Sean Yseult

Musician, White Zombie, Photographer

Sean Yseult is a photographer and founding member and bassist for the multi-platinum band White Zombie.  Over two years in the making, the band just released their exhaustive and anticipated box set It Came From N.Y.C. via the Numero Group.  The set features 5 LPs consisting of the band's early, long out of print EPs and LPs with all 39 tracks remastered by White Zombie guitarist J. Yuenger.  It also features a 108-page hardbound book that painstakingly documents the band's early progression through unpublished photos and a 20,000 word essay by Pitchfork writer Grayson Haver Currin.  After White Zombie's breakup in 1996, Sean moved to New Orleans and returned to her first love of photography and design.  She has since had four solo photography shows in New York, Los Angeles, and New Orleans and in 2010 released her autobiographical photo-book I'm In The Band via Soft Skull Press.  The book shares her behind the scenes photography and stories of life on tour with White Zombie and this is Sean's Fidelity High: The Cramps // Songs The Lord Taught Us // I.R.S. Records // 1980.  Sean says, "This is not only one of my all time favorite records, it is the record that changed my life.  The summer after I graduated high school, just before moving to NYC to attend Parsons School of Design, I was given a bag full of cassettes. Yes, cassettes, not vinyl – my big sister got the stereo, I only had a boombox that played cassettes.  I got the vinyl version years later.  This bag came from an odd character named Russ Boone: writer, Vietnam draftee with the army jacket worn daily to prove it.  Along with his huge red afro and John Lennon glasses, he looked like trouble and fit right in with our family.  Russ was one of my parents’ crew of past English major students who alternately lived with us, babysat for my sister and I, and hung out in general.  When he handed me the bag, he said very seriously, “Sean, I really think you should check these out.”  Imagine my surprise when I started listening to these cassettes, and instead of some hippie music discovered the Damned, Siouxsie and The Banshees, Vom, The Dead Kennedy’s, twenty plus other great punk bands, and something called The Cramps. The sound of the Cramps shook me to the bone – that voice, that echo-drenched guitar, the amazing songs that spoke to my Wednesday Addams’ soul.  What the hell was this?!  These were hand-made cassettes, with no art, and I was already in love.  With no internet or cool record store, they remained a mystery.  Two months later I landed in NYC and found out they were playing a secret show at CBGB’s that weekend.  Packed into a smoky club with every pale malnourished freak of the East Village, I pushed forward to see what these guys looked like.  The look matched the sound perfectly; the show was incredible.  After that, I went straight to St. Marks Guitars to buy a $60 Teisco with a whammy bar, knowing at that moment that I had to be in a band.  It wasn’t just a band, it was a lifestyle.  Years have passed, and with White Zombie I not only got to play with the Cramps, but later IN the Cramps as the bassist of their last tour, and most importantly had the honor of becoming friends with Ivy and Lux.  It doesn’t get any better!