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
Years active 1979 (1979)–present
Labels
Associated acts
Website christiandeath.com
Members Valor Kand
Maitri
Jason Frantz
Past members Rozz Williams
Jay
James McGearty
George Belanger
Rikk Agnew
Gitane Demone
David Glass
Constance Smith
Randy Wilde
Barry Galvin
Johann Schumann
James Beam
Kota
Nick the Bastard
Ian Thompson
Casey Chaos
Eva O
David Melford
Listo
William Faith
Stevyn Grey
Kris Kohls
Steven “Devine” Wright
Flick Fuck
Will Sarginson
Nate Hassan
Tiia

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.

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

History[edit]

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

Christian Death was founded by teenage 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 (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.[1]

In 1982, Christian Death signed to Frontier Records, and released their debut album, Only Theatre of Pain that March.[1] 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).[1]

Valor Kand era (1985–present)[edit]

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.[1]

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.[1]

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.[3]

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[1] before committing suicide on April 1, 1998.

Meanwhile, Valor's Christian Death continued performing and recording, adding bassist Maitri in 1992[4] 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.

Valor and Maitri also formed another band, black metal/deathrock act Lover of Sin, releasing the album Christian Death Presents Lover of Sin in 2002.

Christian Death's silence was broken again in 2007 with the American Inquisition album, featuring new drummer Nate Hassan.[1]

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.

In January 2015, Christian Death announced the release of a PledgeMusic album, The Root OF ALL Evilution.[5]

Discography[edit]

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

References[edit]

External links[edit]