ob Zombie (born Robert Bartleh Cummings: January 12, 1965; a.k.a. Rob Straker) was fascinated with horror films as a child. His younger brother, Michael David Cummings (a.k.a. Spider One), is the lead singer of Powerman 5000.
Zombie's first solo effort was a song titled Hands of Death (Burn Baby Burn) (1996) with Alice Cooper, which went on to receive a nomination for Best Metal Performance at the 39th Annual Grammy Awards. After graduating high school, he moved to New York City, and began attending Parsons School of Design, where he met eventual girlfriend Sean Yseult with whom he would form the White Zombie band and release four award winning albums; before the success of White Zombie, she was a production assistant for the series Pee-wee's Playhouse. Yseult and Zombie would break up after seven years of dating, though they continued to work in the band together.
When, to the surprise of the whole world, Rob Zombie would suddenly leave his White Zombie outfit in 2000 to go solo, effectively ending it, he launched his solo debut Hellbilly Deluxe in 1998, which became no less of a hit; his best to date in fact. Work on that debut solo album first began in 1997, before White Zombie had officially broken up. His Rob Zombie line-up of Danny Lohner (a.k.a. Riggs; ex-Nine Inch Nails/ex-Skrew; guitar), Blasko (bass) with Tempesta and himself would continue on for the follow up 1999 release of American Made Music to Strip By. The album got a 38 in the US and that's all, once again featuring dance remixes, 'Zombie hadn't yet figured out that people weren't interested in the sound. The 2001 release, The Sinister Urge came to light with much hype but despite getting a respectable grade it was still less liked over-all by fans and the industry alike who accused it of being contrived and its sales suffered greatly as a result. Tempesta and Riggs would soon later leave.
'Zombie-A-Go-Go Records', Zombie's own label, also formed in 1998. The label started off by releasing the final album from American instrumental band The Bomboras, as well as the debut album from the Ghastly Ones; both albums released on June 2, 1998 and received little critical or commercial success. The compilation album Halloween Hootenanny (1998) followed, featuring appearances from artists Reverend Horton Heat and Rocket From the Crypt; Zombie contributing the track Halloween (She Get So Mean), a song previously featured on promotional releases of 1998's Dragula single. His own Rob Zombie Presents The Words & The Music Of Frankenstein (1999), more or less a a soundtrack album featuring the original score and selected dialog from the original 1931 movie rendition of Frankenstein.
The track Superbeast, from Hellbilly Deluxe, received a nomination for Best Metal Performance later at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards.
Zombie was set to make his directorial debut with the film The Crow: 2037, even writing the film's script; it was never released as intended by the supporters to become a standalone project. Zombie then composed the original score for the video game Twisted Metal III (1998). He also designed a haunted attraction for Universal Studios theme park in 1999. His own film project House of 1000 Corpses, due for release in 2001, 'Universal Studios' ultimately cancelled the release due to the uber violent themes. Zombie then contributed the track Scum of the Earth (2000) to the Mission: Impossible 2 movie soundtrack.
In 2002, Zombie announced his engagement to longtime girlfriend Sheri Moon, with a wedding date set for November 9, 2002. Only ten days before the wedding date, the couple decided to elope on October 31, 2002.
Zombie's film House of 1000 Corpses would finally be released in 2003 through 'Lions Gate Entertainment' to become a cult classic.
Zombie released his first compilation album, Past, Present & Future (2003), featuring a collection of songs taken from Zombie's solo albums as well as his releases with White Zombie and new material.
November 2003 saw Zombie launching his Spookshow International comic book series. His second series, The Nail, spawned four issues between June and October 2004, while his Bigfoot series lasted from February to May 2005, featuring four issues. Zombie's second film, The Devils Rejects (2005) was sequel to House of 1000 Corpses; he released a number of The Devils Rejects comics throughout 2005 to coincide with the film.
Influenced by glam rock artists like Slade, T. Rex, and Gary Glitter, Educated Horses (2006) would arrive. Despite the track, The Lords of Salem being nominated for Best hard rock Performance at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards it became his first solo album to not receive a RIAA award, and his last with 'Geffen Records'.
The Best of Rob Zombie (2006) would follow. The album was re-released only months later under the title The Best of Rob Zombie: 20th Century Masters The Millennium Collection. A remake of the horror classic Halloween (1978), as well as contributions to Halloween II (a sequel to Halloween) followed with Rob Zombie Presents Captain Clegg And The Night Creatures album, based on the band featured in the film's party scene, was released.
Now with 'Roadrunner Records' then 'Zodiac Swan', Hellbilly Deluxe 2 (2010), Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor (2013) and The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser (2016) albums would follow, as well as several films, including:
2013: The Lords of Salem
2014: The Zombie Horror Picture Show
2016: 31 and
2019: 3 from Hell; he also obtained further acting credits on other films.
Although without any recordings for some time Rob Zombie continued to tour, including the 2018 Twins of Evil: The Second Coming Tour in the US with co-headliner Marilyn Manson and special guest Deadly Apples.
On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Rob Zombie among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal Studios fire.
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Rob Zombie at Ozzfest.
Photo by: Matt & Alice Mitchell
CC BY-SA 3.0
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