When you pick up the phone to interview Rob Zombie, you cross your fingers and hope a ghoulish caricature will be on the other end.
Alas, he is a regular person, no more human than human except perhaps in his tireless work ethic.
Press time was all business for Mr. Zombie, who’ll make his grand return to Columbus as the Sunday headliner at Rock on the Range. Although his personality was regular-sized, he promised the stage show he’ll be bringing to Crew Stadium is as gargantuan as they come — even bigger than the tour dates with Megadeth that sandwich the festival set.
“We’re bringing bigger production for Rock on the Range,” Zombie said. “I mean, all the shows will be big. That one’s just extra big.”
Zombie has become known as much as a filmmaker as a musician for writing and directing horror flicks including “The Devil’s Rejects” and a pair of “Halloween” sequels. His latest effort, “Lords of Salem,” features witches coming back to terrorize the people of modern-day Massachusetts centuries after the notorious witch trials.
After spending early 2012 making “Lords of Salem,” Zombie feels like he’s on vacation now that he’s back in music mode.
“Making movies is by far the hardest. Going on tour is easy,” Zombie said. “Going on tour can be physically tiring at times, but it’s fun. It’s easy. Making movies is fun, but it’s very, very difficult. When you’re shooting the hours are exhausting. You never sleep. It’s a much more intense experience.”
Has all that time behind the camera influenced Zombie’s highly theatrical stage show? In his mind, no; music and movies occupy separate mental real estate.
“Maybe subliminally I’m breaking the show into a three-act structure,” he speculated.
In keeping with the mental wall between disciplines, he has never considered making movies about the characters in his songs, so don’t hold your breath waiting for “Dragula: The Movie.” But definitely expect to hear “Dragula” the song on Sunday. Although Zombie and his band are headed to the studio June 1 to begin recording the follow-up to 2010 album “Hellbilly Deluxe 2,” their Rock on the Range set will be heavy with hits and fan favorites dating back to Zombie’s tenure with White Zombie.
“There won’t be any new songs because we haven’t finished any of them yet,” Zombie said. “I don’t really think anybody wants to go to a festival and hear new songs, anyway.”