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Rob Zombie Rebuilds the Camp Metal Machine for ‘Hellbilly 2′

Rob ZombieWhen Rob Zombie‘s first solo group dissolved after the release of 2001’s ‘The Sinister Urge,’ the theatrical frontman came close to giving up music for good.

“I was fed up with being in a band,” Zombie tells Noisecreep. “I was just sick of riding around in a bus fighting with people. That just got old after 20 years.”

At first, Zombie had no interest in putting together a new band. He was knee-deep in his first feature film, ‘House of 1000 Corpses.’ Then, when he least expected it, he felt that familiar itch to return to stage. So, he hired ex-Marilyn Manson guitarist John 5, bassist Piggy D. and drummer Tommy Clufetos and signed on to headline the second stage of Ozzfest 2002 with a no-frills, no fire stage set.

“I felt almost like we needed time to go back to the garage and become a band rather than immediately turn this new group of people into a spectacle,” Zombie says. “I really wanted to solidify the band as a band, then slowly it built back up so that when we were out with Ozzy the last time, we had built it all back up.”

With a new lineup in place, Zombie headed back into the studio to record his first album in five years. The result, ‘Educated Horses,’ was less campy and more straightforward than his previous solo albums, drawing the focus to the group’s musicianship instead of their visual presentation. While songs ‘Foxy Foxy’ delivered penetrating groove and grind and the cinematic ‘Ride’ combined a John Carpenter-esque minor-key piano part with a sleazy, stomping rhythm, the album lacked much of the cartoony decadence of his previous output.

“I felt I just wanted to be a band, and that’s why the record is very imageless,” Zombie explains. “[Even the artwork is] just pictures of us recording. I think sometimes you’ve got to purposely break what you do down, and rebuild it, and take things away or else what you’re known for becomes like a Las Vegas act. Like with Kiss. By the end, when Kiss had the makeup, nobody cared. Then you take it away for a while, so when you come back everyone’s like, ‘Yeahhhh!’ They’re just so excited it’s back. Sometimes you just gotta go away.”

With the upcoming release of ‘Hellbilly Deluxe 2,’ which will come out on Roadrunner/Loud & Proud records in early 2010, Zombie metaphorically dons the Kiss makeup again and delivers an eclectic album of monster metal that’s a worthy sequel to its 1998 predecessor. In some ways Zombie has come full circle.

“Our producer, Scott Humphries built the studio in his house, and the first record he ever recorded there was the first ‘Hellbilly’ and the last record he ever recorded there was ‘Hellbilly 2′ because after we were done, he sold the studio,” Zombie says. “So we were like, ‘Wow, we started here. The success of the first record basically built this place, and now we’re ending here.’ It sort of feels like the completion of a journey.”

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