Rob Zombie: All Boxed Up

Rob Zombie: All Boxed Up


When Rob Zombie got to work on compiling the White Zombie box set, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, his first thought was "I don't really remember all of this." The second thought was, "What were we thinking?!" Anyone familiar with the musical horror show that is White Zombie knows that the band's 1998 demise wasn't exactly an amicable one. So, putting the 5 CD/1 DVD career-spanning box set together wasn't exactly a fun trip down memory lane for Mr. Robert Bartleh Cummings.

"It's like going to your high school reunion," says Zombie, whose list of movie credits (Halloween, The Devil's Rejects, Grindhouse, House of 1,000 Corpses) is as impressive as his music career. "It's not necessarily fun and you don't always remember everything. You're not really looking forward to it, but it is what it is and you do it. It was kind of like that."

Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (released Nov. 25 via Geffen/UME) includes all 64 original studio recordings from White Zombie's career, which spanned from 1985-1996 and included Astro-Creep: 2000: Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head, which hit No. 6 on The Billboard 200 and spawned the top 10 hit song "More Human Than Human." Along with all four CDs, nine music videos (including their breakthrough Grammy-nominated hit "Thunder Kiss '65"), and 10 live performances of such classics as "I Am Hell" from The Beavis & Butt-Head Experience.

Carrie Borzillo-Vrenna: You've said that looking back musically at some of White Zombie's early material, that you thought it was pretty wacked. Did you really have those cringe moments?
Rob Zombie: Not a cringe moment per se, but it was like, "What were we thinking?" It was weird. I thought, "How did we arrive at that?" But I know how we did. We were young musicians just learning how to do everything, how to play, and how to be in a band. But, that was sort of the beauty of it anyway. You don't know the rules so you unknowingly end up breaking all the rules. Sometimes I find when you get a room full of incredible musicians, you don't necessarily get incredible music.
CBV:
Were there any songs on the box set you wished you didn't have to put on it?
RZ:
I don't have any least favorites in particular. My favorite songs have always been the ones the audience really liked. For me, recording is kind of a drag. I don't really like it that much, but I love playing live more than anything and to feed off the crowd's response and energy. When they really like a song makes it great. So "Thunder Kiss" was always a great song for me. It was our real breakthrough song and it was our most normal song -- the song that a normal person might enjoy it.
CBV:
Does this box set put more of a final end on this chapter of your life?
RZ:
That chapter on this band was closed 10 years ago, but this is one final thing for the fans. Now was as good of a time as ever to do it and I actually had the time to put it together. I've been trying to put it together for a long time, but I was always busy with recording or touring or doing movies. I don't want fans to think it's the beginning of anything.
CBV:
So no White Zombie reunion still?
RZ:
Yeah. No.
CBV:
What is your one favorite crazy story from that era?
RZ:
It's been so long can't remember. I haven't thought about White Zombie stories in a long time. I think that era was the last era of crazy rock stories. It's not the same now. But, I do enjoy touring now more than I ever have and that has to do with the people I'm playing with now.
CBV:
What's different now with your new band –– John 5, Piggy D, and Tommy C.?
RZ:
What's different is the people I'm with. In the past with White Zombie there was so much internal strife and turmoil and it was difficult. It wasn't fun. And my new band we haven't had one fight. There is no turmoil. It's the best it's ever been. I couldn't be happier with these three guys. I've never had a band that I could call my good friends until now.
CBV:
Aww. So, you have new BFFs.
RZ:
I attribute it mostly to John 5. For the first time in 23 years I'm friends with my band. My best friends. It's the best lineup. I got to a point where I almost didn't want to do music anymore and then I played with John 5 at a Tsunami benefit and we really clicked. He hit it off right away. It was inspiring to play with such a talented musician who I really got along with. These guys are great.
CBV:
Is it surprising that after a few decades of making music you can actually find new heights of happiness musically?
RZ:
Yeah. I credit it to John 5. It just works and we're productive and it's easy and fun again. We get along great.
CBV:
It's like a good marriage. Speaking of, you've been with your wife Sherri Moon for 15 years (married for six years). What do you attribute that longevity to?
RZ:
We made a decision early on to be together and not live our lives apart. She comes on tour with me and she's been part of the show and we just keep it together. It's just easier that way.
CBV:
You seem to have reached your goals musically, and on the movie front, and in your professional life. Do you have any new goals you aspire to?
RZ:
Actually, I don't feel like I've reached any of my goals. I'm never satisfied. But I think that's what keeps me going. Every record or every movie I want to be the best, and I never think it is, so I try again to make the next one the best and just keep going. It's kind of like a sickness. But if I didn't feel that way, then I'd be like bands who just go through the motions and don't care. I'm never completely satisfied. I don't feel like I've reached my creative goals completely.
CBV:
Do you have any new tattoos?
RZ:
The last tattoo I got was when Katrina hit. Wee were supposed to play New Orleans and ended up in Dallas. Our tour manager was a tattoo artist and he tattooed all of us. I got a small clown with a popcorn box. I don't have the patience for tattooing anymore. I'd be sitting there for hours thinking, "Are we done yet?" I had more patience with tattooing when I was younger and it was new so I could sit for four hours. But not now.
CBV:
Is the new solo album done?
RZ:
It's done. We don't know when it's coming out or have a title for it just yet. It'll be out in 2009, though.
CBV:
Any titles that you're tossing around?
RZ:
Yeah. We have a song called "Jesus Frankenstein" and another called "Werewolf Baby." But we haven't decided. This band is an incredible proficient machine. We got a lot done together.
CBV:
Tell us about the "War Zone" song you did for The Punisher: War Zone.
RZ:
I tried to keep the song in line with what the movie was about it. But, what was great was that it got me to finish a song and get in the mode to move faster on my new album.
CBV:
You have a bunch of movies on deck - Tyrannosaurus Rex, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, and Ratred. Even mumblings of a new Halloween movie.
RZ:
Tyrannosaurus Rex is a live action film, but it's not close. It's a bit away. I don't know what Ratred is. I saw it posted somewhere but I know nothing about that. The one that is up next is The Haunted World of El Superbeasto. That one is done. It's the animated comedy/horror based on my comic book series. Paul Giamatti is in it, my wife is in it, Rosario Dawson. We worked on that one for about three years. And, there has been talk about another Halloween, but nothing yet.
CBV:
Are you still sticking to your guns and not putting your own music in your movies?
RZ:
Yeah. I always wanted to keep them separate. And, besides, I don't think my music fits most of the movies I do.
CBV:
How do you feel about the term "Splat Pack" and being part of it alongside directors, writers, and/or producers like Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes), Eli Roth (Grindhouse, Death Proof), and the guys behind the Saw movies -- Darren Lynn Bousman, James Wan, and Leigh Whannell.
RZ:
I think it's stupid.
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