I Go To See A Band

|July 20, 2015 | White Zombie

The White Zombie vinyl box set is coming together; we’ve gotten test pressings back, they sound good, and we’ve seen some mock-ups of the cover. I can’t give you a release date or say much more about it, but a LOT of work is going into this thing, and I think it’s going to be exceptionally cool. The guy who’s writing the liner notes (they’re going to be extensive) asked me to go into more detail about a couple of things I mentioned during the interview I did, one of which was the time, before I was in the band, when I went to see White Zombie, tape recorded the gig, had no way to get home, and walked around New York City all night. I had to think about it for a while, and then I wrote this. It isn’t presented as a story, but as a series of facts that I wrote down as I remembered them.ThinnerThinner

The gig, at CBGB, was supposed to be with the Necros headlining, but Laughing Hyenas got switched in at the last minute. Saturday, March 26, 1988.


I had recently turned 21. This was about 10 months before I met the band.ThinnerWhite Zombie CBGBThinner

Dig Dat Hole became Cop Shoot Cop later. I don’t remember much about them, maybe that they had unusual percussion, or no guitar, or a sampler — I can’t remember a thing about Happy Flowers.


I’m pretty sure I caught all the groups, as I would have gotten to the gig early (I was starving for something cool to do, and I would have wanted to study the bands, pick up clues, look at guitars), but at that time, the most fashion-forward of the ex-hardcore kids were getting into some advanced hairstyles (laughing Hyenas featured another white guy with dreads, a rarity at that time), everything was trending towards metal or hard rock, and if a band didn’t have long hair and volume and ROCK, I wasn’t very interested.


White Zombie had a lot of hair, and flames on their guitars, so they fell exactly and perfectly into my zone of interest.


I had a Sony TCS tape recorder, slightly bigger than a Walkman, which had a stereo mic that you could remove and furtively clip to your shirt collar, and I recorded all of WZ’s set and most of Laughing Hyenas’. I don’t know what happened to that cassette, or to the late-80s NYC field recordings I used to make, which would be slightly interesting now. I did recently find a tape with some snippets of us in the van, talking, from my first WZ tour, Summer 1989.


I didn’t know anyone (at the gig, and, really, I barely knew anyone in New York), and I didn’t talk to anyone, and I certainly didn’t have a car, and I lived in far-off New Jersey, from where I commuted to the city every day by bus, into the Port Authority.


The last bus back to NJ ran, I can’t remember, not that late, like 10-10:30pm. The first bus the next morning ran not very early (even later than normal,I think, because the next morning was a Sunday), maybe 10:30am — so, what this meant was that I would have to spend the night in the city.


The Port Authority Bus Terminal (and 42nd St. in general) at that time was a nasty, dangerous place (you didn’t want to spend any more time there than you had to), so I had to figure out what to do all night. I lingered at CBGB as long as I could, then I went to the Kiev (restaurant, 2nd Ave. and 7th St.), which was open 24 hours and was where you could fill up on soup and huge slices of challah bread for very little money.


The people who ran Kiev were pretty good about letting you linger over coffee and a newspaper, which I did for a couple of hours, and then I started to wander aimlessly, listening to the recordings I had just made. I remember listening, also, to Zodiac Mindwarp and Gaye Bykers On Acid.


I bought AA batteries at all-night bodegas, and coffee. I walked as far downtown as Wall St., my first time seeing that area at night. I vividly remember how empty and spooky it was. In general, the city was very quiet and there were very few people on the street. I went as far uptown as Central Park. Another thing I remember clearly is sitting on a bench there and listening to White Zombie and looking at the trees in the darkness.