RzR: It's a few days before Haloween 2002.
I'm the webmaster of one of the
first and largest White Zombie fan sites (
Below is an Interview I did with Tim Jeffs who was the second Guitarist in White Zombie during 1986-87. He was responsible for ones of my favorite early White Zombie songs "PIG HEAVEN".
RzR: Hi Tim. Since WZ's birth, many songs have been recorded and many live performances occurred. During your time in WZ, was playing in the band a hobby or semi-professional activity?
Tim : Hey RzR. I just wanted to play for fun, in a band, in New York City clubs when Rob asked me to join WZ. So I said yes right away. So I guess you could call it a hobby. It was so easy for me. Rob already had a drummer and a bassist ( Sean, that a knew from school) so all I had to do was show up with my guitar and I was in. We all got along really well. For me it was a hobby that included getting paid a little money after the shows.
RzR : If WZ grew up in early 90s in Seattle,
would they be classified as grunge band?
Tim : I don't think WZ should ever be classified as a grunge band. Rob created a unique nitch for himself that influenced a whole new style of music. It's hard to classify, but if I had to I would call it horrorRock.
RzR : Is there today a place for bands that play today like WZ did in 80s?
Tim : CBGB'S in New York City is still open for business.
RzR : Lately some punk rockers passed away (
Ramones, alice in chains ...),
Is Rock and Roll dead ?
Tim : Rock and Roll Dead? No. Rock and Roll will always keep evolving and changing. Just because a good Rock stars dies, doesn't mean Rock's dead. Hell. If that happened we would all be listening to elevator music 24/7.
RzR : Often psychedelic music came with use of drugs,
but it doesn't seems to be present in your public image,
could WZ been calified as a "straight edge" band (no alcohol, drugs free)?
Tim : All of use were very drug free when I was in the Band. Rob never did drugs, and if he drank a beer I would have been very surprised. Playing Music was the drug we were on.
RzR : What was the concept of Silent Explosion?
Any other bands under this label?
Tim : It was Rob's idea. He just like the name so he made it up. He created everything to do with the look and the marketing of WZ. From designing the record covers, to naming all the songs, to making up the label name. It was something he loved to do. It was a WZ exclusive label.
RzR : What songs did WZ used to covers?
Live or demos ... as far you can remember
Tim : We did all original music. No covers, This was something I really liked about the band at that time. My previous band did a lot of covers, and it just isn't as fun as doing your own music. When you do your own music people either like it or don't. They can't compare it to how anyone else plays the song, because it is only yours. And that is cool
RzR : Did you record other songs before / after the Zombies ones ?
Tim : Yes. I have recorded a lot with different people. But most of it is underground recording, so not much of it is available to the public.
RzR : Did Sean play in any other band
before she met rob in WZ ?
Tim : I don't thinks so. She was a beginner on Bass when I played with her. She has become a very good bassist.
RzR : Did Rob use some Instruments for composing music?
He is credited to play guitar, drums in some songs.
Tim : The only Instrument that Rob used when I played in the band with him was a beer bottle that he would use on the neck of my guitar when we played live. We would get some wild sounds coming out of my amp when he used it.
RzR : NYC is known as being the place to be in the 80s, then LA, Seattle ... ?
Do you have a special feeling about this city? ... Any comment on sept 11?
Tim : New York is the best. I still live and work in New York City and I think it's still a great place for new music. I saw everything on 9/11 from my office window less than a mile from the WTC. I'll just say that I will never forget it, and would never leave New York because of it.
RzR : Tell me about the craziest day when you were in WZ ?
Tim : One night we showed up at this little hole of a club to play, and the owner said we weren't even on the band list. Rob hit the ceiling, and after some talking convinced that owner to let us play. There were 3 bands playing that night and we were told to go 2nd. The first band sucked but had the most amazing equipment. The amps were kick-ass. So we set up and when we started to play my fender amp died. Rob went over to the first band and asked if we could use their amps for the show. After promising to be gentle with them they let us use them. Well, Rob isn't gentle when he gets on stage , so when we started playing Rob turns the amps up as loud as they will go, and starts jumping on them. The crowd got really into it and we could see the band that let us use the amps start freaking out. But there is nothing they can do. We finished the show and turned out to be the best band that night. The owner even paid us and asked us to come back.
RzR : Horror/cartoon universe was it an influence for
all WZ members or just a Rob obsession? And how can this influence music?
Tim : We all loved Horror movies and cartoons. Sean, Rob and I were studying in art school at the time, so we all had cartoon history. Horror movies were just cool, and we all got into them.
RzR : White Zombie has been qualified as a reflect of subculture.
Tell us about some of your favorites movies, albums, comics, and books?
Tim : Rob and I had a lot in common when it came to all of these. We both loved Horror and SiFi. Movies, rock, hardcore, punk and metal, comics, and great Movie directors.
Some of my favorite movies are Blade Runner, The Exorcist, Taxi Driver.
Some of my favorite bands are Hendrix, Black Sabbath, and The Ramones.
Rob : Rob is known to be a very talented illustrator,
what are the reasons that all records covers are fade pictures,
while inlay graphics kick ass?
Tim : Rob was always into illustration and design, so I knew he would do everything in the band that needed a piece of art. Plus it gave him total control over everything that WZ produced.
RzR : Do you know guitar players that played in WZ just before you joined what they became?
Tim : There was just one guy before me and he was gone before I was in. So, the answer is no.
RzR : Do u follow what other WZ members are still doing
(btw Sean is a new band Rock City Morgue)?
Tim : Sean is great and I'm sure everything she does in music will be successful.
RzR : Hasn't Rob sold his punkrocker soul to music bizness ?
Tim : No. I think exactly the opposite has happened. The Music biz has sold its soul to Rob. Rob as taken what was a conservative business by the throat and turned it upside down. Rob tells the music business what he wants to do, and how he want it done and they just say, OK yes Rob, Now that is amazing.
RzR : I forgot, you are on the net too, it is cool to be online isn't it?
What are you using the net for?
Tim : I use the computer and the net all the time. For email, computer gaming, Music, Movies, graphic design, and as an everyday tool. It's a Hugh part of my life. I have always used Macs and love them.
RzR : Any funny, amazing stuff to add?
Tim : Being a part of White Zombie's history has been very cool. I am very quiet about it myself, but when people find out they are amazed that I played with Rob in WZ. One of the most popular questions to me is "Are you sorry you left?" My answer is always the same, no, not at all. It was a blast while I was in the band and I had a lot of fun, but I would never have stuck around for the ten years it took after I left the band for Rob and WZ to become famous. Plus I would never live in LA. I love New York too much.
RzR : That was a pleasure to hear more from you, I needed to fix this lack on my Zombie site. Thank you for the interview and all your work in WZ. Goodbye