Rob Zombies go-to example to communicate his disgust for the food industry is Dannon Yogurt. The dairy behemoth, which manufactures products linked to increased risk of breast cancer, has run campaigns with the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Its like Marlboro sponsoring the Lung Society or something, he says emphatically.
The theatrical heavy metal mainstay-turned-slasher auteur thinks about these hypocrisies a lot. He thinks about food corporations and all the ways theyre screwing over regular consumers like you and me and him. Its no big revelation. None of us are walking around with the impression were eating happy chickens who lived a good life or super-fresh, chemical-free berries picked by well-paid laborers. But we dont really like to dwell on it. Most people are, like, I dont wanna think about it, Zombie says. But I cant live my life not wanting to think about something. You gotta stop and think about things. Because youre alive.
So he thinks, and he also does: A vegetarian since the age of 18, he went full vegan nine years ago, after a random breakfast of eggs just repulsed him too much to bear. He and his wife work with PETA to fight animal abuse, and have rescued six goats that they now care for on their farm in Connecticut. It all sounds pretty mellow, but if you frame it the way Rob Zombie does, it becomes kind of metal: All this, as he sees it, is in service of resisting what Americas corporate overlords would have you believe: That you need dairy, that you need meat, that you need them to live a normal life.
Zombie, whos releasing his seventh album next month, joined GQ to talk about how he cut out all that bad stuff, staying in shape for tours, and why hes never been interested in destroying his body.
GQ: Youve been a vegetarian and then a vegan for nearly a decade now. What led you to cutting out meat?
Rob Zombie: The vegetarian thing started when I was in high school. I never really liked eating meat. Whenever I was served pork chops or something it would just taste awful to me. We're all brainwashed from the moment we're born that all the cows are happy and the pigs are happy and everybody's so happy and it's all Old McDonald Had a Farm. And then I saw a movie that was the first time I really saw how brutal and disgusting factory farming was. That's when I was, like, "I'm done."
Over the years I would eat cheese or put some creamer in my coffee or something. It was about nine years ago that I was eating eggs for breakfast. And I was just, like, "This is disgusting and I'm done." And that was it. I've been 100% vegan since that moment.
Until the last few years the food industry hasnt been super accommodating to non-meat or dairy eaters. Did you find it difficult to find food you liked?
It was challenging. Vegetarian is easier, because you can still have scrambled eggs or pizza. Once I went vegan, it was, like...now there's nothing to eat. Every day it gets easier, and every day the food gets better. Veggie burgers used to be like tasteless hockey pucks, and now they're so delicious.
Where do you stand on fake meats like the Beyond Burgerdo you like that stuff or are you more into exploring what can be done in new ways with vegetables?
It's transitional. When you first change you're, like, Oh, I'll have the fake ham and the fake baloney or the fake hot dogs, because this is what you've been trained your whole life to think of as food. But as time goes on, my wife and I were, like, Eh, we're sick of all the fake sandwiches. Your tastes change and what you consider healthy changes. But it is a process, and if someone tries to go hardcore instantly they might fail. It's like if you've never worked out before and you go, "I'm gonna work out three hours every day!" Why don't we just start with two? See if you can survive that. Ease into it, friend.
What do you like to eat?
My wife is an excellent cook, which makes my life easy. Every day we eat the exact same breakfast. I've always been like that, I could eat the same meal every day and never get bored of it. We have oatmeal, toast, and fruit. And I have coffee.
Lunch always varies. There's a lot of decent frozen vegan stuff if we're in a hurry, like frozen burritos or pad thai or different pasta dishes. Sheri's very good at making these super-elaborate salads. Salad used to be awful iceberg lettuce and a tasteful tomato. That's why so many people don't care about vegetables, we grew up eating vegetables that had no taste. When you get good vegetables that are prepared right, they're super delicious.
We have a pretty big garden, and when you get stuff directly from your garden, you're, like, woah. I didn't realize the taste could vary that much. We also have a lot of peach trees.
Do you drink at all?
All I ever drink is coffee and water. And we love juicing, so we have particular green drinks well make.
In an old interview you mention veganism was really big with a lot of punk rock musicians, like Geezer and Bill Ward of Black Sabbath. Why do you think that is?
So much of punk rock was about fighting the establishment, fighting the norms, fighting the path that's been laid out for you by corporate America telling you how you're supposed to think and how you're supposed to be. Veganism is exactly the opposite of that. It is anti-establishment. It's becoming more of an established thingevery day some new chain like McDonald's or Burger King starts working a sandwich into their repertoire, because they can see the meat industry has an unsustainable future.
Once you make these decisions, you can't help but learn more about it. And every day you uncover what an evil industry everything is. Dairy is the leading cause of breast cancer, yet Dannon is a big sponsor of the pink ribbon walks. It's like Marlboro sponsoring the lung society or something. And you just realize, oh, this is one giant brainwashed lie we're fed from the moment we're born. You have to uncover each layer of the sham. Most people are, like, "I don't wanna think about it!" I know you don't wanna think about it. It's horrible. But I can't live my life not wanting to think about something. You gotta stop and think about things. Because you're alive.
Do you think it's concerning or promising that veganism is getting folded into bigger establishments?
I think it's good. I wouldn't eat at McDonald's or Burger King no matter what they were selling, but if I lived in the middle of nowhere and the only veggie burger were at McDonald's that's different.
You also work with PETA to rescue abandoned goats on your farm. How did that start?
The goat rescue really started with my wife, Sheri [Moon]. There were three goats that needed a place to go that were fairly close to our farm on the East Coast, and we got them. We've been working with PETA for a while so they'll contact us: "Oh, we've found this goat, it's in a horrible place, can you take this one?" and we'll take it. That's how it's been going down.
Sometimes they're just like giant dogs that are a little more dangerous 'cause they have horns. You wanna pick them up and hug them, but you don't wanna get impaled either. At this point we only have six. We like to get one or two at a time so they can acclimate. It's like when you get a new cat and the other cats are, like, "Well, what's this cat all about?" You wanna have the harmony amongst them. Usually they're coming from someplace awful. They're skittish or nervous or afraid.
We have this one goat, the tiniest one, it's this tiny black goat, and it has one missing hoof because some guy had it chained up in the backyard with pitbulls and it got stuck in a fence, which ripped its hoof off. So that goat's not afraid of anything. It's, like, I've seen worse than this.
Does your schedule need time to help care for the goats?
Not really. I'm awake before they are. I usually get up when its dark, between 4:30 and 5:30, to write and do work early in the morning. Most of the time when I get up my dog looks at me, like, Seriously, man? So early.
I don't let the goats out of the barn 'til the sun comes upthey wouldn't want to get up anyway and you have to be careful about predators. But I have an earlier schedule than the animals.
Do you exercise?
I used to like to run a lot. I have one knee that's kinda messed up, so now I'll do the elliptical. I'll do that for an hour every day. Then I lift weights and stuff until I get bored, maybe half an hour or so. I used to do yoga, but I got sick of that.
That's all to maintain yourself so when a tour comes up you're not destroyed. And then on the road, a show is a 90-minute sweat fest in itself.
Heavy metal as a career is not exactly gentle on the body. Has your lifestyle over the years changed in response to the tragedies some metal idols have faced?
I never really thought about it. I never understood the idea of destroying yourself for the public's amusement. It's always been, like, "I want all my rockstars fucked up and crazy!" Hey, good for you, but destroying myself is not exactly my idea of a good time for your entertainment. I wanna be in as good a shape as possible so the show can be as good as possible. What goes on backstage is irrelevant. There's a tipping point. You can kind of trash yourself for a while...and then all of a sudden you see everyone hit the wall.
Did you have that moment of hitting a wall or have you never opted into the backstage rockstar cliche?
I never cared about that. My thought on it was, didn't we already do this? Does every generation have to rediscover heroin as their cool rock 'n' roll drug? Didn't we figure this out with Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix? I'm very happy to learn from other people's mistakes.
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Go here to see the original:
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