By Larry May
SIL. You just played Atlanta two nights ago. How hot was it on the stage?
RZ. It wasn’t that bad. It was miserably hot, to be sure. It has been so hot on this tour that it was fine. The hottest show was 117 degrees in Phoenix. When the people in Atlanta said it was 109, we figured no problem. I felt bad for the crowd, because they looked miserable.
SIL. The first time I went to one of your shows was in 1998, when you played at the International Ballroom with Monster Magnet as support.
RZ. That was my first tour after leaving White Zombie.
SIL. It was terribly hot at that show, so hot it took my breath. After the show, we met you and you asked me how far I had driven, When I told you two hours, you even thanked me for coming that far to see the show. I’ve always appreciated that.
RZ. No problem.
SIL. How long do you have left on this tour before you go out with Alice Cooper?
RZ. There are only nine shows left on Mayhem. We’ll be off for two weeks before firing it back up with Alice Cooper. That tour will be six weeks or so.
SIL. I’ve seen you play three times. Your energy level is legendary. How do you keep up that pace?
RZ. I really don’t know. There are times backstage before shows that I feel absolutely dead. I’m so tired. Every night I just don’t feel like I have the energy. But as soon as the music starts, it’s like a drug that just drives me. Even on the nights when I decide to take it easy, I hear the music and it’s like rocket fuel.
SIL. I’ve never heard anyone complain about not getting their money’s worth at a Rob Zombie show.
RZ. That’s the thing. We feel like that is something that is sorely lacking. Our biggest fear is that someone will go home disappointed. So we bring it every night as hard as possible.
SIL. Fun is something really missing in rock right now.
RZ. In a weird way, that is true. I find that on a tour like Mayhem, you’ve got people there to see other bands, unlike when you may be the headliner and your fans are there for your show. The fans that haven’t seen us may not know what to expect, and we definitely are different. We aren’t just about screaming aggression in everyone’s face, because we want it to be fun. If it’s not fun, what’s the point? When they finally do see us, for the first two songs, especially the younger ones, they look really confused. You can see the wheels spinning, something like, “What am I supposed to think”? You feel it start to turn by the end of the show, and they’re totally into it. I grew up on stuff like this, so I’m totally used to it. It’s almost like a big rock show is a new concept.
SIL. Hellbilly 2 special edition is coming out soon. What is going to be different about this one that will entice fans to buy it if they already have the first one?
RZ. We’re not trying to double dip. If people accuse me of wanting them to buy the same thing twice, my answer is I’M NOT. It’s so common for DVDs to come out as a director’s cut, and that is the thought process with the re-release. Right after the record was done, our drummer bailed on us, and we got a new drummer and things changed so much. We really want this record to reflect where we are now. When a band member leaves when a record is brand new, it makes the record feel old. You’re not even the band that is on the record. It’s the worst feeling in the world and it happens more often than not. We went back and re-did all of the artwork. It’s 100 percent different and a lot more elaborate than the original package. We recorded three new songs, but we wanted them to be the three best songs we had, not leftover tracks. We wrote three great songs and wove them into the running order, not just tacking them onto the end. We changed a bunch of things on the existing songs and put two new videos on it. One time I was on stage with Alice Cooper on tour, that video is on there. The thing that we’re most proud of is that we made a documentary called “Transylvanian Transmissions”. It’s us on tour, which we’ve never done before. We’ve never had anyone backstage with us, because behind the scenes is behind the scenes for a reason. It’s a real documentary, not just us goofing around and doing interviews. It’s a half an hour of what it feels like to be on tour, almost like a David Lynch movie. Touring is strange, because what is normal becomes abnormal. Being on stage with fire and explosions and people going crazy becomes what is normal. Eating food in a normal setting goes out the window. You’re eating breakfast at 5 A.M. at some truck stop and you don’t know what day it is, or what time it is or even the city you’re in. The only reality is the stage and the rest of the time you don’t even know where you are. If anyone ever wanted to know what it is like to be on tour, just watch this documentary.
SIL. So it becomes a big deal to pick between a Whopper and a Big Mac?
RZ. I don’t eat meat, so it’s impossible to eat on the road. It is not easy.
SIL. Will the re-release be issued on vinyl?
RZ. That’s a good question. I’m pretty sure it is, but I’m not 1000 percent it is. This is a special edition, but it will replace the original, which will fade away. This will be the only edition that will exist. The other will be destroyed.
SIL. Are you a fan of the vinyl resurgence?
RZ. I love it. It pains me that my vinyl collection has gone missing over the years. I’m on a quest to get most of it back. I love the resurgence because I really believe that it just seems more special.
SIL. What about a picture disc with cool Zombie artwork and some new songs on it? That would be great.
RZ. We used to do picture discs back in the day, because I love them. We’ve got to get on that, but there just isn’t enough time in the day for all of that.
SIL. Any news on the film front?
RZ. I have a new project that I can’t announce yet. I will be announcing it in the next week or two. There have been rumors about my next project, but they are all wrong. No one has heard one word about it yet.
SIL. Your stage show is spectacular. How hard is it to something like that together?
RZ. It’s lot of work. A lot of work. There are a lot of moving parts in that show. The tricky part of a tour like Mayhem is you’ve got to get it up and you’ve got to get it down really fast. It’s a fucking complicated show. It is the most elaborate show I’ve ever had. Pyrotechnics, video content and the other extra bits like confetti cannons, robots and costume changes are a lot to look after. It has to run like clockwork. Because we don’t have a lot of time to do it. When we find the groove, we can do it really easily. No sweat.
SIL. You are both creative and prolific. Is there any idea that is so sick it will never see the light of day?
RZ. No, I feel like the one that hasn’t seen the light of day just hasn’t had a chance to do it. I never give up on any project. It’s funny how things linger for years. But they all make it out.
SIL. Are you doing any in stores?
RZ. For the next tour, we’re going to do an in store every single day.
SIL. I’ll throw my lot in with Roadrunner and see if it works out.
RZ. If we’re in the area, that would be great.