White Zombie

by Mike Huberty
December 2008

White Zombie

White Zombie

Formed in the mid-80’s in New York City, White Zombie would become one of the most popular metal acts through the 90’s. Their sound was heavy but with a groove and songs inspired from horror authors like Richard Matheson (I Am Legend) to classic muscle cars and cult films like Blade Runner and Night of the Living Dead. Their most visible member, Rob Zombie (Robert Cummings, Jr.), was not only a musician, but a filmmaker as well, who over the course of the past two decades would go from directing the band’s videos to being a sought-after horror movie director in Hollywood. Even though the band has been broken up for over a decade, Rob went through the entirety of their old recordings and came up with a new boxed set called Let Sleeping Corpses Lie which is a five-disc collection of everything the band recorded.

You can tell Rob Zombie gets asked about a White Zombie reunion all the time because the first thing he says is how the set has a perfect title, “it’s pretty self-explanatory because I didn’t want everybody to think the box set was the beginning of something. I wanted everyone to realize it was the end of something… I am not big on revisiting the past. I like to move forward all the time. So whenever anything else would come up, this would go in the backburner. I had a little bit of window, and just knocked it out. And I also figured that, if not now, when? By waiting longer, CDs aren’t even going to exist, so there will be no box sets.” 

And for a band that would go on to sell millions of albums and sell out arenas all over the world, their beginnings in the 80’s didn’t quite point in that direction. “We were kind of outcasts. We were definitely in our own world. I mean, I didn’t even know what was going on in the world… Everything the band appeared to be, was exactly what it was, nothing was fake. We were all living in a lower east side. Everybody was flat broke, none had any money. You know sometimes to we would eat the free Hare Krishna Food in the parks, that they would feed to homeless people to survive. I mean, it was like a band of bums.” And while listening to the old material, Zombie didn’t even remember some of the songs. “A lot of the stuff I hadn’t heard in so long, I had actually forgotten. I mean, there were songs on those early records, that if you played me that song, if I was in a store or something and heard the song, I wouldn’t even recognize it. Because I was going through the tapes and I was like what the fuck is this? I don’t even remember this. My voice sounds so different back then that, I didn’t even recognize myself when I hear it.” All good things come to an end though, and White Zombie broke up in 1998, “ You could feel it coming for a long time,” he says, “I mean, anyone on the inside knew it was more of a miracle that it was still holding together, rather than it falling apart; because people weren’t getting along, people weren’t speaking, I don’t think the entire band was ever actually in the same room together when we made Astro-Creep. We were riding on separate buses. I wouldn’t even see those guys until show time, I would walk on stage, play, walk off stage… so it was more of a miracle that it lasted that long.”

And with that he’s closing the book on White Zombie, ”I just decided from the get-go, that I will put every single thing that we recorded, that was like a real recording. Every song of every vinyl record, every CD and every sound track, just every like actual finished recording that we had a song, that we had thought was a finished mix song, that I put every single one and that’s what we did…There is really nothing more to be done. I mean, there’s other like crappy demos and stuff we could release, but they’re probably not worth listening to. So, yes, I’d say this is probably the last thing that will come from the band for sure.”

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White Zombie
CD: Let Sleeping Corpses Lie Record Label: Geffen Records
Purchase Let Sleeping Corpses Lie on Amazon