Star & Dagger’s Sean Yseult Picks Her Top 5 New Orleans Rock Bands
Star & Dagger simply had to form. It was mandated by none other than Lenny Kaye, the legendary guitarist and rock journalist responsible for co-founding the Patti Smith Group and compiling the insanely influential 1972 garage-rock anthology ‘Nuggets.’ Kaye was hanging out one night with former White Zombie bassist Sean Yseult and Dava She Wolf of the wonderfully named Cycle Sluts from Hell, and he had an epiphany: “You two must form a band.” They did, and after enlisting singer Von Hesseling, the New Orleans-based crew cut ‘Tomorrowland Blues,’ a set of dirty, sleazy blues-rock ragers released earlier this year via Cauldron 333. Enamored of her adopted hometown, Yseult made us a list of her Top 5 New Orleans Rock Bands. They call it the Big Easy, but judging by the sound of her picks, our gal likes it rough!
OK, so I’m married to the lead singer, but Supagroup have been rocking peoples’ asses off AC/DC style and kicking ass Bruce Lee style for 17 years. Just look at the titles of their records: ‘Planet Rock,’ ‘Hail! Hail! Rock ‘ n ‘ Roll.’ The word “rock” is in almost every song as well. With tight riffs, ripping solos and tongue-in-cheek lyrics, a la ‘Big Balls’ … hell they even have their own “balls” song, ‘It Takes Balls.’ And it does take balls to be a rock band in New Orleans!
The heaviest Southern rock band ever, with my good friends Phil Anselmo from Pantera, Pepper from COC, and Jimmy Bower from eyehategod. When I owned a bar here called The Saint, their CD was on constant play on the jukebox. I would never pass a chance to see these guys live; they destroy every time. They are one of the few bands that write riffs I wish I had written.
White Zombie took this band on tour in ’92 because I rallied for them. I’ve always been a huge fan and feel lucky to now live in their hometown, where I have gotten to see them countless times. Another band that always makes me wish I had written that riff! They put a New Orleans groove into the heaviest, most destructive music and therefore make it unique and badass. We are all very sad over Joey [LaCaze] no longer being with us. I love this band because they are like family to each other after all of these years, so I wish them strength getting through this.
I grew up in North Carolina, and when I was little, we would spend time up in the mountains surrounded by back-porch bluegrass bands and seeing cloggers here and there. Who would have guessed a boy from these mountains would move to New Orleans and start a heavy rock band called Black Mountain (his hometown) where he clogs on a microphoned wooden box?? If that’s not enough, Brooke Lamm’s band before Black Mountain was called Blackula. Black Mountain have amazing riffs, two basses and drums, no guitar and — clogging!
More heavy-as-hell riff-meisters! See a theme here? I am devoted to the riff. These guys kill it, every time. They have plenty of their own bludgeoning songs, but see the crowd turn upside-down when they do their ultra-slow heavier-than-thou version of the Beatles’ ‘She’s So Heavy.’ Impossible not to head bang to!