The PV Q&A: Rob Zombie On His New Novel, The Lords of Salem, and Album, Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor

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BY Rick Florino

As always, Rob Zombie is a rather busy man. He just dropped his novel, The Lords of Salem. The film of the same name hits theaters April 19, and his brand new solo album Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor is in stores April 23—each entity stands on its own, though.

The book dives deep into the mythos of The Lords of Salem, expanding the world of the film into graphic, gory detail. It's a horror fan's delight. Meanwhile, the movie itself stands out as a psychological head trip unlike any of his previous work. Of course, there's also the record which proves to hit just as hard as, dare we say it, Hellbilly Deluxe. In this exclusive interview with PureVolume, Rob Zombie talks to Rick Florino about all of the above and more.

PureVolume: Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor really is your strongest and heaviest record since Hellbilly Deluxe.
Rob Zombie: I'm glad you said that. That's what we were thinking when we made it. You kind of make it in vacuum so you're never sure if anyone else is going to agree. Luckily, that seems to be the consensus so far.
It doesn't feel like a "return to form" so much as a natural evolution. Do you feel like you've continually built towards this record?
Yeah, if it's a "return to form," I don't think it's a return back to a different form. I don't really see it that way. Some people will see it that way. As long as they like it, they can interpret it however they want because that's what's great about music. It's strange.

However, I feel like as you do things year after year slipping into decade after decade, there are evolutions that take place, but they don't necessarily take place overnight. We went through it with White Zombie. There was a certain period where we did a certain type of sound. Then, we kind of lost our way. Finally, we landed on the sound most people know. It's the same thing for when I went solo. I had a certain sound. You can't stay in one place though. You can't go, "Okay, everyone like this. I'm going to make this record ten more times exactly like this and everyone will love me." Even if I tried to do that, I wouldn't know how to do it because it's not the way my brain works. You're always moving to the next place you haven't landed yet.

Sometimes, in between, things get weird. It doesn't mean they're bad or good or whatever. Long story short, when we made this record, it felt like we had found the footing of what we were trying to do more solidly than we had in a while.
When did that vision become clear?
Truthfully, it was way before we even started recording once our drummer Tommy Clufetos quit on us and we replaced him with Joey Jordison from Slipknot. We knew Joey was always temporary. He just jumped in to save us on some tours. However, once that one person left and another person came in even though he wasn't permanent, he was on the same page. It inspired the band. When Joey went back to Slipknot and Ginger came in, again, he was another person who was very much in line with what we're about. It was that moment where we had four people who were ready to do something. All it takes is one person dragging his feet, acting like he's not really part of the project, or phoning it in. It can really derail what you're about.

This has a different feeling though ...
There are certain moments in time where you feel like everybody's on the same page, everybody's hyped, and this is going to fucking worked. That's what it felt like all along through the touring. Going into the record we were really hyped because the attitude and the vibe were just right.
"The Girl Who Loved the Monsters" taps into the spirit of "Living Dead Girl." Where did the song come from?
Well, that's a weird one. That was a different song for a while. It was fast and upbeat. I was doing vocals on it one day, and I was like, "I'm just bored with this." There was something about the song that sounded typical to me, even though it was fast and heavy. I thought I liked it, but I didn't so we took the song and pitched it down really slow. When we did that, I thought, "That's the song!" Then I sang over that.
How important is pacing on the record? It flows like a movie.
It's very important to me. Everybody's always like, "Put the single first!" I say, "Why do that?" In this case, I thought, "Why not end it upbeat?"
How different was The Lords of Salem book from the film?
The book has more stuff going on basically because you can write anything. It doesn't cost you anymore. [Laughs] For the movie, I had to pair it down. There were certain directions I started going in the movie where I was just afraid. Less was going to be more. We've got the big giant guy, the hairy suit, and these other creatures. I felt like when you could see them too well it ruined it. It went from a dark psychological drama to goofy monster movie so that's why I stripped all of that away.

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