Bassist Sean Yseult: ‘I Had Girls Coming Backstage To Meet Me Thinking I Was A Dude’
Matt Staggs of Suvudu did an interview with former WHITE ZOMBIE bassist Sean Yseult about Sean‘s new book, “I’m In The Band – Backstage Notes From The Chick In White Zombie”. Here’s some excerpts from the interview below.
Suvudu: What was it like putting together the book? Was it hard choosing what to include and what not to?
Sean: It was crazy — organizing chaos, once again. It took a couple of years. At first I was just trying to match up photos, tour diaries, flyers and backstage passes to the same date and time. As soon as that got together, I started writing, making commentary on what you are looking at. It’s almost as though I’m looking at it with you for the first time, because I am! Memories and stories would pop in my head as I saw these photos and ticket stubs that have been sitting in storage for almost fifteen years. It was difficult editing things down — I’ve got two huge photo albums filled entirely of our tours just with PANTERA: Phil and Dimebag goofing off and mugging for the camera constantly, on and off stage. That could have been a book on its own. I’m happy with what made it in the book, though; it seems to cover just about everything!
Suvudu: For a long time heavy metal has been a male-dominated medium. I look at early heavy metal/hard rock artists like Lita Ford and Doro Pesch and it seems like if women are allowed into the club they are expected to trade on their sex appeal as much or even more than their talent. In recent years, it seems like things have been getting better, but I was wondering if there has been a difference between how much of that kind of double standard you experienced during your years with WHITE ZOMBIE and how much you experience with your current musical projects, and if so, do you feel like your own career has helped promote women in metal?
Sean: I experience none at all now. Back in WHITE ZOMBIE days, it was very unusual for me to be up there playing in a heavy band of guys, and not being a sexy front woman singer. To be honest, I think I was the only one doing that at the time we were touring, and people were confused, to say the least. I had girls coming backstage to meet me thinking I was a dude. I had metalhead dudes thinking I was a dude, and then instead of being sexist, later saying I was their favorite bassist along with Cliff Burton — there is no higher, non-sexist praise from a metahead dude than that, so I consider myself very lucky. Occasionally, the local crew or stagehands would treat me like shit and try to throw me out of my own backstage, assuming I didn’t belong since I was a girl. But the fans and the bands we played with always accepted me as one of the guys, which I loved.
Suvudu: You’ve been very busy since the WHITE ZOMBIE days, playing with a number of bands, including FAMOUS MONSTERS and ROCK CITY MORGUE. Did you learn any lessons from your time with WHITE ZOMBIE that you’ve been able to successfully apply to the rest of your musical career?
Sean: Not really! I brought a rigorous practice schedule to the table for WHITE ZOMBIE, because I had grown up that way with piano and violin lessons. Classes twice a week, practice at least two hours a day. Writing, practicing and playing live are things you have to do constantly to be good at them and get better, and I was brought up doing all three since I was six years old. I have another band now that is getting back to the metal, called STAR AND DAGGER. It’s blues rock, but heavy and tuned down. The members are split between New York and New Orleans, so it takes longer to write and record but I love what we’re coming up with. We like to think of it as Anita Pallenberg fronting SABBATH!
Suvudu: What I’ve found very interesting about your career is that you’ve always kept a foot in both the visual arts and music. It seems to me that people who have a wide range of talents like you sometimes have trouble being taken seriously in their respective fields. Has your musical fame been a help or hindrance in your work as a designer?
Sean: I always feel like it is a hindrance, to be honest. I used to get mad at myself for trying to do too many things — better to focus on one thing and really excel, I thought. But creating is creating, who cares how you feel you need to express yourself as long as it is something you honestly want to do?
Read the entire interview from Suvudu.