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Rozz Williams

Rozz Williams

Rozz Williams


Rozz Williams (born November 6, 1963 in Pomona California, died April 1, 1998 in West Hollywood, California) was the lead singer and founder of Christian Death. Other projects he started included Shadow Project and Premature Ejaculation. He was born Roger Alan Painter in Pomona, California and was raised in a strict Southern Baptist family with his three older siblings (two brothers and one sister). While his older brothers preferred to listen to bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd Read more on Last.fm
Rozz Williams (born November 6, 1963 in Pomona California, died April 1, 1998 in West Hollywood, California) was the lead singer and founder of Christian Death. Other projects he started included Shadow Project and Premature Ejaculation. He was born Roger Alan Painter in Pomona, California and was raised in a strict Southern Baptist family with his three older siblings (two brothers and one sister). While his older brothers preferred to listen to bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, with his sister adhering to Janis Joplin and other similar artists, Rozz, as a child, preferred musicians along the lines of David Bowie, Roxy Music, T-Rex, Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, and The New York Dolls. When he reached adolescence, in the late 1970s, he became attracted to the American punk rock scene and shaved his head. By the age of sixteen, Roger began performing in bands.

He took the name of Rozz Williams from a gravestone he found in his favorite cemetery. His first bands were called The Crawlers, No, then The Upsetters. Rozz sang and played the guitar, though the band never performed on stage. Rozz then went on to form The Asexuals.

In addition to being the lead vocalist, he played the organ and guitar, with Jill Emery also contributing vocals as well as playing bass, and Steve Darrow on drums. Their performances were limited to a few parties. He then sang in a band called Daucus Karota with Mary Torciva on percussion and Jay on guitar. Jay and Rozz then went on to form Christian Death in late 1979 with James McGearty and George Belanger. The name "Christian Death" was a play on words of the fashion designer Christian Dior.

The band broke up temporarily in 1981, and Rozz formed Premature Ejaculation with performance artist Ron Athey, with whom he had been living. After only a few live performances, including one which involved Rozz eating a dead cat, clubs began refusing to book them due to the controversial stage theatrics. Rozz then restarted Christian Death in the summer of 1981 with McGearty and Belanger, who also brought in guitarist Rikk Agnew, who had previously been with The Adolescents. Agnew and Belanger left the group in 1982, with guitarist Eva Ortiz and drummer China stepping in as replacements for live performances. By the end of the year the band had broken up once again due to drug problems. In 1983 Rozz formed a new band under the Christian Death name, this time with former members of Pompeii 99, with whom Christian Death had performed at a live show the previous year.

The new lineup consisted of Rozz as front man, Valor Kand on guitars, Gitane Demone on keyboards and providing backing vocals, Constance Smith on bass, and David Glass on drums. Rozz had been the only original member of Christian Death left when he departed the group in 1985, yet the remaining members continued to perform and release several albums under the original group name. The latter is commonly called Valor's Christian Death by Rozz's supporters since it was fronted by Valor Kand. Rozz released various material under different project names following his departure from the band; the first was Premature Ejaculation with Chuck Collison, and then Shadow Project with Eva O, whom he married in San Francisco in 1987. The band lineup included Johann Schumann (bass) and also Barry Galvin and David Glass, both of whom came from Valor's Christian Death.

The name Shadow Project, was taken from the tests in Hiroshima following the nuclear bomb which left impressions or ‘shadows’, but no bodies. Later on, Rozz reformed Shadow Project with Eva O, Jill Emery (bass), Tom Morgan (drums), and Paris (keyboards). At the time, Rozz was increasingly falling under the influence of the philosophy of Charles Manson. Rozz also occasionally did Christian Death reunions during the late 1980s and early 1990s with Rikk Agnew, the guitarist on Christian Death's first album. Rozz and Eva O also released two new albums under the name Christian Death during the 1990s under Cleopatra Records, resulting in two bands being called Christian Death. Valor Kand had since acquired the legal rights to the band name, and for this reason Cleopatra was forced to release Rozz's albums as Christian Death featuring Rozz Williams. In the summer of 1993, Shadow Project toured America.

The band consisted of Rozz, Eva, Paris, Mark Barone (bass) and Christian Omar Madrigal Izzo (drums). After this American tour, Eva O and Paris left the band to work on the Eva O Halo Experience CD 'Demons Fall for an Angels Kiss'. Shadow Project had come to an end; however a German tour for October had already been booked. Although all tickets, fliers and publicity for this tour would show Shadow Project, Rozz had decided that the band name should change to Daucus Karota.

Rozz sang on the tour, Brian Butler was the guitarist, Mark Barone played bass and Christian Omar Madrigal Izzo was on drums. For one show Gitane DeMone drove from her home in Amsterdam to Germany to meet up with Rozz backstage. The Shrine EP by Daucus Karota was recorded in January 1994with Mark Barone (bass), Christian Omar Madrigal Izzo (drums) and Roxy (guitars). Daucus Karota returned to Europe for a month long European tour in November 1994, with Gitane DeMone filling the support slot.

The tour had Todd Dixon on drums, Mike Saavedra from Anal Kitties on bass and Brian Hansen on guitar. Brian had replaced Rolf Donath, who had been the guitarist for the band at shows in Los Angeles and Mexico during that summer. On 1 April 1998, Rozz was found by his roommate, Ryan, hanged in their West Hollywood apartment. A memorial was held at the El Rey Theatre shortly after his death, and a small gathering of family and friends offered his ashes to the earth at Runyon Canyon Park in the Hollywood Hills. Read more on Last.fm.

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