“It was an uncreative environment that fostered creativity.” – Rob Zombie Interview

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July 19th, 2014

Interview by Tammy and Kat

On Stage Review: You’re obviously a creative soul. How was your environment growing up, did it foster or stifle that energy?

Rob Zombie: It was sort of both. I mean I didn’t grow up in a creative environment. It was very, you know, like a lot of people tell you: boring town, boring everything. You go to school and you basically hate all the other kids because you don’t understand them or what it’s all about. Everybody seemed like Andrew McCarthy in like Pretty in Pink or something; just a bunch of up uptight assholes wearing nice brand shirts and you’re like, “What is this life?” But at the same time I’m happy for that because I became very withdrawn and when you become withdrawn you develop your own bizarre-o personality.

OSR: That’s so inspiring.

Rob: Yea, once you realize that fitting in with everyone else is not something you want to do it does that. So in a way it was an uncreative environment that fostered creativity, I guess.

OSR: So with your creative process and your projects whether it’s an album or a film, how do you put that final “finished” stamp on it? It is difficult for you to decide when something is finished?

Rob: I mean it gets easier as the years go on. When you’re new to doing things, like what I see with young bands is they’ll obsess and want to remix the song a million times and keep working on it, and the thing you kind of learn when you get older is to know when it’s done and to just walk away. Sometimes people just want to keep fixing things. I know when something is done and when it isn’t. There’s been times working on movies when they’ll lock in a release date and so you’re stuck to that schedule. But sometimes you’re still editing and you feel like you’re not really done, but they’re sort of releasing the movie anyway, so that’s kind of depressing. But you know it’s kind of just like your gut that tells you, “You’re done, walk away” because you can always keep fixing it.

OSR: We’ve seen that a lot with people, they feel like they have to make everything perfect.

Rob: That’s the classic thing. I don’t do this anymore, but you’ll finish the song and go, “Sounds great,” and it’s awesome, but you keep working it and remixing it and everybody gets involved and then the next day you go, “This song turned to shit,” after you’ve overthought it and ruined it even though it was great yesterday. We’ve done that in the studio before. We were recording “Thunderkiss” actually: our first big song. We recorded it, and it was done. But the producer was like “I can’t understand anything you’re saying. We should go back and try to re-record all the vocals and make them so that they’re clear.” So we spent forever doing that and then when we were done we like, “Well this song sucks” and even he admitted it sucked. So we went all the way back again.

OSR: Are you ever hard on yourself with those projects, like watching or listening back on your work?

Rob: Well I mean I’m hard about certain things and other things not so much. Like live shows, we try to give the best show we can, but once it’s over, it’s over. I don’t obsess about it after the show. You know it’s done, and I can’t change anything about it. The funny thing with other things that’s changed my perception is just time, because there will be times that after we finished, I hated the record.  I thought it was awful, and wouldn’t listen to it, but then you hear it ten years later and think, “Oh, that was pretty cool. What was I so uptight about?” same with movies. Like House of 1000 Corpses when it was done I go, “This movie is horrible, it’s a piece of shit and I don’t want to ever see it again,” and I saw it recently and was like “Ah it’s pretty cool” cause you got to get out of your head and not judge. I’ve always done that with everything.

OSR: One thing we really wanted to know your opinion on: European festivals are very different compared to the ones here. Kids these days are so into the Electronic Festivals and not so much rock. Are you worried about rock scene in the US at all?

Rob: Well really rock music is really a problem here, not everywhere else. Because in Europe it seems like everything is huge. Prodigy plays, 80,000 people show up. Iron maiden plays, 80,000 people show up. We just came back from a run of festivals over there and one night I was talking to the promoter and he was like “Oh it didn’t do that good this year, there was only like 50,000 people” and I’m like what? So it’s alive and well there. It seems like, in the US everybody is about what’s new and what’s next and they don’t really build a real loyalty as much as in Europe if you were ever good and they liked you they will treat it with the respect that it still matters. Whereas over here it’s like, “Well what have you done lately?” It’s really kind of weird. I don’t know, I mean, anything could change… You know even not that long ago we were in Germany, and they said we were going to do an in store at a record store, and I haven’t heard that phrase in 15 years, and I was like, “You guys have record stores? Who’s going to show up to an in-store?” and like 2,000 kids show up at a record store. That’s happened in the US but that was like 1995… The other thing we noticed in Europe is that nobody watches the show with their phones.

OSR: Wow, because they’re just so locked in to the music?

Rob: Here everybody’s worried about what they’re going to put on Facebook. There everybody is just packed in, like we were in Spain and I don’t know if they even had cell phones. They would ask for a picture and wind their cameras… And then during the show they’re just ape shit. We went to Argentina and the kids literally sing every single word so loud that it’s almost distracting when you’re playing because you almost can’t hear yourself over them. From the very moment you walk onstage to the end. We’ve played thousands of shows over here and nothing has ever been like that one time we went to Argentina. The enthusiasm is amazing; they don’t seem jaded. Maybe it’s just my perspective because I’m from here and you’re harsher on where you’re from and everything else is magical, but they don’t seem as jaded about stuff.

OSR: Exactly, everybody here just seems like they need to act “too cool” about music… So we only have time for one more, and we want to know: when you were a kid what was that “it” moment when you fell in love with music, when you knew it was going to be a huge part of your life?

Rob: I think it was like… well, it was really young. I think from watching television really, like watching The Tonight Show because I hated everything about normal life, and I would watch everything on TV. On The Tonight Show, there would be like Johnny Carson and oh here comes Burt Reynolds and Alice Cooper and all these people would be on it and you’d be like, “Oh I have to move to Hollywood and be a part of this, fuck regular life.” And so I think it was just always that, sort of the magic of television. And also back then I would watch like John Kirshner’s Rock Concert and Midnight Special and you would get so exposed to music because they’d have like John Denver and Aerosmith and The Spinners and then they’d have AC/DC and you didn’t distinguish because you’d just love music. Now it’s like, “I’m only into black metal,” and then someone else, “Well fuck black metal..” Everybody breaks things into categories, but back then I loved Alice Cooper, Abba, everything. It wasn’t so compartmentalized as it is now where people want to find reasons to dislike everything. I just loved music.

OSR: That’s amazing, and that’s why you are where you are today; you put so much passion into everything. Thank you so much for taking time to talk to us! We can’t wait for the show!

Rob: You’re welcome! I think it should be alright tonight, weather’s looking good!

 

Tammy Vega
Tammy Vega is a Chicago based photographer/hair stylist who lives for the thrill of a live show. She’s only been photographing since 2011 but her passion keeps her inspired to continue learning and exploring all there is to know in the world of photography. Never thinking this was going to be more than a hobby, her work began to get recognized and published which eventually led to the opportunity of working alongside Frank Mastalerz at FM Entertainment. Since then, her love for the music industry has grown tremendously, and she continues to strive to make her dream of working with music a lifelong career. Instagram: @tammyvega_ Twitter: @tammyvega_ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/redeyev