Rob Zombie recently spoke to Artisan News about the passing of former WHITE ZOMBIE and LAST CRACK drummer Phil Buerstatte (pictured below), who died on May 19 at the age of 46.
Buerstatte, who suffered through years of drug addiction, treatment and prison time, died in his sleep in his Madison, Wisconsin home.
"Phil was not in [WHITE ZOMBIE] very long; he was in the band a very short time," Rob said (see video below). "And he was always a very troubled person. I mean, the reason he left the band was due to a severe drug problem, which I know only got worse once he left, and then I heard he was in prison. I mean, I hadn't had any contact with him for 20-something years, probably."
He continued: "It was very unfortunate when something like that happens. 'Cause I didn't know whatever happened to him; I didn't know, maybe he got his life together, maybe he didn't; I didn't know. So obviously, he didn't. So it was pretty sad.
"He was a nice guy — I really liked him — but he had a lot of problems an did some really bad stuff to the band, so… [laughs] But it's unfortunate that he never got his life together."
Wisconsin State Journal reported in 1995 that Buerstatte struggled with an addiction to crack cocaine and spent time in prison for burglaries, stealing vehicles and eluding police.
"If the window on my cell popped open tonight," Buerstatte told the paper at the time, "I wouldn't try to escape because I don't trust myself outside. If I hadn't been put away, I think I'd be dead."
After spending a few years in the mid-2000s living in Massachusetts, Buerstatte came back to Madison, where he lived for the last few years, his brother and sister said.
He had trouble finding work in recent years because of the time he spent in prison.
"He kind of bounced around," his sister, Rachel Tvedt, said. "He did a lot of work in people's homes, like a fix-it type of a person."