Fueled By Death Cast Ep. 149 - ROB FENN RETURNS
ROCK AND ROLL PHOTOGRAPHER - ROB FENN RETURNS
"The Zombie Camp is a bunch of creepy misfits. I mean that in the best way because we've been doing it so long, everyone does their job phenomenal. " Rob Fenn, rock and roll photographer, Cut N Scratch owner
ABOUT ROB FENN:
Rob Fenn returns to the podcast this week. Rob was one of the first guests, appearing on episode 13 in Season 1, and he is in person in the studio this time to catch us up on what he has been up to and some new stuff he is working on. Rob is most widely known for his work as a rock and roll photographer and just finished up chronicling the massive Twins of Evil tour with Rob Zombie and Marylin Manson. I also ask Rob about his barbershop and record store, Cut N Scratch, and how hard it is to run a business while you are constantly on the road.
Speaking of being on the road, Rob is working on a book of anecdotes and stories from countless tours he has been on, to show just how crazy of an adventure life can be. Even though he won't be naming any names in the book, he does tell a hilarious behind the scenes story with Rob Zombie from a recent fan meet and greet.
Jeff: We had you on the show way early on in the show.
Rob Fenn: Episode 13.
Jeff: Episode 13.
Rob Fenn: I want to say that's why that tattoo is, but it's not.
Jeff: It's not. And we started that show talking about you working on Dimevision 2, and I want to say we're actually recording this one on Dime's birthday.
Rob Fenn: We are. Yeah, very cool. Wow.
Jeff: Yeah, so that's pretty cool. Dimevision 2 is out now for everybody who's looking for that.
Rob Fenn: It done very well. It debuted at number three, which 3-3-3 was always Dime.
Rob Fenn: Yeah, very proud of that one. Had a lot of fun working on it when we done the podcast. I think I was in Nashville with Rise Against.
Rob Fenn: I'd just finished Dimevision and went into the studio with Rise, and was sitting in a forest on my cellphone doing my thing. It's nice to be in studio now.
Jeff: Right, right. Exactly. Yeah, I just had to mention that because I know two big Pantera fans here, of course.
Rob Fenn: Oh, Dime was amazing. That's the thing though, nowadays it's like who's the next Dimebag?
Jeff: Who is?
Rob Fenn: Who's the next Rolling Stones? It's crazy. It's nice that people still remember him.
Jeff: That's true.
Rob Fenn: That's the whole, like, when we were doing the video that's the thing, is to keep that memory alive. Because he was such an amazing human. My kid's named after him.
Rob Fenn: It's what I love about music, is that it's an emotion no matter what.
Jeff: For sure. And that kind of brings up a question, actually. Do you think we are in a state of music right now where we are unsure of the next Rolling Stones or the next Dimebag Darrell because the music industry is pulling away from that, or just because we don't have that person yet, or that band?
Rob Fenn: I think the internet fucked us all.
Rob Fenn: I really do. And I know people bitch about that, and I'm a hypocrite because I make my living on the internet.
Jeff: But, I understand.
Rob Fenn: However, bands can't go in the studio now and write an album. Bands can't experience stuff because everything's so fucking instant nowadays. So, to answer the question, I just think we're fucked.
Rob Fenn: I don't think you'll ever see another Rolling Stones or another Dimebag. And there's talented people out there. Unfortunately, talented people don't get seen unless their tits are hanging out and they're giving record deals to some other fucking bullshit.
Jeff: They have a million likes on Instagram or whatever.
Rob Fenn: You look at the asshole in charge right now, he was a reality TV star and now he's running the country. Fuck his stupid shit, but picture it with not knowing who he is. We literally voted a reality TV star into The White House. So, how in the fuck are we even going to get good music? That's the day and age, everyone's on their pocket Jesus, which I call the iPhone. It's just hard to connect in an organic, real way anymore.
Rob Fenn: Look at dating. You got Tinder, you got all that shit. Everything's all this and fake lives. Then you really meet the fucking person and then it was their high school yearbook picture or something three years ago or some shit. It's sad, because we're getting robbed. You guys were just out to the Zombie show, and what I love about RZ is during Thunder Kiss, right before it he tells everyone, "Just give me three minutes without your phone. That's it. Put it away, you can't clap with one fucking hand."
Rob Fenn: And you've seen it. It's like it used to be. It's an energy, and it's a feeling, and it's fucking amazing. And we don't have that anymore. You just don't. You go in these little punk bars that used to be all sweaty, crazy, and bloody and motherfuckers Facebooking.
Rob Fenn: It's sad.
Jeff: Do you think there's anything that could be done? Do you think it's just over forever, or do you think because our generation and the generation under us might revere what isn't anymore? There is no rock god, there is no rock and roll pinnacle like The Rolling Stones or something like that. Do you think that one day maybe we'll revert to that?
Rob Fenn: I do. I don't know when and I hope to fuck I get to see it, or at least my kid does. But, I believe shit goes in cycles. I think we're in that late 60s, early 70s where there was great music but the world was all fucked up.
Rob Fenn: And then we went into disco. So we've kind of seen that with what we've got now. Nothing against pop music. Full disclosure, I have full respect for any artist. Anyone, and I mean all of it. Anyone that wants to be creative, you got my vote. However, I'd kind of like to see some talent. We seen a band last night that we were all excited to see and shit like that, and they started playing, and I'm like, "Jesus fuck. Oh my god, we drank all this booze to wait for this?"
Rob Fenn: So then we went and drank more booze.
Jeff: Yeah, which is all right. I hear you though, I feel like we're in a cycle. I've been saying this on previous podcasts where I've talked to different musicians and stuff like that. I feel that record company-wise, I think we've reverted back to the 50s. I think it's much more the single, the A-side with a B-side, and getting that play as opposed to writing an album, or having a stage show, or whatever. It's really like going in, cutting that one song that's hopefully going to get radio play and all that kind of thing. Which it was like back in the 50s, and I'm hoping that is going to maybe push the record industry in a right direction.
Rob Fenn: Well, I don't think it's the record companies. I'm a little biased because I own one. However, I think that we're so fucked with it because even doing the single, I mean full disclosure, I can pay someone $2500 and get a million spins on Spotify and then say my band's great.
Jeff: Right, right.
Rob Fenn: That's fucking stupid.
Rob Fenn: I don't care how many spins you have or what records you're breaking. It's all bullshit. And as far as radio, and I come from radio, and I love radio, it's fucked. Nobody listens to it anymore.
Rob Fenn: There's nothing. You can't find new music anymore. That's the hardest thing is there's only a few bands that I've just went, "Holy shit." You used to hear something, every Tuesday was like, "Holy shit." And I hate to be the Debbie downer of it because I do love it so much, but, yeah. We're kind of fucked right now. Because there's nothing, you know, that one chick from Dr. Phil got signed that was like... What is she, 14 or 15?
Rob Fenn: I don't know. So don't be bitching to me that I got the fucking age wrong. And that's the other fucking thing. But they sign her to $10 million. But yet they'll take all these baby bands, they'll throw $25 grand at it, hope it sticks, do one single, throw it out. You might get a video, but we don't even have videos anymore because there's no money to pay shit. Everyone will pay a thousand dollars for their fucking phone but you won't go buy your favorite artists' album.
Rob Fenn: It's stupid.
Jeff: Yeah. It's an oversaturation where there is good from that, but there is bad too. I agree, there are things that are in place now like algorithms on YouTube or Spotify that will lead you down a rabbit hole towards new music. But it's not the same as when you had a specific place to go. Whether it was the radio station, late at Tuesday night you know that was going to be slinging that new stuff. Or, turning into MTV late at night in the early days of MTV when they're like, "New stuff is hitting at 10 o'clock. Get ready for it." We don't have that.
Rob Fenn: Welcome to the Jungle aired at the 2 in the morning, once.
Rob Fenn: And then it blew up like a motherfucker.
Jeff: Right, but that was because people knew about it.
Rob Fenn: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jeff: They were like, "I'm going to tune into MTV."
Rob Fenn: Because people were up watching it and wanting it. And that's the thing now, is we don't watch shit anymore. We want to be it. We want to be the famous person.
Rob Fenn: And with all the social media now we think we're friends with these fucking people. You should see the DM's in my phone right now. It's just like, "Are you fucking kidding me?" No offense, but really? You don't really know me. I miss the days when I didn't know an artist. I'm a huge Cinderella fan, Tom Kiefer's the reason I picked up a guitar, the dude can play like no other. I ran into him in a parking lot one day at a show, and to me was one of the greatest moments of my life. I didn't pay any money for meet and greets, I didn't do any of that shit. The dude signed my jacket, I fucking wore that Levi jacket to death and then I cut out his signature. I still have it.
Rob Fenn: So, I think kids get... I just think we're missing out because for example, tell me one band that I should listen to right now?
Jeff: I can't.
Rob Fenn: Sturgill Simpson.
Jeff: Okay, yes. Yeah, but you probably are.
Rob Fenn: Yeah, and I love him. I used to could rattle off a bunch of new ones, I really dig Sturgill, I dig Colter Wall. And this is funny because these are all country people and they're old school country, but when it comes to the rock world there's nothing. I did see... We were doing a festival in Washington, I want to check them out more and they're called Bones U.K.
Jeff: Bones U.K.
Rob Fenn: These two girls, and they just had it. If that makes sense.
Jeff: That totally makes sense. You know it, when you go to a live show and you see especially a band that you've never heard of and they hit that stage, you know when it hits.
Rob Fenn: They had it. And unfortunately whoever was mixing front of house didn't do them any justice, and that's what really sucks is one person can fucking ruin you. But you still knew they had it. It was just the stage presence and they had that rockstar mentality. I fucking miss that. I miss putting people up on a pedestal with music. Like Mick Jagger and Kieth Richards, they're gods. I'd join that fucking church.
Jeff: Yeah, for sure. We were talking actually a little bit off pod yesterday and you brought up something that I thought was very poignant. The mystique of the rockstar is gone.
Rob Fenn: It is.
Jeff: Because we have this all-access. Now, I think on one end of that I think it's cool that a younger generation can see these stars that they idolize and have much more access to them, their struggle, their journey through the industry. I think that is very beneficial, especially if you're looking for that. Not fame, but just navigating that.
Jeff: But the other side of it is you take somebody like Dimebag Darrell, or Zakk Wylde, or people who had this mystique, and you go even farther back then that. Look at like Elvis.
Rob Fenn: David Bowie.
Jeff: David Bowie. All you knew about these people were the very few interviews they did and what you read in Rolling Stone or whatever publication it was. That's it, that's all you had.
Rob Fenn: Rolling Stone, the one publication that trashes every bit of good music.
Jeff: Yeah, yeah, exactly. But you know what I'm saying.
Rob Fenn: No, I get it.
Jeff: Wherever you could consume that, that was the it of it.
Rob Fenn: Yeah but it gave it to you, and the reason I love that is because your imagination. Now when I was a kid with the headphones on in my bedroom playing my guitar, I learned the Cinderella stuff back and forth and then I got into Mr. Big because I thought Paul Gilbert was amazing, and Nuno Bettencourt. I didn't know these people, I knew what I thought of them, I knew what I read, the posters on the wall, and let your imagination believe that these people are just gods. And I think we need that. It's like anything, you need that drive. It's like, "I want to be this, I want to play like this. I want to do this." And nowadays some of these people you go to their Instagram you can see what they ate for fucking dinner.
Rob Fenn: It takes it all away and then people feel entitled, and then they get pissed off when you don't answer them and shit like that. I think it's cool, the connection, but I also think we're just fucked. You can look... One of my favorite shows is American Gods, Neil is one of my favorite humans on the planet. I get to work with him and he's given me the best fucking advice ever, I take it to heart. I should probably tattoo it on my forehead so I can see it in the mirror every day.
Rob Fenn: But he told me, he's like, "Do shit, finish it, send it out. Somebody's going to be drunk somewhere and say yes." And that's how music should be, is stop worrying about, "I got to put out this one single and get a hundred thousand likes." Put something cool out, and throw it out there, and then move onto the next fucking thing.
Rob Fenn: And we can't do that anymore because it's money. You can't make a living when people are stealing your shit.
Rob Fenn: I was in radio when Napster hit and I watched it, I was on Metallica's side the whole fucking time. Everyone's like, "Oh god, well they're rich and don't need the money." It's like, motherfuckers. Here's my example. Nickleback... and I think I talked about this the last time because it's my favorite thing to bitch about when I go to the schools and stuff and say the F-word in front of all those kids. And fuck those kids, they should know better. But Nickleback lost 10 million album sales when Napster hit. They would have broke so many records. Now you times that by $10, you didn't steal that from Nickleback, you stole that from the economy.
Rob Fenn: So, now you don't got all these people that have the big shows, you don't have all the extra stuff. You don't have all the cool stuff. What you do have is, "Hey let me buy an iPhone for a thousand dollars and pay $50 a month, ridiculous. And all this other shit over it." And I can buy a $6 cup of fucking coffee, but I can't buy a $20 album and support the people that are making me feel good, and getting me through the bad times?
Rob Fenn: When I was on tour with Rise, their fans, the coolest thing ever was hearing so many stories how these fans would come up to Tim and them guys and just say, "You saved my life." And I mean legitimately saved their life. And that's what fucking music does, it's a community.
Rob Fenn: And we're losing that community.
Jeff: Yeah. I think on the record side of it too, I think what's been lost ever since the digital age and stuff like that is the collectability. I'm a big collector, I've collector comics my whole life. And I've just actually in the last, let's say, five, six years gotten into the vinyl game and been collecting a lot of old vinyl, and new vinyl, and that kind of stuff. There's something about owning the physical thing, having the physical record is exciting to me.
Rob Fenn: Yeah.
Jeff: Especially if it's a band that I love or even a band that I've never heard of before but the record looks awesome, I'm going to pick that up, I'm going to want to do that. And I think because the digital age kind of come around, a lot of maybe record producers, maybe just companies in general just decided against making that record collectable.
Rob Fenn: I don't know who the fuck was in charge and decided that any of it was a good idea.
Rob Fenn: I remember when Napster hit and then what the record companies should have done... Unfortunately what happened is the artist, radio, and record companies that all work together, all made money together, I got a ton of gold albums and platinum albums from people saying thank you for playing their music and shit. They went their separate ways. They started blaming each other, and they were like, "Oh, fuck you." And then Jobs came in and created iTunes, which is the most horrible fucking thing ever.
Rob Fenn: And the sad thing about it is these record companies, if we would have all stuck together, they could have housed the music on their own servers. The concept of it that they let this company come in and dictate how music was going to be sold now, and then take 30% on each sale.
Rob Fenn: As a business man, I'm like, "That's the stupidest fucking thing I've ever heard of. Why are you going to pay someone to have your competition sitting next to you?" It's like Pepsi and Coke, fucking, the only thing they're going to sell through is this one supermarket that has both. Sell it your fucking self. So I think it kind of all went downhill from there, and everyone got scared, and the money went away. There's no big paychecks anymore. These bands are struggling.
Rob Fenn: They really are. And it's sad because they're not all rich. There's only a handful that's lasted the test of time and stuff like that, but them are the good ones, too. That's my favorite thing is when you see these big stars like RZ and the Stones, they're the greatest people ever because they know what they're doing and they do it for the love of it and nothing else. Rob doesn't perform for money, he performs to fucking perform. He loves it. And that's what I love about him.
Rob Fenn: I want that one band to come up and just fucking do it their way. When me and Rob talk about White Zombie when he started, he's like, "All these bands were doing whatever was cool then. I didn't want to that, I just wanted to do my thing." And he done his thing, and he done okay. He's never away from it. That's why White Zombie aint no more, it's Rob Zombie, is because he kept doing his thing.
Rob Fenn: And people just crucified him when he wanted to go off on his home, they were like, "It aint ever going to work." And fucking Hillbilly Deluxe, Jesus Christ.
Rob Fenn: It done okay.
Jeff: Yeah, a little bit.
Rob Fenn: It sold a couple copies.
Jeff: A little bit.
Rob Fenn: Yeah.
Jeff: Going back to what you had originally talked about, you were saying you saw the rise of Napster. You were in radio at that time, you actually saw the rise of Clear Channel.
Rob Fenn: Yeah, I was part of that monstrosity.
Jeff: And like all of that. Put me as a fly on the wall, could you see the writing on the wall as it was happening or was it a slow kind of change in the industry?
Rob Fenn: It happened fast. So, when I started at KBPI in Denver we were JCore. I loved that station. My boss, Bob Richards, was amazing. We had a great team. Everyone just loved what we do. We were JCore and all the sudden Clear Channel came in and bought us. And Clear Channel wasn't very big, that's the misconception with people. It was a decent size. They merged together, they made it Clear Channel, and we were like, "Oh, cool." We got to build this new studio and stuff, and all that.
Rob Fenn: And then we bought AM/FM. And we bought the outdoor sign stuff, and we just started eating up everything. And I really think it was like an arms race between Citadel, and Cumulus, and Clear Channel. Who could own more? And we just happened to win that thing. Unfortunately what fucking happened is when you're spending a million dollars for a stupid station in Wyoming that's not worth a hundred grand, but you just want that extra notch on your belt, the money starts thinning out.
Rob Fenn: Things are still good when this all happened, but when 9/11 hit is when I really seen it. Because when something bad happens companies get scared and they pull their advertising, which blows my mind. It's like, you're going to pull the communication on Here's My Product? So, I watched our station go from like $50 grand in sales a day to $30 thousand.
Rob Fenn: Which is a huge chunk.
Jeff: Huge chunk, yeah.
Rob Fenn: And then I watched them start laying off everybody, me included. But the problem with it when we got so big is we done this thing called the profit system. I was on 42 different stations doing radio shows. I don't know shit about South Carolina and I was on the fucking afternoon slot. And we took the local out of it. So now it started going to what we have now with the internet, it's like you can send dicK picks to fucking someone in France and shit.
Rob Fenn: And before that you didn't have that access to everybody and that instant... I really think it's bad for us. I think nobody thinks clearly anymore. We were bitching about it the other day, it's like, I'll give you an example. Marijuana's a big thing right now, of legalizing it everywhere. Which, it should just be legalized and then all you motherfuckers shut the fuck up.
Rob Fenn: That's my stance on it, is I don't fucking care anymore. But if you really want it legal, stop having the stupid hippy bitch about it and get a guy in a suit and tie to do it.
Jeff: Which is starting to happen.
Rob Fenn: That's why Colorado got it. The guy was all sharp dressed and done. But Utah, where I live, had it up. It's called Proposition 2. And I'm all for not just medical marijuana, I'm all for all of it. I've got friends that it helps, I don't do it myself because my brain does 90 in neutral. I'm already fucked up enough as it is. But, the bill that was going through was 150 pages. And I'm watching all these people on Facebook and stuff like that, "Oh, we got it." And I'm like, have you even read this motherfucking thing? I don't know what it says yet, but have you fucking read it?
Rob Fenn: And that's our problem, we don't research shit.
Rob Fenn: It's sad, because that's what's hurting us is some asshole can put anything online and then you got 40 other motherfuckers following him. I just don't know where the breaking point's going to be, but one day that shit's going to happen and I hope all you motherfuckers still have electricity because half of you don't even know how to build a fire.
Jeff: That's true.
Rob Fenn: That's the thing is we've turned into this... What's that Disney show, Wall-E? I'm just waiting for the fat people on fucking scooters to run around and shit. I just don't get it.
Jeff: No, it's the fucking truth. And that kind of throws it back in to your journey which we talked about it on the first episode. After leaving radio, didn't really know where you were going to go. You liked photography as a hobby.
Rob Fenn: When I was a kid I had the Kodak cameras and I dug it, and I was always interested in it; but as a living it didn't ever cross my fucking mind, ever.
Jeff: You fell into randomly getting passes to Disturbed and Avenged Sevenfold.
Rob Fenn: Yeah.
Jeff: And the rest is history now. Now being part of Rob Zombie's crew all the time and countless other different bands that you've photographed and toured with, and that kind of thing. I'm so happy that someone with your eye and your sensibility is with someone like Zombie.
Rob Fenn: Oh, thank you.
Jeff: Because like you said, what's amazing about Zombie is that you can tell if you've ever seen him perform even on YouTube or in person or whatever, you can tell that he loves it.
Rob Fenn: Oh, it's 100%.
Jeff: You know?
Rob Fenn: Yeah.
Jeff: And when you get to photograph all of it, not just him on stage but backstage.
Rob Fenn: Oh, that's our favorite. Our James Brown parties are my favorite.
Jeff: Yeah. And all of that, it just showcases that he's one of those few who's doing it for the love of it, exactly why you should get into the business in the first place.
Rob Fenn: Yeah he never got into it to make money. And that's the beauty of it.
Rob Fenn: He was in New York handing out flyers, "Come see my show, come see my show." Him and Moby were friends. It was that time when everything was coming up. With RZ, he's so talented in so many ways. I can't wait for the new movie.
Rob Fenn: September 16, Three From Hell. I'll give him a plug on that because it just picks up right... The Devil's Rejects is one of my favorite movies. Not favorite horror movies, it's one of my favorite movies. I've got the top five, and that's right up there. He's so excited about it, he's like, "I hate to say it's my favorite one because it's the new one coming out." But they just had a great time making it.
Jeff: That's awesome.
Rob Fenn: You see the trailer and it's just fucking unbelievable.
Rob Fenn: And he's one of the few that... We just need to bring back talent. To go back clear to the first of this, what we're missing is talent. It's not making fun of anyone that's playing shit right now and all that. But what I mean by talent is, do your thing. I'm doing these movie projects now and I pick Rob's brain here and there on some stuff. Not like how to do it, but I just love... I'm getting a tattoo today that says, "Kill your idols." Because that's what Rob told me. He's like, "Yeah, just kill your idols and you'll do just fine." And he's right about it. Instead of trying to be them, be fucking better than them. It's not being mean and stuff, it's just that drive and that passion to create cool shit.
Rob Fenn: And with the movies he's always just told me, he's just like, "You got to do your thing. Don't let anybody..." They're always trying to take something cool and turn it into fucking Star Wars. And the movie business is the same way now. You don't have these independent films that are good. Look at True Romance. One of my top five favorite movies ever.
Jeff: Oh yeah.
Rob Fenn: It's fucking remarkable. You couldn't get that made today. At all.
Jeff: Not at all.
Rob Fenn: And it's a cult. They even have where the hotel is, they do it every year, they have a festival. And they sell it out. If you don't buy the tickets... I tried to go last year because I'm like, "Oh, fuck. That'd be cool." No, it sold out the first week. We don't have that.
Rob Fenn: And I'm hoping that comes back. Because I think now we're getting more creative people, but the problem is we don't have organic creative people. People are playing music on a laptop and calling them a musician. And more power to you, the DJ thing's cool and all that shit. However, what the fuck?
Rob Fenn: When we were listening to The Clutch album yesterday, Jesus Christ. That's music. That just moves you. That makes you want to punch babies in the greatest fucking way.
Jeff: I love it.
Rob Fenn: I hope that comes back.
Jeff: I do too, I do too. But you know, it is inspiring to be around someone like Rob Zombie and yourself. Because I mean, with Rob Zombie like you said, with White Zombie he went out and did that because, "This is what I want to do." Same thing when he went solo. Like, "This is what I want to do." And then he's going to make movies, and everybody's like, "Wait, you are going to make movies?" "Yeah, that's what I want to do."
Rob Fenn: They shelved 1000 Corpses.
Jeff: Yeah, I know.
Rob Fenn: He paid for the rest of it and I don't know, it made a couple dollars.
Jeff: Yeah. But going back to the quote that Neil Gaiman told you, "Just do shit."
Rob Fenn: Send it out.
Jeff: Send the shit out.
Rob Fenn: Somebody's drunk somewhere.
Jeff: Someone's going to fricking do it. And you're the same way. You fell into photography. You've been doing that for a while now to the success that you've seen. Plus, congrats with Cut & Scratch.
Rob Fenn: Oh, thank you.
Jeff: Because I mean, what a cool idea of like you said on the last podcast, "I always wanted to have a vinyl shop. And then I thought, hell, if I put in a couple barber chairs people would have to come and get their hair cut, and then be able to buy vinyl. And then was like, screw it, I'll sell donuts with coffee."
Rob Fenn: Yeah.
Jeff: And it was just another one of those things where you didn't go, "Well, I don't know. I should look at other business models, should I do this?" Eff that, you just did it.
Rob Fenn: No, no. We didn't do that. I lost a shit ton of money at first. The cool thing about the shop now is everybody involved with the shop right now has made it what it is. Before we've had some employees and stuff just not the right fit. And then we got the right fit. Our lead barber, Michael, is amazing. He's great at what he does. I can go out on the road and not worry about anything.
Rob Fenn: Angelica built up everything with the customer service and we got all the oddities that were around and all that kind of shit. We got a new barber, Erica, we hired a woman barber. I was a little nervous on it because I didn't know how that'd work. And she just kills it. Haley, my personal assistant that runs everything else around there is doing it. And the greatest thing about the place is we didn't compromise on anything. It all started because I wanted a record store and I was drinking one day, and I'm like, "You can't download a haircut on Amazon. Fuck it."
Jeff: Fuck it.
Rob Fenn: We put it in there. We got the coffee because I just wanted it wholesale.
Rob Fenn: That's full disclosure.
Jeff: Good move.
Rob Fenn: In fact we were just talking with Kane, I was one of the first three people. The site wasn't even up.
Jeff: Yeah, ever.
Rob Fenn: We couldn't do the portal to buy the shit, it was emails, "Hey, I need this." And then I started building vintage Harley Davidson's in there now. Which is a very expensive hobby, which I love. I got a 75 Indian that we're redoing right now named Clarice, which is just a sexy bitch. And then I got this 77 Ironhead that's getting done. But the cool thing about it is people come in and it's a community, families, we have all walks of life and the funny thing is you never know who's showing up there. We've had so many famous people that are on tour that just kind of stop by.
Jeff: That's so awesome.
Rob Fenn: Oh, it's amazing.
Jeff: That's so good.
Rob Fenn: The store's good. I love it. We're looking at putting it somewhere else, maybe. We're trying to decide because it's in such a small town where I grew up. It's so out of place. But that's what makes it work, too. And the community's so good to us and stuff. The food is horrible in that town. Being vegan I really can't find shit there. But, I'm very proud of it. And I'm very proud of the people that helped with it because it was a journey. It was blood, sweat, and tears and I about gave up on it a couple times, because it was just like, "Fuck this. I don't need anyone else's bullshit." Because it was supposed to be fun. And when shit stops being fun for me, I'm gone.
Rob Fenn: I know that sounds like an asshole move, but it's supposed to be fun. I'm not saying hard work, because it is hard. A business is hard. But it still should be fun no matter how hard it is.
Rob Fenn: And this place is... Yeah, we're stoked on it. I am looking in Joshua Tree a little bit at some shit.
Rob Fenn: And we've got some big plans coming up, but we'll see.
Rob Fenn: We'll probably just keep that one there the whole time and maybe open up another one or some shit. Who knows?
Jeff: Well, I'm just so happy that it's going well for you now because it's such a great fricking shop. Hopefully someday I'm going to get out there in person.
Rob Fenn: You guys got to get out there.
Jeff: It's great that you have peace of mind, too. Because I know you're on the road a lot. And it would suck to have to worry about your business while you're on the road.
Rob Fenn: It does
Jeff: I'm sure you still worry.
Rob Fenn: No, I really don't. That's what's cool, is the people involved. I don't.
Jeff: That's great.
Rob Fenn: I done payroll today, and I send it to my mom. She writes the checks and goes and does it.
Jeff: There you go.
Rob Fenn: I don't even live in the same town anymore, I'm in downtown Salt Lake now. I'm 70 miles from the shop.
Jeff: Wow. That's great.
Rob Fenn: Yeah. It's a cool feeling to see it successful now. It's won number one barber shop for the past three years in Utah. It's a good feeling and it's a cool hang. It's very dog friendly. Bella, my dog, is always there. But, yeah. It's cool. Life's good. I'm very, very proud of where I am and it's hard work. I bitch a lot, we got off on a tangent about music. It's just because I'm passionate about it.
Rob Fenn: And my opinion is my fucking opinion.
Rob Fenn: It doesn't mean that that's what you should be.
Rob Fenn: You like doing music on a laptop and firing out a bunch of shit, that's cool. But, my thing is you got The Peppers, they're sitting in a house in California right now, all four of them together, writing a new fucking album.
Rob Fenn: That's what makes it cool.
Rob Fenn: And the new Tool album.
Jeff: Yeah, and the new Tool album.
Rob Fenn: And all your (beep) that bitch about it, and yes, I said (beep). And not in the U.K. sense of being nice, I'm calling you a (beep). Fuck off. If you don't like it, stay off the keyboard.
Jeff: Don't listen to it, yeah.
Rob Fenn: I think we need to just start punching motherfuckers. I just wish people would.
Jeff: I hear you.
Rob Fenn: Some people need to be throat punch, me included. I run my fucking mouth, I should get hit. Yeah, I called you a (beep). You should want to hit me. Not go online and type how mean I am, and politically correct, and all that other fucking horse shit you agree with.
Jeff: Yeah, no. I'm with you man, I'm with you. But the other side of what I'm with you on is the inspiring side of someone like you who has just went out there and wanted to do what you want to do because you're either having fun doing it or it's something that you're passionate about.
Rob Fenn: I don't compromise.
Jeff: You don't compromise.
Rob Fenn: No.
Jeff: Not just the photography, not just the Cut & Scratch, but I mean the stuff that you're doing in the movie industry. The stuff that you do editing for Dimevision and that kind of thing. You also, the last time that you were on the podcast and I don't know if this is still in the works or not, but you had said that you were writing a book. Is that still a thing?
Rob Fenn: I am.
Jeff: Like tour stories kind of thing?
Rob Fenn: It's called Tour Bus Said What? I probably shouldn't say this because then no one will take me out on fucking tour again. But if you haven't been a roadie, you will have no fucking idea what I'm talking about right now. Being on tour, it's such a weird, crazy... It's controlled chaos.
Rob Fenn: Like, it literally... Yesterday... Was it yesterday? Day before? Whenever we were at the Zombie show. You've seen that backstage. Fucking bouncy castle and swimming pool with an open bar.
Rob Fenn: You just see weird shit.
Rob Fenn: So, I want to write a book because my favorite thing about touring is when we go into a town, we literally roll in at 7 in the morning. There's people fucking rigging it up, and doing everything, and we tear it all down at 2 in the morning and we're off to the next town. At night when we all get on the bus we usually have a few drinks sitting in the front lounge. And nobody parties anymore because we can't.
Jeff: Right. Been there, done that.
Rob Fenn: It's just not the old days.
Rob Fenn: However, the stories are still there from the old days with the partying, and the roadies, and all that shit. And some of these things are just amazing. So, I came to the conclusion, I'm like, "I'm going to write a book but I'm using nobody's name." It's not a tell all of, "Oh, fuck this person." I'm just taking the stories, I might make these fuckers up or they might be true. I don't give a fuck.
Jeff: There you go.
Rob Fenn: But they're entertaining.
Rob Fenn: For me, I was in South Carolina... I don't know. Did I tell the camel story last time on the podcast?
Jeff: Yeah. I was going to bring that up.
Rob Fenn: Okay, yeah.
Jeff: Go back to episode 13, but literally you had to hold a ladies pitbull because she had to go get a coffee, and she was worried that it was going to eat a camel at a wedding party.
Rob Fenn: Eat the camel, yeah. In South fucking Carolina.
Jeff: Yeah. Like, what?
Rob Fenn: And this is 10 in the morning. But that was normal. And that's my point to it, is that's what I love about the road. It's such a brotherhood, and it's very small. There's not a lot of people because you'll get one camp works for one band and then they go to the next band and stuff like that. The Zombie Camp is a bunch of creepy misfits. I mean that in the best way because we've been doing it so long, everyone does their job phenomenal. They're just topnotch, gets it done. When that semi rolled over in Montana on our last show before took the break, we couldn't use the PA, we'd been up since 4 because it happened that early in the morning. And we were only 10 minutes late in Billings, Montana with that show.
Jeff: That's crazy.
Rob Fenn: I don't know how they done it.
Jeff: That's crazy.
Rob Fenn: Literally these guys just... Because there was no PA to fly out. We had to rent it from a local place in Montana. Try finding a stadium PA in Montana.
Jeff: Good luck.
Rob Fenn: You don't open the yellow pages.
Rob Fenn: It was six hours away and they trucked it in. We had to go get a semi to get the other truck and all the broken shit in it. It's the last day before our break. So, it was crazy, but it worked. And it takes a special person to do these shows. It's not just the guys on stage, it's amazing. And they can also ruin you, too. You get a bad sound guy, you're fucked.
Rob Fenn: So the Zombie crew's just good people. They're very passionate about their jobs, they get in, they do it, and it's a fun time. I'm so glad I fell into this business because it's hard to explain to people. It's summer camp to me. They're long days, I start working at 10, I don't get done until midnight.
Rob Fenn: But it's still just a vacation. It's all my friends, and all my favorite music, and then you meet all these new people every city, and then you go see stuff. I've been to 33 countries because of this crazy shit.
Jeff: That's crazy.
Rob Fenn: Yeah, I never would have thought that some small town kid fucking roaming the fucking planet.
Jeff: Yeah. And I don't know if you want to tell this on the podcast or not, but I know that you had a Zombie story.
Rob Fenn: Oh my god.
Jeff: That was kind of funny.
Rob Fenn: Oh shit. So, we do these meet and greets.
Rob Fenn: Which, Rob's so good to his fans.
Jeff: Oh my god, yeah.
Rob Fenn: I've worked with a lot of people, and he gives a fuck about the fan.
Jeff: It shows.
Rob Fenn: It's amazing. We do these meet and greets, and god, you get some characters rolling through these places.
Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Rob Fenn: I'm a huge car guy. My daily driver's a 63 Thunderbird.
Jeff: Hell yeah.
Rob Fenn: I just picked up a 68 GTO named Eleanor that's my prized possession. That thing's getting all redone, piano black, blower. It's going to get stupid. So, I'm a huge car guy. And you'd think that Zombie would be driving like the Dragula and shit.
Jeff: Dragula, that's literally what he should be rolling up in.
Rob Fenn: And all these fans think that. And it's funny because on this tour we had so many people come up and ask him car questions. He's like, "No, that's the car guy." We were in Canada... And god, where were we? Ottawa. We were in Ottawa, Canada.
Jeff: All right.
Rob Fenn: And these two dudes come from a car club and they've got Zombie cars. Like this 57 called Black Sunshine. And I mean, just these... I'm drooling. I'm dying. They're like, "You want to see them? They're out in the parking lot." They're trying to talk to Rob about it. And Rob's like, "I'm not the car guy, he is." He's like, "I'll tell you a funny story."
Rob Fenn: So, Zombie just rents Prius's. That's his car. It's amazing.
Jeff: Rob Zombie in a Prius.
Rob Fenn: Oh, yeah. He loves them.
Jeff: Come on.
Rob Fenn: He loves them. To each his own. But he's like, "I'm so not a car guy one time the windshield wiper fluid was gone and I called the rental company to come and bring me another one. That's how much of a car guy I am."
Jeff: "This one's broken."
Rob Fenn: Yeah, "This is broke. Come get another one." So he's telling us that story and I'm just in tears. It's amazing. Because like you would think... And he loves them. He's like, "I love all the old cars. They look cool and shit." He's like, "I can't fix them. I don't want them. I want the rental. I can give it back and get a new one. And done."
Rob Fenn: But the windshield wiper fluid, I don't know if it really happened or if he was fucking with me. But either or, that story, it's one of my favorites. I'm still laughing and it was like last week when he said it.
Jeff: That is so fricking funny. But going back to him with his fans, it really does show. And anybody watching or listening to this, if you are a Rob Zombie fan, you're going to a Rob Zombie show, get that meet and greet.
Rob Fenn: The thing about the meet and greet, it's weird. It's cool, and I get it. I just don't know if I would. It's weird.
Jeff: I understand that. I understand that.
Rob Fenn: Yeah, it's one of those that we try to make them really elaborate and great and stuff. And we're always thinking what can we do different? And all that. This time this one was rad this year, he had a coffin with a dead Rob Zombie in it that you could get your picture taken with while you were waiting to come in the room. And Rob doesn't rush. I've been in some meet and greets where it's just a fucking cattle call. And Rob will sit there and talk to them, he'll sign anything, and he legitimately talks to them.
Rob Fenn: And my favorite are like some of these people that come in and about pass out, they don't even know what to say because they're so star struck. The meet and greets are cool, they are worth it. It just goes back to like I said when I met him in the parking lot.
Rob Fenn: It's so much different because it's so organic. I'm not expecting anything. The meet and greet thing, it's like, "Oh, you paid the money. I get this." Just fucking fuck off. It's weird.
Jeff: I'm with you. I'm in that camp as well. I'm not one to really do that, but for a fan of Rob.
Rob Fenn: But that's the thing...
Jeff: If you've ever wanted to meet him. There are so many people like you said where meet and greets are like, "Picture, all right. Picture, all right. Picture all right." He really takes the time with his fans.
Rob Fenn: It's worth it. And I'm not selling it and shit like that, but I get it. The Stones? Fuck yeah, I'd pay a fucking million dollars for that shit.
Jeff: Hell yeah. Hell yeah.
Rob Fenn: So, it's one of those. To each is your own, and do your thing. It's cool. My favorite thing about the meet and greets is they do take the time to do that.
Rob Fenn: It's cool, he's always been good to his fans. They just come first. It's one of my favorite things about him, is his work is his work. He's very passionate about it, he knows what he wants, and he surrounds himself with great people.
Rob Fenn: And then there's me, the out of focus guy.
Jeff: Finally here, I wanted to bring up, we've actually brought him up a couple times but I'm really excited to talk to you about it. You're working with Neil Gaiman.
Rob Fenn: Okay, so I love Neil. Yeah.
Jeff: I love Neil as well.
Rob Fenn: So the producer on my movie, Cat, is his personal assistant [inaudible 00:42:50]. She works on everything. American Gods, Good Omens, and they just sold Sand Man. Have they put that on the news?
Rob Fenn: So I can talk about it. I'm like, "Whoa, wait a minute. I better step the fuck back a second."
Jeff: No, it's been talked about that it is finally moving forward. Because it's one of those projects. A lot of Neil's projects, you hear somebody wants to make this.
Rob Fenn: Well, he's got so much stuff.
Jeff: Yeah, and it just kind of sits in production hell forever. So this one we know it's going to be moving forward.
Rob Fenn: Yeah, I was like, "Oh, shit. Am I talking out of church?" Because I've done that before and then I get a phone call, like, "What the fuck?" I'm like, "Well, you know. I'm an idiot." No. So, with Neil I've got this 20 minute short I'm doing. The movie business to me, I fell into it. I fell into it worse than I fell into fucking photography. It was even a farther fall of, "What the fuck did I just land into?" Which I'm very thankful for.
Rob Fenn: However, anyone that makes movies will tell you this. The business side of it and the finance side of it... I just want to fucking punch people in the throat.
Rob Fenn: Like, bad.
Rob Fenn: Like, so bad. I'm very inspired by Rob, Tarantino, Guy Ritchie, and of course Billy Bob Thornton. And Neil's work on Good Omens, because he got to be the showrunner on this one, he had control.
Rob Fenn: Fucking phenomenal.
Jeff: You can tell.
Rob Fenn: Dude, having the Queen music in there. For real.
Jeff: Yeah, so good.
Rob Fenn: Amazing. So, how it all started is I was starting off doing a book project. I was just trying to get laid in my car by this cute girl. Turned into a documentary, then got offered a reality TV show about it, and I said, "Fuck off."
Rob Fenn: Which I didn't right at first, because the money they threw at me. I'm like, "Fuck. Let me think about it. Okay, fuck off."
Jeff: All right.
Rob Fenn: But then it just got out of hand and it kept growing, and growing, and more doors were opening, and people involved in the project, and all of this shit. I'm just like, "What the fuck did I just step in?" So I had this $5 million budget movie for my directorial debut. I'm like, "No. Fuck no. Let's take step back for a second and figure some shit out." And you noticed the vultures coming out, too.
Rob Fenn: That was the hard thing. The creativity was going out the door and now the motherfuckers were coming in. And people near me that I'd never thought in a million years would be that way. And I was just like, "You know? I need to fucking step back." So, I wrote a couple other ones and I'd done this one with Billy Bob Thornton that his band, The Box Masters, done. I wrote a thing for this whole album concept to do a bunch of shorts that go through it.
Rob Fenn: All this whole process I'm doing this shit, I'm fucking writing out scripts, taking notes, I've got just buried in it for three years. I came up with an idea to do a short 20 minute, to do test shots for this other movie project.
Rob Fenn: So, my brain's always thinking this way, it's like, what can I get out of this and stretch over fucking here?
Rob Fenn: And I came up with the idea for this 20 minute short about all this bullshit going on, and the narration, and stuff. I hit up Cat, and I'm like, "Do you think Neil would be interested in doing this?" And she's like, "Oh, yeah. Anytime." And so once it's all done and we'll put his voice on it, and we'll see what happens.
Jeff: That's exciting.
Rob Fenn: So, yes. But nothing like stamped in stone and stuff.
Rob Fenn: But there's that connection. That's what I mean how I fell into the movie thing.
Rob Fenn: I fell into people that it's just like, holy fuck. We're going to Billy's, he's won a couple awards.
Jeff: A little bit.
Rob Fenn: And his mind, how he creates is just phenomenal. He's another one. He just don't fucking care about the money, it's the creativity. And if you surround yourself with good people, you're good. And that's kind of why I stepped back, because it just started sucking the life right out of you.
Jeff: That's that business.
Rob Fenn: It's just you got to get through it.
Rob Fenn: It's really not the business because once you're in, it's great. If you're with the right people. There's some of these big film companies, I didn't even know what one of them was one time and I told them fuck off. I think that's the only thing saving me, like Alice Cooper when I was talking to him said that, he's like, "It's working because you have no fucking idea what you're doing." Well, he didn't say fucking to be honest with you. He's like, "You don't know what you're doing and that's why it works." Because I didn't know the rules. And that's how photography was. I had no clue what the hell was going on, I just knew what I wanted. So it's a crazy, strange journey.
Jeff: But that's what's so inspiring about it. Because sometimes if you know the rules, and you know the lay of the land, then you get hung up on too many variables and in thinking too much.
Rob Fenn: Yeah. When people tell you how to do it and then you think you got to put it in that mold you lose all the passion out of it.
Rob Fenn: I found I got my passion back about three months ago. I walked into an airport and literally flipped a fucking coin. Heads, I was going to Ireland. Tails, I was going to L.A. I went to L.A. Got lost at the Sunset Marquee on Sunset Strip, and just kind of found myself again and fell in love with music all over again, and got that spark. I'm now doing... I start filming August 28, it's called For The Love of Motorcycles. It's a motorcycle documentary that we're filming in six different countries, we get to ride a Harley everywhere so I'm just like, "I'm fucking in."
Jeff: That's so exciting.
Rob Fenn: Yeah. Are you a motorcycle guy?
Jeff: Not me personally, but my parents have always been.
Rob Fenn: Okay.
Jeff: So, I've grown up around motorcycles.
Rob Fenn: My favorite part of motorcycle riders is the brotherhood. It's literally you're going down the road, if another motorcycle is coming the other way you wave at each other. No bullshit. If someone's broke down on the side of the road, you stop. And if someone stops in a truck, they own a motorcycle and that's why they're stopping. It's a weird community that's so connected. But I love everyone's story how they got into motorcycles. For me, it was I was like five, or six, or some shit. I don't know. Probably yesterday. Who knows? I seen this just criminal, greasy ass looked like Dennis Hopper out of Easy Rider. Gun in his back belt, white T-shirt. Just fucking greasy criminal.
Rob Fenn: And he walked up to this thing, he flicked a cigarette out of his mouth, and he kick started that fucking big old Shovelhead. It just made a sound like no other. I was like, "I want one of those." My parents never got me that at 5. But that's where I fell in love with it.
Rob Fenn: And that's what I love, everyone's stories. There's so many famous people that just love motorcycles.
Rob Fenn: So we're doing a lot of cool shit. I talked to [inaudible 00:50:00] the Great Frog when I was out there for that. Everything just kind of steamrolled at the right time. I'll be in Durango at the big motorcycle rally starting to film this thing. It's fucking insane. Actually filming now. Fuck all the preproduction, and all the bullshit, and all the politics. And all that kind of shit. Actually filming. I'm kind of a schoolkid.
Jeff: That's so great. And that's what's so amazing getting a chance to talk to you because no matter what you're doing, you're passionate about it. And I think that is exactly what this show is all about, is being passionate about life and being fueled by death. And you are the embodiment of that, for sure.
Rob Fenn: Thank you, man.
Jeff: I can't thank you enough for being on the show again.
Rob Fenn: Thank you.