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Sunday Old School: White Zombie

Before Rob Zombie was known for his movies, his Woolite commercial or "Dragula," he was known as the frontman of New York's White Zombie, one of the most popular heavy metal bands of the 1990's. The band was formed in 1985 by design student Robert Cummings (Rob Zombie) and his girlfriend Sean Yseult, who would prove to be the sole constant members of the group. They formed their own record label, Silent Explosion, through which they released three EPs "Gods On Voodoo Moon," "Pig Heaven" and "Psycho-Head Blowout" before self-releasing their first full length album, "Soul-Crusher." The album helped them to attract the attention of Caroline Records, with whom they released their next record, "Make Them Die Slowly." The album marked a significant departure in sound for the band, heading in a much more heavy metal orientated direction than their previous punk rock style.

Following guitar player John Ricci's carpel tunnel syndrome preventing him from playing guitar anymore, Jay Yeunger was brought in to replace him, making his recording debut with White Zombie's next EP release, "God Of Thunder," which featured a cover of the KISS song of the same name as well as two previously unused songs. After the release, the band searched for a new label, attempting to grab the attention of major labels. While RCA showed interest, but the band eventually decided to sign with Geffen. Thanks in part to the backing they received from a major label, as well as creating catchier songs, they were able to break into the mainstream with their next record, "La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1." The album featured the song, "Thunder Kiss '65," which received heavy rotation on MTV (which played music back then) and became something of a hit single. The song's popularity, coupled with the band's hard working approach to touring helped the album go Gold by the end of 1993, before going Platinum the next year.

The band were now faced with the task of following up a successful album and recruited new drummer John Tempesta (formerly of Exodus and Testament) to help out. They proved they weren't a flash in the pan with their next record, "Astro Creep 2000," which was able to reach number six on the Billboard 200 albums chart, not least due to the popularity of the songs, "More Human Than Human," "Electric Head Part. 2" and "Super-Charger Heaven." The album has since been certified double Platinum since it's release, selling over two and a half million copies. It was also around this time that Zombie began working on solo material, performing a duet with the legendary Alice Cooper for a tie in CD for the hit show, "X-Files," which received a Grammy nomination, as well as penning the song, "The Great American Nightmare" for Howard Stern, which has been used as the theme song of his radio show since 1999. While it's unclear if these solo endeavours factored into the demise, White Zombie decided to call it a day in 1998. Since then, Rob Zombie has achieved considerable success as a solo artist and is now known for his film directing too. Yseult joined a surf rock band called The Famous Monsters, in addition to other musical pursuits, before releasing a book, "I'm With The Band" last year. The other members have also continued a career in music, particularly Tempesta, who has gone on to perform with other well known artists such as Helmet and The Cult. Despite a White Zombie box set, "Let Sleeping Corpses Lie" being released in 2008, the members have been adamant that a future reunion is very unlikely.

White Zombie - "I'm Your Boogie Man"

White Zombie - "Feed The Gods"

White Zombie featuring Iggy Pop - "Black Sunshine"

White Zombie - "More Human Than Human"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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16 Comments on "Sunday Old School: White Zombie"

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Drum_Junkie's avatar

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1. Drum_Junkie writes:

Yet another great article. OZ!
My personal favorite was LaSexorcisto Vol 1. The drumming of Ivan de Prume had an unmistakable funkiness and groove to it, that gave way to Tempestas' more mechanical delivery in AstroCreep. I think this was the direction that Rob wanted to go, but I preferred Ivan's playing. He left in 1992 to enroll at Musicians Institute. I always wondered how they would have sounded in Ivan had stayed with the band.

# Jul 10, 2011 @ 9:01 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
brandedcfh420's avatar

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2. brandedcfh420 writes:

Saw Zombie 2 times in '96. 1st one was their headling tour with Filter, and the 2nd time was their co-headline your with PANTERA!!! sad to say i saw, as well as thousands of others saw it too, that Rob was lip-syncing certain songs at both shows. he ran around the stage so much that he was out of breath and you could hear him breathing in heavily through the mic as he was "saying words so clearly" at the same time. glad both times were free concerts for me!!

# Jul 10, 2011 @ 9:55 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Snake_Boy's avatar

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3. Snake_Boy writes:

Yeah, Oz. Great article. I'd love to see some more SOS articles on groove metal or alternative metal bands, you should do either Prong or Suicidal Tendencies, who are both my favorite bands.

# Jul 10, 2011 @ 10:35 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

4. Diamond Oz writes:

Prong is in my to do pile and I plan to cover them very soon, probably around next month. I've been meaning to do them for a while. I love Suicidal Tendencies but I've always been a bit wary of doing a fully fledged article on them because they were featured in the very early SOS articles which tended to look at a particularly song. If you'd like to read the ST article though, here it is:

http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=48048

# Jul 10, 2011 @ 10:46 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Snake_Boy's avatar

Member

5. Snake_Boy writes:

Ah, I didn't realize you already did S.T., thanks for pointing that out. Well, I'd still like to see an article on Prong. I'm not sure if you've done grunge bands like Alice in Chains or Soundgarden, but it would be nice to have SOS articles about them.

# Jul 10, 2011 @ 11:02 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

6. Diamond Oz writes:

Good shout! I never thought about doing any grunge but that's definitely something to think about. As I say, Prong should be done and posted fairly soon. I'm planning SOS articles for Godflesh and Helmet at some point too, so hopefully you'll enjoy them. Thanks for the kind words about this article by the way, you too Drum Junkie. It's greatly appreciated.

# Jul 10, 2011 @ 11:10 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Snake_Boy's avatar

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7. Snake_Boy writes:

You're welcome, Oz.

# Jul 10, 2011 @ 12:20 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
brandedcfh420's avatar

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8. brandedcfh420 writes:

Helmet is a band that was overlooked and underrated back then. not saying im an uberfan, but they are a talented band for sure!!!

# Jul 10, 2011 @ 12:46 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
9. Doyle writes:

Sean was also in a band called rock city morgue. ive never heard of famous monsters... I saw rock city morgue with the misfits a while back. Got to meet sean and she looks damn good now. super nice too.

# Jul 10, 2011 @ 4:26 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BrianMN's avatar

Member

10. BrianMN writes:

I agree with Branded.
Helmet's "Milktoast" still makes me want to run around and put holes in the walls with my head. \m/

# Jul 11, 2011 @ 9:09 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
11. SJM writes:

I'll echo the great article Oz, thanks.
Faith no More is a band I'd like to see you cover.

# Jul 11, 2011 @ 9:10 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

12. Diamond Oz writes:

Thanks SJM, good shout with Faith No More. I'm thinking of knocking one up on Living Colour at some point too.

Definitely agree about Helmet, especially "Milquetoast." I saw them at Graspop in 2008 and they were awesome.

# Jul 11, 2011 @ 10:42 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Snake_Boy's avatar

Member

13. Snake_Boy writes:

Yeah, it would be nice to see SOS stories about Faith No More, Living Colour and of course Helmet and my suggestions Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Prong.

# Jul 11, 2011 @ 11:44 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Nunya's avatar

Member

14. Nunya writes:

well, at least thanks to branded i know why zombie cant sing a complete verse today, the fact is that he never really could...

# Jul 12, 2011 @ 12:08 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Demoncleaner23's avatar

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15. Demoncleaner23 writes:

Great article but makes me sad that white zombie will never be again. Even if they did reunite rob would just be doing his hetfield impression.

# Jul 12, 2011 @ 4:35 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BrianMN's avatar

Member

16. BrianMN writes:

Funny you guys mention Rob's live performances.
I too saw them with Pantera back in the day and Rob was also running around so much at that show he could barely sing.
He may not do a great live vocal but the guy does have "presence".
Some people sing great live but they stand there like a frickin statue, it may as well be a tape recording of them singing.
Zombie puts on a great show, now...if he'd just put out a decent album.

# Jul 12, 2011 @ 9:06 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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