White Zombie leader Rob Zombie compared his surprise departure from the upcoming Family Values tour as akin to "a girl break[ing] up with her boyfriend in high school and he goes into the bathroom and writes 'she's a slut' all over the place."
What Zombie was referring to was a harshly worded press-statement released Thursday (July 23) by the Mitch Schneider Organization, the tour's publicity firm, in which it was announced that Zombie was off the tour -- set to begin in September -- because the industrial-metal bandleader was "not exemplifying the community spirit of the trek."
Among the other reasons given for his split with the tour is an alleged misunderstanding as to whether the other members of the currently idle White Zombie would be performing with the singer; there were also allegations that Zombie took issue with performing on the same bill as rapper Ice Cube. Zombie said he was shocked by the news.
"This is all pretty fucked up," said Zombie (a.k.a. Rob Straker), 32, adding that he had been really psyched for the tour and had canceled his own headlining stint in support of his solo debut, Hellbilly Deluxe (Aug. 25), to join Family Values.
Zombie's place will be filled by flame-throwing German industrial-rockers Rammstein. Jeff Kwatinetz, co-producer of Family Values and a member of tour-founder Korn's management company, The Firm, said his company stands by the press release. "It's unfortunate and we have nothing against Rob Zombie personally," he said.
The press release, which announced Zombie's departure from the tour, stated that representatives for The Firm felt that Zombie did not have the same "level of cooperation and excitement" as the other bands. It said the dreadlocked frontman objected to elements of the production design as well as to a press-conference launch of the tour.
Additionally, it reported that Zombie, speaking through his manager, had repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with the idea of touring with a hip-hop act on the bill, with his management allegedly lecturing The Firm on several occasions that "rock kids don't like hip-hop."
"I had no problem with anybody on that tour," Zombie said. "I've never even met or talked to any of those guys. The stuff about the hip-hop artists is just bizarre because I've always said in interviews that White Zombie is a combination of things I'm really into, from [rap act] Public Enemy to [heavy-metal act] Slayer. It's a meld of everything and it's ridiculous to say the two worlds don't go together. I just don't get it. Why would I have done that Puffy remix [of "It's All About the Benjamins"] if I didn't like hip-hop?"
The Family Values tour, a hard-rock arena-tour hatched by thrashers Korn and The Firm, is slated to feature sets from Korn and such like-minded hard-rock acts as Limp Bizkit and Orgy, the dark synth band that is the first signing to Korn's label, Elementree Records. Also on board for the tour is another Firm client, hardcore rapper Ice Cube.
"[Zombie] was certainly given the ability to use his entire production and we bent over backwards for him, but that's the past and now [he's] not on it," Kwatinetz said, adding that he and Korn were excited to have Rammstein on the bill.
One assertion that Zombie did not refute was that he had objected to elements of the production design. The singer said that when he signed on to the tour, he did so with the understanding that he would be able to do his full, effects-heavy stage show.
As to a claim that The Firm initially believed that they would be getting the full White Zombie experience and not the Rob Zombie solo project, the music of which the press release termed "substantially less attractive," Zombie said that was patently untrue. "I don't know what the managers were saying to each other when I wasn't there, but we've been in negotiations for months and they heard my record."
"Bands always get along and they just try to have fun," Zombie said. "It's the managers in the back room trying to make as much money as possible that's the problem. This press release was just a shock to me. I'm depressed by it because it says I'm someone I'm not."
Instead, Zombie said he would be putting his own tour together to coincide with the release of his album. The approximately 30-date Family Values tour will launch in late September.
Meanwhile, Korn's upcoming album, Follow the Leader, which features cameos from Limp Bizkit singer Fred Durst and Ice Cube, will be released on Aug. 18.