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You might be prone to overlooking Rob Zombie if you were to compile a list of today’s top shock alternative rockers. Manson, who just released a tape, would probably come to mind first. But to skip over one of the 90s hardest rocking musicians would be a dire oversight. He’s not a has-been by a long shot; in fact, the reason he isn’t as prolific with releases as his contemporaries might be because he’s a perfectionist and artist with his heart is several different fields. And for those of you who aren’t keeping up to date with Mr. Zombie, he just confirmed earlier this year that mixes for his upcoming album (which is hopefully due any day now) are complete. We’ll see how it compares to Marilyn’s when it drops.

Let’s take a look at Rob Zombie’s musical history. Now, if you think five tapes over the course of a nearly two decade long career is a paltry collection – you’re forgetting something: Rob Zombie also had a successful run as founder and leader of White Zombie, so there’s another four tapes you can add to your collection. You’re also forgetting that Rob Zombie has scored video games, made fine art, directed movies, and curated a terrifying and popular haunted house. But we can save all that for another article.

As a member of White Zombie, Rob Zombie was the driving creative force behind the band. Formed in the mid-80s at the now-famous Parsons School of Design (thanks Project Runway), White Zombie was heavier than anything that should ever crawl out of a high-end private art college.  The heavy metal band combined horror and actual talent to make their way into the mainstream, even getting noticed by Beavis and Butthead and eventually winning Platinum status. For the record, that means they sold a whole lot of copies of their hit album La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One before they disbanded in 1998.

Seeing a good band break up at the dawn of a new century might seem sad. And in fact, some fans thought it was the end for Rob. But that wasn’t exactly the case. Rob Zombie headed into the new age with a more evolved artistry. Hell, he went to art school and was a graphic designer; he could have just focused on making comic books and resting on his platinum recording artist status (and the royalties that go with it). But instead, the creativity flowed on and in 1998, right after the demise of White Zombie, Rob Zombie put out his solo debut. Hellbilly Deluxe works on so many levels – as wordplay, the title is a take on Dwight Yoakam’s chart-topping Hillbilly Deluxe, and a sign that Rob Zombie is no heavy metal isolationist. The album’s combination of heavy metal, horror imagery, groove and melody, and of course his huge hit “Dragula,” skyrocketed Hellbilly Deluxe to Platinum status, three times over.

Rob didn’t slow down after this success. He released another Platinum album, The Sinister Urge, just three years later. And this album featured members of Slayer and Ozzy Osbourne. As further proof of Rob Zombie’s badass status, remember that not everyone gets to collab with Ozzy. Zombie released a follow up to his popular debut, received a Grammy nomination, recorded a cover “We’re An American Band,” and managed to poach members of Marilyn Manson’s band. As the 2000s progressed, Zombie’s output became more staggered, with albums coming out about every four or five years – that’s a long time in today’s music biz. The reason for the delay: Zombie’s other success, his films (you can read more about that here).