Rob Zombie: Rock’s Renaissance man

Rob Zombie will be performing at the Halloweenie Roast this friday as he kicks the Halloween holidays into full swing with his Twins of Evil co-headliner Marilyn Manson.  Ahead of the show the Orlando Sentinel conducted this interview with him.  Enjoy!

Rob Zombie: Rock’s Renaissance man By Jim Abbott

Rob Zombie started out as a musician, but it has become increasingly difficult to categorize him since he first emerged with alternative metal band White Zombie in the early 1990s.

Whatever the label, it would have to reflect the eclectic interests of a heavy-metal Renaissance man with a horror-film fixation who has found success with White Zombie, a solo music career, a string of directing credits (including two films in the “Halloween” series) and an array of side projects that includes TV ads for fabric softeners.

Obviously, Zombie — co-headliner with Marilyn Manson at WJRR’s Halloweenie Roast concert on Friday at Orlando’s Tinker Field — isn’t short of ideas, but how does he find the time for it all?

“It’s an intricate puzzle,” Zombie said by phone from a tour stop in New York. “I just kind of put it together one piece at a time.”

Now, Zombie, 47, is focused on being a rock star in the “Twins of Evil” tour, a production that showcases the imaginations of two of the most theatrical minds in rock. Zombie and his band will perform against a backdrop that includes animatronic robots, oversize LED screens, a collage of monster film clips and a gigantic robot with flames shooting out of its body.

“When you listen to a song, images come alive in your mind,” Zombie said. “I always wanted the stage show to have the same effect. I don’t even know how many digital walls we have and we have tons of pyrotechnics, tons of giant robots, a nonstop show from start to finish.”

At the same time, Zombie strives to make each show different, a task that falls to the musicians themselves.

“Once you have a show so perfectly balanced that you can do it in your sleep blindfolded, then you can get really loose with the crowd,” he said. “We can go off on a tangent and then go right back into what we’re doing. It’s sort of like what actors do.”

Incorporating the potential for spontaneity isn’t just about the audience.

“I do it more for myself than for the crowd,” he said. “We’re not in the Las Vegas nightclub business, where we do six shows a week and two on Sunday. We need it to be different or we lose our minds.”

For Zombie, a concert tour offers a different creative satisfaction than most of his other projects, a long list that includes a new feature film (“The Lords of Salem”), a remix album of his music by electronic dance music acts (“Mondo Sex Head”), an Internet-based comedy series (“My Name is Eugene”) and inventive TV ads for Woolite and Amdro Ant Bait.

“Most of those things are done in a total vacuum,” he said. “You feel satisfied at what you’ve accomplished yourself. On tour, you’re in front of all those people, so that’s when you get feedback on things.”

WJRR Presents Halloweenie Roast

What: Concert with Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson and others

When: 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26

Where: Tinker Field, 400 S. Rio Grande Ave., Orlando

Cost: $59.75

Call: 1-800-745-3000