Gitane Demone 2014
May 16, 1958 |
San Francisco, California, U.S.
|Origin||Los Angeles, USA|
|Genres||Deathrock, gothic rock, dark cabaret, jazz|
|Associated acts||Ledger, Pompeii 99, Christian Death, Rozz Williams, Demonix, Dreadful Shadows, The Crystelles, +DOG+, Hedone Tears|
|Vocals, piano, guitar|
Gitane Demone (born May 16, 1958) is a singer, musician and artist. She was a member of Christian Death in the 1980s, and is currently a solo artist.
Gitane Demone was born in San Francisco. In high school, she discovered the works of Billie Holiday, and played and sang with local bands at parties, including Ledger from Downey, California. After high school, she became a writer and illustrator.
Circa 1980, Demone became interested in songwriting and singing. She wrote songs with the aid of a small Casio keyboard and started her singing career with a heavy metal band. After one performance without amplification, she found she had damaged her voice and went in search of singing lessons. During lessons with a teacher whose favorite singer was Barbra Streisand, Demone found a few useful techniques and changed her singing style.
In 1981, Demone placed an ad in the The Recycler newspaper, saying "female vocalist available." The ad was answered by Australian-born guitarist and singer Valor Kand, who was just out of high school, and the two formed Pompeii 99. Kand was fascinated by Nostradamus and took the band name from a prophecy. Kand and Demone found drummer David Glass through auditions, also working with members Marc Doten and Polly Klemmer.
Pompeii 99 gained an audience in the Los Angeles club scene, and in 1981, formed its own record label, Nostradamus, to release its debut album Look at Yourself, which was financed in part by their parents. In 1982, they followed this with an EP, Ignorance Is the Control. Pompeii 99 was scheduled to open for Christian Death on a European tour, but when the band's lineup collapsed, leader Rozz Williams decided along with Kand, Demone, and Glass to combine the two bands into a new version of Christian Death.
Demone stayed with the band when it joined with Rozz Williams in 1983 to become the new lineup of Christian Death. The band went on to record their next two albums, 1984's Catastrophe Ballet with bassist Constance Smith and 1985's Ashes with bassist Randy Wilde.
In mid-1985, Kand took over leadership of the band after Williams left, working as lead vocalist and songwriter. With 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 only to Christian Death.
The band's full-length post-Williams release was 1986's Atrocities, a concept album about the aftereffects of World War II on the European psyche. This was followed by 1987's The Scriptures, recorded by a revamped lineup of Kand, Demone, Glass, guitarist James Beam and bassist Kota. During this period, the band found 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 release of the "Zero Sex" single, Demone split from both Kand and Christian Death in 1989.
In 1989, Demone relocated to Amsterdam and began a solo career. She had an obvious background in punk and deathrock/gothic rock, but she also had a passion for jazz and legendary female vocalists, most notably Billie Holiday. She maintained a rubber-clad S&M visual image, and the fetish theme carried through into her lyrics.
Demone released a couple of EPs early in her solo career (eventually collected on the compilation Facets in Blue). She then renewed her friendship with former bandmate Williams, touring together and then recording the album Dream Home Heartache in 1995, which included both cover versions and their own material. Demone then paired up with Mark Ickx to produce a full-length album, released under the title Demonix around the same time.
Demone recorded an album of her own called Am I Wrong? in 1997. She also continued to provide guest vocals for bands on both sides of the Atlantic, and released a compilation of the songs she sung in her Christian Death days. In 2000, she released a second studio album called Stars of Trash which was again self-penned, but recorded with the assistance of the band Dreadful Shadows.
In 2008, a two-disc DVD by Demone titled Life After Death was released by Cult Epics, featuring footage from throughout her career, including a live performance with Williams. From 2008-2011, Demone was involved in a project called The Crystelles with daughter Zara Kand, and also performed with the experimental noise band +DOG+.
In 2013, she collaborated with Loopool and Syphilis Sauna under the name Hedone Tears, releasing a digital single, "Moonlit Paradise".
A published writer, Demone's other artistic activities also include composing poetry and painting.
- A Heavenly Melancholy EP (1993)
- Lullabies for a Troubled World EP (1993)
- Facets in Blue (1993 - compilation of previous EPs)
- Love for Sale (1993 - Live in Bern)
- With Love & Dementia (Live in Cannes 1984) (1994)
- Never Felt So Alive (1994 - as Demonix)
- Dream Home Heartache (1995 - as Rozz Williams and Gitane Demone)
- Am I Wrong? (1997)
- The Happy Hour (1997 - with The Alpha Project)
- Life in Death '85-'89 (1999 - collection of all of the Christian Death songs she sang)
- Never Felt So Alive (The Lost Mixes) (1999 - as Demonix)
- Stars of Trash (2000)
- "Solitary War" CD single (2000)
- Life After Death DVD (2008)
- Attach and Detach (2010 - with The Crystelles)
- "Moonlit Paradise" digital single (2013 - with Hedone Tears)
- The Reflecting Shadow (2013)
Besides being partners in Pompeii 99, Demone and Zand become lovers. They a son together named Sevan Kand in 1984, and later a daughter named Zara Kand. Demone became engaged to fellow former Christian Death member Rikk Agnew on May 3, 2013. Each has children from a previous relationship.
- Killjoy (1998), Gitane Demone Interview, Flipside, retrieved 28 August 2015
- Huey, Steve, Pompeii 99 Biography, Allmusic, retrieved 28 August 2015
- The rough guide to rock, p. 194 (3d ed. 2003)
- Issit, Michael L. Goths: A Guide to an American Subculture, p. 94 (2011)
- Ankeny, Jason, Gitane Demone Biography, Allmusic, retrieved 28 August 2015
- Swampy gothic vocalist Gitane Demone returns with mother/daughter band The Crystelles, 6 October 2005, retrieved 28 August 2015
- Moonlit Paradise, retrieved 28 August 2015
- Jackson, Nate (June 19, 2014). "Rikk Agnew: Adolescent No More". OC Weekly. Retrieved August 28, 2015.