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Famous2

The Famous Monsters was a band established in 1994 by Sean Yseult while she was in White Zombie. Not much is known about this surf rock band, except that Sean herself had this to say:

"This band was a cartoon in my head, clawing to get out. I had the idea around 1994, while White Zombie was touring constantly. There was a side of me that loved garage and surf music and silly cartoons like the Groovy Ghoulies and Josie and the Pussycats. I was also obsessed since childhood with the Addams Family and the Munsters. Since Rob and I had a rule in White Zombie that no one could attach their names to other bands, this was the perfect project because there would be no names attached – everyone entirely incognito, down to names and masks. I wrote the songs in a week or two, then flew to NYC for Thanksgiving to be with friends for 5 days. During those 5 days I talked my friends into playing the parts – monster-wise and instrument-wise of Frank.E.Stein (Bob Bert) and Vampire Girl (Brijitte West). We found costumes and masks at Love Saves the Day, wigs on 14th st, and recorded at their friend’s 8-track studio in the East Village. The next day we did a photo shoot with said costumes, and some props – guitars, a cocktail shaker and glasses. These monsters were gonna have fun and party, damnit! This was during a time that White Zombie was not a lot of fun, there was disharmony amongst us and things were unpleasant on the road at best. I needed this outlet – unrehearsed, trashy, garage music played by screaming drunken monsters that had never played their instruments before. Yes the premise was silly, and I stand by it to this day. I made a cassette with the photo and sent it anonymously to Estrus Records, my favorite label. They wanted it right away, and although the head of Estrus Dave Kryder learned my identity we kept it secret for a long time – he even told me years later that Rob was putting out a record on his label (that seemed to be about monster surf, oddly enough) and the label called Estrus to see if they could use one of Famous Monsters songs, clueless to the fact it was my band. After WZ broke up in 96, I moved to New Orleans. Brijitte (Vampire Girl) came to visit for a few months, so we made a new record, “In the Night!!!” We couldn’t find a Frank E. Stein so instead replaced him with She-Zilla, played by Carol Cutshall. When Brijitte moved on, Katie Campbell filled her boots as the new Vampire Girl.The record came out on Bongload – who regrettably insisted on putting my name on a sticker, on front of the record. I knew this was a mistake – the worlds of Famous Monsters and White Zombie were never meant to cross, and I loved the freedom of being incognito. But they insisted, hoping to cash in on WZ’s fame and recent break up. This didn’t help anyone – people seeing my name expected heavy rock/metal riffs and serious production, and instead received silly surf riffs and intentionally low-fi production. Things occasionally got worse when we toured, with more WZ fans getting angry and confused. But luckily we got to tour with bands that made sense, and that I was a fan of: Man or Astroman, Quintron and Pussycat, the Cramps. Their audiences got us. When Josh Homme started Queens of the Stone Age, he kept requesting us as an opener and I kept declining, knowing we would have pissed off their audience entirely. There was a time and a place for Famous Monsters and I did my best to keep things reasonable. The band never officially broke up, and I have always said that if her Majesty the Queen requested a Command Performance, Famous Monsters would be there – with new matching outfits to boot."

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