If Rob Zombie had produced only his brilliantly brutal catalog with White Zombie, his place in Metal’s firmament would still have warranted a bronze statue. In fact, Zombie’s ambitions extended beyond merely making music, given his childhood fascination with horror movies and his stated desire to combine Alice Cooper, Steven Spielberg, Bela Lugosi and Stan Lee, a goal he’s clearly achieved.
Zombie and then-girlfriend Sean Yseult began White Zombie in 1985 — Zombie concurrently worked as a production assistant on Pee Wee’s Playhouse — and churned out four studio albums and an equal number of EPs that methodically amassed a sizable cult following. In 1992, La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol. 1 and its big MTV hit “Thunder Kiss ’65” broke White Zombie wide, leading to the subsequent success of 1995’s Astro-Creep 2000, but the end was in sight.
After 13 years, several personnel changes, Yseult and Zombie’s split and a groundbreaking video-and-live presentation that featured elaborate horror/science fiction theatricality, White Zombie dissolved.
With White Zombie’s demise, Rob Zombie pursued his solo career and the full scope of his creative goals. He’d tested solo waters in 1996 with the song “Hands of Death (Burn Baby Burn),” a Grammy-nominated collaboration with Alice Cooper for the X-Files soundtrack, and he dove back in with his full solo debut, 1998’s Hellbilly Deluxe, and its follow-up, 2001’s The Sinister Urge, which both notched platinum sales figures.
In between, Zombie directed his first feature-length film, the controversial House of 1000 Corpses, which was finally released in 2003, the same year as Zombie’s White Zombie/solo compilation, Past, Present & Future. Since then, Zombie has maintained a steady release schedule — which has included 2006’s experimental Educated Horses and this year’s Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser — and directed a crazy range of horror films, including The Devil’s Rejects, his remake of Halloween and its sequel Halloween II, The Lords of Salem and the imminent 31. Zombie is also slated to direct his first mainstream movie, Raised Eyebrows, the chronicle of comedian Groucho Marx’s tragic final years.
Zombie’s immediate concern is this summer’s touring behind Electric Warlock, which his longstanding guitarist John 5 described earlier this year as “definitely my favorite Zombie album, by far, really incredible.” High praise indeed, but for Zombie, the album is just the beginning; the performance is the flamethrower, the grindhouse, the blood carnival and the chainsaw massacre rolled into one. If Herschell Gordon Lewis were here, he’d remind you to take your heart medicine; Rob Zombie is back with a blood-soaked vengeance.
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