Rob Zombie was his typical restless self, pacing backstage while his White Zombie bandmates relaxed before a 1995 concert on tour with the legendary Ramones.
Zombie, now 54, still is restless.
He could have stayed with the popular White Zombie, which had a couple of hard rock hits, including “More Human Than Human” and “Thunder Kiss ’65.” He could have lived off the fat of the land with the visually arresting and sonically appealing metal band, which sold millions of albums. But White Zombie disbanded in 1998.
“I wanted to challenge myself,” Zombie said. “That’s the way I’ve always been and that’s the way I remain.”
Zombie stands out in the world of metal. Many of his peers simply rehash their music while the former “Pee Wee’s Playhouse” production assistant has reinvented himself several times.
The larger-than-life figure who is sharing star billing with Marilyn Manson at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids on Saturday night (8/10) has enjoyed a successful solo career. “Dragula” and “Living Dead Girl” are among his muscular rock hits. Zombie has been making solo albums since 1998’s “Hellbilly Deluxe.”
His six solo projects are full of menacing, hedonistic and irreverent rock. It’s a blitz of style and substance.
“I think rock has always been about both of those things,” Zombie said by phone from Los Angeles. “It wouldn’t have been the same if Jimi Hendrix was fat and bald. There has always been a visual side of rock, and it connects with me, since film is obviously visual. But you also need solid songs. It can’t just be about a look.”
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Zombie knows how to make aesthetically pleasing visuals. When he began directing films, including a remake of the horror classic “Halloween” and “Werewolf Women of the SS,” no one was taken aback.
“I don’t think it should have come as a shock that I tried film, since I directed so many White Zombie videos,” Zombie said. “I love making movies and music.”
Zombie forthcoming film, “3 From Hell,” a follow-up to his 2003 film, “House of 1000 Corpses,” and its 2005 sequel, “The Devil’s Rejects,” will hit screens soon. In the meantime, Zombie and Marilyn Manson are on their “Twins of Evil: Hell Never Dies” tour, which is a sequel to their 2012 “Twins of Evil” tour and 2018 “Twins of Evil: The Second Coming” tour.
Zombie and Manson have a common denominator. Guitarist John 5, aka John Lowery, is Zombie’s lead guitarist and was formerly part of Marilyn Manson’s band.
“I learned a lot from each of them,” Lowery said. “They’re so different and have made their mark in history. There is no one like either of them. They each have songs and they put on a show.
“I love performing with Rob. I’ve been a big fan of his since the White Zombie days. I knew all of his music before I joined the band. I love his songs, since they rock hard and they have such great melodies, and his lyrics are so cool, as well. And then there is the show,” Lowery said. “It’s always entertaining. It’s been a blast working with Rob, since it’s obvious that he loves this.”
Zombie’s enthusiasm is evident when he hits the stage. The live show is filled with spectacle.
“I grew up loving the recording artists who invented rock showmanship,” Zombie said. “I grew up on Alice Cooper and Kiss, and I loved what they did live when I was a kid just as much as I love their songs. That was a big influence on me.
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“What I experienced as a kid definitely impacted the live show I present. But I love it. There’s nothing like a big rock show.”
If you go
• WHAT: Twins of Evil: “Hell Never Dies” tour, featuring Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson, with Palaye Royale opening
• WHERE: U.S. Cellular Center, 370 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids
• WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday (8/10)
• TICKETS: $39.50 to $89.50; U.S. Cellular Box Office, 1- (800) 745-3000 or Uscelluarcenter.com
• ARTIST’S WEBSITE: Robzombie.com