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Also known as Snowhite, ZnöWhite
Origin Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres Heavy metal, thrash metal, speed metal
Years active 1982–1989
Labels Enigma, Roadrunner, Metal Mind
Associated acts Cyclone Temple
Past members Ian Tafoya
Sparks Tafoya
Nicole Lee
Nicky Tafoya
Alex Olvera
Scott Schafer
Debbie Gunn
John Slattery

Znowhite or Znöwhite were an American thrash/speed metal band who have been credited for helping to pioneer thrash metal in Chicago.[1]



In the year 1982 the heavy metal band Znowhite was founded by two African American brothers, guitarist Ian Tafoya and drummer Sparks Tafoya (real names Greg Fulton and Tony Heath) along with cousin Nicky Tafoya (Real name Curtis Fulton) on bass. Nicole Lee (real name Sue Sharp) joined the group soon after as lead vocalist. The band originally performed under the title Snowhite, but later replaced the S with a Z. They independently released their infamous three song flexi-disc which featured the song Hellbent. This caught the attention of Metal Blade Records founder Brian Slagel. On the strength of the recording Znowhite landed a spot on volume three of the Metal Massacre compilation, which helped give them some exposure.[2]

Lineup changes and disbandment[edit]

After Znowhite's initial success, Nicole, Ian and Sparks decided to replace then bassist Amp Dawg. In 1985 Scott Schafer joined Znowhite taking over the bass duties. Four years of grueling back-to-back tours of America and Canada produced the independently released live album - Live Suicide - and it seemed the band was headed in the right direction. Back in their hometown of Chicago the band started work on what would be the last Znowhite release, their magnum opus, Act of God. Toward the end of the recording sessions Nicole Lee made the decision to leave Znowhite. Znowhite's Act of God was released to rave reviews in 1988 through Roadrunner Records. An extensive American tour followed the album's release and featured Sentinel Beast vocalist Debbie Gunn (real name Debbie Gunderson) and drummer John Slattery - formerly of the band Tools Of Ignorance. Gunn would later bow out after the tours due to health issues. Fulton, Schafer and Slattery would go on to form Cyclone Temple[2] When Cyclone Temple disbanded Fulton, Schafer and Fulton's brother, former Znowhite drummer, Tony Heath formed a new group Rebels Without Applause.[3] Gunn would later go on to sing for the group Ice Age[4] and, later, reform Sentinel Beast.[5] Over twenty years later, Znowhite continues to be a popular cult favorite among Heavy Metal fans. Their final album, Act of God, is considered by many to be among the top ten Thrash Metal recordings of all time.[citation needed]


Studio albums



  • All Hail to Thee/Kick Them When Down[8]
  • ZnöWhite[9]



  1. ^ Christe (2003), pg. 206, "Two black musicians from Chicago helped found that city's thrash metal scene: towering seven-foot guitarist Ian Tafoya of Znowhite, and denim-bedecked bassist Calvin Humphrey of Zoetrope."
  2. ^ a b c Rivadavia, Eduardo. "allmusic (((Znowhite > Biography)))". Allmusic. Retrieved 14 February 2010. 
  3. ^ "REBELS WITHOUT APPLAUSE: Full-Length Debut Out Now". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 16 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "ICE AGE Demos Available For Free Download". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 14 February 2010. 
  5. ^ "SENTINEL BEAST: Performance Footage Of New Song Posted Online". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 14 February 2010. 
  6. ^ "allmusic (((Act of God > Overview)))". Allmusic. Retrieved 14 February 2010. 
  7. ^ "allmusic (((Kick 'Em When They're Down > Overview)))". Allmusic. Retrieved 14 February 2010. 
  8. ^ Sendra, Tim. "allmusic (((All Hail to Thee/Kick Them When Down > Overview)))". Allmusic. Retrieved 14 February 2010. 
  9. ^ "allmusic (((ZnöWhite > Overview)))". Allmusic. Retrieved 14 February 2010.