Eva O with Christian Death 1334, live in Italy, November 23, 2007.
|Birth name||Eva Ortiz|
|Born||January 11, 1961|
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
|Genres||Deathrock, punk rock, gothic rock|
|Associated acts||Christian Death, Shadow Project, Super Heroines, Speed Queens|
Eva Ortiz (born January 11, 1961), better known as Eva O, is a music artist most notable for her previous works in Christian Death and a band she formed with her then-husband Rozz Williams called Shadow Project. Regarded as a veteran and "one of the most striking figures of the American Gothic scene," Eva O has had a significant influence on the emerging deathrock movement, which garnered her the "Queen of Darkness" title from the press and audience. She is known for her heavy guitar playing style and dramatic, authoritative vocals.
She now releases solo albums with her band Mz O and Her Guns, as well as having recently joined a variation of Christian Death (known as Christian Death 1334) with original members and while she takes on vocal duties in place of the late Rozz Williams.
Eva was born on January 11, 1961 in Las Vegas, Nevada and moved to Los Angeles, California in 1979 in hopes to start a rock band and be a rock star. She started a local, all-girl punk band in Long Beach known as the Speed Queens, and played with them from 1980-1982. Speed Queens broke up before they could release any songs, and she and bassist Sandra Ross started the Super Heroines. This group earned a following on L.A.'s deathrock scene of the early 1980s. About the same time, she met Rozz Williams, who was starting the band Christian Death. Eventually Eva O contributed to the band's 1982 album Only Theatre of Pain, which was a highly influential album on the emerging American deathrock movement.
The Super Heroines released several albums, and when Rikk Agnew left Christian Death, Rozz asked Eva to fill in on guitar. She was in Christian Death for a short time before they added two more members, one of whom later played some shows with the Super Heroines. The Super Heroines made their last album, Love and Pain, in 1983; but it was not released for another 8 years.
In the mid-1980s, Eva became involved with personal demons and a strong distaste for the world. She spent a lot of time with Richard Ramirez, with whom she claims she was in a relationship. She corresponded with him after his incarceration for a brief time, but did not meet him before his notorious killings made him famous. Ramirez committed several murders in San Francisco and stood trial there. Eventually, Eva got back together with Rozz and moved to San Francisco with him. While there, she became interested in the writings of Anton LaVey and Boyd Rice and started to suffer from depression. Out of boredom, she and Rozz started another band known as Shadow Project; they released two albums in the 1990s with that band. They described their music as "a strange mixture of metallic death rock and punk." It was after their second album, Dreams for the Dying, that Eva and Rozz started to write even darker, more depressed and rage-filled subject matter, which was a reflection of the internal struggle they were having in their personal lives. Although Eva never considered herself to be an official member of Christian Death, her participation in that band and Shadow Project earned her the "queen of darkness" title.
Christian Death reunited and released two more albums, but the lineup that the band used on those albums was essentially just everyone from Shadow Project. Shadow Project went on one final tour after recording a live album, In Tuned Out.
Tired of Rozz getting most of the credit for the Shadow Project work (much of which she wrote), Eva O went solo and released Past Time in 1993 on Cleopatra Records. The album featured material from her days with the Speed Queens, Super Heroines, and Christian Death, as well as three new solo songs. In 1994, she began working on her second solo album, which she was originally going to call Angels Fall for a Demon's Kiss, but after studying more about the classic hierarchy of angels on both sides of the good-vs-evil spectrum, she ended up becoming a Christian and rewriting the entire record and renaming it Demons Fall for an Angel's Kiss. Produced by Johnny Indovina, the album was tamer and calmer in comparison to her previous rugged and wild material.
Rozz Williams committed suicide on April 1, 1998; the last Shadow Project recording titled From the Heart was released on May 12 of the same year. An acoustic album, From the Heart's lyrics represented influences of Eva's positive views.
After numerous reworkings and remixings, Eva finally completed her Damnation (Ride the Madness) album in 1999 and in 2005 its follow-up Damnation/Salvation album and released it on the German death-metal label Massacre Records in 2005. Among the performers on it are Josh Pyle (keyboards/programming), River Tunnell (bass), and Kristian Rosentrater (drums), all members of the industrial band Audio Paradox. Damnation/Salvation is a detailed chronicle of her involvement with the occult and Satanism climaxing with her encounter with Jesus. It has been repeatedly turned down for distribution in the United States due to its subject matter. She emphasizes that people need to listen to the entire album in order to understand its full meaning, rather than judging it by its cover, track listing, and the lyrics of the first several songs.
14 years after Eva's conversion to Christianity in 1993, rumors had it that Eva began drifting away from her faith. In a Summer 2007 issue of Deathrock magazine, author Philip Henken wrote in the article "The Story of O" about Eva that "when I ask her about the Christian conversions, she tells me she's left being born-again behind." Eva states in the interview:
I have no problem with Christianity. I myself just cannot follow that way. Even if you think religion is corrupt... Humanity — everything is corrupt the moment a human touches it. But I was brought up [Christian] and I have no problem with it. But I know the path, and I am not going to give my life to Christ. It's mine and I want to keep it. I choose to be honest.— Eva O, Deathrock, Summer 2007.
By 2014, Eve O. had returned to her faith:
I was approached by Sam Rosenthal to pick a song and record at his studio a Christ mass song. I was so excited I knew without any thought that I wanted to do "O HOLY NIGHT". This to me is the best Christ mass song ever. It was my mothers favorite and it still always brings me to tears. To me, this was a historical day. I asked Eric Clayton of Savour Machine if he would do a duet with me. I always admired his voice and felt this was the best opportunity to have us together vocally expressing our love for Christ. Now I know this is taboo in an era where everyone seems to have fun hating Christ, a man who has done nothing to them and He said: "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you." I'm not scared... This song is for the heart to feel. In love, for love, real love, to the human world that needs to heal. In him, Merry CHRIST MASS!— Eva O, Youtube, Dec 2014.
Solo work as Eva O
- Past Time (1993)
- Demons Fall for an Angel's Kiss (1994, originally called Angels Fall for a Demon's Kiss but rewritten/renamed before its release)
- Eva O Halo Experience (video)
- Damnation (Ride the Madness) (1999, Massacre Records, Review: HM Magazine)
- Damnation/Salvation (2005, Massacre Records)
As a member of Christian Death
- Only Theatre Of Pain (1982, Frontier Records)
- Iron Mask (1992, Cleopatra)
- Path of Sorrows (1993, Cleopatra)
- Rage of Angels (1994, Cleopatra)
As a member of Super Heroines
- Cry for Help (1982, Bemis Brain/Enigma)
- Souls that Save (1983, Bemis Brain/Enigma)
- Love and Pain (1993, Cleopatra)
As a member of Shadow Project
- Shadow Project (1990, Triple X)
- Dreams for the Dying (1993, Triple X)
- In Tuned Out (1994, Triple X, live album)
- From the Heart (1998, Triple X)
- Huey, Steve. "Eva O". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
- "Eva O". Vampster (in German). 2004. Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
- Semigoat. "Eva O". Yeretika (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2011-10-03.
- Maiwald, Patrick. Shadow Project - From the Heart. Innenseiten.de (German).
- Henken, Philip (June–July 2007). "The Story of O". Deathrock. No. 1. pp. 65–71.
- "The Black Wedding". Retrieved 2008-12-29.
- Eva O. "Eva O O Holy Night".
- Van Pelt, Doug (July–August 1999). "Album Reviews: Eva O damnation". HM Magazine (78). ISSN 1066-6923.