southtownstar
BRISK 
Weather Updates

Rob Zombie headlines Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival

ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MAYHEM
FESTIVAL

♦ 1 p.m. July 27

♦ First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, 19100 S. Ridgeland Ave., Tinley Park, (708) 614-1616

♦ Tickets, $31.50-$85.50

♦ (800) 745-3000; livenation.com

Article Extras
Story Image
Maps

Updated: August 27, 2013 6:08AM



One would have a tough time finding someone who fits the meaning of the word “overachiever” better than Rob Zombie.

He is busy promoting his fifth solo album, “Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor,” the first release on his new label, Zodiac Swan through T-Boy Records/Universal Music Enterprises.

“I love the new record. It’s one of my favorite records in a long time,” he said. “At certain times you feel more inspired and this one’s a keeper, so this is probably the most exciting one I’ve done for myself in many many years.”

The man who first gained fame in the 1990s as the front man of metal band White Zombie with hits like “Thunder Kiss ’65” and “More Human than Human” has been a bigger force since going solo in 1998 when the group officially disbanded.

With chart toppers such as “Dragula,” “Living Dead Girl,” “Feel So Numb” and “Foxy Foxy,” Zombie cemented his spot as a rock icon.

Zombie’s visual style has been captured in the music videos and films he’s directed. His 2012 horror flick, “The Lords of Salem,” is set to be released on Blu-ray in September.

He’s also been busy prepping Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare for Oct. 10-Nov. 2 in Pomona, Calif. If the mix of amped-up haunted houses, musical entertainment and other attractions is successful, Zombie hopes to take the show on the road.

But his current focus is closing each night of Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival as the main stage headliner.

“It’s a blast. It’s really a great tour. It’s a lot of great bands. It’s a really cool feel. I really like how they run the show,” Zombie said. “It’s a great day of so much stuff. There really is a lot of bang for your buck to get all these bands in one place. If you’re a fan of that stuff, you’re never going to get the value for your dollar anywhere but this event.”

Known for tons of production, he said he lives for stunning the audience live.

“It’s pretty overwhelming sometimes. I look out at the crowd and the looks on their faces, it looks like they’re hypnotized,” Zombie said.

“You see their eyes. They are trying to take it all in. You are just visually assaulting them so much that it’s hilarious but it’s good. I want the curtain to drop and people to go, ‘Whoa!’ ”

Zombie has been wowed by one of his fellow main stage performers. “I always like watching Mastodon. I like those guys. They have a really unique sound,” he said of the Atlanta metal and rock band.

The main stage also features Los Angeles heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch, which Zombie called “great.” “Everyone is different from each other on the main stage, which is what I like — a little something for everyone,” Zombie said.

For someone who has sold more than 15 million albums and been nominated for seven Grammy Awards, Zombie is refreshingly not full of himself.

The vocalist with the signature sound said the fans are what make or break a concert for him.

“The show is only as good as the crowd. We do whatever we can to always make every show great,” he said.

“When the crowd is great, that is the difference. That makes all the difference in the world. That’s when you can play a song for 3,000 times and feel like it’s the first time.”

5 MAYHEM MUSTS

Amon Amarth

To those who think the 1990s Swedish melodic death metal scene is dead, Amon Amarth proves the genre has lots of life.

Opening Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival’s main stage is tough. Fans have to rush from the parking lot side stages to reserved seating, but it will be worth it to see this Metal Blade Records group’s set.

Vocalist Johan Hegg, guitarists Olavi Mikkonen and John Soderberg, bassist Ted Lundstrom and drummer Fredrik Andersson are touring behind their ninth album, “Deceiver of the Gods.”

Hopefully Mayhem will bring Amon Amarth the recognition the band deserves.

Machine Head

When it comes to heavy, you can’t go wrong with metal and thrash band Machine Head. Formed in 1991, the Oakland, Calif., group features lead vocalist and guitarist Robb Flynn, lead guitarist Phil Demmel, bassist Jared MacEachern who joined the band in late June, and drummer Dave McClain.

It’s only fitting that Machine Head headline the Jagermeister Mobile Stage as one of the fun aspects of the band’s past shows has been Flynn throwing shots to audience members with remarkable accuracy. With Mayhem being more of an all-ages gig, the focus will still be on fun but more in a headbanging way.

Still touring behind its 2011 album, “Unto the Locust,” Machine Head is writing material for its eighth album, which the Roadrunner Records band could begin tracking before the end of 2013.

Children Of Bodom

One of my absolute favorite live bands, Children of Bodom never fail to disappoint.

Since 1993, this Finnish melodic death metal act has been stunning with the fretwork of guitarist and vocalist Alexi “Wildchild” Laiho. It’s also a treat whenever Laiho and keyboardist Janne Warman trade off in musical duels.

The Nuclear Blast band is rounded out by guitarist Roope Latvala, bassist Henkka Blacksmith and drummer Jaska Raatikainen.

Having released its eighth studio album, “Halo of Blood,” in June, Children of Bodom will hopefully have time as headliners of the Musicians Institute Stage to play some new material as well as old favorites.

Once riffs for “Hate Crew Deathroll” and “Are You Dead Yet?” hit, you can bet fans will be moshing it up in the pit.

Born Of Osiris

It’s great when the local scene is represented on a large tour like Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, so congratulations to metal and Djent band Born of Osiris, which formed in 2003 in Chicago, for landing a side stage slot. Don’t miss the Sumerian Records act consisting of vocalist Ronnie Canizaro, guitarist Lee McKinney, keyboardist Joe Buras, bassist David Darocha and drummer Cameron Losch.

Huntress

Established in 2009, this Highland Park, Calif., melodic death and thrash group is led by Jill Janus, who has a four-octave range and toured Europe as a teenage opera singer. Touring behind its sophomore album, “Starbound Beast,” the Napalm Records act includes guitarists Blake Meahl and Anthony Crocamo, bassist Ian Alden and drummer Carl Wierzbicky.

Jessi Virtusio blogs about everything you need to know about First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre at blogs.southtownstar.com/fmba, where you can read more about Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.