Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson are set to begin their co-headlining "Twins of Evil: The Second Coming Tour" tonight (June 11th) in Detroit. In honor of the anticipated trek's kickoff, the two theatrical rockers have joined forces for a new, heavy-metal reimagining of the Beatles' "Helter Skelter." Zombie tells Rolling Stone it's "heavier, weirder and more groove-oriented" than the original, and he's damn right about that: Against a backdrop of turgid, thick guitars, Zombie and Manson exchange snarls like killing blows, as peals of static drive the song's latent darkness home.
"We had been talking about doing something together for these shows — that he should come onstage during my set and we'd do a song. But we couldn't think of what song [to do]," Zombie tells Rolling Stone of the song's origins. "After we talked, later that night I was home and I just thought, The obvious song is 'Helter Skelter' ... It's so obvious that neither one of us thought of it! And then I figured, well, rather than us just doing it onstage, why don't we take it one step further and record it and put a new spin on it? That way, rather than just doing some impromptu jam together, now the fans will go, 'Oh, there's the song I've already heard, and now they're doing it.'"
That the two would take on "Helter Skelter" — a song long associated with the cult leader Charles Manson, who interpreted the White Album track as a justification for his nefarious 1969 killing spree — does seem obvious in hindsight, considering the pair's mutual fascination with the killer. "For anyone my age, you really cannot listen to the White Album or 'Helter Skelter' without the Charles Manson connection," explains Zombie, who narrated a documentary on the late murderer last year. "That's all I associate it with, ever since I was a little kid. As upbeat or light as a lot of the songs on the album are, somehow they always seem connected to Manson. They just have a dark vibe. You can't hear 'em any other way. At least I can't, that's for sure."