News Column

Zombie Stayed Home for New Album

July 22, 2013

YellowBrix

WHO: Rob Zombie, headlining the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. Also performing: Five Finger Death Punch, Mastodon, Machine Head and others.

WHAT: Hard rock and heavy metal.

WHEN: 1:10 p.m. Tuesday.

WHERE: PNC Bank Arts Center, exit 116, Holmdel; 732-203-2500 or artscenter.com.

HOW MUCH: $35.25 to $84.25.

MORE INFO: robzombie.com and rockstarmayhemfest.com.

Rob Zombie's secluded home in the Connecticut woods could serve as the setting for one of the heavy rocker/movie director's horror films. It also makes for an ideal recording space.

The singer-guitarist made his new album, "Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor," in a studio on the property and, unlike Zombie's movies, there was a happy ending.

"Recording at my house and having the band stay at my house made for a more interesting, lively record," said Zombie, who headlines the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival on Tuesday at PNC Bank Arts Center.

"Every other record was recorded in California in a normal recording studio, where everyone would drive in for the day, go out for lunch, worry about normal things," Zombie said. "There's a real staleness that comes with that, a lot of wasted time. For this album, we were away from all the distractions. Because of that, you get that vibe you have when you're a young band."

"Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor," Zombie's fifth solo album, features the robotic stomp, mechanical riffs and offbeat lyrics that have come to define his brand of heavy rock. Zombie said he's proud to have developed a definitive sound that sets him apart from today's plethora of sound-alike modern heavy rock and metal bands.

"Even if someone doesn't like [the music] half the battle is creating a sound that stands out," he said. "A lot of bands today imitate each other so much that I don't know who they are. The same screams in the verses and the same melodies in the choruses. It becomes irrelevant."

Zombie attended the Parsons School of Design in Manhattan and began his music career as the frontman of White Zombie, which released several albums from the late 1980s to the mid-'90s. His debut solo album, 1998's Hellbilly Deluxe, reached No. 5 on the Billboard charts and has sold 3 million copies.

In addition to his music career, Zombie is also a successful horror-film director. He has made seven slasher flicks, including remakes of the first two "Halloween" movies. His latest film, "The Lords of Salem," premiered in April.

Never one to stay idle, in October Zombie is staging "The Great American Nightmare." The event, which will be held just outside Los Angeles and features 15 nights of music and horror attractions. Zombie headlines the final night.

"I've been doing haunted mazes with Universal Studios as far back as 1998," Zombie said. "I wanted to branch out. We'll do it every year and bring it around the country if things go well."

Zombie is also exploring new territory with his next movie project, a drama about the Philadelphia Flyers championship hockey teams of the mid-'70s. It is his first non-horror film.

"I grew up a hockey fan around that time period, and I remember the Flyers well," he said. "It's a sports movie but also a character- driven movie because they were such an odd team. It has all the elements I love. I also loved the idea of finally breaking the mold of what people think I'm going to do."

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