What I was so sorely disappointed with was the package. The "fondlability and fetishability factor," to misquote Frank Zappa. White Zombie had been almost as much about the image and artwork as the music and the buyer is left swindled. I recall a radio interview in 1995 or so promoting Astro Creep in which Rob spoke about how much the band enjoyed giving the fans a complete package that included stickers, posters, et cetera. Here we get something nice to load into iTunes and then file onto the shelf. I remember the day this set arrived - it was the week of Thanksgiving and I was working from home on a slooow day prior to the holiday. The box in the mail on release day was the best present I could have ever hoped for and I was so looking forward to tearing this sucker open and spending an afternoon reading through its book. Instead I found a 32-page, sepia CD-sized insert with some artwork, all in the same tone, none in color, no lyrics, no notes from the band members or critics, no complete historical articles, no original cover art, nothing. It contains album info/dates for the tracks but there is absolutely zero in terms of Box Set 101 basics: no notes from critics/historians/bandmembers nor any full-color photographs or artwork nor even duplications of the original album cover art (nice for those who never saw the early releases on shelves in their original forms). Again, fine for most bands, I guess, but when Zombie has given us so much to enjoy visually in the past this comes as a shock. I have since read interviews expressing Rob's disdain for the White Zombie history (a great one is located at ultimate-guitar.com) but if you're going to package, market and sell this item to fans, you should consider what a fan would enjoy. If he hated the band that much, he should have abandoned the project. And, yes, I like the music. I like it a lot. It can stand on its own for what it is. But Rob's visual style is as much a part of the package - just look at how many of us have followed his forays into filmmaking. Again, fun to listen to, but the physical package offers zero incentive to buy it in "hard copy" versus a cheaper digital download. And certainly no good reason to sell off your original albums - you'll likely regret it.
With most bands, substance trumps style every time. With a band like White Zombie, they're intertwined. And while nice to have all the tunes (and a killer DVD) in one place, this cannot help but feel like a product rushed to market for a Christmas season that forgot a lot about its fanbase in the process. All in all, a surprisingly minimalist package from legendary purveyors of excess.
|geffen promo photo - 1992|