He was the frontman of an American Heavy Metal band that released two multi-million selling albums. After leaving that band, he would have an equally successful solo career, with two more multi platinum albums. He has collaborated with artists such as Ozzy Osbourne. Following his dream of “wanting to be Alice Cooper, Steven Spielberg, Bela Lugosi and Stan Lee”, he became a successful Hollywood horror director, directing 9 feature films between 2003 to 2019. How successful? His 2007 re-make of a horror classic film set the box-office record for a Labor Day weekend film release. And all of this from a young man from Haverhill MA. A young man with a fascination for film and horror. A young man named Robert Bartleh Cummings. Who, you may ask. The world of music and film knows him as…. Rob Zombie.
Rob was raised in a blue collar family in Haverhill, just down the road from Salem MA (home of of its own brand of horror). While attending New York’s Parsons School of Design, he came up with the idea for the band, White Zombie. Their breakthrough album was La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One. The album was welcome by heavy metal fans abound and White Zombie began with a loyal fan base that eventually reached around the world of heavy metal. During their time together, White Zombie would release heavy metal hits such as “Thunder Kiss 65,” “Black Sunshine,” and “More Human Than Human.” The band disbanded in 1998.
Rob Zombie’s ascension to solo stardom seemed preordained. He admired Alice Cooper, who is easily the King of mixing music and the macabre. So it was fitting the Rob’s first 1996 solo song titled “Hand of Death (Burn Baby Burn),” was written and performed with, who else, Alice Cooper. Rob’s first solo album release Hellbilly Deluxe would sell three million copies. His second, The Sinister Urge, another 2 million copies. On this album he would collaborate with another music hero of his and another artist know for exploring the dark side….Ozzy Osbourne. Now firmly established as a heavy metal giant in the music industry, Rob turned his attention to his other prime interest, film. After reaching a deal with Lionsgate Production Rob Zombie’s directorial feature film House of 1000 Corpses was released in 2003. Extremely grotesque, it grossed a respectable $16 million dollars at the box office. Of course Rob Zombie released an album accompanying the film. Never one to shy away from what moves him, that album included a remake of the Commodores classic Brick House, entitled “Brick House 2003.”
Rob’s next film was the disturbing classic The Devil’s Rejects, released in 2005. In 2007 Rob Zombie directed a remake of Halloween starring Malcolm McDowell and Rob’s wife Sherri Moon Zombie. This film would gross a stunning $80 million dollars and set the aforementioned Labor Day weekend box office record. He is also scheduled to direct a feature-length reboot of the ’60s TV show, The Munsters.
Rob continues directing films and videos as well as touring and recording his own music. In fact this Labor Day weekend, 2021, Rob Zombie will be back where it started, on stage. He will be delivering his legendary brand of heavy metal music headlining the Rocklahoma Labor Day Weekend music festival in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The town of Haverhill recently honored their hometown horror meister. When entering Haverhill via Route 110 there is a sign that reads “Welcome” in large letters with the line “Rock/Movie Star Rob Zombie was born in Haverhill” underneath. In fact, there could be another sentence under Rob’s acknowledgement for another Haverhill musician hero, industrial music band Powerman 500, frontman, Spider One, who is Rob Zombie’s younger brother.
(by Edwin Sumpter)