parodies by nacrowe
the thing ive always appreciated about ROB ZOMBIE is how he takes all these DISPARATE elements (KUSTOM KULTURE, GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM, HORROR FILMS, COMIC BOOKS, MONSTER MOVIES, EXPLOITATION FILMS) and synthesizes them into an AESTHETIC that is identifiably his own. in fact when i was in college and learning about FILM MOVEMENTS and directors it was always fun to learn about the ESOTERIC source material for much of his songs and promotional videos, i.e. auteurs like RUSS MEYER, JACK HILL, ROGER CORMAN, JAMES WHALE, GEORGE A. ROMERO, WILLIAM CASTLE, ROBERT WIENE, KUCHAR BROTHERS, HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS and ED WOOD JR.
it has always struck me how CONSERVATIVE METAL, as with PUNK ROCK, actually is with audience expectations that are often MYOPIC and ANTAGONISTIC towards any sense of progression or INDIVIDUALITY. they want the cheap thrills and will tolerate deviation only to a certain point. with WHITE ZOMBIE, ROB was on a different level both in their nascent EXPERIMENTAL, noise-rock phase as well as the later full TECHNICOLOR, PHANTASMAGORICAL, all-or-nothing GROOVE METAL phase for which they are famous and of which setup and informed ROB's solo career to date.
the fact that his professional trajectory inevitably pointed towards a film directing career, and that such actually panned out is INCREDIBLE. their is a definite sense of continuity no matter the era of his CREATIVE OUTPUT you dive into and when i feel jaded like ive heard or watched everything, i take not of what OBSCURE film or artist he's referenced in a song or video and start exploring again. its fun and a CULTURAL EDUCATION in and of itself of which i am thankful for. im glad he's still doing his thing.
embedded below is a DEER GOD RADIO episode from HALLOWEEN week 2021 on nonprofit internet radio station MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC dedicated to the music of WHITE ZOMBIE / ROB ZOMBIE from throughout his extensive catalogue. enjoy!
THE BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD EXPERIENCE (GEFFEN, 1993) is quite the interesting 1990s CULTURAL ARTIFACT. produced by none other than STEVE ALBINI, this compilation was obviously a bit of a cash grab at the height of the ALTERNATIVE ROCK movement that the BEAVIS & BUTT-HEAD TV SHOW had no small part in helping popularize (just as WINGER and all those HAIR METAL bands that got pilloried and became instant cultural pariahs), but as such go this one had staying power.
the unquestioned standout track by a mile is the strong NIRVANA track "I HATE MYSELF AND WANT TO DIE" which was one of the last tracks released prior to his suicide. in fact, this song was the would-be title track to IN UTERO (review linked HERE), as I HATE MYSELF AND WANT TO DIE was the original working title for their third album. other notable tracks include a memorable ANTHRAX cover of the BEASTIE BOYS' "LOOKING DOWN THE BARREL OF A GUN" track (off PAUL'S BOUTIQUE) and the hard-charging WHITE ZOMBIE song "I AM HELL." the album is rounded out by largely forgettable, hit-or-miss tracks by the likes of THE RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, PRIMUS and MEGADETH.
i originally had this record on cd back in elementary school in SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA and the two songs i remember pretty distinctly (aside from the NIRVANA, ANTHRAX and WHITE ZOMBIE tracks) was the updated CHER duet "I'VE GOT YOU BABE" with BEAVIS & BUTTHEAD and of course the epic BUTTHEAD slow jam "COME TO BUTTHEAD." looking back now you have to hand it to CHER that she had a sense of humor and was able to laugh at herself. you wonder how much her inclusion may have also been to show how cool she was to her young son ELIJAH BLUE ALLMAN (of much later DEADSY fame). i wouldnt blame her for a second if that was the case. it's pretty badass. "COME TO BUTTHEAD" is also surprisingly well-produced and no wonder, it was composed and recorded by none other than funk brother par excellence NILE RODGERS himself. BEAVIS & BUTT-HEAD creator MIKE JUDGE definitely had lots of surprises on this cash grab no doubt.
the humor surrounding teenage attitudes towards BODILY-FUNCTIONS and SEXUALITY would be a hard sell in today's environment, but that is why it is interesting to revisit this record from time to time. it also makes you consider how the reboot of this show will fair now 30 years later from a different historical moment with TECHNOLOGY and CULTURE moving at speeds unheard of back in the day. it is an interesting conceit nonetheless.
i love this record but i am completely biased. i listened to this record during my formative years so of course id recommend it. definitely worth checking out.
major label debut's dont come much cooler and more fun than WHITE ZOMBIE's LA SEXORCISTO: DEVIL MUSIC VOL. 1 (GEFFEN, 1992) with all of its gloriously and unapologetically SATANIC, PHANTASMAGORICAL IMAGERY via frontman ROB ZOMBIE and the absolutely crushing musicianship via newly recruited guitarist JAY YEUNGER. well, technically this was WHITE ZOMBIE's third record for GEFFEN, as the previous two were released via subsidiary label CAROLINE RECORDS, but in terms of overall cultural impact and popular awareness of the band, this record really is the introductory salvo in a legendary one-two punch that was closed by the celebrated follow-up ASTRO-CREEP 2000 (GEFFEN, 1995).
it was probably either through listening to 106.7 KROQ in LOS ANGELES or watching BEAVIS & BUTTHEAD on MTV at a friend's house that i first became aware of WHITE ZOMBIE via the INFECTIOUS track "THUNDER KISS '65" with its absolutely KILLER opening riff. that song and its day-glo, EXPLOITATION FILM-themed video was instantly MEMORABLE and effortlessly cool. like NIRVANA's "SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT" before it, the track just hooks you in for life immediately upon your first listen. just a DEVASTATING sonic experience with a highly referential yet OPAQUE set of lyrics that dont get in the way. other standout tracks like "WELCOM TO PLANET MOTHERFUCKER" and the IGGY POP-assisted, muscle car themed "BLACK SUNSHINE" are celebrations of EXTREME experiences, which basically summarize the band's aesthetic in general. ROB ZOMBIE once said in an early interview that his objective in making music was to create something that he himself would be willing to pay for as a fan and that ethos seems all over this record. there is a sense on LA SEXORCISTO that MORE IN FACT IS MORE. MORE ART, MORE GUITARS, MORE DRUMS, MORE SATAN. it all just adds up to a DENSE, EXTREME experience that is almost overwhelming on the initial listen. two decades later i still find myself listening to this record routinely and i have to be careful, because if i am driving i may fine myself 10-15 miles per hour faster by song's end.
if you are a fan of artistic METAL or ALTERNATIVE ROCK from the 1990s, you really cant go wrong with either WHITE ZOMBIE's LA SEXORCISTO or ASTRO-CREEP: 2000 (review linked HERE). along with PANTERA, those records serve as the high water-mark for what has since been deemed GROOVE METAL. could not recommend either much more emphatically. this is required listening in my opinion.
parodies by nacrowe
check out HERE this recent streaming video episode of DEER GOD RADIO celebrating the artistic multi-media madness of ROB ZOMBIE and his former band WHITE ZOMBIE!
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO are available here at the DEER GOD website as well as in the MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC archives.
and if you haven't done so already get the FREE PHONE APP for IOS/ANDROID and enjoy listening to MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC 24/7 at your convenience!
the genius of WHITE ZOMBIE was their ability to create a cohesive, all-consuming visual and aural world that made constant references to obscure corners of culture from KUSTOM KAR CULTURE and COMIC BOOKS to classic SCI-FI and MONSTER MOVIES to independent HORROR / SLASHER FILMS. basically diving into their world, and by that i mean mastermind ROB ZOMBIE, was an education into an appreciation of UNDERGROUND ART and the COUNTER CULTURE where GEORGE ROMERO, RIDLEY SCOTT, JAMES WHALE, KENNETH ANGER, THE KUCHAR BROTHERS, JOHN WATERS, STANLEY KUBRICK all preside and are repeatedly celebrated.
part of me wonders allowed how ROB's time as a production assistant on the likewise eclectic PEE-WEE's PLAYHOUSE: which had NICK PARK (WALLACE & GROMIT), DANNY ELFMAN, THE RESIDENTS, GARY PANTER (JIMBO'S INFERNO), VAN DYKE PARKS, TIM BURTON, CRAIG BARTLETT (HEY ARNOLD!) and MARK MOTHERSBAUGH (DEVO) among many others working in collaboration.
in my opinion ASTRO-CREEP: 2000 - SONGS OF LOVE, DESTRUCTION AND SYNTHETIC DELUSIONS OF THE ELECTRIC HEAD (GEFFEN, 1995) is the zenith of ROB ZOMBIE's career and artistically his most successful artistic achievement to date. his later celebrated filmography and string of solo records all seem to point back to this record and the one before it, LA SEXORCISTO: DEVIL MUSIC VOLUME ONE (GEFFEN, 1992).
for me growing up, this was a huge record. just visually i remember being amazed by the artwork which was defiantly not kid friendly. i recall having to sneak in copies borrowed from friends past my parents. so right off the bat listening to this record was almost an act of defiance as a kid. i mean now i totally understand why it is entirely responsible to shield an 11 year-old from adult themes, but such was the era i grew up in. with the internet and conduits like YOUTUBE and SPOTIFY, i don't know how you could possible do such as a parent now but that is another discussion entirely.
the music itself is what people now refer to as GROOVE METAL, a fairly riff-based extremely heavy that is not that dissimilar from that of peers in PRONG and PANTERA. sonically what separated them was their cut-up aesthetic for utilizing snippets from films and odd instruments to create a vibe. unlike their peers, WHITE ZOMBIE and specifically their guitarist JAY YUENGER, were the masters of setting up songs almost like little films. there is a cinematic structure to the songs where an atmosphere is introduced and establishes a setting where the chorus or a big-riff delivers the payoff. tracks like "I, ZOMBIE," "ELECTRIC HEAD, PART 1 (THE AGONY)," "GREASE PAINT AND MONKEY BRAINS," "CREATURE OF THE WHEEL," "SUPER CHARGER HEAVEN" and, of course "MORE HUMAN THAN HUMAN" did this in spades. those songs absolutely crush because of that cinematic buildup and payoff. i would argue that this element is what has been missing from ROB's solo efforts, as those structures seem clipped and abbreviated whereas on ASTRO-CREEP: 2000 and LA SEXORCISTO they breathe and seemingly come about organically to great effect. i may be naive, but i attribute that lost element to the dismissal of YUENGER when ROB forged his solo career shortly thereafter.
when i think about ASTRO-CREEP: 2000 i cant help but feel that it is the true embodiment of the "more is more" mantra of songwriting. same with the visuals and the stagecraft. i would describe it as what ALICE COOPER would want to see if ALICE COOPER grew up listening to ALICE COOPER. its complete sensory overload. and that is essentially why i love this record. its almost too much. you really have to just submit and be taken for the ride. case in point is my favorite song on the record "BLOOD, MILK AND SKY" which takes you on a journey deep into the heart of a depraved psyche im not sure i want to visit. its an ambitious record during a time when the stakes seemed to have been lowered and ROCK AND ROLL became more pedestrian and approachable. this stuff wasnt tangible. this was some MT. OLYMPUS music.
stil a favorite to this day that i highly recommend. well worth the effort.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
i think people are aware enough of the innovative and controversial shenanigans that have taken place on the HOWARD STERN SHOW over the years. it is pretty amazing that he is being finally recognized in his late career for his singular interviewing skills, i'd even argue that his shows now are among the best of his career. just wish he'd stay off those lame network talent shows.
regardless i think often overlooked as well are the number of amazing music performances that have taken place on his radio show, mostly of the ALTERNATIVE ROCK, METAL and CLASSIC ROCK variety including the likes of CHRIS CORNELL, JOHN FOGERTY (CREEDANCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL), FIONA APPLE, DAVE GROHL (NIRVANA/FOO FIGHTERS), BILLY CORGAN (THE SMASHING PUMPKINS), ROB ZOMBIE (WHITE ZOMBIE), DAVID BOWIE, PERRY FARRELL (PORNO FOR PYROS / JANE'S ADDICTION)
definitely check some of these out and see what i mean.