How much evil is too much evil? Fans will find out starting Wednesday (July 11) when industrial horror rocker Rob Zombie and his goth brother-in-severed-arms Marilyn Manson kick off their 30-date Twins of Evil: The Second Coming Tour. The combo makes perfect sense on paper: they share a manager, both delight in all things macabre and neither has ever been accused of holding their tongue in the studio or on stage.
“It’s one of those things we always knew we would do again,” Zombie tells Billboard, swatting away what he calls the lingering fake news about alleged bad blood between the two. Those stories stem from a widely reported back-and-forth the pair had on the first date of their original Twins of Evil co-headlining tour in 2012 when they argued about set times and Manson threatened to beat Zombie up. It was nothing, Zombie says, noting that they went on to finish the tour without incident and take it to Europe before deciding to re-boot it in 2018 after a break in their busy movie and music schedules finally allowed them synch up again.
The reason for the sequel is shockingly simple. “We’re both from the same mindset of putting on a rock show,” says Zombie, 53, who has been churning out blood-dripping hard rock for more than three decades as part of White Zombie and as a solo act. “We’re both rock stars. We were never from the world of guys in cargo shorts staring at our shoes.” And not for nothing, he says that even though he and Manson, 49, are not “brand new acts,” they have managed to continually sustain a vibrant, young fanbase at a time when acts their age (and older) typically see graying audiences. “We have our old, established fans, but there’s always a new wave of fans also, which is cool.”
But how do those teens and twentysomethings find his music? Zombie points to YouTube, which he says helps make “the timeline of everything confusing. They’ll watch a brand new video and then one that is 20 years old… they don’t understand the timeline, so it all becomes the same,” acknowledging that neither he nor Manson have ever marketed themselves as “we’re young and we’re cute!”
Not only do their fanbases mesh in a darkly symbiotic way, but Zombie’s band features two key players who used to be in Manson’s group, guitarist John 5 — who’s been with Zombie for 14 years — and drummer Ginger Fish, who joined not long after. Plus, the dreary duo have some new joint music to share that should make their audiences groan with joy.
A few months ago Zombie and Manson got together in Los Angeles to talk about the tour and hang out and Zombie suggested they should record something to celebrate the reunion. Because Zombie is not typically one to collaborate with other artists, he says the goal was to avoid just picking a song to jam on during the shows. “I said, ‘let’s really figure out something,'” he says. And the answer was so obvious he’s surprised they hadn’t thought of it years ago.
The pair settled on a cover of The Beatles’ legendarily gloomy 1968 song “Helter Skelter,” one of the group’s grimiest-ever tracks and one that serial killer Charles Manson used to rev up his clan of murderous followers in an attempt to spark a race war. Of course the Zombie-fied track they came up with is even darker, slower and more punishing, perfectly meshing their signature doom-laden vocals and down-tuned guitars for a modern goth pop classic. “I think it’s cool because we dirtied it up, slowed it down and made it even heavier and groovier, but still true to the song,” he says. And while he’s not sure they’ll perform it together every night on tour, he thinks when they do fans are definitely going to dig it.
Check out the “Helter Skelter” cover and tour dates below.
Rob Zombie & Marilyn Manson summer 2018 tour dates:
July 11 – Detroit, MI @ DTE Energy Music Center
July 14 – St. Louis, MO @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
July 15 – Chicago, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
July 17 – Cuyahoga Falls, OH @ Blossom Music Center
July 18 – Noblesville, IN @ Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
July 20 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Veteran’s United Home Loans Amphitheatre
July 21 – Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live
July 24 – Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center
July 25 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Keybank Pavilion
July 26 – Toronto, ON @ Budweiser Stage
Aug. 1 – Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore Charlotte
Aug. 2 – Myrtle Beach, SC @ House Of Blues Myrtle Beach
Aug. 4 – Columbus, OH @ Express Live!
Aug. 5 – Louisville, KY @ Palace Theater
Aug. 7 – Wantagh, NY @ Northwell Health At Jones Beach Theater
Aug. 8 – Mansfield, MA @ Xfinity Center
Aug. 9 – Camden, NJ @ BB&T Pavilion
Aug. 11 – Hartford, CT @ The Xfinity Theatre
Aug. 12 – Darien Lake, NY @ Darien Lake Amphitheatre
Aug. 14 – Atlanta, GA @ Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood
Aug. 16 – Dallas, TX @ Starplex Pavilion
Aug. 17 – Austin, TX – Austin360 Amphitheatre
Aug. 18 – Woodlands, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Aug. 20 – Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center Arena
Aug. 22 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Usana Amphitheatre
Aug. 24 – Chula Vista, CA @ Mattress Firm Amphitheatre
Aug. 25 – Las Vegas, NV @ MGM Grand Garden Arena
Aug. 26 – Phoenix, AZ @ AK-Chin Pavilion
Aug. 28 – Concord, CA @ Concord Pavilion
Aug. 29 – Irvine, CA @ Fivepoint Amphitheatre