Christian Death

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Christian Death
Christian Death.jpg
Christian Death in 2010. Left to right: Maitri, Valor Kand
Background information
Origin Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres Deathrock, gothic rock
Years active 1979 (1979)–present
Labels Frontier, Season of Mist
Associated acts Pompeii 99, Lover of Sin, Shadow Project
Website christiandeath.com
Members Valor Kand
Maitri
Jason Frantz
Past members Rozz Williams
Rikk Agnew
James McGearty
George Balanger
Shayn Taylor-Shubert
Eva O
Gitane Demone
Constance Smith
Dave Roberts
Johnnie Sage
Casey Chaos[citation needed]

Christian Death is an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1979 by Rozz Williams. With their debut album Only Theatre of Pain (1982), they became a highly influential act, heralding the American gothic rock and deathrock movements.

After the release of their third album Ashes in 1985, Williams left the band and was replaced by guitarist Valor Kand as the lead vocalist.[1]

History[edit]

Formation and Rozz Williams years (1979–1985)[edit]

Christian Death was founded by 16-year-old Rozz Williams in Los Angeles in October 1979.[2] Williams grew up in the eastern suburb of Pomona in a Christian family. Williams had originally called his band the Upsetters, which 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.[1]

In 1982, Christian Death were signed to Frontier Records, and released their debut album Only Theatre of Pain in March.[1] 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, Christian Death broke up amid band in-fighting and drug abuse. Williams assembled a new version of the band in 1983 by merging with their scheduled opening act, another L.A. rock band, Pompeii 99. This lineup included guitarist Valor Kand, vocalist-keyboardist Gitane Demone and drummer David Glass. The band went on to record their next two albums, Catastrophe Ballet and Ashes, under this lineup.[1]

Valor Kand era (1985–present)[edit]

In mid-1985, Rozz Williams left Christian Death, in part due to his increasing interest in experimental music and performance art. Valor Kand took over leadership, serving as lead vocalist and songwriter. The band 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.[1]

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.[1]

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, and 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.[3]

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.[1] 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.[1] on their official Facebook page <https://www.facebook.com/christiandeath>, they said that in 2014, they will release a video titled "you can't give it back"

Discography[edit]

With Rozz Williams
Studio albums
With Valor Kand
Studio albums
Christian Death featuring Rozz Williams
  • The Iron Mask (1992)
  • The Path of Sorrows (1993)
  • The Rage of Angels (1994)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Huey, Steve. "Christian Death – Music Biography, Credits and Discography: AllMusic". AllMusic. AllRovi. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Christian Death" (Press release). Box 22, Sun Valley, California, 91352: Frontier Records. 1982. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Amazon.com: Live: Christian Death: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 

External links[edit]