Rob Zombie is back with his first new LP in five years, The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy, once again having fun with an album title. The highly anticipated album has been preceded the by equally eccentric-named singles “The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition)” and “The Eternal Struggles of the Howling Man”.
While the new album is Zombie’s seventh solo effort overall, it marks the third LP featuring his now-stable lineup of guitarist John 5, bassist Piggy D, and drummer Ginger Fish. The LP has been in the can for a while, with Zombie previously calling it the best album he’s ever made and John 5 saying it even topped anything from White Zombie’s output.
As Rob Zombie navigates the pandemic, with hopes to tour behind the new album when it’s safe to do so, he caught up with Heavy Consequence to discuss The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy. The veteran rocker, who is also an accomplished film director, also filled us in on his life during the pandemic, and offered his thoughts on what live shows will be like once the concert industry picks back up.
The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy arrives this Friday (March 12th). Order the album here, and read our interview with Rob Zombie below.
On earlier statements that both he and guitarist John 5 made declaring Lunar Injection the best Rob Zombie album yet
It can be a very hollow statement because everybody says that [when they release a new album] — what are they supposed to say? But I feel the last three records have really been on an upward trajectory. When you have a career that’s long — it started in 1985 — you kind of have peaks and valleys, not just sales-wise or whatever, but just even creativity-wise. You kind of tap into a vein of something, and then that kind of expires and you’re like, “Oh, where are we going now? I don’t want to just like keep repeating ourselves.” And sometimes you get stuck. Even if you’re still making good records, you don’t feel inspired.
The Venomous Rat record was the record that felt re-inspired. It was the record when Ginger Fish joined the band, and it seemed like for the first time we had a solid band. Up until then, there was always somebody coming or going, and it really f**ks with the chemistry of the band. Even if the new person is a great person and they’re an amazing musician, sometimes the chemistry is not there. So, that’s why I think the last three records have really locked into a vein of, “Okay, this is who we are and what we do, and it’s really been working.” So, I think that’s why we felt that way about the new record.
On the timeline of creating the new album
The record has been completely finished for a long time, because what happened was the whole record was completely finished before I made [my latest movie] 3 From Hell. I thought, “Okay, we’re going to finish this record, and then we’ll go on tour” — because movies take so long to get funded and up and running, but then suddenly I had the funding for 3 From Hell. So I’m like, “Okay, I’ll just shelve the album right now.” But we did do some more touring ’cause I did another “Twins of Evil” tour, but I was like, “The tour is just one summer. I don’t want to put out the record. We’re not really there yet. We’ll just, we’ll just hold it.”
And then we were all ready to do a tour and release the record and the whole big thing, and then pandemic hit. So I was like, “Oh crap. Well now we can’t do it.” So we shelved it again, but we had never made an official release date, so no one knew we were shelving it. And then after just being stuck for so long with this pandemic that seems like it’s never going to end, I was like, “Let’s put this out.” People are stuck at home, they’re listening to music. It’s frustrating. I don’t want to sit on this thing for freaking five years. So that’s why we decided to put it out.
On the single “King Freak” and how it might be construed to reference former President Trump
It’s really funny because there’s a bunch of stuff on the record that people are going to think that it has to do with right now. And it doesn’t, especially since the fact that we did it so long ago. Because whatever’s happening now, wasn’t three years ago when we actually wrote the song. I never try to make anything topical about what is happening at the moment, necessarily, even though I’m sure the moment is always affecting the music. How could it not? We’re all living the same reality. Most of us are anyway. Some of us are not living in reality. But whatever stuff’s going on now has always been going on. The world’s always a chaotic mess. I don’t like to even talk about what things are about. I think what’s cool about music is you hear it, you think what you think and let the other guy think what he thinks.
On the musical direction of the new album
Well, it’s all over the place, musically. One of the challenges on this record when [working with] Zeuss, the producer, was trying to make musical elements that shouldn’t fit together, fit together. We’d have a lot of pieces of things — like we’d always have this cool, funky Farfisa [organ] breakdown, then we’d have this heavy part, but then we’d have this kind of like low bass groove. I’m like, “I want to make all these parts fit together into one song.” People really do hear music differently as the time goes on. If you played this record for somebody 20 years ago, they’d go, “This sounds like a big mess, it’s all over the place.” But people’s brains get all over the place.
Just like the first time I heard certain bands, I was like, “This sounds like chaos.” And now you go, “Now that just sounds like catchy pop music. Why did I think it sounded like chaos before?” How we can interpret music changes. And a lot of pop music’s like that, too. It will just switch grooves and switch parts, almost like someone’s just changing the channel on the song. The songs [on the new album] really aren’t that long, but there’s a lot of different parts and structurally they’re kind of complex — but I don’t want them to sound complex. You don’t want anyone to be consciously thinking that when they’re listening,
On how the pandemic has affected him personally, considering he is always busy with a music or film project
It’s always changing. When it first happened, I was like, “fine,” because I’d been packing my schedule so tight. It was almost like someone forcing you to take a break. So I was cool with that. I’m like, “Okay, cool, I can deal with that.” And in the first couple months of it, I was still recording music and coming up with new stuff. For what it was going to be used for, I don’t know. And then after a couple of months of that, I’m like, “What are we doing?” And then I switched to other things. I’ve always painted my whole life, ever since high school. So I really got back into painting because I had a lot of free time to paint. And I did that for a couple of months, paint and paint and paint.
I kind of go through phases. I wrote several scripts, just getting up and writing every day. I was always finding something to keep me occupied, but it would change, because I was like, “OK, I finished another script. What is that for? How many scripts am I gonna write? What’s the point?” So then I’d move on to the next thing. So, yeah, it’s a little cuckoo. I mean, this is definitely the longest I’ve ever been home in my entire life, and not been on the road. I think most musicians, obviously, are in the same place.
On whether he sees an eventual return to normal for live concerts
I think it will be changed for a while. Obviously, I think it’s going to be a while before people feel like, “Yeah, I want to be packed in with 100,000 people [at a festival].” That’s going to be a while before people feel comfortable with that. Then it’ll eventually get back to normal. The big “but” here is that if the world keeps doing what it’s doing to cause these pandemics, it’s not going to get back to normal. Because we’ll get over this one, things will get back to normal, and then there’ll be another one. It’ll happen again. I mean, what happened is really a surprise to no one. You can go back and see interviews with Bill Gates and different people, even Obama talking about it. Everybody knew a pandemic was coming in some form. So my fear is that everybody has a short memory. So once people are vaccinated and life returns, they’ll just do the same and make it happen again.