White Zombie (band)

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White Zombie
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White Zombie circa 1995. Left to right: Rob Zombie, Jay Yuenger, Sean Yseult, and John Tempesta.
Background information
Origin New York City, New York, U.S.
Years active1985–1998
Website whitezombieofficial.com
Past members Rob Zombie
Sean Yseult
Ena Kostabi
Peter Landau
Ivan de Prume
Tim Jeffs
Tom Five
John Ricci
Jay Yuenger
Phil Buerstatte
John Tempesta

White Zombie was an American heavy metal band that formed in 1985. Based in New York City, White Zombie was originally a noise rock band, and was known for its later heavy metal-oriented sound. Their best-known songs are "Thunder Kiss '65", "Black Sunshine" and "More Human than Human". The group officially disbanded in 1998. In 2000, White Zombie was included on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock, ranking at No. 56. [1]

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Noise rock is a noise-oriented style of experimental rock that spun off from punk rock in the 1980s. Drawing on movements such as minimalism, industrial music, and New York hardcore, artists indulge in extreme levels of distortion through the use of electric guitars and, less frequently, electronic instrumentation, either to provide percussive sounds or to contribute to the overall arrangement.



Early career and independent releases (1985–1986)

White Zombie was co-founded by Rob Zombie, after coming up with the band idea in 1985 while attending Parsons School of Design in his junior year. Zombie's girlfriend at the time, Sean Yseult, was the other co-founder. She had been playing the Farfisa keyboard in the band LIFE with Ivan de Prume, but the band soon broke up. Ena Kostabi owned a recording studio, which he would rent out to different bands. When he met Yseult, she asked if he could teach her to play bass. They then recruited Peter Landau to play drums and began to write and record songs. White Zombie's first release, Gods on Voodoo Moon , was an EP and was recorded on October 18, 1985. It was released under the band's own label Silent Explosion, under which they would release most of their early work. Only 300 copies were pressed, of which only 100 were sold; the band members still retain possession of the remaining 200.[ citation needed ]

Rob Zombie American singer and film director

Rob Zombie is an American musician and filmmaker. He is a founding member of the heavy metal band White Zombie, releasing four studio albums with the band. He is the older brother of Spider One, lead vocalist for American rock band Powerman 5000.

Parsons School of Design, known colloquially as Parsons, is a private art and design college located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan in New York City. It is one of the five colleges of The New School. The school is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious art and design schools in the world and ranks consistently as the top art and design school in the United States.

Sean Yseult American guitarist

Sean Yseult is an American rock musician. She currently plays bass in the band Star & Dagger. She has played various instruments with different bands over the years, and is best known for playing bass in White Zombie.

In 1986, Zombie hired Tim Jeffs, his Parsons School of Design roommate, to play guitar to replace Ena Kostabi, and Yseult brought in de Prume from their days in the band LIFE as the replacement for Landau. It was at this time the band started touring, making their live performance debut at CBGB on April 28, 1986. [2] [3] White Zombie released their second EP, Pig Heaven , that year. The release contained two songs, "Pig Heaven" and "Slaughter the Grey". The EP was recorded at 6/8 Studios in NoHo in New York City. Other songs that were recorded during the session but never released were titled "Follow Wild", "Rain Insane", "Paradise Fireball", and "Red River Flow". After touring for a year in the band, Tim Jeffs left and was replaced by Tom Guay, often known as Tom Five. The band released a second pressing of Pig Heaven with different cover art, but retained the same recording with Jeffs on guitar. Only 500 copies of each pressing were released on vinyl.

Tim Jeffs is an artist, musician, and Art Director. He was born in Rockville, Maryland. He currently lives in Dumont, New Jersey with his wife Jane Jeffs, daughter Jenna and, son Harrison.

CBGB Former New York City music club

CBGB was a New York City music club opened in 1973 by Hilly Kristal in Manhattan's East Village. The club was previously a biker bar and before that was a dive bar. The letters CBGB were for Country, BlueGrass, and Blues, Kristal's original vision, yet CBGB soon became a famed venue of punk rock and new wave bands like the Ramones, Television, Patti Smith Group, Blondie, and Talking Heads. From the early 1980s onward, CBGB was known for hardcore punk.

Tom Guay is a guitar player who joined White Zombie while studying art at Parsons School of Design which he attended from 1985 to 1989. Guay is more widely known as Tom Five, nickname given to him while in White Zombie because his style "sounded like five guitarists playing at once". After leaving White Zombie by mid 1988, he founded the metal band Angel Rot, where he sang and played guitar. Angel Rot had several lineup changes and published one full length LP on Man's Ruin Records before disbanding in 2003. After Angel Rot, Tom Five performed as singer for the Black Sabbath tribute band Rat Salad. While in Rat Salad and up to 2011, he was also the singer and guitarist for the band Sonic Medusa, featuring former members of Hollywood Rose, The Obsessed and Goatsnake. Currently he plays guitar for the LA band Triple T. He is also the guitarist for Thee Earwigs, a tribute band to the Alice Cooper (band), featuring Don Bolles (musician) of The Germs.

First two albums (1987–1990)

In 1987, the band released their third EP, Psycho-Head Blowout . Later that year, the band released their first full-length album, Soul-Crusher , which was their first release to feature sound clips from movies in the songs, a signature that would continue for the remainder of the band's lifespan. [4]

<i>Psycho-Head Blowout</i> 1987 EP by White Zombie

Psycho-Head Blowout is the third EP by White Zombie, released in May 1987 by Silent Explosion. The album was recorded with producer and composer Kramer and was the band's first to feature guitarist Tom Guay, who had a pivotal influence on the band's sound. It was also the debut release of the band's short-lived label Silent Explosion. The record was the band's first release to receive critical notice and garnered them notice in underground circles.

<i>Soul-Crusher</i> 1987 studio album by White Zombie

Soul-Crusher is the debut studio album of White Zombie, released independently in November 1987 by Silent Explosion. It was the band's second and final release with Tom "Five" Guay on guitar. Building off the sound established on Psycho-Head Blowout, the band matured its sound while placing further emphasis on the individual roles of its players. The album caught the attention of major labels and in 1988 was adopted and re-issued by Caroline Records.

In 1988, the band signed to Caroline Records, permanently discontinuing their own indie label. After completing their first U.S. tour in June 1988, Tom Guay was asked to leave the band. He was replaced by John Ricci in July 1988. [5] Their second album, Make Them Die Slowly , was released in February 1989. [4] The album was a musical shift for White Zombie. While their previous releases had been strictly punk-influenced noise rock, Make Them Die Slowly has more of a heavy metal sound.[ citation needed ] This is also the first album crediting "Rob Zombie" instead of his previous stage name, "Rob 'Dirt' Straker".

Caroline Records American record label

Caroline Records is a record label. Caroline has or had a number of subsidiary labels including Astralwerks, Gyroscope, Caroline Blue Plate, Rocks the World, Scamp, and Passenger.

<i>Make Them Die Slowly</i> (album) 1989 studio album by White Zombie

Make Them Die Slowly is the second studio album by White Zombie, released on March 22, 1989 by Caroline Records. It is named after the 1981 cannibal movie Cannibal Ferox, which was originally released in the US as Make Them Die Slowly. There is a printing error on the CD's side saying "Let Them Die Slowly" instead of the album's correct title. Produced by composer Bill Laswell and featuring John Ricci on guitar, the album represented a transition from the noise rock influenced sound of the White Zombie's previous releases to heavy metal, which informed much of their later work.

Ricci's carpal tunnel syndrome severely affected his ability to play guitar, forcing him to leave the band when Make Them Die Slowly was finished. Jay "J" Yuenger replaced him before the album's release, affecting their future sound. [6] One of the most obvious examples of this direction is the difference between the songs "Disaster Blaster" on Make Them Die Slowly and the re-worked version, "Disaster Blaster II", on the God of Thunder EP.[ citation needed ]

Carpal tunnel syndrome Human Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a medical condition due to compression of the median nerve as it travels through the wrist at the carpal tunnel. The main symptoms are pain, numbness and tingling in the thumb, index finger, middle finger and the thumb side of the ring fingers. Symptoms typically start gradually and during the night. Pain may extend up the arm. Weak grip strength may occur, and after a long period of time the muscles at the base of the thumb may waste away. In more than half of cases, both sides are affected.

Major label years, mainstream success, and breakup (1991–1998)

After searching for a record label and being turned down multiple times, the band turned toward RCA Records. However, Zombie opted for a recording contract with Geffen Records. Michael Alago, a representative of Geffen, became interested after hearing God of Thunder and watched one of their shows at Pyramid Club and liked them, mostly for their song "Soul-Crusher". The band produced a demo with the help of J. G. Thirlwell of Foetus and were signed to Geffen. [7]

On March 17, 1992, White Zombie released La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One , the album which launched them into mainstream recognition. White Zombie began a two-and-a-half-year-long tour for the album soon after its release, during which the band gained a large cult following. During the tour, Ivan de Prume left the band to pursue a successful career as a producer/engineer as well as drummer/percussionist and opened his own studio, Burningsound. He was replaced by Phil Buerstatte. The music video for the song "Thunder Kiss '65" went into heavy rotation on MTV in 1993. The TV show Beavis and Butt-head began featuring their music videos, boosting the band's popularity. [4] By the end of 1993, the album had been certified gold by the RIAA. By the time the tour ended in December 1994, Zombie and Yseult had broken up, and La Sexorcisto had gone platinum. Due to artistic differences, Buerstatte was let go, and John Tempesta (who had previously worked with Exodus and Testament) was hired to record White Zombie's second major label album. [4] In 1995, Astro Creep: 2000 was released, featuring the hit single "More Human than Human". In 1996, an album of remixes was released under the title Supersexy Swingin' Sounds . After making one last song for the 1996 film Beavis and Butt-head Do America , titled "Ratfinks, Suicide Tanks and Cannibal Girls", White Zombie broke up in September 1998. [4]

After disbanding (1998–present)

After the breakup of White Zombie, Sean Yseult joined the surf rock band The Famous Monsters, and started playing bass for horror-themed New Orleans-based band, Rock City Morgue. She also briefly played bass for The Cramps.

Tempesta continued his musical relationship with Zombie, drumming for him on his first two solo albums, Hellbilly Deluxe and The Sinister Urge . He is no longer with Zombie, and has gone on to play for Scum of the Earth, and with Rob Zombie's brother in the band Powerman 5000. Tempesta has toured with Testament (as shown on Testament's DVD, Live In London). On February 14, 2006, he was hired as the new drummer for The Cult, before which, he played with Helmet.

J. produced records for Fu Manchu and New York-based Puny Human.

In July 2006, original members Tom Five and de Prume reunited to perform with de Prume's band, Healer, a middle eastern infused metal band, for several concerts in Southern California for The Vans Warped Tour. [8] De Prume continues to write and record music with Healer, as well as recording, producing and engineering for special projects in his studio, Burningsound. His drums and percussion work can also be heard on Sony's "Ghost Rider" score. In 2009, de Prume began hosting the weekly radio show, "Metalopolis". His studio guests have included Rob Halford, Dave Mustaine, Max Cavalera, Vinnie Paul and Tom Araya. De Prume is also a member of the band KREEP, and has completed a West Coast tour in spring 2010, and is planning an East Coast tour in fall 2010.

In November 2008, Geffen/UME released Let Sleeping Corpses Lie , a boxed set which includes sixty four tracks featuring every White Zombie album and EP (except the remix albums), all remastered. The package also contained nine music videos (including their breakthrough Grammy-nominated hit "Thunder Kiss '65"), and ten live performances. In an interview [9] to promote the release of Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, Zombie made it clear that a reunion with his White Zombie band mates was unlikely, saying, "I don't want fans to think it's the beginning of anything."

In December 2010 Yseult released "I'm in the Band", a book containing tour diaries and photos as well as detailing her eleven years spent as a member of White Zombie. [10] [11]

In June 2011, in an interview with Metal Hammer magazine, Rob Zombie was asked why White Zombie split up, in which he replied: "It had run its course. Success is a big thing that you can never plan for, because it affects everybody differently. I don't want to blame myself or anyone else in the band — it's just that the band didn't work anymore. Rather than continuing on and making shitty records and having it all fall apart, I thought: 'Let's just end it on a high point'".

In May 2013, former drummer Phil Buerstatte died. [12] Shortly after his death, he was impersonated by con-artist Loren Dean Breknridge, who was wanted for defrauding rehab centers across the nation, as well as scamming character actor Loren Dean. [13]

In a November 2015 interview with Artisan News, Yseult stated that a White Zombie vinyl box set was due for release in 2016. [14] On February 16, 2016, It Came From N.Y.C. was confirmed for a June 3 release via the Numero Group. The vinyl box set contains remastered versions of all the pre-Geffen Records material (including unreleased tracks) on 5 LPs/3 CDs, a 108 page colored booklet complete with liner notes and rare photos, a discography, and a shirtography.

On May 18, 2016, Riot Fest released their lineups and it was revealed that Rob Zombie would be performing Astro Creep 2000 in its entirety at the Chicago weekend. [15] This sparked a swirl of speculation, coupled with the recently reunited Misfits, that a White Zombie reunion would also be occurring at the festival. Asked in September 2016 about his refusal to reform White Zombie, Rob replied, "[I am] always amazed at how people can speak with such authority on subjects they know zero about. I have many legit reasons. Just because you don't know them does not mean they don't exist. Everything is not everybody's business." [16] Guitarist J. said, however, that he and bassist Sean Yseult could do an "Astro Creep, 'more original members' tour", and added that they "joke about it sometimes." [17] On May 22, 2017, Rob posted a short snippet of audio, to his Instagram account, of a live recording of the White Zombie song "Electric Head Part 2", with a comment stating he was in the process of mixing the Astro Creep 2000 live set from the Chicago date of the 2016 Riot Fest.

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed White Zombie (band) among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire. [18]

Musical style

White Zombie has been described as heavy metal, [19] groove metal, [20] [21] alternative, [22] alternative metal, [23] [24] [25] hard rock, [26] industrial metal, [27] noise rock [21] [28] and noise metal. [20] Originally a noise rock band, White Zombie changed their style after their early days, abandoning the noise rock genre. [21]

Band members


White Zombie (band)


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<i>Astro-Creep: 2000 – Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head</i> 1995 studio album by White Zombie

Astro-Creep: 2000 – Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head is the fourth and final studio album by White Zombie, released on April 11, 1995 by Geffen Records. The album proved to be their most commercially successful recording, peaking at number six on the Billboard 200 with the aid of the popular hit singles "More Human than Human" and "Super-Charger Heaven". It was the band's only album to feature John Tempesta on drums.

John Joseph Tempesta is the drummer of the Cult. He also played with several bands including: Exodus, Testament and White Zombie. He worked with former White Zombie singer Rob Zombie as a solo artist and served as drum technician for Charlie Benante, drummer for the heavy metal band Anthrax earlier in his career. He is referenced in the band's rendition of "Friggin' in the Riggin'", with lyrics about the band's crew members.

<i>Hellbilly Deluxe</i> 1998 studio album by Rob Zombie

Hellbilly Deluxe: 13 Tales of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside the Spookshow International is the solo debut studio album by American musician and filmmaker Rob Zombie. The album serves as his first release outside of the band White Zombie, with whom he released two multi-platinum studio albums. Hellbilly Deluxe was released on August 25, 1998 through Geffen Records. Musically, the project portrays Zombie's love for classic horror films with heavy metal and electronic music. The album's lyrics speak of murder, chaos, and supernatural forces. The majority of Hellbilly Deluxe was recorded in California, and was produced by both Zombie and Scott Humphrey; Zombie is credited as the sole writer on all of the songs.

Ivan de Prume is a heavy metal drummer whose music became famous in the groove metal band White Zombie.

<i>La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One</i> 1992 studio album by White Zombie

La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One is the third studio album by White Zombie, released on March 31, 1992 by Geffen Records. The album marked a major artistic and commercial turning point for the band. After the recruitment of guitarist Jay Noel Yuenger, White Zombie was able to successfully embrace the heavy metal sound they had pursued since Make Them Die Slowly (1989), while incorporating more groove-based elements into their sound. The album was the band's last to feature drummer Ivan de Prume.

<i>The Sinister Urge</i> (album) 2001 studio album by Rob Zombie

The Sinister Urge is the second solo studio album from former White Zombie frontman Rob Zombie. The album is the follow up to his highly successful debut album Hellbilly Deluxe, released in 1998. The album was released by Geffen Records on November 13, 2001, more than three years after the release of his first album. The album's title is named after the 1961 crime drama film The Sinister Urge, directed and written by Ed Wood. Much like his previous effort, The Sinister Urge features elements of horror film and suspense in both its lyrical content and its music. Zombie also features a change of sound in several songs on the album when compared to Hellbilly, with songs such as "Never Gonna Stop " featuring a more dance-influenced beat.

<i>Supersexy Swingin Sounds</i> 1996 remix album by White Zombie

Supersexy Swingin' Sounds is a remix collection by White Zombie. It was released through Geffen Records in 1996 and was the band's final release. The album's remixes are of tracks from their previous release, Astro Creep 2000, except "I'm Your Boogie Man" by KC and the Sunshine Band. The Walmart and Kmart clean version of the album depict the cover model in a blue bikini rather than totally nude.

<i>God of Thunder</i> (EP) 1989 EP by White Zombie

God of Thunder is an EP by White Zombie, released in 1989 by Caroline Records. It was the band's first release with Jay Yuenger on guitar. EP contains "God of Thunder", a Kiss song originally from their 1976 album Destroyer, and "Disaster Blaster II", a reworked version of "Disaster Blaster" from their 1989 album Make Them Die Slowly.

<i>Pig Heaven/Slaughter the Grey</i> 1986 EP by White Zombie

Pig Heaven/Slaughter the Grey is the second EP by White Zombie, independently released as an EP in May 1986. Two different pressings of this album were created, both of which were limited to 500 copies each. By this time drummer Peter Landau was replaced by Ivan de Prume, who would remain with the band until after the release of La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1, and guitarist Paul "Ena" Kostabi by Tim Jeffs.

Thunder Kiss 65 1992 single by White Zombie

"Thunder Kiss '65" is the only official single from the album La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One by White Zombie. The song can also be found on Rob Zombie's Past, Present & Future and the greatest hits album The Best of Rob Zombie.

More Human than Human 1995 single by White Zombie

"More Human than Human" is the first official single from the Astro-Creep: 2000 album by metal band White Zombie. The song can also be found on Rob Zombie's Past, Present & Future, the greatest hits album The Best of Rob Zombie, and a remix is included on Supersexy Swingin' Sounds.

Jay Noel Yuenger, also known by the stage name "J.", is a rock guitarist best known for his work with Grammy-nominated heavy metal band White Zombie.

<i>Nightcrawlers: The KMFDM Remixes</i> 1992 EP by White Zombie

Nightcrawlers: The KMFDM Remixes is a remix album released in 1992 by White Zombie through Geffen Records with remixes done by KMFDM.

<i>Zombie Kiss</i> 1990 live album by White Zombie

Zombie Kiss is a live EP by the band White Zombie.


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