Year in Music 2017

Rob Zombie Plots Next Album, Talks 'Lords of Salem' Horror Movie

ROBERT BARTLEH CUMMINGS (a.k.a. Rob Zombie)

He may not get to it for a while with a new film project looming, but Rob Zombie is starting to hatch plans for his next album.

Zombie tells Billboard.com the and guitarist John5 have already begun talking about the follow-up to last year's "Hellbilly Deluxe 2," with expectations that "it will probably be the best record we've done in a long time. After I broke away from the music for a while and came back when John joined, it's been like this weird rebuilding process. But I feel like this year we've really kind of brought the band back to where it needs to be, so I really feel like, even though we haven't done anything yet, the next record is going to be a special one."

Zombie says both he and John5 "are always working on stuff, slowly," and he predicts the extended gestation period will benefit the album once the group -- which now includes former Marilyn Manson drummer Ginger Fish -- hits the studio. "I used to really conceptualize albums far in advance," Zombie explains. "It wasn't like, 'Go write a bunch of songs...' We would really plan things out in advance, and that's sort of what we're doing now. So I'm excited. I've got to hold my excitement because I've got a lot of stuff to do before I get to it, but I'm excited to do it."

Zombie will be spending the first part of the summer on tour, staring with a short California-Nevada run on May 25 in Ventura before going to Europe in June and July and then an 11-date Hell on Earth Tour with Slayer that begins July 20 in Reading, Pa. "We've been friends with Slayer for a long time," Zombie notes. "They're fun, nice guys. It makes it easy; we're all basically the same age, we've all been doing it for a long time, we all know the same people. It's just fun."

After Hell on Earth, Zombie will be focusing on "The Lords of Salem," a horror film he wrote and will direct about 20 innocent people burned as witches during the 18th century that return to Salem to get their revenge.

"I'm very excited about this one," Zombie says of his sixth feature and the follow-up to 2007's "Halloween II" and 2009's animated "The Haunted World of El Superbeasto." "It's a very different film. It's more of a slow, psychological burn as opposed to a physically violent kind of movie." His special effects crew has already started working on the project, and with casting and location scouting on the horizon, Zombie expects filming and production to last into 2012.

Meanwhile, Zombie has been busy with other directing duties. He recently rode heard on "Tom Papa: Live in New York City" for Comedy Central, which is Papa's first-ever stand-up special, and he directed a TV commercial for Woolite detergent, which was filmed in Vancouver after his recent Australian tour.

"I just wanted the experience of doing something like that," Zombie says of the latter. "I don't know if I'll do more commercials, but I always like to do one of anything so I know what it's about. Anything like that I always find interesting because you always learn something, and you want to have as many skills that you can bring to anything as possible."