Former White Zombie Bassist: Al Jourgensen Almost Killed Me
Former White Zombie bassist Sean Yseult hasn’t been resting on her laurels since White Zombie sailed off into the sunset over a decade ago. She also plays in a band called Star & Dagger, launched a successful design business and ran a New Orleans dive bar called The Saint. She is recounting her 11 years in White Zombie with her new book, ‘I’m in the Band: Backstage Notes From the Chick in White Zombie,’ which is more of a photo essay and visual scrapbook of her career, filled with replicas of backstage passes, candid photos and stories.
“The focus of the book is 11 years in White Zombie,” Yseult told Noisecreep. “It starts when Rob and I met and started the band, living in Lower East Side basements, playing CBGB. It follows how we crawled up from that to being a headlining arena act. That is the focus of the book.”
Yseult said the idea for the book started out as a coffee table collection of her photos, tour diaries, backstage passes and everything she saved over the years, but it took on a life of its own. “I was montaging and collecting things and putting them in chronological order. And when I looked at them, they brought back memories, so I wrote additional remembrances of what you are looking at,” Yseult said. ” It’s like director’s cut commentary for an old movie from my past at this point.”
Another thing that inspired the book was the White Zombie box set that was being compiled. “I dragged out boxes because they wanted some footage I had on VHS that had to be transferred to DVD. I was looking for those, and I found this treasure trove of White Zombie things, ” Yseult admitted. “From our first day as a band, I was the band photographer with a tripod. The boxes contain every scrap of memorabilia from 1985 to our last headline tour.”
With all her White Zombie memories now unearthed, Yseult shared some of her favorites with Noisecreep. “Dimebag Darrell was such a brother to me, he and Phil both,” she said. “I have so many funny memories from every time we toured with Pantera. It was a blast.” Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen almost killed her during some offstage hijinks. Yseult revealed, “Al almost drove me off a cliff at Johnny Depp’s house!”
Wait, what? Johnny Depp’s house? Yseult continued, “We were with Gibby from Butthole Surfers, and it was after a late night at The Viper Room. Johnny had a home up in the hills and we were there, and Al backed up too fast in his hot rod, and we were teetering over a cliff. Every day was an adventure!”
Yseult also had the pleasure of meeting and fraternizing with famed psychologist and psychedelic drug advocate Timothy Leary during her time in White Zombie.
Since White Zombie split, Yseult moved to New Orleans, did some time in the band Rock City Morgue, opened and sold her dive bar The Saint and started her design firm, which is moving into home décor and is sold at the high-end department store Barneys. The bar is still a popular rock ‘n’ roll haunt, with Yseult acknowledging that “it is still in the spirit of the bar we opened. It’s a good late night dive bar.” She describes her new band, Star & Dagger, as “Black Sabbath meets Anita Pallenberg,” the latter of which is a former paramour of the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards and who influenced his band. “It’s heavy stoner rock with beautiful vocals,” Yseult said.
Yseult is proud of her time in White Zombie and of being a girl in an aggressive band, saying, “In my early days, I worked hard to be an equal and be accepted as an equal musician. My idol was Lemmy, and I modeled my bass playing after Lemmy and Tom Araya and prayed that I would get by and no one would give me a hard time for being a girl. It worked! I got accepted.”