Robert Bartlehe Cummings, 12 January 1965, Haverhill, Massachusetts, USA. The lead vocalist of controversial hard rock band White Zombie delivered his US Top 5 debut in August 1998. Co-produced with Nine Inch Nails and Metallica alumnus Scott Humphrey, the contents would have proved no surprise to Zombies existing fans, with horror and gore-inspired lyrics predominating and abrasive hard rock the dominant musical motif. Indeed, among the collaborators on the project were White Zombies drummer John Tempesta. The albums subtitle, Tales Of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside The Spookshow International, was illustrative of the subject matter. Songs like Living Dead Girl and Return Of The Phantom Stranger said much about the depth of the writers vision, though some of the more entertaining moments came from the albums employment of old movie dialogue and specially-created spoken word sections. For some, however, Zombies 50s B-movie fixations had been made redundant by the remorseless rise of Marilyn Manson. Probably the most distinctive feature of the album was the packaging, with illustrations from noted comic artists Basil Gogos, Dan Brereton and Gene Colon. The album was remixed the following year by various members of Nine Inch Nails, Rammstein and Limp Bizkit, by which time White Zombie had split-up.
Zombies interest in the cinema had previously seen him directing horror-inspired rock videos, and he provided the animation for a sequence in the 1996 movie Beavis And Butt-Head Do America. He wrote and directed the gruesome House Of 1000 Corpses, which was finally released by the independent Lions Gate in 2003 after being passed from studio to studio. Despite its torturous path to release, the movie took over $13 million at the US box office. The 2005 sequel The Devils Rejects was another commercial success. Two years later Zombie wrote, produced and directed Halloween, a reimagining of John Carpenters classic 1978 horror movie of the same name.
Despite his success as a writer and director of low budget horror, Zombie has continued to pursue a musical career. The 2001 release The Sinister Urge was named after the cult 1961 Ed Wood movie, and revealed a willingness to experiment with unusual (for heavy metal) instrumentation such as a horn section. Educated Horses (2006) was more restrained still, with acoustic sections and Zombie tempering his usual hoarse bark for a restrained singing style. Both albums reached the US Top 10.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.