What happened that night is that the crowd went nuts for a show that should've been held in a suitable venue like the neighboring Col Ballroom or the Palmer Auditorium (where ZOMBIE would play on their return to Davenport in May of 1995 alongside MELVINS and REVEREND HORTON HEAT), and during that chaos, pieces of metal and wood rained down from the balcony as many below where ripping the bolted seats from the concrete floor and creating room for a mosh pit where there was none. There, Bassist Sean Yseult offered my friend and I cans of Coke, while we discussed the evening with Guitarist J. Yuenger, who prior to the show spent time with us in a lobby bathroom, shooting an interview for my cable access show (pictured from a screenshot I found online). When booked, that interview was supposed to feature the entire band, but for whatever reason, it landed solely with J. - who did a fantastic job fielding questions from a couple of novice kids amidst the flushing toilets. In that aftermath, enigmatic frontman ROB ZOMBIE had already retreated to the bus... and in the hours prior to the show was equally reclusive, passing by for just a fleeting moment. But this was a band that had been touring in support of LA SEXORCISTO: DEVIL MUSIC, VOL. 1 for nearly two years, and the strain was showing.
I managed to catch WHITE ZOMBIE one more time when they came back through town, and by the next time I'd hear "More Human Than Human" performed live, it would be on ROB ZOMBIE's solo tour in support of his HELLBILLY DELUXE album. As I'd moved in-and-out of the entertainment world over the years, I wasn't always as "connected" to things, but I'd seen ZOMBIE several times, with a few different lineups.
It would be 2009 before I'd see Rob once more.
During my stint with FANGORIA as Director of New Media (and as a writer), I'd been covering the production of Zombie's directorial effort, HALLOWEEN II on a near-daily basis as news and photos rolled in for the website. I'd become friendly with JESSE DAYTON, who'd previously collaborated with Zombie on music for THE DEVIL'S REJECTS (the country-style BANJO & SULLIVAN tunes), and was appearing in HALLOWEEN II as "Captain Clegg" of CAPTAIN CLEGG & THE NIGHT CREATURES. In support of the film, a full-length album, ROB ZOMBIE PRESENTS: CAPTAIN CLEGG AND THE NIGHT CREATURES was released in August of that year, and that Fall, ZOMBIE took CLEGG on the road as his opening act.
When the ZOMBIE tour hit Las Vegas on October 30, 2009 - they were playing the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Casino Resort. I was there, as I was working a Fango event with SLIPKNOT that was taking place in the very same building. While I caught up with Dayton prior to his gig as "Clegg" (even ending up in a quick shot on a later DVD release), again, I missed Rob - despite having about a 10-second "hello/goodbye" introduction to his manager, Andy Gould while I was on the way to a meeting. About a month later, I'd reconvene with Dayton and the CLEGG gang again when the tour hit the Aragon ballroom in Chicago on November 22. Once again, I didn't cross paths with Zombie himself, but I did get to meet the rest of the band at the time.
Fast-forward to July 19, 2014 - this past Saturday night.
Back in Iowa, where I lived from 1992-1996, my former classmates were attending our 20th High School Reunion. I'd started my day by coaching my daughter's Pee Wee Baseball Game from 11-1, and then headed over to Austin's Fuel Arena at the Lake County Fairgrounds for a show that would temporarily halt my self-imposed hiatus from photographing concerts.
There was something just oddly appropriate about seeing ROB ZOMBIE perform ten minutes from my home on the night my 20th High School Reunion was taking place... 20 years after I first saw Zombie perform live on that eventful night back in Davenport. Yet again, I didn't actually meet the man whose music I've been following for over two decades, but I did get to photograph him from just a few feet away for the very first time.
ROB ZOMBIE | Setlist, July 19, 2014, Grayslake, Illinois
- "Teenage Nosferatu Pussy"
- "Living Dead Girl"
- "Dead City Radio"
- Ginger Fish Drum Solo
- "More Human Than Human"
- "Sick Bubblegum"
- "House of 1000 Corpses"
- "Meet the Creeper"
- "Am I Evil" (Diamond Head)
- "Never Gonna Stop"
- "Thunder Kiss '65"
- "School's Out" (Alice Cooper)
- "American Band"
And how many people made it out to Grayslake? Take a look...
ROB ZOMBIE is taking a break right now, but is expected to hit the road on another run of dates this September. Check out his official site for details, and get updates on his latest film, "31" which is in pre-production right now, by signing up on his homepage.