By Thomas Cowley
In a recent interview with TeamRock Radio, frontman and horror icon Rob Zombie spoke about the rock scene and what he believes to be one of the problems with it.
“In the ‘90s, when the grunge rock thing hit, with Nirvava and all that, everybody thought it was cool to be anti-rock star. But in a way they sort of anti-rock starred themselves right out the door, because the rap guys came in and they said, ‘F@#k it. We’ll be the rock stars then, if you guys are gonna wear flannel shirts and stare at your feet.’ And in the U.S., truthfully, rock music has never recovered from that. A whole generation of kids thought, ‘F@#k this! Rock music is boring. Let’s go listen to rap music.’ And it’s never recovered. I mean, over in the U.K. it’s different. You could never throw a festival like [Download] in the U.S. and get this many people, with just rock music. Never.”
While rock shows still sell rather well in the United States, Rob said that even that is a double edged sword in a manner of sorts. “In one sense, you are generating huge sums of money while you’re on the road. But here’s the thing. Say a tour generates $4 million dollars, but it cost you $3,999,999 to stage it.”
When asked where the blame lay Zombie said, “It’s really the fault of the whole industry. When kids go to a big rock show, they expect a big rock show. If they go to see Jewel, they expect to see her with an acoustic guitar and a spotlight. If I did that, kids would scream, ‘What the hell is this?’ In a sense, you could say I created my own hell, but it’s kind of the nature of this business. It’s the same thing with a movie star who’s known for action movies. You can’t make a decent action movie unless you spend at least $150 to $200 million filming it. “
“People come to expect certain things at my shows, and those things are expensive to take on the road. If they are not there, the audience is going to be bummed and might not come back. I’m not complaining boo-hoo about the money. It’s just the nature of it all. It’s expensive to take out a tour with all the production involved. There are crews, buses, hotels and other considerations that go into these shows night after night. Hell, even rock videos started getting insane with the prices directors wanted to charge. It’s hard to get them made for cheap anymore. They are extremely overpriced, and it’s hard to make them nowadays, even harder to get them played. Unfortunately, you still need them into today’s business world.”