Monday, October 18, 2010

Living Dead Girl

Once a year, a well known LA radio station called KROQ has a huge summer festival called the Weenie Roast. In the 80's and 90's, the station was not syndicated, rather a cutting edge station that showcased new talent. NOT POP. Anyway, I loved to work these shows as a lighting technician. The line up was always great and everyone treated the whole gig like a giant party. Not sure of the exact date of this particular concert, but the year was 1991 because White Zombie's La Sexorcisto had just come out. I was in the height of my goth years and I looked scarily pale. (I don't hide that I was also struggling with an intense drug addiction, which also contributed to the paleness.)

This year, Skinny Puppy and White Zombie were the headliners. A few hours before the show Ogre was on the stage with me working out some lighting kinks… It takes a bit to get the lights "just so" when a singer is going to cover themselves in cows blood… I love Ogre. I don't know him well, but in my experience, he is a funny and generous guy as well as a consummate performer. I have a background in theatre lighting so it was really easy to the the lights right. (FYI, this was before everything in lighting design became completely computerized.)

Once we had things set, Ogre was telling me about this new band, White Zombie. Rob was the talk of the town back then, with his animal prints, DayGlo, dreds, and crazy-ass top hats. Not to mention he had an amazingly talented female guitarist, Sean Yseult. Ogre thought I should meet him as we liked similar things. (Even now, Thunderkiss 65 is still one of my all time favorite songs.) In Rob's early days as a singer, his brand of talk/rap/singing was very cutting edge. We walked backstage and found Rob talking to his then new girlfriend (Sheri Moon, now Sheri Moon Zombie). He was taller than I expected and much friendlier too. Introductions were made all around, but when I reached out to shake his hand, he looked down at my hand and then back up to my face. Smiling he took my hand and shook it oh so gently, and said, "You aren't a Zombie are you? I was worried your arm would fall off if I shook it too hard."
At the time I overreacted (cuz I NEVER do that!!) and told him to fuck off. Rob seemed confused, adding, " You are really really pale."
I was a different person then, but truthfully I think I was a bit confronted by the truth of the matter…soooo I just stood there unblinking. Ogre shrugged and we moved along. I remember being really annoyed and, after all, I didn't tell Rob his dreds smelled like a wet dead dog.

To "get even" I used a ton of lime green color during their set, which is a nono when lighting pale-complected people. Sadly I heard that Rob loved the macabre effect that Synde designed. VINDICTIVE FAIL.

The next night I began to tone down my look and within a year put and end to a very horrible chapter in my life. An addiction had been permanently put to bed. So yes, Rob's insightful and " humorous" comments did the job.

Years later I found out that my very close friend Jodie had been working for Rob all along. So we all hung out a bit, and Rob is still a funny guy. I am not a huge fan of his solo career or his movies, but his visual imagery is full of win. I retold him the story and he didn't remember anything except the green light… Funny, that...

I got nothing to say I ain't said before
I bled all I can, I won't bleed no more


  1. Cool story! Two important things I got from it: 1. Brutal honesty hurts, but can change lives, and 2. Sometimes innovative ideas happen accidentally. I'd love to learn how to control stage lighting and A/V effects better. Even just a little bit would set us apart from other bands. It seems like its almost completely over-looked by bands at my small level. But the bands that have done their own lighting have really stood out to me, even if it's just a couple small lights. Most small clubs do very little if any lighting. I love Rob Zombie's live visual effects these days. I've been wanting to come up with a simple way to have lighting and A/V going on. I had a projector for a while that I used to play videos as an intro and during the set while we tune-up... and during songs it would just be a still image like a banner. That was really cool, but the projector was blowing hot air on stage (and that's MY job). Anyways, thanks for sharing your story. - Dusty

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  3. Glad that Rob's comments had an impact! :)

    We used to call that Monkey Vomit Green and only used it to be annoying. LOL

    (reposted to correct stupid spelling mistake)

  4. Funny, but when I think of Rob, I think of lime green—like the cover of Hellbilly Deluxe. You had a hand in shaping his visual imagery!

  5. Yeah, the thing is, Rob's been using that green lighting shtick *ever since*, so it's now an inescapable part of his whole image. Even the album he did right after that (Astro-Creep 2000) has the entire band in green. It's such a weirdly unnatural visual stylistic choice that it's exactly the kind of thing he'd jump on and embrace. I can just imagine him thinking "Shit, it's like we're being lit like a Mario Bava or Dario Argento movie!" So you unwittingly tapped into something that would come to be a defining motif of his.

    I remember getting the promo of La Sexorcisto back before it came out, and thinking that this was going to be the Next Big Thing. My first reaction was "this is what it would be like if Al Jourgensen (Ministry) actually got to produce Metallica" (he'd said something about wanting to at some point right around then). It took 'em a few years after that, but they did pretty much get there. Rob's always impressed me with how much all of his work -- visual and recorded -- seems to part and parcel of the same thing. His artwork sounds like his music looks. I can't explain or excuse the Halloween movies, though. And I'm in one!

  6. Aleck- I know weird!! Can I tell you how much I love Al!!
    He is such a smart talent crazy fucker. I think I might have to write about him very soon!! Just saw him on Friday!!!

  7. Waittaminute! You saw Al on Friday??? Jealous = me. One of my big regrets is never seeing Ministry live back when the whole incestuous Wax Trax scene would do those big 30-people-on-stage-at-once shows. I've loved Al since the days of Land of Rape & Honey and Skinny Puppy's Rabies LP.

    By the way, if you ever speak to Al, could you ask him if this is him doing vocals in this commercial? (This would be back in his faux-British accent/Arista "With Sympathy" days.) This is bugging the hell outta me.