What’s the connection between Project Runway’s perennially fabulous Tim Gunn and ’90s horror revivalists White Zombie? Sean Yseult, former bassist of said band and author of the new memoir I’m In the Band, unveils the connection as she dishes on her and Rob Zombie’s first meeting at Parsons and more in an extensive interview for Village Voice’s Sound of the City blog. While not everyone may care to learn about the history of this short-lived band, there are plenty of great anecdotes about life and music in the Lower East Side of New York City during the ’80s:
Tell me about living on the Lower East Side.
I was in an apartment with my best friend Tracy and our friend Leon. It was a really nasty apartment at Delancey and Clinton. We were on the fourth floor where, if you opened your window, there was the bridge about three feet away, cars rolling right past. It was a one-bedroom with no heat, no kitchen, and the tiniest bathroom you’d ever seen in your life. Because of our friend Leon, there was a constant parade of local street kids and punks who’d climb up the fire escape late at night and crash on our floor. I mostly remember freezing to death and going downstairs to the bodega to make phone calls.
What were White Zombie’s first gigs?
Our very first gig was “audition night” Monday night at CBGB. One of the guys from Prong was running the soundboard, and they decided that we passed the audition, so we got to come back and play CBGB many more times. Our second might have been at the Pyramid Club on Avenue A. We played a lot of the East Village underground places like the ABC, which was on 8th between B and C, No Say No, which was on the Lower East Side — places like that.
What was audition night like?
Empty (laughs). But I saw some great shows on audition nights. I saw the Butthole Surfers on a Monday night, their first show in New York City. After that, I followed them around like they were the Grateful Dead.
The full title of Yseult’s memoir is fitting: I’m In the Band: Backstage Notes from the Chick in White Zombie. Visit Sound of the City for the full interview here.