Rob Zombie’s Bandmates: ‘Oh My God, This Record’s So Awesome’
Rob Zombie sat on his fourth solo album, ‘Hellbilly Deluxe 2: Noble Jackals, Penny Dreadfuls And The Systematic Dehumanization of Cool’ for about a year before returning to the business of music — signing with Roadrunner’s Loud & Proud, determining the single, the artwork and other details. And during that whole time, he didn’t go back and replace a song, re-do a vocal or make any other changes to the album, and didn’t feel an urge to.
“It was really easy because as soon as the record was done, I started working on [the film] ‘Halloween 2′ and I didn’t even think about the record, at all,” says Zombie, sitting in a dressing room in Toronto before a concert. “I was so consumed with that movie. Every once in a while, I would get a text from one of the guys in the band — ‘Oh my god, this record’s so awesome!’ — because they were still listening to it. But I had not even put it on or listened to it in months and months. I had kind of forgotten about it because my brain really shifts from one thing to the other. It’s such a different set of working circumstances.”
Zombie continues, “The first record, I was just by myself and it was sort of a ‘now what?’ scenario,” he says. “I had a producer and we just started working and different people would come in the studio. There was no timeline on the record. I remember at that point Tommy Lee was living in the studio so it made sense to have [him] play drums on the record. And that was just the mode I got into – whoever was around, if somebody came by to visit, they somehow ended up playing on the record.
“And this band is good. If everybody had their instruments right now, we could write a song in five minutes. Everybody’s fast. They can think fast. They play great.”
Such musicianship is evident on ‘Hellbilly Deluxe 2.’ Four minutes into the nearly 10-minute closer, ‘The Man Who Laughs,’ there’s just drums for four minutes, but it’s not some crazy intense solo. “Yeah, the drums. It … just … goes … on … forever, Zombie laughs, looking at Clufetos who’s also in the room.
And if ‘Werewolf Women of the SS’ sounds like it would make a great film, that’s because it was inspired by the “fake trailer” Zombie made for Quentin Tarantino’s 2007 exploitation movie ‘Grindhouse,’ along with some other directors.
“I made one called ‘Werewolf Women of the SS,’ so it actually is kind of like a short film. So the film actually came first on that one,” he says. Zombie has directed more than 25 videos but kept “delaying and delaying” making one for any of the songs on ‘Hellbilly Deluxe 2.’ I enjoyed making videos before I started making films, because it was really the only outlet I had for any kind of film work,” he says. “But now that I’ve been making films, I hate making videos. I don’t like having to be in the videos, but it’s a necessary evil.”
He relented and made one for ‘Sick Bubblegum.’ The mo-fo bit in the lyric was bleeped.
“Yeah, that’s been an ongoing problem because the best part of the song is the part that you can’t play on the radio. But we released it in all different versions because satellite radio can play it uncensored and other stations can play [the censored versions].”
The artwork for the CD is also fantastic. Photos are by Piggy D, Zombie and Wayne Toth; the Zombie Army centerspread illustration by David Hartman; Graveyard Ghoul Girls by Dan Brereton, and ‘X Head’ disc art by Sam Shearon, a.k.a. Mr. Sam.
“What I figured was, of course, most CDs are really skimpy so I wanted to make this one chock-full so it was still worth buying,” explains Zombie, who is credited with art direction and package design. “I understand why kids don’t buy CDs anymore, because most of them are a f—in’ rip off. You open them up and you get nothing. So why bother buying it? I wanted to make it something worth buying.”