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Analysis: Rob Zombie Treats His Band So Well That They Bail?

  • Anso DF
Rob Zombie by Gobinder Jhitta
“Do any of you play drums?”

Rob Zombie sounds a little blue when talking about his band’s regular rate of turnover. But according to the yeah-man himself, it’s stupidity and immaturity that causes so many dudes to bail from Zombie’s backing trio. It’s not that he’s hard to work with, he explains in a new radio interview (at 27:20):

I’m easy to work with. That’s the problem. I know people [who] are treated like shit in bands, and they’ll stay in that band for 16 years like a beaten housewife … It’s like Stockholm Syndrome or something. I’m not trying to be funny about that. It’s, like, the abuse they take they become almost accustomed to. It’s really finding people that are mature and know their role in the band. And people sometimes just don’t.

Aha, so it’s not just a matter of maturity — in that last little nugget, he hints at another issue: Can his band guys get their songs on a Zombie album? Zombie continues:

If you write good songs, great. But if your songs are shit, we’re not gonna use them. And you should know that. You should just not be so full of yourself to force that.

Hmm, he can’t really see how living the life of a human karaoke machine can lead to grass-is-greener thinking:

I’ve stood there with band members, about to go on [stage], and said, ‘Look, there are 30,000 people out there. You’re making more money than you’ve ever made in your entire life. The band’s huge. What is so bad?’ And they start their side project, they play bars in front of three people for a couple of weeks. And then [they call to say,] ‘Hey, man, can I come back?’ ‘No. I replaced you with someone who’s ten times better than you.’

Now that we can agree with — any of us would take the money, wear the costumes, play zero-skill jams, and be high as hell all day. But that’s why Zombie’s whole vibe may sound selective and simplistic. In other words, it’s just as likely that there’s a real reason for quitting a milk run with the Zombie band, a reason which is conveniently overlooked by its leader. That feeling is basically confirmed by his perception of reviled careerists in other huge bands:

The funny thing is … whoever is the most stable member is always somehow perceived as the bad guy — be it Kerry King or Lars Ulrich or whoever — when they’re not. Slayer would have disappeared 20 years ago if it wasn’t for Kerry King; the guy lives and breathes Slayer, like Lars lives and breathes Metallica. But sometimes [perspective] gets warped, like they are the bad guy. They are not the bad guy. They are the guy that’s holding it all together. It’s weird. Success always backfires.

As the owner of a huge money-making band, it doesn’t make sense to defend your job and your policies. Fuck that. The boss is the boss, and can say it as it is: “You work for me and I call the shots.” We all see no need to color the gig as fulfilling or its former members as self-defeating and capricious. There’s nothing worse than a boss or gf who’s like, “How can you possibly leave this behind?”

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