|Origin||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Past members||Rozz Williams
Nick the Bastard
Steven “Devine” Wright
Christian Death is an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1979 by Rozz Williams. They became a highly influential act, heralding the American gothic rock and deathrock movements.
Formation and Rozz Williams years (1979–1985)
Christian Death was founded by teenage Rozz Williams in Los Angeles in October 1979. 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 (a.k.a. John Albert), bassist James McGearty and drummer George Belanger. The band garnered attention after changing their name to Christian Death and adding former Adolescents guitarist Rikk Agnew. In 1981, they made their first vinyl appearance with the song "Dogs" on the L.A. scene compilation LP Hell Comes to Your House.
In 1982, Christian Death signed to Frontier Records, and released their debut album, Only Theatre of Pain that March. Only Theatre of Pain was released in Europe by the French label L'Invitation au Suicide, followed by the record's release in Japan.
Christian Death broke up amid band infighting and drug abuse. Williams assembled a new version of the band in 1983 by merging with another L.A. rock band, Pompeii 99. This lineup included guitarist Valor Kand, vocalist/keyboardist Gitane Demone and drummer David Glass. The new version of the band recorded their next two albums, 1984's Catastrophe Ballet (with bassist Constance Smith) and 1985's Ashes (with bassist Randy Wilde).
Valor Kand era (1985–present)
In mid-1985, Williams left Christian Death, in part due to his increasing interest in experimental music and performance art. Kand took over leadership, serving as lead vocalist and songwriter. Augmented by bassist Johann Schumann and guitarist/keyboardist Barry Galvin, the band recorded an EP for the Italian label Supporti Fonografici called The Wind Kissed Pictures, credited to "The Sin and Sacrifice of Christian Death". The EP was later reissued in Germany and the U.S., credited to Christian Death.
Their first full-length 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, recorded by a revamped lineup of Kand, Demone, Glass, guitarist James Beam and bassist Kota. Longtime drummer 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.
The band had their biggest successes on the UK Indie Chart with the 1987-89 singles "Sick of Love", "Church of No Return" and "Zero Sex" and the 1988 album Sex and Drugs and Jesus Christ. Following the "Zero Sex" single, Demone opted to leave the band.
Valor recorded the two-part All the Love All the Hate concept album (1989) in collaboration with Nick the Bastard, which spawned the double A-side single "We Fall Like Love"/"I Hate You".
During the late 1980s, while also recording as Shadow Project, 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 Agnew for a 1989 tour of Canada. The band was signed to Cleopatra Records, and released The Iron Mask album and Skeleton Kiss EP in 1992, The Path of Sorrows album in 1993, and the The Rage of Angels in 1994, all 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 at 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 battle with 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 he went on to pursue other projects before committing suicide on April 1, 1998.
Meanwhile, Valor's Christian Death continued performing and recording, adding bassist Maitri in 1992 and releasing Sexy Death God in 1994, the double live set Amen in 1995, and 1996's Nostradamus-themed Prophecies.
In 2000, Christian Death added drummer Will Sarginson and toured Europe with Britain's Cradle of Filth in support of the Born Again Anti Christian album.
For Christian Death's 2003 tour, they were augmented by Cradle of Filth guitarist Gian Peres.
In 2014, the band embarked on the 30th Anniversary Catastrophe Ballet tour, beginning in Europe and continuing through the year's end in North, South and Central America.
With Rozz Williams
- Only Theatre of Pain (1982)
With Rozz Williams and Valor Kand
- Catastrophe Ballet (1984)
- Ashes (1985)
With Valor Kand
- The Wind Kissed Pictures (1985)
- Atrocities (1986)
- The Scriptures (1987)
- Sex and Drugs and Jesus Christ (1988)
- All the Love All the Hate (Part One: All the Love) (1989)
- All The Love All The Hate (Part Two: 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 Root OF ALL Evilution (2015)
Christian Death featuring Rozz Williams
- The Iron Mask (1992)
- The Path of Sorrows (1993)
- The Rage of Angels (1994)
- Huey, Steve. "Christian Death – Music Biography, Credits and Discography: AllMusic". AllMusic. AllRovi. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
- "Christian Death" (Press release). Box 22, Sun Valley, California, 91352: Frontier Records. 1982. Retrieved June 9, 2013.
- "Amazon.com: Live: Christian Death: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
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