Mind Candy

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Band profile: White Zombie

Posted by mandyf on April 11, 2009

White Zombie was the band of choice for metal fans in the mid to late ’90’s that were tired of the commercialized offerings of the Motley Crue’s of the world, but still wanted something that offered more than incomprehensible growling. They were the meeting of the best of of both worlds, a band seemingly poised for long term greatness. Not everything is however as it seems, this is their story.

Rob Cummings of Haverhill, MA, relocated to New York in the early 1980’s making his way in the world by virtue of his artistic ability. he landed jobs as everything from a production assistant on Pee Wee’s Playhouse to doing art design and graphics for magazines. Sometime around 1985 he and his then girlfriend Sean yseult decided to form a band which reflected the many interests they shared from the entertainment world. These influences were the theatrics of performers like Kiss and Alic Cooper, combined with the music of punk bands like the Ramones and a touch of B grade horror films. The name White Zombie was directly taken from the 1932 Bela Lugosi film of the same name.

From 1985 until 1989 the band was in a constant state of flux. Rob, then known as Rob Zombie, manned the vocals and Sean honed her bass skills, guitarists and drummers changed almost constantly. While they had several indie releases during this time frame like Gods of VooDoo Moon, Pig Heaven, and Make Them Die Slowly, mainstream success just wasn’t in the cards seemingly. Finally when jay Noel Yuenger (Known simply as J) left Rights of the Accused the tide began changing. It was the addition of his metallic riffs that moved the band more toward the metal sound they are today and served as influence on everyone from Thurston Moore to Kurt Cobain.

Their first release with J featured a cover of the Kiss anthem God of Thunder which got the attention of Geffen Records as they felt White Zombie was one of the very select few metal bands of the time that was edgy enough for discriminating metal heads, but still mainstream enough to actually get club play and be danced to. By 1992 when la Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1 hit the band was enjoying a larger fan base, but not what Geffen imagined. What really changed their fortunes was the video Thunderkiss ’65 and the Beavis and Butthead Show. The song itself is some weird mutation of funk metal, but the video is bizarre featuring everyday monsters and a guy in a wrestling mask that nobody has ever quite figured….. Read the rest here


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