RZ speaks to ‘iheartguitar’: “I just do my own crazy thing because I love it.”
Before returning to Australia to perform at this years Soundwave Festival (previously performing there in 2012), Rob Zombie was called by iheartguitarblog.com to talk about “his live show and his creativity from that perspective“.
To see all currently booked tour dates go to robzombie.com/tour
To read extracts from the interview click >>
INTERVIEW: Rob Zombie
February 20, 2014 | By Peter Hodgson
Back in 2012, Rob Zombie and band laid absolute waste to the Australia’s Soundwave festival. Their set in Melbourne was one of my personal highlights, the perfect multimedia monster-mashup of pyrotechnics, lights, pounding rhythms, the intimidatingly virtuosic guitar playing of John 5, and of course Zombie himself as the ringmaster at the centre of it all. Rob Zombie is one of those artists who really commands the term ‘artist’ – someone who takes their inspirations and personality, filters it through their creativity and creates something original. When you step into the audience during a Rob Zombie concert you’re stepping into an arena where anything can happen – a sensory assault in the best possible way. But a lot of work goes into putting on a show like that, from a creative and a logistical standpoint. So what’s it like to be at the centre of something like that? When I had the opportunity to interview Zombie prior to his return appearance at this year’s Soundwave I thought it’d be interesting to hear about his live show and his creativity from that perspective.
So you’re coming back to Soundwave only two years since the last one…
We had a blast on that tour and that’s why we’re returning. As soon as we did it we were ready to come back. But I don’t even know who else is playing though, to tell you the truth!
Will this year’s show be different to the last one?
It’ll be different… I don’t remember what exactly we did last time because we’ve played so many shows since then, but it’ll be different. Different show, different songs, different anything.
So what goes into putting on a show like this, from a logistical standpoint? Obviously not everyone who’s in a band and is reading this will have the budget and the practical means to put on a show of such a scale, but how does it go from a concept to the stage?
There are many things… a lot of times I’ll come up with an idea even when we’re making the record. I can visualise it. I’ll come up with a crazy idea like ‘Ooh, I want to make a 14-foot-tall boom-box to stand on.’ And then I go to my friend Wayne who has built all of my stage props and worked on my movies, and then we work out how to built it, how to ship it, how to pack it… the mechanical parts are sometimes the hardest. Some times you can visualise it and build it but that doesn’t mean it fits! Sometimes the roofs are too low and we can’t actually use it. There’s a lot of thought that goes into something like that.
Aussie audiences often miss out on all of this great production stuff altogether due to the expense of touring down here.
It’s such a drag because in the US is where we do our biggest shows and it’s so expensive to ship it. It costs more to ship it than it does to build it in the first place! And it’s always the case that when we ship it, even if it arrives in time it gets damaged and we can’t use it anyway!” So in terms of being a performer, are there a lot of cues to hit, during a show like that, or is there scope to get lost in the moment? “I mean, it depends. Last summer we did this thing called the Mayhem tour and there were a lot of cues because there was so much pyro and so many giant props that it was almost like a Broadway show. And I kind of hated that after a while because you can’t really get lost in the moment – there are so many moving parts. But on the last tour we just did, a co-headlining tour with Korn, we left all that stuff at home and we did a rock tour without all that crap. And we did great. I think the band is actually better without it because you can get lost in the moment and you can use the stage differently – which you can’t really do when you have all that other stuff because it gets in the way. I thought all the fans would complain but no-one ever mentioned it. It was unbelievable!