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.
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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!