Given his predilection for visuals and theatrics, it's almost shocking that shock rocker Rob Zombie has never released a concert DVD before. But "The Zombie Horror Picture Show," which rolls out May 19, is indeed his first foray into that realm.
"It would always come up," Zombie tells Billboard. "Our manager would always say, 'You've really got to make a DVD. You're the only fucking band that doesn't have a DVD out there!' and I'd be like, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah. I don't feel like it.' " Zombie says he did some concert filming in 2007 but decided to scuttle DVD fans after the group he had at the time splintered. But last year, he notes, "This lineup had been together for however many years. I thought, 'OK, the band sounds great now. The band looks great. The shows are huge. The stage show's huge. Everything's as good as it's ever been -- now is the time to do it.' "
Zombie directed "The Zombie Horror Picture Show" during concerts last August in Houston and Dallas, capturing the 17-song set -- mixing White Zombie favorites such as "More Human Than Human" and "Thunder Kiss '65" with his own "Dragula," "Living Dead Girl" and "Superbeast" and a cover of Grand Funk Railroad's "We're An American Band" -- with an approach honed from making six theatrical features before it.
"I felt like I could do it justice because I understand both sides -- the director side and the performer side," he explains. "People that don't usually get hung up on things that aren't exciting. I wasn't looking for something that was perfect or over-polished, because that's boring. I was looking for something that really captured the moment, and I felt that it could really be done by having cameras everywhere, and mostly in the crowd because the crowd is such an important factor, at least at our shows. I didn't want to see the band all clean and perfect; I wanted the chaos of the crowd at all times, 'cause that's how it feels when you're on stage. It's hot and it's sweaty and sometimes things feed back and sometimes people make mistakes and sometimes it's a mess. But that's why it's a live concert, and that's what I wanted to show."
In addition to the home video Zombie is also publishing a coffee table-sized photo book under the same title, which features on stage, backstage, bus and hotel shots from the tour -- including photos of Zombie and company jamming with Motley Crue's Mick Mars and Korn. "Again, that was just something we've never done before," Zombie says. "I'm not really big on documenting things; I like to do things and move on, so at least once in my life it was nice to document something."
Zombie recently finished a North American tour and begins a European run June 5 at the Sweden Rock Festival, but he already has new projects brewing. He's currently in the studio and "pretty far into the process" of a follow-up to last year`s "Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor."
"It sounds fuckin' weird, man. That's a really good thing," he reports. "Right now I'm by myself in the studio; the rest of the band's not here yet but, yeah, they'll all come up here later. It's going good. I'll work on that for about a month and get as far as I can get. Then in July we have a little bit of a break where I'll probably finish up the record, and then we have some more touring." During the fall, meanwhile, Zombie expects to start production on his next film, a horror movie that's put his planned documentary on the Philadelphia Flyers' Broad Street Bullies teams of the 70s on hold.