White Zombie leader Rob Zombie didn't launch his own horror-surf-obsessed
label, Zombie A-Go-Go Records, out of some overpowering rock-star mini-
That's not how he remembers it, at least.
Rather, he was inspired, he said, to launch the label because, one dark and
brooding night out in clubland, he was unexpectedly reminded of just how much
he missed going out to see -- pardon the expression -- live music.
"It was simple and strange, really," Zombie (a.k.a. Robert Straker) said about the
vision that inspired him to create his new label, which will debut June 2 with
albums by L.A.'s the Ghastly Ones (A Haunting We Will Go-Go) and the
Bomboras (Head Shrinkin' Fun). "After the last two-year White Zombie
tour ended in 1996, I came home burnt out and I started going to clubs and bars
and seeing all the kinds of music I missed when we were on tour."
By chance, Zombie said, one night he ended up at L.A.'s Al's Bar as one of 10
people in the crowd for a show by the horror-surf band the Ghastly Ones.
"It was great luck," Norman Cabrea said of Zombie's presence that night at Al's.
Cabrea, 31, who goes by the nom-de-surf Baron Shimmy Shivers, is the lead
singer/drummer for the Ghastly Ones, who also include bassist Sir Go-Go
Ghostly and guitarist Doctor Lehos (whose real names are shrouded in
The Baron said he's known Zombie since meeting him several years ago at an
L.A. art show featuring -- what else? -- cannibal trading cards. But it took the Al's
Bar show to convince Zombie to take a chance and release a single by the
"I've always really liked surf, but they were doing it and taking it to another
place," Zombie said. The tattooed, dreadlocked White Zombie leader, who has
made a career of his fascination with the dark side through his monster-movie
industrial act, said he appreciated the Ghastly One's "monster-surf-Munsters"
"When I was watching them, I just thought, 'Fuck, I should put these guys'
records out!' " Zombie said. A quick look through the song titles on the Ghastly
Ones' CD, a mix of sinister instrumental surf and monster-movie vignettes,
makes the attraction clear. With songs such as
HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Ghastly_Ones,_The/Haulin'_Hearse.ram"> "Haulin' Hearse"
"Haulin' Hearse"(RealAudio excerpt), "Ghastly Stomp," "Lonesome
Undertaker," "Spookmaster" and "Hollywood Nocturne," it's obvious why
Zombie could feel that he had met up with kindred spirits.
While the Bomboras take the horror-surf party in a whole different direction,
Zombie said that he also appreciated their "surf motorcycle movie band" sound.
Fueled by a manic farfisa organ and rolling-thunder guitar riffs, the band makes
good on the promise of its previous, independently released albums such as
the Forbidden Planet EP and Savage Island.
The Bomboras' Zombie A-Go-Go release features songs with titles such as "War
of the Satellites," "Adventures Through Inner Space," "Night of the Bomboras"
and "Mystery Planet." On these and others, the Bomboras mix surf with a touch
of rockabilly and "Plan 9 from Outer Space" wackiness.
That could be enough to make the Zombie want to come back for more.
Speaking of whom, the Ghastly's Cabrea said that label boss Zombie had the
perfect attitude about letting his bands do what they do best. "We spent a
weekend on the record and it has a really stripped-down sound," Cabrea said.
"Rob offers the best of both worlds. He was surprisingly hands-off, because he
said he wanted us to do our own thing and not be influenced by him. But he
also probably wanted to see bands like us push further than the independent-
label scene would let us. That's what's cool about basically being on an
independent label with nobody to answer to but him, which is distributed by a
major like [Zombie's label] Geffen."
Current plans call for Zombie to take the Ghastly Ones out on the road with him
when he launches a solo tour in the fall, following the release of his still-untitled
Around the same time, Zombie said he plans to release the next album on his
label, a ghoulish compilation entitled Halloween Hootenanny. Already
lined up for the 17-band set are fresh tracks from the Bomboras, Southern
Culture on the Skids, the Reverend Horton Heat, Rocket From the Crypt,
Phantom Surfers and the Cramps.
"One of the problems these surf bands have is being on independent labels
where the packaging is really cheap," Zombie said. "I just want to keep this
small and ... high-quality ... on all fronts."