Former ROB ZOMBIE guitarist Mike Riggs has launched a new musical project with Rick Genest, the Canadian artist, actor, and fashion model born in Lasalle, Montreal. Genest is also known as Zombie Boy for the skeletal tattoos covering the majority of his body.
Zombie Boy played a leading role in Lady Gaga's video "Born This Way" after being discovered on the web and contacted through Facebook by Nicola Formichetti, Lady Gaga's personal stylist. Formichetti became instantly fascinated with Genest and invited him to complete some photo and video shoots for him.
Riggs' launched a career as a musician in Austin, Texas at the age of 19 in 1990 when he started the band DEMILTRY, for whom he played rhythm guitar and sang lead vocals. He went on to join another Austin act called SKREW which included future NINE INCH NAILS guitarist Danny Lohner. After playing with SKREW for several years, Riggs joined PRONG and toured with them for some time. When Riggs was attending a WWF event, he met Rob Zombie, who said he was working on a new album, and had yet to find a guitarist. After playing guitar for Zombie on "Hellbilly Deluxe" and "The Sinister Urge", Riggs left the band to begin his own project, SCUM OF THE EARTH, for which he plays guitar and sings lead vocals.
Read more at http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/former-rob-zombie-guitarist-mike-riggs-joins-canadian-artist-rick-genest-in-zombie-boy-project/#vHk4Bp6gFfIe6K6k.99
Rico aka “Zombie Boy” was born Rick Genest from La Salle, Quebec, and grew up in Chateauguay. His first appearance as Zombie Boy was in Lady Gaga’s video Born This Way. (No, that was not makeup in the video, at least not on Rico!) Over 80 percent of his body is covered in tattoos, including his face. Rick’s tattoos are what he calls his “project.” So, what does one do when one nearly escapes death, obsesses over horror films, and lives for fashion? He covers nearly every inch of his body with tattooed images of bones, rotting flesh, death symbols, and bugs. And this unusual supermodel has been busy appearing in films, recording music, and walking the runways from Paris to Prague.
As a teenager, Rick Genest was diagnosed with a brain tumor. At the age of 15, he underwent a complicated, high-risk surgery with an extremely low chance of survival. Because of the tumor’s position, his options were bleak. He was faced with the choices of possibly dying, blindness, or life on a respirator as a vegetable for the rest of his life. Rick beat the odds and survived surgery unscathed, alive, and ready to begin his new life . . . and tell the tale!
Fashion mirrors trends, and so do the fashion runaways when it comes to the underground Punk scene. People and Rick had become obsessed with body modification. By age 21, the newly named Rico, “The Zombie” or “Zombie Boy,” enlisted the help of tattoo artist Frank Lewis. Together, Lewis and Zombie created a walking dead-like skull-faced character, and Rick Genest’s body was the canvas. It took several years of painful augmentation of Rick’s normal, healthy human flesh to transform it into a frightening homage to horror films. Slowly and methodically, Rick’s body was changed from an average 5’9” man into a decomposing, “zombie-like” corpse with exposed cadaver-inspired parts revealing the skeletal, muscular, and circulatory systems, filled with crawling, carnivorous insects that devour the dead. The final result landed Rick twice in the Guinness Book of World Records: one for the most bones (134) tattooed on the body; and one for the most insects (176) tattooed on the body. “My tattoos symbolize life through death, or death through life,” Rick states.
Soon after Rick’s radical transformation, he was sought after by the fashion industry and Hollywood. Zombie Boy is the first man to sign a contract and become the first spokesman for L’Oreal. With a wildly successful viral video that shows how Dermablend can cover even a Zombie and look natural, fifteen million viewers watched Go Beyond the Cover for Dermablend Professional. The video showed what appears to be a reverse transformation as Zombie Boy was covered with makeup to look like his original un-tattooed self.
Zombie Boy was the face of Thierry Mugler’s menswear collection and Jay-Z’s Rocawear label in Europe. Prominent photographers in the fashion industry have photographed Ricky for magazine spreads around the world.
Zombie Boy had a cameo and was the celebrity pitchman in Universal Studio’s 47 Ronin, starring Keanu Reeves. He appeared in Aquario and Love at Last Sight, and he acted in a major role in a short film, In Faust. Also a lover of music, Zombie Boy has recorded five music tracks with KAV Blaggers of London, including “Dirty Rejects” and “Monsters VS the World.” While appearing as a celebrity DJ in Germany, Austria, Belarus, and Russia, he pours his soul into his upcoming EP with Riggs.
Zombie Boy has launched Zombie Boy merchandise, which includes cologne, apparel, and home décor with leather helmets, boots, belts, black candles, curtains, and even bath towels. His new product line even offers energy drinks. Look for Rick Genest (Zombie Boy) in a retail outlet near you, either in the box office, on the radio, or in a magazine spread! Yes, from runaway street urchin to entrepreneur, Zombie Boy continues to blaze his trail!
Having your own voice and style is really what most of us should have. But not all of us feel fearless to be completely ourselves. Artist, actor, fashion model Zombie Boy is exactly who he is, inside and out; his self-confidence and physical look has inspired and fascinated people worldwide.
More than 80% of his body has been tattooed to look like a zombie. Looking like a decomposed corpse is definitely different, but his uniqueness has led him on a successful path to appearing in Lady Gaga’s music video, “Born this Way,” walking the runway for fashion designer Thierry Mugler, becoming the face of Jay-Z’s Rocawear Europe clothing line and starring in several motion pictures.
Top: Raphaelle Bonin (also from Genest’s hometown of Montreal) did this photo shoot with the model.
Photographer Joey L. takes this shot for Rebel Ink magazine. View more pictures.
Why do you want to become a Zombie?
Zombie Boy: Ever since I could remember I’ve been enticed by punk rock culture. I wanted to excel in the arts and entertainment and the freak show genre. At age of 17, I was aliased by my peers as “Zombie” due to my interests in music, movies, apparel and my medical history.
Growing up as an urban teenager, this lifestyle was the origin of my bodysuit. In June 2008, Bizarre magazine was the first to dub me as “Zombieboy.” Then in January 2011, I was introduced to my current manager, Entertainment Lawyer Colin Singer of Montreal and from there things immediately started to take off! Together we developed the Zombieboy brand which takes on different personae depending on whether we are working on film, music, fashion or freak show performances.
You clearly stand out from the crowd. Are you amused by people’s reaction of you?
Well, as they say, birds of a feather flock together. Most of my cronies are heavily moded, so when I’m at home with my friends or hanging out at underground venues, this is not the case. It wasn’t until the past few years that I’ve stood out from the crowd and launched onto a new platform as a fashion player.
Creative director Nicola Formichetti invites Rick Genest to model in the Mugler menswear fashion show in 2013.
Who tattooed you?
Over the past 12 years, it is impossible to remember every name and detail. For the most part, over a course of 4 to 5 years, in my late teenage years and early 20s, Frank Lewis of Montreal, Canada, tattooed my head and torso coining my zombie-like appearance under my guidance and direction.
The tattoo industry has grown much over the years. Your thoughts about the popularity, and are there artists you particularly like?
I am very stoked seeing, greeting and meeting a vast variety of gravely tattooed dames and gents; tattoos and body mod has always flourished in the underground.
Do you follow any visual artists on the web?
I eat, breath, drink and bleed visual art; as well as the sonar arts.
You are a versatile person having been involved in circus, music, cinema, and fashion. Is there an artistic field you have yet to explore?
When life slows down, I would love to relax and take some time exploring hybrid taxidermy as well as skeletal hybrid art.
Genest does a guest appearance in Germany’s Next Top Model 2013.
What has it been like working in the fashion industry?
As in circus and acting, modeling shares the art of emotion posing and creative visualization as well as the art of altering environment and circumstances. This I love and feel very blessed to be able to work in such creative environments.
One of your recent movie appearances was in “47 Ronin” (2013; with Keanu Reeves). Are you going to be involved in more movie productions?
I love the arts. I wish and dream to excel in filmography. Recently, I had two short films appearing in major international film festivals. One of my short films in which my Manager and I are Executive Co-Producers, currently appears in the online film festival Viewster where fans can vote. The film also appeared at the Fantasia International Film Festival.
And aside from film, my current standing project is a self-financed music album, that consists of myself and my partner Riggs (of “Scum of the Earth” and former guitarist of “Rob Zombie”); that we are currently finalizing and aspire to launch in 2015.
Zombie Boy has the punk style locked in. Photo (originally published in WestEast magazine) © Colin Singer.
Do you have any horror film recommendations for the Illusion readers?
There are so many good ones in so many sub-genres… so I will leave you with one recommendation: “Martyrs” is a 2008 horror film written and directed by Pascal Laugher. (Warning: not for the squeamish!)
You mentioned liking gross stuff. Not sure if this is film or art related. What exactly?
To simplify, anything that flirts with the macabre.
You portrayed a circus zombie in “Carny,” but like an actual living-dead character… do you have future plans to become one in a movie?
In the movie “Carny,” I was the carnival’s illustrated man. I would enjoy an experience to act in a zombie movie.