Arts & Entertainment

Rob Zombie bringing macabre magic to town

He may be better known for his movies these days, but Rob Zombie still knows how to work his macabre metal magic on a concert stage. He'll prove it May 2 at 7:45 p.m. when his Gruesome Twosome tour with Alice Cooper hits the Toyota Center in Kennewick.

Despite a string of gory hits on the big screen with his reworking of the Halloween franchise and House of 1,000 Corpses, Zombie has never ditched his desire to be on the road.

"We had planned on getting back on the road, but everything got super f---ed up with changing labels, dates, yada yada ..." Zombie said on the phone from Edmonton, Alberta, before the third stop on his North American tour.

It's been a long road for Zombie as he's trenched through the underbelly of rock and horror. In the late 80s he was with White Zombie, which birthed the hit More Human Than Human. After that fizzled, he penned his first solo effort in Hellbilly Deluxe that featured the hits Living Dead Girl and Dragula -- featuring the endearing chorus: "Dig through the ditches/And burn through the witches/I slam in the back of my Dragula."

Then came films. In 2003-05 he put out Corpses and The Devil's Rejects to some success, but in 2007, with Halloween, he hit pay dirt -- taking in more than $80 million at the box office.

That's the short course. Now back to the music.

In what he calls the "best match ever" in his pairing with Cooper, it was only a matter of time before the dark lord and his apprentice hooked up for something big.

Before this, Zombie collaborated with Cooper on Hands of Death (Burn Baby Burn) for the X-Files tie-in CD Songs in the Key of X. They also showed up on stage a handful of times at each other's concerts. But nothing like this.

"We've been friends for 16 years," Zombie said. "I love the Coop to death. It's like we come from two different places in the same world ... and finally everything lined up."

And the two are armed with hefty playbooks, written with years of underworld experience.

"Between the two of us we know every concert trick and gag that's ever been on a stage," Zombie said. "The people are going nuts for this. It's an incredible value for your dollar with two full headlining sets."

And there's no guessing game as to who gets top billing each night.

"Coop always plays first," Zombie said. "If we tried to switch it up, oh no, the crew would mutiny and quit."

While Zombie has crafted a definitive image, he's not tied to it -- he's dying to make a great Western movie, for example -- nor afraid of it. He said he'll reach back to play a couple of White Zombie classics.

"We'll play the obvious ones like Thunderkiss or More Human, but the fan base is so young, if we reach any further into the White Zombie catalog, they'll scatch their heads and say, 'huh?' "

Tickets are $29.50-$45 and are available at the Toyota Center box office or at www.ticketmaster.com.

*Jeremy Dutton: 509-582-1525; jdutton@tricityherald.com

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