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Monday, July 21 2014 21:05

Chasing Zombie: 2014 (ROB ZOMBIE) Rewound to 1994 (WHITE ZOMBIE)...

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It was probably around 11:30pm on the night of January 27, 1994. There I was, a seventeen-year-old headbanging television host, standing in the midst of unexpected destruction - the aftermath of a concert which should've never taken place in this particular venue, The Adler Theatre in Davenport, Iowa. Whoever decided that it was a good idea to hold a rock show featuring WHITE ZOMBIE, PRONG and THE OBSESSED in a seated, classical theater with no standing room was undoubtedly in deep trouble - and I was right there in the middle of it - looking up from the ground floor as a faint cloud of dust could be seen still rising into the lights from above. To one side there were security guards and theater staff, bewildered by what had happened. On the other, a group of Police Officers equally puzzled. Directly next to me and a friend were members of the evening's headline act, WHITE ZOMBIE. But Rob wasn't there.

300x300screenWhat happened that night is that the crowd went nuts for a show that should've been held in a suitable venue like the neighboring Col Ballroom or the Palmer Auditorium (where ZOMBIE would play on their return to Davenport in May of 1995 alongside MELVINS and REVEREND HORTON HEAT), and during that chaos, pieces of metal and wood rained down from the balcony as many below where ripping the bolted seats from the concrete floor and creating room for a mosh pit where there was none. There, Bassist Sean Yseult offered my friend and I cans of Coke, while we discussed the evening with Guitarist J. Yuenger, who prior to the show spent time with us in a lobby bathroom, shooting an interview for my cable access show (pictured from a screenshot I found online). When booked, that interview was supposed to feature the entire band, but for whatever reason, it landed solely with J. - who did a fantastic job fielding questions from a couple of novice kids amidst the flushing toilets. In that aftermath, enigmatic frontman ROB ZOMBIE had already retreated to the bus... and in the hours prior to the show was equally reclusive, passing by for just a fleeting moment. But this was a band that had been touring in support of LA SEXORCISTO: DEVIL MUSIC, VOL. 1 for nearly two years, and the strain was showing.

I managed to catch WHITE ZOMBIE one more time when they came back through town, and by the next time I'd hear "More Human Than Human" performed live, it would be on ROB ZOMBIE's solo tour in support of his HELLBILLY DELUXE album. As I'd moved in-and-out of the entertainment world over the years, I wasn't always as "connected" to things, but I'd seen ZOMBIE several times, with a few different lineups.

It would be 2009 before I'd see Rob once more.

During my stint with FANGORIA as Director of New Media (and as a writer), I'd been covering the production of Zombie's directorial effort, HALLOWEEN II on a near-daily basis as news and photos rolled in for the website. I'd become friendly with JESSE DAYTON, who'd previously collaborated with Zombie on music for THE DEVIL'S REJECTS (the country-style BANJO & SULLIVAN tunes), and was appearing in HALLOWEEN II as "Captain Clegg" of CAPTAIN CLEGG & THE NIGHT CREATURES. In support of the film, a full-length album, ROB ZOMBIE PRESENTS: CAPTAIN CLEGG AND THE NIGHT CREATURES was released in August of that year, and that Fall, ZOMBIE took CLEGG on the road as his opening act. 

When the ZOMBIE tour hit Las Vegas on October 30, 2009 - they were playing the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Casino Resort. I was there, as I was working a Fango event with SLIPKNOT that was taking place in the very same building. While I caught up with Dayton prior to his gig as "Clegg" (even ending up in a quick shot on a later DVD release), again, I missed Rob - despite having about a 10-second "hello/goodbye" introduction to his manager, Andy Gould while I was on the way to a meeting. About a month later, I'd reconvene with Dayton and the CLEGG gang again when the tour hit the Aragon ballroom in Chicago on November 22. Once again, I didn't cross paths with Zombie himself, but I did get to meet the rest of the band at the time.

Fast-forward to July 19, 2014 - this past Saturday night.

Piggy D, Rob Zombie, Ginger Fish and John 5

Back in Iowa, where I lived from 1992-1996, my former classmates were attending our 20th High School Reunion. I'd started my day by coaching my daughter's Pee Wee Baseball Game from 11-1, and then headed over to Austin's Fuel Arena at the Lake County Fairgrounds for a show that would temporarily halt my self-imposed hiatus from photographing concerts. 

There was something just oddly appropriate about seeing ROB ZOMBIE perform ten minutes from my home on the night my 20th High School Reunion was taking place... 20 years after I first saw Zombie perform live on that eventful night back in Davenport. Yet again, I didn't actually meet the man whose music I've been following for over two decades, but I did get to photograph him from just a few feet away for the very first time.

ROB ZOMBIE

ROB ZOMBIE | Setlist, July 19, 2014, Grayslake, Illinois
  1. "Teenage Nosferatu Pussy"
  2. "Superbeast"
  3. "Living Dead Girl"
  4. "Dead City Radio"
  5. Ginger Fish Drum Solo
  6. "More Human Than Human"
  7. "Sick Bubblegum"
  8. "House of 1000 Corpses"
  9. "Meet the Creeper"
  10. "Am I Evil" (Diamond Head)
  11. "Never Gonna Stop"
  12. "Thunder Kiss '65"
  13. "School's Out" (Alice Cooper)
  14. "Dragula"
  15. "American Band"

zombieband

For photos and words on the other bands on the bill, including STONE SOUR, THEORY OF A DEADMAN, THE LAST VEGAS, WILSON and CILVER, click here.

And how many people made it out to Grayslake? Take a look...

ROB ZOMBIE is taking a break right now, but is expected to hit the road on another run of dates this September. Check out his official site for details, and get updates on his latest film, "31" which is in pre-production right now, by signing up on his homepage.

Thanks to Spectacle Entertainment Group, 95 WIIL Rock and FM Entertainment
James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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