Christian Death in 2010
|Origin||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Genres||Deathrock, gothic rock|
|Years active||October 1979–present|
Season of Mist
|Associated acts||Daucus Karota
Lover of Sin
|Past members||Rozz Williams
Casey Chaos
Christian Death is an American deathrock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1979. The band was founded and fronted by Rozz Williams. Christian Death is most notable for their first album Only Theatre of Pain and are known for being a highly influential act within the deathrock genre, as well as one of the initial wave of American goth bands.
Rozz Williams founded Christian Death in Los Angeles in October 1979, having grown up in the eastern suburb of Pomona in a Christian family. Originally, the 16-year-old Williams called his group the Upsetters, which also included guitarist Jay (aka John Albert), bassist James McGearty, and drummer George Belanger. The band took off after they changed its name to Christian Death and added past Adolescents guitarist Rikk Agnew. They had put out a number of cassette singles and demo records. In 1981, they made their LP debut with the song Dogs on the L.A. scene compilation Hell Comes to Your House.
Their appearance on the Hell Comes to Your House compilation helped to get Christian Death signed to Frontier Records, which released their debut album Only Theatre of Pain in March 1982. Only Theatre of Pain was released in Europe by the French label L'Invitation au Suicide, which was followed by the record's release in Japan.
After having booked a European tour, the original lineup of Christian Death left the band due to fighting and drug abuse. Williams quickly assembled a new version of the band in 1983 by merging with their scheduled opening act, another L.A. rock band called Pompeii 99. This lineup included guitarist Valor Kand, keyboardist/vocalist Gitane Demone, and drummer David Glass. The band went on to record their next two albums, Catastrophe Ballet and Ashes, under this lineup.
In mid-1985, Rozz Williams left the band, partly due to his increasing interest in experimental music and surrealist performance art. Valor Kand took over leadership of Christian Death, now serving as lead vocalist and songwriter. The band then recorded an EP for the Italian label Supporti Fonografici called The Wind Kissed Pictures, which was credited to The Sin and Sacrifice of Christian Death. The EP was subsequently issued in the English-speaking world credited to Christian Death.
Their first post-Williams effort was 1986's Atrocities, a concept album about the aftereffects of World War II on the European psyche, which was followed by 1987's The Scriptures under the revamped lineup of Demone, Glass, guitarist James Beam, and bassist Kota. Longtime drummer David Glass left the group following the release of The Scriptures and returned to California, where he eventually worked with several of Rozz Williams' side projects.
Following the departure of Glass, the band had their biggest successes on the UK Independent Chart with the singles Sick Of Love, Church Of No Return and Zero Sex and the album Sex and Drugs and Jesus Christ. Following the Zero Sex single, Demone opted to leave the band and Valor recorded the two-part All The Love, All The Hate concept album in collaboration with Nick the Bastard, which spawned the double A-side single We Fall Like Love/ I Hate You.
During the late '80s, Rozz Williams resurrected his own version of Christian Death with his wife Eva O contributing guitar as well as vocals. Billing themselves as the original Christian Death, they were rejoined by first-album guitarist Rikk Agnew for a 1989 tour of Canada. The band was signed to Cleopatra Records, which released The Iron Mask, Skeleton Kiss EP, The Path of Sorrows, and The Rage of Angels under the Christian Death name. A 1993 show featuring Only Theatre of Pain-era members Williams, Agnew and Belanger, along with bassist Casey Chaos, performing live from Los Angeles' Patriot Hall was recorded and later released in 2001 as a DVD by Cleopatra Records.
Williams' reclamation of the Christian Death name sparked a fierce court battle with Valor Kand, who eventually won trademark rights and forced Williams to bill his version of the band as "Christian Death Featuring Rozz Williams". After this, Williams' version would not release another full album of original material and went on to pursue other projects. Williams committed suicide on April 1, 1998.
Valor's Christian Death began recording again, offering the double live set Amen in 1995, and 1996's Nostradamus-themed Prophecies. In 2000, they added drummer Will Sarginson and toured Europe with Britain's Cradle of Filth in support of the Born Again Anti-Christian album. Valor's silence was broken again in 2007 with the American Inquisition album.
Fronted by Rozz Williams
- Singles + Demos - 1979
- Only Theatre of Pain - 1981
- Catastrophe Ballet - 1984
- Ashes - 1985
- The Iron Mask - 1992
- The Path of Sorrows - 1993
- The Rage of Angels - 1994
- Deathwish - 1981
- Skeleton Kiss - 1992
- Spiritual Cramp (split with Sex Gang Children) - 1992
- The Decomposition of Violets - 1985
Unofficial live releases
- Catastrophe Ballet Live - 1984
- Heavens and Hells - 1990
- Iconologia - 1993
- Sleepless Nights - 1993
- The Doll's Theatre - 1994
- Mandylion (released solely in Europe under the name Christ Death) - 1993
- Invocations 1981-1989 (live and studio archival recordings) - 1993
- The Best of Christian Death - 1999
- Death Club 1981-1993 - 2005
- Six Six Sixth Communion - 2008
Fronted by Valor Kand
- Atrocities - 1986
- The Scriptures - 1986
- Sex and Drugs and Jesus Christ - 1988
- All the Love All the Hate (Part 1 - All the Love) - 1989
- All The Love All The Hate (Part 2 - All the Hate) - 1989
- Insanus, Ultio, Proditio, Misericordiaque - 1990
- Sexy Death God - 1994
- Prophecies - 1996
- Pornographic Messiah - 1998
- Born Again Anti-Christian - 2000
- American Inquisition - 2007
- The Wind Kissed Pictures - 1985
- Believers of the Unpure - 1986
- Sick of Love - 1987
- Church of No Return - 1988
- What's the Verdict - 1988
- Zero Sex - 1989
- We Fall Like Love / I Hate You - 1989
- Jesus Christ Proudly Presents - 1987
- The Heretics Alive - 1989
- Amen - 1995
- Anthology of Live Bootlegs Vol. 1 - 1988
- Anthology of Live Bootlegs Vol. 2 - 1989
- Past Present and Forever - 1988 (Re-release of The Wind Kissed Pictures)
- Jesus Points the Bone at You? - 1991
- The Bible - 1999
- Love and Hate - 2001
- Christian Death at Allmusic
- "Christian Death" (Press release). Box 22, Sun Valley, California, 91352: Frontier Records. 1982. Retrieved June 9, 2013.
- "Christian Death Biography". AllMusic.com.
- "Christian Death - Only Theatre Of Pain at Discogs". Discogs.com. 2010-07-30. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- "Live: Christian Death: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- Official website
- Christian Death discography at Discogs
- Christian Death featuring Rozz Williams discography at Discogs