song, it’s the only time I could do that. 

Unfortunately, if it’s a song I’m singing, the delay from the stage gets so severe that I’ll be out of time with the rest of the band. Sometimes I’ll go out into the crowd and keep singing, but I’ll get maybe seven rows out and I’m out of synch, I’m a couple seconds behind the band and then it becomes chaos.

I interview Rob Zombie during Mayhem Festival on Friday, July 26, 2013 in Noblesville, Ind. (Photo taken by Steve Noppenberger)

I interview Rob Zombie during Mayhem Festival on Friday, July 26, 2013 in Noblesville, Ind. (Photo taken by Steve Noppenberger)

 

Q: Out of all of your solo albums, “Educated Horses” has the most simplistic album art with a head shot in black and white and no costumes. Why did you choose to do this?

A: After White Zombie fell apart, which was a big pain in the a–, I put together this new band which then produced the albums “Hellbilly Deluxe” and “Sinister Urge” and thought “this is great,” we’re doing shows, everything is going perfectly, but then that fell apart. The easiest way to get musicians to complain is to give them success.

As soon as things go good and you start selling a bunch of records, everybody starts hating each other. When that fell apart, I started to go off and do movies and didn’t think I had the patience to put a whole new band together again because it was so draining.

I ended up doing it anyway. It was John5, Tommy Clufetos – all new people. I thought I just wanted to start over and strip it down to nothing, rather than being like a Broadway play and taking over for the last guy. I didn’t want to do the image crap for awhile and do it like we did in the old days and just be a band and eventually get back into a big show, that was really the muse. It would have felt fake to have the guys dress up and fire up the whole gizmo again.

Q: I interviewed John back in October for your Twins of Evil tour and asked him what the significance of the “X” on his forehead meant because he had it before he joined your band. He told me it was a tribute to you. Did you know that John was a big fan of yours before he joined?

A: No, but I knew about it later on. He showed me a picture of him doing that because it was in some Marilyn Manson book. I didn’t know at the time when he joined the band, I don’t think I would’ve even made the connection if I had noticed.

I interview Rob Zombie during Mayhem Festival on Friday, July 26, 2013 in Noblesville, Ind. (Photo taken by Steve Noppenberger)

I interview Rob Zombie during Mayhem Festival on Friday, July 26, 2013 in Noblesville, Ind. (Photo taken by Steve Noppenberger)

Q: Your Great American Nightmare extravaganza is an entirely different event altogether with more mazes then you “House of a 1000 Corpses” maze at Universal Studios’ Hollywood Horror Nights. Did you want to stray away from them to do strictly your own ideas? Will you participate in the spooking? What was your Halloween costume last year?

A: I like doing the Universal thing, but there is no ownership with that. It was their event, which is fine, I did that three or four times over the years. I just wanted to take my own thing and do it bigger.

It never worked out, a couple Halloweens ago I was shooting “Lords of Salem” or I was on tour, it never time wise made sense until this year to do the event. 

One of the things that people complain about with events like this is that they just stand in line all day. We have a system that will hopefully work and help with that. We have several mazes to go through, plus there’s several bands playing every night at the same time, plus car shows and wrestling which is a non-stop thing as opposed to just standing in line constantly. Even if you are standing in line, there is still something going on beside you. 

I don’t know if I’ll participate in the spooking, I’ve done it before and it was a lot of fun. It’s the best, some people are so scared. Not just startled, but screaming and crying in terror, it’s funny. I was doing it once and Oscar De Le Hoya was walking through and he was jumping and everything, so funny. Some people will actually take a swing at you. “It’s not real! It’s not real monsters.” That’s the last thing I need is Oscar De Le Hoya punching me in the face (laughs). 

Last year we had a show on Halloween and we all had costumes for one song. John and Matt dressed up as Gumby and Pokey. Yeah, they are online. I’m always working. Doing shows on Halloween and making two “Halloween” movies has really made the holiday a job (laughs)

Q: I would like to applaud you on your development of the character Laurie Strode in your second “Halloween” movie with all the details of how a sweet, normal girl’s life can change for the worst. She couldn’t eat meat anymore and literally made her throw up.

A: Good, thanks! It’s funny because a lot of people didn’t get it. If you look at it as a reality – which I tried to do as opposed to the movies in the past – you wouldn’t become a heroine, you’re this teenage girl who’s parents were slaughtered, all your friends were slaughtered and you’re incredibly traumatized. So what do incredibly traumatized kids do – they redraw or act out. I tried to make her act out against everybody and I think Scout (Taylor-Compton) played it really well and made it believable.

Girls seem to get that movie more. Everybody would go to that extreme if that happened – “the f-you, I’m punk rock” stage (laughs). “I’m angry and I don’t know why!”

Q: I saw that Powerman 5000, your brother Michael’s band, is going to perform at Great American
Nightmare. Have you ever performed live together before?

I interview Rob Zombie during Mayhem Festival on Friday, July 26, 2013 in Noblesville, Ind. (Photo taken by Steve Noppenberger)

I interview Rob Zombie during Mayhem Festival on Friday, July 26, 2013 in Noblesville, Ind. (Photo taken by Steve Noppenberger)

A: Yeah he played with us before, not many times though. He played one night on the Twins of Evil show in St. Louis. They did one of those shows which was about 6 months ago.

Q: You released “Lords of Salem” this year and your next movie is “The Broad Street Bullies,” a true life sports movie set in 1974 about the Philadelphia Flyers. Since your wife Sheri has been in all of your past movies, will she have a role in this upcoming film? How will it be different?

A: I don’t know yet, maybe, maybe not. We’ll see how it goes. It’s mostly big Canadian guys with no teeth (laughs) so it’s a little different than usual. I would love her to be in the movie because I love working together, but I just don’t know who’s going to be in the movie yet, it’s totally different.

Q: Why did you want John5 to write the score for “Lords of Salem?”

A: I had a very particular score in mind. I’ve used composers before and the results have been great, sometimes not so great. I’ve worked with John for eight years now and I knew he would understand what I wanted and sometimes composers don’t want to keep it simple. I wanted really simple melodies that you could remember. 

Sometimes composers complicate it. Composers are sometimes more concerned with themselves instead of the movie, and that’s frustrating. I knew John inside and out and knew he would get it.It was super easy.

Q: I saw through your Facebook page that you were throwing a contest to get fans involved in your cover song of “We’re An American Band.” What inspired this?

A: I thought it would be fun. For this song, since it’s a cover and I didn’t write it, I thought “well, I could do a live video for it, maybe a conceptual video.” I didn’t create the song so I didn’t have anything in my head. If you farm it out to all the fans, they will come up with crazy sh–, but who knows, maybe it will end up being America’s Funniest Home Videos (laughs). We’ll see, hopefully they won’t disappoint.

Mattice is a producer and music journalist for the Journal & Courier. She can be reached at
rmattice@jconline.com or on Twitter @RachaelM_JC.

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Posted in: 2013