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Rob Zombie finds focus in directing



Published: Thu, July 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Though known first for his music, his priorities are moving more to movies.

SPECIAL TO THE VINDICATOR

Musician-turned-director Rob Zombie won't officially say it but for all intent and purpose it appears as though he is nearly finished with the former part of his moniker.

The suspense was palpable during a recent phone conversation from an Ozzfest 2005 tour stop in Connecticut when Zombie hesitated before answering whether he can envision a time when he concentrates solely on his feature film career as a screenwriter and director.

"Probably, yeah," Zombie said. "But I'm sitting out here on tour so it's kind of ... it may be a priority in my head but it doesn't flow with what my actions are at the moment."

Therein lies the rub for Zombie, who led alternative metal act White Zombie to mainstream attention in the early nineties (remember the booming single "Thunder Kiss '65"?) before going solo with a successful career in the latter part of the decade.

His second love

However, the admitted highly introspective Zombie didn't discover his truly creative love until he wrote and directed his 2003 silver screen debut "House of 1000 Corpses," an homage to the seventies horror genre. While successful at theaters, the movie's DVD sales put it through the roof.

Now, Zombie is back with his sophomore movie "The Devil's Rejects," which opens in theaters today. It's another horror movie for Zombie, who has seemingly translated the sadistic, gory, trashy and irreverent side of White Zombie to moving pictures.

"I've always just done what I wanted to do because what else can you really do?" Zombie said. "I've seen other people who try to second-guess the fans and cater to the fans and it usually backfires. You never want to do exactly what people think is going to happen because that's boring. You want to always challenge yourself and the audience."

Return to metal

Challenging his musical audience's dedication is what Zombie has been doing in recent times by focusing all of his attention on his film career.

Three years removed from his last concert tour and four years from his last studio album, 2001's "The Sinister Urge," the nearly 40-year-old artist decided to surprise his music fans with a return to the concert stage as a part of this summer's Ozzfest bill, which plays July 23 at Pittsburgh's Post-Gazette Pavilion at Star Lake. Even though the metal tour is bypassing Northeast Ohio, Zombie has added a headlining date July 22 at Cleveland's House of Blues.

"The headlining show is a lot longer and that's the show where we're really getting to play a lot of older material we haven't played in years," Zombie said. Such expected White Zombie gems include "Electric Head" and "Blood, Milk and Sky," both of which appear on 1995's "Astro-Creep: 2000."

Musical future

With a new studio album nearly completed and due out in early 2006, Zombie remains noncommittal in regard to touring the project. Soon after returning home from his Ozzfest 2005 responsibilities, he will retain the screenwriter/director title and begin production on his third feature film, which he says thematically is decidedly different from his first two scary movies. Even scarier for Zombie is the fact his career path mirrors that of another artist. Original N.W.A. member and solo rapper Ice Cube has spent the last few years working his magic behind the camera lens.

Whether he likes it or not, has Zombie become the Ice Cube of the metal world?

Said Zombie, "Let's hope not."




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