Apr. 21, 2010 - Issue #757: Face First
The gruesome twosome
Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper collide on tour
Since leaving his old band behind—White Zombie disbanded over a decade ago—Rob Zombie has put his own name on the record labels, though that doesn't mean that he's taken up the throne of a dictator at the head of a metallic empire: while he's technically a solo artist, Zombie still sees himself as a guy in a band.
"I like having a band, I like being in a band, because what makes [music] fun is the camaraderie of it all," he says over the phone just ahead of kicking off a co-headlining tour with Alice Cooper. "I think it's also important to keep that spirit alive, because sometimes if you're a solo artist and you just have a rotating roster of musicians you may not get the effect that you are looking for. And having everybody play an integral part I think helps the overall music."
Zombie's band has not been without lineup changes, but the numbers have remained relatively low, and the band's current incarnation consists of guitarist John 5 and bassist Piggy D, who joined in 2005 and 2006, respectively, along with new drummer Joey Jordison of Slipknot, who joined up just prior to the upcoming tour.
"With this group of guys it's been the coolest. I haven't really had any real problems for a long time," Zombie says. "I mean, back in the day there were always egos and problems—you know, White Zombie was probably the most problem-laden situation that I've ever been in.
"This is a band, but in some ways it's not officially a band, whereas with something like White Zombie, where you have people that start together, it's very much a band," he continues. "So that's when I think people's feelings tend to get hurt at times and problems arise. It's just like anything else in life: it's not possible for everyone to play an equal part. Everyone can share equally in the rewards, but it's just not possible, and when people understand that then everyone can be happy, but when people want to fight that, that's when problems arise."
Zombie says that Hellbilly Deluxe 2 is the first album he's done where he wrote more songs than were needed, though he admits that he didn't go overboard, either. "We just kind of got on a roll. Other bands really write a lot of songs—they'll go and they'll write 30 songs when they need 12—but I never really do that," he explains. "And even with this record, there were only a few—we had three or four left over, and those we didn't even really finish. You get in there and you're working on the album and when you feel a song isn't going to make the album it's really hard to really care: 'What are we working on this for? What's the point?'"
With the band locked in tight step with Zombie, the singer says that he doesn't overthink the process of making an album—there's no grand scheme laid out ahead of time that he feels compelled to follow in the studio.
"We pretty much write as we record. We never write anything in advance," he says. "We just go in the studio basically with nothing and just start recording. We're pretty fast that way, because I'm fortunate enough to have a really good songwriting partner in John 5, and because of that we get in a room and at the end of the day we'll have a finished song easily." V
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