Rob Zombie: An Unorthodox Champion of American Values

Most people know Rob Zombie as a rock star, film director, and horror enthusiast. He has had a profound effect on American culture, both among the Evangelicals whom he makes nervous, and among the counter-culture, whom he inspires. Yet, his public image aside, Rob Zombie is a champion of of American Values.

Rob Zombie, born Robert Cummings Jr, was born to middle-class parents who, after years working in carnivals, settled down to raise Rob and his brother in the small, suburban town of Haverhill, Massachusetts. The boredom that Rob Zombie endured there pushed him to find escape through countless hours of television, through which he developed his fascination with horror movies.

Not satisfied with being simply a fan, Rob Zombie relentlessly dedicated himself to being part of the culture that he loved so much. Despite unfruitful tenures at New York City’s Parsons the New School for Design and Pratt Institute, Rob Zombie nonetheless broke into the entertainment industry as a bike messenger for Pee Wee’s Playhouse, during which he founded White Zombie, the horror-themed alternative metal band that would eventually go Platinum.

When asked during an interview with if he had a message for his fans, Rob Zombie replied:

Do what you want with your life and don’t listen to anyone. The people around you always try and stop you because they are afraid that you will succeed.

Despite his unorthodox public persona, Rob Zombie’s personal life is surprisingly orthodox. An avowed “ethical vegetarian” since seeing a slaughterhouse film in high school, Rob Zombie has also avoided drug and alcohol abuse. As he puts it, “I certainly didn’t achieve anything by being wasted and f*cked up.” Similarly, his albums (although often laced with graphic imagery) are, with a handful of exceptions, devoid of profanity.

While Rob Zombie has his own strong opinions, he also shies away from imposing them on others. By his own admission, Rob Zombie believes that

“It is best to not discuss Religion or Politics. It always ends in broken noses…because it upsets people to question their faith in things be it Jesus or George Bush. It’s easier to just get angry.”

Rob Zombie’s non-imposing activism was evidenced in a 2007 Thanksgiving message that he recorded for PETA’s holiday hotline in which he praised turkeys, decried Butterball’s slaughterhouse treatment of them, and urged supporters to call Butterball and tell them to stop the torture of “these gentle, smart, and social birds”

In a similarly-minded display of activism, Rob Zombie also encouraged his myspace fans to participate in the electoral process in a non-partisan November 3rd, 2008 blog post:

‘I’m not telling you how to vote. That is up to you. I just thought it would be interesting to hear how you all feel about things. But be smart if you comment. Don’t just start calling each other names. It’s America, so if you really believe in it, then everybody should be heard.”

Rob Zombie is married to Sherri Moon Zombie, his companion of nearly 20 years, and although they have no children, they still espouse traditional, middle-class family values. They welcome trick-or-treaters to their house on Halloween, and they have even toned down their Halloween decor after discovering that it frightened them away.

In Rob Zombie, we have a cultural icon who is a positive American Role Model. In the founding spirit of democracy, he affirms his own beliefs while respecting those of others. He abstains from drug and alcohol abuse while embracing traditional, monogamous relationships. And lastly, Rob Zombie shows us how the power of ambition can help us achieve our dreams, no matter how bizarre they are.



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