Man or Monster?
Whoever would've thought Barbra Streisand was such a Rob Zombie fan? When Babs wanted those pesky paparazzi to keep away from her recent wedding, her tactic was to spray them with aural artillery fire courtesy of Rob's band, White Zombie. Luckily for her, a bevy of SoCal metal heads didn't show up uninvited to congregate by the mansion and take in the jams. I, for one, would've killed to be a fly on the wall at the local Blockbuster the day Streisand walked in and queried at the front counter: "Excuse me, do you stock La Sexorcisto?" Or perhaps I underestimate the woman's dark side; she may well have had the thing all along.
These days, WZ's frontman and guiding force is stepping out on his own with the recent release of Hellbilly Deluxe. The CD features 13 compact ditties that further his full-volume, supersonic melding of lava-hardened heavy rock with his varying interests in comic books, trashy hot-rod culture, vintage horror and sci-fi movies, and movie-monster mags. The substance behind tracks such as "Superbeast," "Living Dead Girl," "Meet the Creeper," "How to Make a Monster" and "What Lurks on Channel X?" is self-explanatory. But Zombie has never been less than forked-tongue-in-cheek about his bestial persona. And while much of his latest neck-snapping material comes drenched in a highly agreeable, chugging-guitar attack, he has always had one rotting foot in the grave and the other on the strobe-lit dance floor. Hence, Hellbilly Deluxe would make a fine soundtrack for a sock hop in hell. And its accompanying CD booklet, designed by Rob with help from a few well-known comic/horror artists, is simply a hoot.
It's not like Rob couldn't use the break from his ghoulish compadres in the prolific White Zombie. Following its formation in 1985, the band put out five independent releases before 1991's La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol. 1. Despite the howlings of parents and sundry censorship groups, all of whom, apparently, didn't get the joke -- or perhaps because of them -- the band's fan base blossomed with 1993's Astro-Creep: 2000, which spawned the hit "More Human Than Human." Fast on its heels came Supersexy Swingin' Sounds, an album of Astro-Creep remixes. On other fronts, Zombie continues to expand his evil empire as a label head (the new Zombie-A-Go-Go Records) and screenwriter (he's penning the next installment to The Crow action-flick series). He's also tried his hand at animation, having designed the hellish hallucination sequence in Beavis and Butt-head Do America.
As for the Zombie solo carnival, expect a spinal-tappin' guided tour of various haunted digs and plenty of communing with things that go hump in the night. Special seating for decaying corpses, werewolves and the undead will be available -- let's hope near the beer stand.
-- Bob Ruggiero
Rob Zombie performs Friday, October 9, at the Aerial Theater at Bayou Place, 520 Texas. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. Fear Factory and Monster Magnet open. For info, call 629-3700.
Mudhoney -- Mudhoney may be the last band on earth that still answers to the term "grunge." When the Seattle outfit came together ten years ago, its members thrived on an "us versus them" mentality -- fitting, considering they never achieved the stardom of some of their peers. With Mudhoney, you know what to expect -- sludge-caked guitars, coarse yelling/singing, stunted chord progressions -- and that's the disappointing part: Very little has actually changed about Mudhoney in the years between its 1988 debut, Superfuzz Bigmuff, and the new Tomorrow Came Today. One gets the feeling that a decade or two from now, when the grunge revival inevitably hits, they won't have to reunite because they'll still be together. In any event, a Mudhoney concert is still a good excuse to fly the flannel (though it's not advised in a sweatbox like Fitzgerald's). And live renditions of classics like "Touch Me I'm Sick" and "Sweet Young Thing (Ain't Sweet No More)" prove there may be a little juice left in the "g" cell. On Friday, October 9, at Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak. Doors 8:30 p.m. Tickets $10. For info, call 862-7580. (David Simutis)
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