Rob Zombie Biography

Robert Cummings Biography on Monsters and Critics

Summary

"Robert Cummings" (born January 12, 1965 in Haverhill, Massachusetts), better known as "Rob Zombie", is an American musician, film director, and writer. His gruff vocal style and fascination with horror movies has helped him become a distinctive element in American heavy metal. He is best known as the founder, lead singer and songwriter for White Zombie. In recent years, he has also established himself as a solo artist and branched into directing films. Zombie has sold 10 million albums with White Zombie and a further 15 million albums as a solo artist.

Personal life

Rob and his brother Michael Cummings both share an interest in 1960s counter-culture, B horror movies, Western movies, and fantasy comics.

Zombie attended Keefe Technical School in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Rob Zombie has been a longtime fan of The Ramones, The Misfits, shock-rocker Alice Cooper, British heavy-metal pioneers Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and many more. Styles of these musicians continue to be a strong influence on him to this day.

Both brothers went to college, but Rob dropped out to pursue other interests. Rob attended Parsons The New School for Design in New York. Rob got his start by working as a technician for Pee Wee's Playhouse. It was also during this point that he met future White Zombie band-mate Sean Yseult.

On October 31, 2002 he married long time girlfriend Sheri Moon (now known as Sheri Moon Zombie) after almost 13 years of dating. The two had met at Toad's Place, a concert venue, in New Haven, Connecticut through mutual friends. Ten days before their planned wedding date, the couple decided to elope and get married on Halloween.

White Zombie (1985-1998)

"White Zombie" was an American band named after

the 1932 film "White Zombie", which starred Bela Lugosi.

Based in New York, White Zombie was originally a noise rock band in the vein of fellow New York band Sonic Youth; Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and fellow alternative rock icon Kurt Cobain have professed to be fans of their early work.

White Zombie was known for combining heavy-metal music with driving guitar riffs (as on 'Super-Charger Heaven'), overlayed with lyrics heavily influenced by horror films and pseudo-Satanic imagery. Unlike other metal bands of the 1990s, White Zombie was almost exclusively a 'fantasy' band, writing songs not about real life, but about surreal horror fantasies.

Following their signing to Geffen Records, White Zombie achieved considerable success, with two 2x platinum albums and a large number of their songs featured in movies and TV shows (notably Beavis and Butthead). The group officially disbanded in 1998 shortly after the release of singer Rob Zombie's solo album "Hellbilly Deluxe".

Solo Career (1998-present)

In 1996, Rob Zombie collaborated with his long-time inspiration Alice Cooper on the song 'Hands of Death (Burn Baby Burn)' for the X-Files tie-in CD "Songs in the Key of X". It was Zombie's first work outside of his band White Zombie. The song was nominated for a Grammy for Best Metal Performance the same year, but lost to Nine Inch Nails for their song 'Happiness in Slavery'.

Rob Zombie formed his own solo band in 1998. John Tempesta (drums) came directly from White Zombie, and was joined by Mike Riggs on guitar and Blasko (Rob Nicholson) on bass. They recorded and released Rob's debut solo album, "Hellbilly Deluxe", in 1998, produced by Scott Humphrey. The album was a great success, selling three million copies domestically. This album contained the hit singles 'Dragula', 'Living Dead Girl' and 'Superbeast'. White Zombie dissolved after the release of "Hellbilly Deluxe". Rob Zombie toured extensively to promote the debut album, releasing "American Made Music to Strip By" in 1999, an album of remixes from "Hellbilly Deluxe".

Rob Zombie next released "The Sinister Urge" in 2001, again produced by Scott Humphrey. This release contained the singles 'Never Gonna Stop (The Red Red Kroovy)', 'Feel So Numb' and 'Demon Speeding'. While the album still featured Rob's signature heavy metal sound, it was also more experimental than "Hellbilly Deluxe", such as including brass instruments on 'Go To California.' The album has been certified platinum.

Rob released his first greatest-hits album, "Past, Present & Future", in 2003, containing hit songs both from his solo band and White Zombie. It also featured covers (The Commodores' 'Brick House' and The Ramones' 'Blitzkrieg Bop') and unreleased songs ('Two-Lane Blacktop' and 'Girl on Fire').

After a 2002-2003 world tour, Mike Riggs and John Tempesta left Rob Zombie to form a similar band, Scum of the Earth. This put plans for another tour or new album on hold for a while. However, between 2003 and 2005, Rob Zombie released 2 self-directed horror films, "House of 1000 Corpses" and "The Devil's Rejects".

In 2005, Rob Zombie returned to the music world by recruiting former Marilyn Manson guitarist, John 5, and former Alice Cooper drummer, Tommy Clufetos. Blasko and Humphrey remained, and the 5 began recording "Educated Horses", which was released in 2006.

Stylistically, "Educated Horses" is Rob's most experimental release. In contrast to the heavy metal sound of his first 2 albums, this one has a more alternative metal sound to it. The single 'Foxy, Foxy' can be described as his most 'party-going' song. The other 2 singles, 'Let It All Bleed Out' and 'American Witch', featured his signature heavy sound. It was also his 1st album to not contain heavy amounts of horror - either in the artwork, songs, or even his physical appearance (Rob Zombie is dressed in regular clothes on the album cover, and his dreadlocks are gone). However, the songs 'Seventeen Year Locust' and 'The Scorpion Sleeps' featured song topics of creepy-crawlies.

"20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection: The Best of Rob Zombie" was also released in 2006 by his label, Geffen Records. It contains songs similar to his 1st greatest-hits album, but there are also songs on this release from "Educated Horses". Sometime in 2007, Rob Zombie plans on releasing a White Zombie box-set and a "Live CD/DVD", possibly containing footage from his most recent tour in 2006.

Blasko, Rob's bass player, left the band after the Educated Horses Tour, right before the American Witch Tour (The 2nd leg of the tour), to play bass with Ozzy Osbourne (he's done this before: in 2005, during Rob's musical hiatus). To fill in, Rob hired Piggy D. of Wednesday 13. After Ozzy finished touring, Blasko has returned with Zombie.

On May 31st, 2006, Rob Zombie was joined by guitarist Slash (Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver), Gilby Clarke (formerly of Guns N' Roses) on rhythm guitar, Scott Ian of Anthrax on bass, Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe on drums and special guest Ace Frehley of Kiss also on lead guitar. The occasion was a 1-time supergroup tribute to Kiss for the first annual VH1 Rock Honors Award Show. They played one song, 'God of Thunder,' before handing it off to the honoree. Rob Zombie is now on tour with Ozzy Osbourne.

Film career

"House of 1000 Corpses" was Rob Zombie's directorial debut and his first horror film. It took four years to make (1999-2003), and was finally released by Lion's Gate Films in 2003, after Stacy Snider, then-head of Universal Pictures, sold the film to them, as she did not wish for Universal to release the film. It was later revealed that Snider is not a fan of horror films. It featured a shocking amount of violence and gore, a hark back to Rob's exploitation-film influences. It told the tale of a group of unlucky teenagers who stumble upon the Firefly Family, a family of sadistic and vicious murderers. The film was shot in a surreal and over-the-top style that alternated between dark and campy humor.

"1000 Corpses" sequel, "The Devil's Rejects", showcased a much different style. Whereas House was at times comedic and bizarre, "Rejects" was more dark, serious and gritty and was more of a Western revenge movie than an outright horror film. Released in 2005, "Rejects" had the Firefly Family on the run from the law and a particularly vengeful sheriff whose brother was murdered by them in the first film.

Rob Zombie contributed to the 2007 exploitation film "Grindhouse", by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino by directing a faux trailer, called "Werewolf Women of the S.S.", starring his wife, exploitation veterans Udo Kier and Sybil Danning, and Nicolas Cage, who did his appearance for free as a favor. Zombie next directed "Halloween", a reimagining of the 1978 classic that was released August 31st, 2007.

He is also the executive producer of the forthcoming film "The Haunted World of El Superbeasto", based upon his comic book series, 'The Adventures of El Superbeasto' (which appeared in his Spookshow International comic book). U"Superbeasto" is animated and due for a 2008 release.

TV host

On Friday, October 13, 2006, Rob Zombie became the host of "TCM Underground" on the Turner Classic Movies channel with the screening of a double feature of Ed Wood's "Plan 9 From Outer Space" and "Bride of the Monster". Until January 2007, Zombie hosted a different double bill every Friday night at two in the morning.

Cultural References

A Soup Named Stew references Rob Zombie in its song 'Rob Zombie Pancake Breakfast'.

MTV's "Beavis and Butt-head" promoted Zombie with their praise of his former band White Zombie during episodes.

The video game Way of the Warrior's soundtrack consisted of music from 'La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1.'

The song 'Feel So Numb' appears on the hockey game NHL Hitz 20-03.

'Lords of Salem' appears in the movie The Covenant

In the video game Twisted Metal 3, Zombie's song 'Meet The Creeper' is used in both the opening video and in the final stage of the game.

In the video game Twisted Metal 4, Zombie is featured as a playable character. Also, the song 'Dragula' is the background music for the construction yard level and is the type of car that Zombie drives. Also, the song for the circus level is 'Grease Paint and Monkey Brains'.

In the video game Need for Speed: Underground, Zombie's song 'Two-Lane Blacktop' is featured on the soundtrack.

In the computer game FlatOut 2, two of Zombie's songs are featured: 'Demon Speeding' is used in both the opening video sequence and the ingame soundtrack. The second, 'Feel So Numb', also appears on the ingame soundtrack.

The song 'Superbeast' was featured in the trailer for the American theatrical release of "Godzilla 2000: Millennium".

The song 'Dragula' is featured in the video games "Gran Turismo 2", Twisted Metal 4 and "Sled Storm".

The song 'Dragula' is featured in the movie "The Matrix", played at the scene in the club where Neo first meets Trinity.

The popular vocalist and 70's rock icon Linda Ronstadt praised Rob in an August 2007 Associated Press interview for the Cape Cod Times, stating that her teenage son has exposed her to his music - loves it, and 'There's real power and energy there.'

The video game Jet Set Radio features the song 'Dragula' on one of its levels. Also, the album cover for "American Made Music to Strip By" is a featured graffiti image in the game.

In the short film "Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special", the track 'Living Dead Girl' can be heard in the background when Lobo is talking to the Easter Bunny.

The song 'Superbeast' is featured in the documentary and soundtrack "Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows" in reference to the WWE wrestler Triple H.

Former original ECW wrestler Chris Chetti used a remixed version of 'Superbeast' as his entrance music for a brief period of time.

DJ crew X-Ecutioners recorded a cover of 'More Human Than Human' entitled '(Even More) Human Than Human' on their "Revolutions" album. It featured vocals from Slug (of Atmosphere), Josey Scott (of Saliva), and Rob Zombie himself.

The song 'Meet the Creeper' was featured in the trailers for the movie "Jeepers Creepers 2".

The song 'Never Gonna Stop' was used as WWE wrestler Edge's entrance music for about a year.

In the video game Twisted Metal 3, Zombie's song 'Superbeast' is played during the Hollywood level.

Zombie's song 'Living Dead Girl' is the opening song for "Bride Of Chucky".

In the episode 'The Good Buck' of Fox's animated series "King of the Hill", Zombie is mentioned by a character who claims an image tattooed on his chest to be Jesus, but in actuality the image is of Zombie. In the 'Escape from Party Island' episode, Dragula can be heard in the background as a character escapes an island.

In the song 'Hot Topic is not Punk Rock' by MC Lars, Rob Zombie lunch boxes are listed as being 'not punk rock'.

In the arcade game CarnEvil, 'Superbeast' is heard playing in the background of the gameplay demo.

In an episode of the supernatural series "Angel", Zombie's 'Living Dead Girl (Subliminal Seduction Remix)' plays in a night club as Faith Lehane dances.

In the episode 'Home Alone 4' of the comedy series "Malcolm in the Middle", one of the characters, Richie, is seen wearing a T-shirt with the "Hellbilly Deluxe" album art on the front.

In Knocked Up, the main character portrayed by Seth Rogen is shown near the beginning of the movie wearing a shirt that depicts the album art for American Made Music to Strip By.

In the video game Nightmare Creatures 2 Rob Zombie's music is heard throughout this video game.

External links

(Rob Zombie) , official website

(Rob Zombie Icons of Fright interview)

(Rob Zombie) at Geffen Records

(MySpace: Rob Zombie)

(Rob Zombie interview for MarsDust.com)

Credit

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article about Rob Zombie.