23 Years Ago: White Zombie Release Their Final Studio Album, ‘Astro-Creep: 2000′
Riding a wave of popularity from the immense popularity of their 1992 album, La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One, White Zombie should have been on top of the world as they approached the recording of Astro-Creep: 2000 - Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head, which was released on April 11, 1995. In reality, the band members were completely at odds.
Being on tour for too long and dealing with pressure to match the success of La Sexorcisto caused a rift between Rob Zombie and bassist Sean Yseult, who ended their romantic relationship even before beginning the Astro-Creep: 2000. In addition, Zombie hired keyboardist Charlie Clouser and drummer John Tempesta to make the music more industrial, forcing Yseult and guitarist J. Yuenger to write riffs over electronic rhythms instead of creating them from scratch, as they had done in the past. The more Zombie took the reigns, the further tensions escalated.
Formerly close friends who did everything together, band members recorded all of their parts separately in the studio, with producer Terry Date overseeing the proceedings. “By that time, we were four people who didn’t work together well at all, and that was beyond stressful,” Zombie said in an interview for Louder Than Hell: the Definitive Oral History of Metal. “Everything about it should have been great. We had finally made it. We sold millions of records, we were playing in big sold out arenas. On the outside, it looked so f---ing great, but on the inside it sucked.”
White Zombie spent about three uncomfortable months writing Astro-Creep: 2000 and another three recording it. Like its predecessor, the album included samples from a variety of mostly horror movies and a newscast about the Charles Manson murders. Despite, or maybe because of the enmity within the band, Astro-Creep: 2000, featured some of the group’s best and most-rocking songs, including “More Human Than Human,” “Electric Head Pt. 2 (The Ecstasy)” and “Super-Charger Heaven.” Punchier and more direct than the more lighthearted, groove-oriented La Sexorcisto, Astro-Creep: 2000 was White Zombie’s most successful release, peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 album chart and selling more 2.6 million copies in the United States.
Pleased with their success, but miserable on tour (Zombie rode on a separate bus from his bandmates and had his own dressing room), White Zombie broke up after releasing the 1996 remix album Supersexy Swingin’ Sounds, which featured mixes from Clouser, The Dust Brothers, John Fryer, P.M. Dawn and others. The mix of dance tracks and distorted guitars of Astro Creep: 2000 and the remix disc perfectly paved the way for Zombie’s solo debut, Hellbilly Deluxe: 13 Tales Of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside The Spookshow International, which came out in 1998.
In the wake of White Zombie, Yseult focused on her photography and eventually formed the band Star & Dagger. John Tempesta continued playing with Zombie, but left in 2005 and joined The Cult. J. Yuenger has worked as a record producer and recording engineer. And Rob Zombie has maintained a successful solo career, while also becoming an in-demand big-screen movie director.
Loudwire contributor Jon Wiederhorn is the co-author of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal, as well as the co-author of Scott Ian’s autobiography, I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy From Anthrax, and Al Jourgensen’s autobiography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen and the Agnostic Front book My Riot! Grit, Guts and Glory.
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