Sean Yseult Interview
September 1985 in New York's Lowers East Side. Their first tour; found them
averaging $25 a night. "White Zombie" has sure come a long way since then.
Today the group records for Geffen Records. We spoke with Sean Yseult, bassist
for the group. Incidentally,
"White Zombie" takes their name, from the movie of the same — the legendary
1932 horror film starring Bela Lugosi.
Q. Sean, you met Rob (co-founderof White Zombie) at CBGB's
in New York back in 1985. Were you in a band then? Was he? What were you
A. Neither of us were in bands at the time. We just had it in the back of our
heads to start one for a long time, but we were both just going to the same
kind of shows at the time.
Q. What brought you to New York? What were you doing for money?
A. Well, when I first went there I was working on scholarship at school. Whatever
jobs I could.
Q. Before this group ever played out "live," you had released
Q. That's kind of expensive isn't it?
A. It's funny, it really isn't. The first single cost us $314 (Laughs), for
300 records. We split it 3 ways, between me, Rob, and the guitarist. And
then we would just walk around to stores, all over the city and like, try
to dump them off, you enough. The second one we pressed a thousand of. It
doesn't cost a lot more to press a thousand, than it does to do 300.1 think
it was about $600 or $700. And, it wasn't like we spent money in the studio.
If we were going to the studio, it would be like $10 an hour, record the
songs straight through and then we really didn't even know what mixing was.
We just kind of played on, and then the guy who was behind the board, he
just kind of whatever.
Q. You toured the Midwest in October of 1987. Did you set
A. I used to set up all the touring and stuff. I was a real pain, looking back
on it, but I didn't really know anything otherwise. So, it does seem like the
way to do stuff. We set up jr own tours. I would just talk to bands and different
people who know about clubs and stuff. The first tour was just like a tour
week tour, through the mid-west. About a year later, we went across the whole
country. We used to actually make money on those tours. Not the first one,
but after that we did two U.S. tours on our own that I set up. We weren't living
the high life. (Laughs) We were sleeping of people's floors. But, we came home
Q. You r first label was not Geffen, but Caroline. Did Caroline
try to sign you for a long-term deal?
A. It was actually just for two records. So, it was pretty short.
Q. How did Geffen Records enter the picture? Did they come
to one of your shows?
A. It was one of their representatives, Michael Alago, had started coming to
our shows in New York. We had just finished touring Europe and we started getting
a lot of phone calls from majors. I guess he just heard about the band, and
started coming to our shows.
Q. What did Michael Alago like • about White Zombie,
did he ever tell you?
A. Not in any direct way. I mean, he was responsible for signing Metallica.
He's just into hard'n'heavy, energetic bands. Hopefully, that's what he saw
Q. Now Rob, seems like a guy who has a chip on his shoulder.
He says, "I grew up hating most people. I'm not interested in people's everyday
boring problems." And when you were signed to Geffen, he said, "Any label
that has the Simpsons and Cher is O.K. by us." What's the story with Rob?
A. (Laughs) That's just the way he is. I think it kind of comes through in
the lyrics about the band. It's just a real, kind of dark sarcasm. Everyone
seems to pick up on that, that I talk to. His personality is a pretty integral
part of the band.
Q. In your bio you quote Charles Manson, Sean, why?
A. We just thought it was a really cool quote. A lot of what he says is really
good logic and stuff.
Q. I don't understand why you would want to use a quote by
A. I don't know. It's hard for me to explain. Sometimes it does come out like
gibberish, but occasionally he kind of blurts out a few gems.
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