Rob Zombie Biography

Rob Zombie Biography

Rob Zombie Biography

Robert Bartleh Cummings (born , 1965), better known by his stage name, Rob Zombie, is a Grammy-nominated American musician, film director, screenwriter and film producer. He founded the rock band White Zombie.

He currently lives in Woodbury, Connecticut. He married longtime girlfriend Sheri Moon in 2002, whom he also frequently features in his horror films. Zombie has also established a successful career as a film director, creating the movies House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, the 2007 remake of Halloween and its sequel, and the upcoming Tyrannosaurus Rex and The Haunted World of El Superbeasto.

He is the half-brother of Spider One (Michael David Cumming), lead singer for Powerman 5000.

Recording career

White Zombie (1985?1998)
Main article: White Zombie (band)

White Zombie was an American rock band named after the 1932 horror 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 and Texas Experimental Punk band Butthole Surfers. 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 life, but about the surreal. Following their signing to Geffen Records, White Zombie achieved commercial 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 lead singer Rob Zombie’s solo album Hellbilly Deluxe. In November 2008 Geffen/UME released Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, a 4 CD/1 DVD boxed set which includes 54 original studio recordings from White Zombie’s career, almost all of the band’s recordings. The package also contains 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. In an interview to promote the release of Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, Rob Zombie made it clear that a reunion with his White Zombie band mates was unlikely, saying, “I don’t want fans to think it’s the beginning of anything.”

Solo career (1998?present)

In 1996, Zombie collaborated with 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”. 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 Zombie’s debut solo album, Hellbilly Deluxe, in 1998, produced by Scott Humphrey. The album was a success, selling three million copies domestically. This album contained the hit singles “Dragula”, “Living Dead Girl” and “Superbeast”. The Dragula title was inspired by the ’60s TV series The Munsters; the DRAG-U-LA was a dragster built from a coffin driven by Grandpa.

Episode footage of the drag race was included in House of 1,000 Corpses. White Zombie dissolved after the release of Hellbilly Deluxe. Zombie toured extensively to promote the debut album, releasing American Made Music to Strip By in 1999, an album of remixes from Hellbilly Deluxe. Zombie next released The Sinister Urge in 2001 (the title taken from a 1961 film by Edward D. Wood), 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 Zombie’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.

Zombie 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 Zombie to form a similar band, Scum of the Earth. This put plans for another tour or new album on hold. Instead, between 2003 and 2005, Zombie released two self-directed horror films, House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects.

In 2005, 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 five began recording Educated Horses, which was released in 2006. Stylistically, Educated Horses is Zombie’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 metal sound. It was also his 1st album to not contain heavy amounts of horror?either in the artwork, songs, or even his physical appearance (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. Following the release of the album he toured the U.S. with Lacuna Coil.

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. In 2007 Zombie released his first Live CD, which was supposed to be accompanied by a live DVD & picture booklet. So far, only the CD has surfaced. Blasko, Zombie’s bass player, left the band after the Educated Horses Tour, shortly before the American Witch Tour (The 2nd leg of the tour), to play bass with Ozzy Osbourne. To fill in, Zombie hired Piggy D. of Amen and Wednesday 13 fame as a permanent replacement.

On , 2006, 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 M?tley Cr?e on drums and special guest Ace Frehley of Kiss also on lead guitar. The occasion was a one-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. Zombie then went on tour with Ozzy Osbourne.

Zombie has also started work on a currently untitled follow-up to 2006’s Educated Horses. In May of 2008 he posted an update on his website stating: “Well, we have for the first time ever written more songs than we need for an album. Everything isn’t 100% finished, but everything is moving along great. No release date yet.” In August 2008, a new (instrumental) song entitled “Tyrannosaurus Rex” , featuring John 5 on guitar, was uploaded onto Zombie’s MySpace music page. In an interview published in December 2008, Zombie spoke about his new band lineup ( John 5, Piggy D, and Tommy C), and how happy he was with his new band members, saying, “I’ve never had a band that I could call my good friends until now.”

Zombie has his own official Youtube channel, which he created on 12 December 2005. He has two “blog” videos explaining his tours and another one wishing his fans a happy Halloween. On the latter video, Zombie recommends Halloween horror videos to his fans. Rob Zombie recently released a new single entitled “War Zone” from the Punisher: War Zone soundtrack. The song entitled “The Great American Nightmare” is the opening theme for the Howard Stern Show on Sirius Satellite Radio. Rob Zombie’s new album is rumored to be released in 2009. Piggy D. stated on a Metal Messiah Radio interview with DJ Lovely Laura that the band had been working on material since February 2008 and the album had been finished since late December of 2008 with no release date yet.

Rob Zombie is scheduled to perform at Japan’s Loudpark Festival in October 2009 along with Megadeth, Judas Priest, Slayer, Anthrax, Arch Enemy, Children of Bodom, & Regurgitation. He is listed on the Loudpark Festival website (Loudpark.com). This is his first performance in almost two years.

John 5 gave an interview to Artisannews.com on May 28th 2009 about the new album saying, “It’s finished. We do not have a title but it is finished and mixed. Not mastered but it is unbelievable. He says and people say it’s his best work. So, I love it.” He also stated that it should be out sometime later in the year. Rumored song titles (from MTV.com) are “Jesus Frankenstein” and “Sick Bubblegum”.

Rob Zombie appeared on “The Howard Stern Show” on August 18, 2009 saying the new album is complete, although he has not yet set a title, and scheduled for release on November 10.

Zombie recently commented on his Twitter saying, “New album is mastered and ready to go! Tour dates coming soon!”

Zombie is featured as a backing vocalist on the upcoming Lynyrd Skynyrd album God & Guns for the song “Floyd”.

Starting Oct. 29th, Zombie will headline the “Hellbilly Deluxe 2 Tour” in support of his new album “Hellbilly Deluxe 2: Noble Jackals, Penny Dreadfuls and the Systematic Dehumanization of Cool” set for a November 17th release as said so in his MySpace blog.

Film and television

Film career
Rob Zombie attending the 2007 Comic Con to promote Halloween.

House of 1000 Corpses was Rob Zombie’s directorial debut and his first horror film. Zombie wrote the screenplay as well as directing the 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. It featured a great deal of violence and gore. The movie 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. The film was mostly panned by critics but had its share of fans.

The House of 1000 Corpses’ sequel, The Devil’s Rejects, which Zombie also wrote and directed, showcased a much different style. Whereas House was at times comedic and bizarre, Rejects was darker, more serious and grittier. Released in 2005, Rejects had the Firefly Family on the run from the law and a particularly vengeful sheriff whose brother had been murdered by them in the first film. It had a higher critical reception than Corpses. 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 appeared free for fun.

Zombie next wrote and directed Halloween, a reimagining of the 1978 classic that was released , 2007. Although it was a success and opened at number #1 at the box office with $26 million, it registered only 27% at Rotten Tomatoes. It would go on to gross over $78 million, his biggest hit yet and the highest grossing “Halloween” film of all time (when not adjusted for inflation). However, due to the fact that he only remade the film it is not considered by most to be a real project.

Zombie is the executive producer of the forthcoming animated 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). The film is due for a 2009 release. It features Paul Giamatti, Zombie’s wife Sheri Moon, and Rosario Dawson.

Zombie directed a sequel to Halloween entitled Halloween II, which was released on August 28, 2009. Filming began on February 23, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia with Tyler Mane returning as Michael Myers. Zombie will next be directing a new movie for Dimension Films known as Rob Zombie’s Tyrannosaurus Rex. The Haunted World of El Superbeasto is officially announced with a Sept. 22nd release date. In an interview at Comic Con 2009 with his younger brother Spider One of Powerman 5000, Zombie stated that his album would be released in October with a tour following.

Variety Magazine announced the weekend before the release of ‘Halloween II’ that Zombie will be directing a remake of the 1950s/1980s films “The Blob”.

TV host

On Friday, , 2006, Zombie became the host of TCM Underground on the Turner Classic Movies channel. It premiered 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. He also hosted Fearfest ’08 for AMC, counting down eight horror films before and during Halloween.

Music video direction

Zombie is responsible for the direction of all White Zombie’s music videos, with the exception of “Black Sunshine,” “Thunder Kiss ’65,” and “Welcome to Planet Motherfucker,” as well as all of the videos during his solo career. He has even lent a hand to other artists, directing the videos for Ozzy Osbourne’s “Dreamer,” Black Label Society’s “Stillborn,” Powerman 5000’s “Tokyo Vigilante #1,” Prong’s “Rude Awakening,” and The Ghastly Ones’ “Hauling Hearse” (who were signed to Zombie’s own record label Zombie-A-Go-Go Records).

Filmography

2003: House Of 1000 Corpses
2005: The Devil’s Rejects
2007: Halloween
2009: Halloween II
2009: The Haunted World of El Superbeasto
2010: Tyrannosaurus Rex
2011: The Blob
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