Even as his second feature film, "The Devil's Rejects," is due to open Friday (July 22) in U.S. theaters, Rob Zombie is thrilling fans with a summer return to his music career. The hard rock artist-tu

Even as his second feature film, "The Devil's Rejects," is due to open Friday (July 22) in U.S. theaters, Rob Zombie is thrilling fans with a summer return to his music career. The hard rock artist-turned-filmmaker has a second-stage slot on the Ozzfest 2005 tour, which kicked off last week in Boston.

"Really, the movie was done and this just was something to get away," Zombie tells Billboard.com. "Had Ozzfest come up a couple of weeks earlier, I wouldn't have been able to do it because I would have been still working on the film. But now, my summer is wide open so rather than just sit around and do nothing, I thought it would be just basically fun."

Zombie doesn't discount the promotional benefits of touring with Ozzfest at the same time his latest horror film is in theaters. "Oh yeah, of course," he says. "It provides me with a really great outlet that most people wouldn't have. There is in a sense I think the fans of Ozzfest are definitely the same people who would go to see a horror movie."

Despite having a new album nearly completed and due out in early 2006, Zombie is avoiding any unreleased material onstage, instead focusing on his solo and White Zombie past. Purposely choosing the chaotic setting of the second stage area over a main stage performance offer, Zombie is dusting off such obscure material as White Zombie's "Electric Head" and "Blood, Milk and Sky," which have not been performed in more than a decade.

Zombie's last studio album was 2001's "The Sinister Urge" (Geffen/Interscope), which debuted at No. 8 on The Billboard 200. The set, which spawned top 15 singles in "Feel So Numb" (No. 10), "Never Gonna Stop" (No. 11) and "Demon Speeding" (No. 13) on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart, has sold more than 1 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

His 2003 career retrospective "Past, Present & Future," also featured the previously unreleased songs "Girl on Fire" and "Two-Lane Blacktop," the latter of which peaked at No. 39 on the Mainstream Rock tally.

Following a three-year hiatus from the concert stage -- during which he wrote and directed the 2003 film "House of 1000 Corpses," as well as "The Devil's Rejects" -- Zombie says his return to live performance has been gratifying. "It's great," he says. "The only thing I can relate it to is if you are an athlete and you haven't been able to play your sport for three years. That's what it's like getting back out, an experience that nothing else in normal life can ever replicate."

The nearly 40-year-old alternative metal visionary is packing in as many concerts over the next six weeks, including over a half a dozen solo dates during Ozzfest's off days.

"The headline show for fans is the best because we play the most material and it's a very stripped down show," Zombie says. "I've always found for myself as a fan of bands that have big shows, like Kiss or Alice Cooper, when I've seen them in a stripped down scenario, it's always become my favorite show because it's physically the most up close and personal you're ever going to get."

That said, Zombie's return to the stage appears to be short lived. With plans to begin his third feature film project in the fall, one he says will be decidedly different style than previous efforts, could this be his last tour?

"You never know," Zombie says. "There have been many tours where it felt like it may be the last tour so I can never predict that."