So I’ve done a lot of lists lately, and part of me wants to do a big list of my favorite things that Rob Zombie’s ever done. And maybe I WILL, in the future. But for today, I just want to sit here and chat about why this man is truly one of my favorite IRL artists of my lifetime.
Back in the day, I was scared of harder-sounding music. Part of that was because of my confusing, Epcot Center-y religious upbringing (a beer from every country! Only with different churches!). Part of it was probably due to growing up surrounded by Judy Collins and Simon & Garfunkel LPs. And we cannot discount Adventureland’s haunted house, in the overall equation. Freddy Krueger! Iron Maiden! “Why did you come! I told you not to come! <*Chainsaw*> So you can imagine my nightmares after seeing the Metallica “One” Video.
All of that aside, there was always a part of me that gravitated towards harder music. Hair bands and GNR aside, the first music I really just liked, like, the way I did Debbie Gibson and such, was White Zombie. Perhaps it was because I was in that very blink-and-you’ll-miss-it post-high school, mid-depression, pre-drinking-and-sexuality phase of my life.
Anyone out there playing the hyphen drinking game is sooooo drunk right now. But anyway, something about Rob Zombie always just did something to me. However, I put it aside and forgot about it due to not listening to the radio so much anymore, and this was before Napster/Youtube/whathaveyou. So I forgot about Mr. Zombie until 2000, when Mr. Whedon reminded the universe at large of his awesomeness, by using the FUCKING AWESOME song “Living Dead Girl” as the accompaniment to a dance by one of the most universally *admired* television characters of all time (Faith!). She danced, then beat up some dude, and that was just the beginning of “Five by Five.”
But more on that another time. Point is, that was when I truly became obsessed. This was also during the time of my CD-making-therapy, and a friend asked, “Are you going to put this (“Living Dead Girl”) on every CD you make?” And normally, my reaction to having a Cool Musician call me out on such a thing would have gotten me to lose my religion right there on the spot. Instead I laughed, and said, “Probably!”
My intolerance for violence is pretty well documented throughout my blogs, and I’m going to Denver soon and there is NO TIME for links, but basically, I love the scary, but hate the violent. Sometimes you can’t cafeteria choose between the two.
“This is the journey back to fear…guilt…anxiety.” That’s how “American Witch” opens, a song about the Salem witch trials. And maybe it’s because I’ve always been drawn to witchcraft, then told it was dangerous (which I agree with either way), or because one of my relatives was purportedly a witch, I don’t know, but even if there is no god to begin with, the Salem Witch trials are fascinating to me, and one of the things throughout history that I consider to be evil incarnate. Not the witchery, but the murder of said witches.
“His actors must feel so safe. Like, that girl was getting murdered horribly before, but I could only think that she must feel so safe.” That’s what my boyfriend said earlier, not positive on the exact wording, but the attempt was there, and ergo quotation marks. And I knew exactly what he meant.
And that, I think, is the crux of why I adore Rob Zombie. His movies are incredibly violent, but I can handle it in a way that I usually can’t. I still look away a lot, but I appreciate his take on things. From my understanding, he became a vegetarian in the early ’80s after seeing a slaughterhouse film in high school. And that is badass, because guys STILL get crap for that, in 2012. Never mind women. More on that another time, but to me, that implies like, the opposite of a serial killer spirit, that you always hear about, and Zombie totally examines in his “Halloween” remakes. Both “Halloweens” feature the murder of animals, and everyone’s all horrified. But you know Rob Zombie’s like, “Well slaughterhouses are even worse, so what’s up?”
Suffering as the result of status quo and groupthink — that is what I’d call Rob Zombie’s overall theme. I think it’s an amazing testament to an artist, when s/he can span not only genres, but media, and maintain a voice. And I’m not trying to put words in his mouth, but that’s why I personally love Rob Zombie, what I perceive to be his theme. His music and movies are everything that should have scared me throughout my life, but they all actually soothe me. Because I feel like he “gets it.” He doesn’t shy away from boobs, quite the opposite, but you can tell the difference between his appreciation of a woman’s body, and his critique on the society that objectifies her. And he does it with true fucking aplomb.
When I listen to Rob Zombie’s music, and watch his movies, I feel safe. And all of this is not even to speak of his insightful commentary in “A Headbanger’s Journey,” but I will hasten to mention that reason number 50 billion why he’s the man is that he and his wife seem like the COOLEST couple since Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Sherri Moon Zombie’s a rock star unto herself, and is so freaking awesome in Rob’s films. She epitomizes, to me at least, the idea that you can be both sexual and maternal at once — no need for madonna/whore complexes; we need to move past that.
Okay, not trying to pontificate, I just wanted to say, Thank you, Rob Zombie. You kick ass all over the place, but your sensitive side does not go unappreciated.
Lol to “Halloween 2” being about anyone’s sensitive side. But there you have it!