Rozz Williams' first band was called
Crawlers to No which evolved into
The Upsetters. Rozz sang and played
guitar, however the band never performed
on stage. Rozz then went on to form
The Asexuals. He sang, played guitar and
the organ, Jill Emery played bass and also
sang, and Steve Darrow played drums.
Outside of performing at a few parties they
never secured concert dates of
consequence. Following a departure
from this project, an early incarnation of
Daucus Karota took shape and found
Rozz singing, Jay on guitar and Mary
Torciva on percussion. It was through
this musical venture that the seeds were
planted that would blossom into perhaps
Rozz's most memorable venture,
Unfortunately, no recordings or material
survives this early era of Rozz's career. Only
a handful of photos have publicly emerged
from these formative years, but it's clear from
the few that have been seen, Rozz Williams
was crafting an image and attitude that would
pervade his career.
Formed in 1979, Christian Death took their
name from a bastardization of the Christian
Dior product line. Rozz Williams and Jay
welcomed James McGearty and the trio began
rehearsing in Clermont, California. It was through
James that George Belanger was introduced
to the band. Despite landing substantial gigs,
and building a healthy following, the band
went on hiatus until the summer of 1981.
Rikk Agnew, fresh out of The Adolescents,
replaced Jay on guitar, and the sound that
has since become associated with Christian
Death, solidified. The band worked tirelessly,
playing venues, rehearsing, and eventually
recording the demos that would land them a
spot on the compilation, "When Hell Comes
to Your House". All their efforts paid off when
they drew the attention of Frontier Records,
who quickly signed Christian Death and
released their debut album, "Only Theatre
Inner turmoils took their toll on the band,
and after only one LP and the EP, "Deathwish",
the critically acclaimed line-up that brought
the world "Only Theatre of Pain" became a
revolving door of members, problems, and a
band with a dimming future. Despite the line-up
changes, Rozz continued to write, and the
fan base continued to grow.
As 1982 drew to a close, Rozz found himself
with ample opportunity: a burgeoning fan
base, notoriety among his musical peers, and
international distribution of "Only Theater of
Pain", but little in the way of a band to support
the growing weight. Following a record
release party for Pompeii 99, and amid pressures
for a European tour in support of "Only Theatre
of Pain", Rozz realized his best opportunity to
see his project continue to grow was to join
with his new friends of Pompeii 99.
With a new line-up, so came a new format.
Christian Death veered away from Deathrock,
adopting a more Gothic Rock sound. Along
with some new material, Rozz retooled
several recordings intended for a follow-up
to "Only Theatre of Pain". As the band toured
Europe, they began recording "Catastrophe
Ballet" with the extremely talented Erik Westfall.
Following the album's release and tour's end,
Christian Death returned to Los Angeles and began
work on "Ashes". Several shows were performed
in promotion of the forthcoming release,
culminating on 6 April, 1985. A massive event,
dubbed, "Path of Sorrows", took place at the
Roxy Theater in Los Angeles, California,
featuring a banquet, media clips, costume
changes, and of course an unforgettable concert.
It was perhaps the spectacle of the event that
helped Rozz decide to shelf Christian Death
until a later date.
For all intents and purposes, Christian Death
should have fallen into a heavy slumber
in the Spring of 1985, but sadly it did not. Instead,
it was robbed of integrity, talent, and ever-so-slowly,
fan base over the following four years. Finally,
amid rumors of death, sickness, institutionalization,
and lack of care, Rozz reemerged in 1988 to reclaim
the reigns of Christian Death. Reuniting with former
bandmates Rikk Agnew and Eva Ortiz, they
embarked on a U.S. and Canadian tour that carried
them into 1990. Upon returning to Los Angeles,
the band went into the studio and lay the tracks
for "The Iron Mask", the first in a series of recordings
Rozz would make and release through newly founded
Cleopatra Records. The intial release included, 'Skeleton
Kiss', an obscure Christian Death track dating back to
"Only Theatre of Pain". Fans and radio delighted in
Rozz's return to Deathrock, resulting in Cleopatra Records
releasing "Skeleton Kiss" as a single.
Several compilations and live material followed,
including, "Invocations", which compiled live tracks
from 1981-1989. More interestingly, was the inclusion
of four unreleased studio tracks. Two of the tracks gave
fans an idea of Rozz's vision for the follow-up to
"Only Theatre of Pain". The remaining two tracks exhibit
material from 1985, planned for the follow-up to
Christian Death recorded an additional two studio
albums for Cleopatra, "The Path of Sorrows" and
"The Rage of Angels". The releases were heralded
by critics worldwide as masterpieces drawing on
all of Rozz's influences and exhibiting all of his
Having successfully reclaimed Christian Death
as his own, and restored it's tainted image to
new glory in the eyes of fans, friends and critics -
Rozz decided the time was right to also reclaim
the band's demise. What had been robbed of
Christian Death on 6 April, 1985, was now solely
in the hands of Rozz Williams to carry out.
On 12 June, 1993, in the massive Patriotic Hall in
Los Angeles, Christian Death: Rozz Williams,
Rikk Agnew, George Belanger, Casey, and Frank
Agnew performed one last show to a sold-out
crowd. The concert was professionally recorded,
and later released as "Iconologia : Apparitions,
Dreams and Nightmares".
Several posthumous collections have surfaced
in recent years, including the highly acclaimed,
"The Tongue Achieves the Dialect", exhibiting
Christian Death's influence on a wide spectrum
of artists. In 2008, Cleopatra Records began reissuing
the material they released in the early 90's on vinyl
with new titles and in limited quantities. Frontier
Records continued issuing "Only Theatre Of Pain"
in limited pressings on a variety of vinyl colors. The 25th
Anniversary edition featured the original artwork in silver,
and silver vinyl. European label Seventeen Records marked the 25th Anniversary
by issuing a limited edition of remastered "Only Theatre Of Pain" with
the original French cover and red vinyl. Not wishing to be left behind -
yet another remastered/reissue of "Catastrophe Ballet", and "Ashes"
found their way onto the market via label, Seasons Of Mist and Valor Kand. Both
albums feature unreleased tracks which include never-before-heard material by
Rozz Williams. The source of this material, and their true origins are speculative
and vague. Continuing into 2010, Seasons Of Mist will be releasing more material,
"Live In Hollywood" and a dvd featuring an unreleased performance of Christian Death
with Rozz Williams.
The roots of Premature Ejaculation stretch as far
back as 1981, when while on hiatus from Christian
Death, Rozz Williams and Ron Athey began
experimenting with tape loops and noise. From the
onset, live events were performance art presentations
that often left the audience disgusted and horrified.
While the intent was to shock and throw out the
rules of convention - it wasn't long before venues
refused to book Premature Ejaculation.
After Rozz shelved Christian Death in 1985, he returned
to the project, and continued to pursue tape manipulation
and manufacturing layers of noise. He teamed himself with
Chuck Collison and soon began releasing material through
the independant label, Happiest Tapes on Earth, and
eventually again performing live shows.
Despite Rozz's hectic schedule with touring and recording
for various projects, he'd often return to Premature
Ejaculation for a series of recordings, releases and
performancnces. He and Chuck continued to work
together into the mid-1990's.
The posthumous release "Wound Of Exit" exhibited the range
Premature Ejaculation had developed over 15 years of
recordings; from tape loops of household appliances to rich,
full textures of sound and electronic samples.
Rozz's final recordings were completed by Chuck Collison
for the Nico B. film, "Pig".
In 2009, several recordings were purchased by John Collins that
contained unreleased noise material that spanned Rozz's career.
As John set about laying down the foundations to bring these recordings
to light, it was discovered that Ron Marrs contained an additional eight
cassettes of unreleased material. Collectively, the recordings became, "Rozz Williams:
The Lost Recordings". After being painstakingly remastered and
the artwork restored to it's original designs - the material began
to surface in 2010. The releases will continue into at least 2012...ensuring
years of new discoveries for Rozz's fans.
Rozz Williams and Eva O. formed Shadow Project
while living in San Francisco in 1987. The original
line-up consisted of Christian Death alumni; Rozz, Eva,
Barry Galvin, David Glass and Johann Schumann.
Following the Christian Death reunion tour in 1990,
Rozz and Eva relocated to Los Angeles, where they
began recording their debut LP with a new line-up
including Thomas Morgan, Jill Emery and Paris.
In February and March 1992, Shadow Project toured
Europe in support of Mephisto Walz. Upon returning to
The States, the band began recording "Dreams For
the Dying" amid the disastrous riots that consumed
Los Angeles. The result sound was a very dark, angry,
and at times heavy collection of material. In 1993,
Shadow Project toured the United States in support
of it's release with; Paris, Mark Barone, and Christian
Omar Madrigal Izzo. The concert held in Fullerton,
California on 20 June, 1993 was professionally recorded
and released as, "In Tuned Out".
Following the 1993 tour, Rozz and Eva parted ways
professionally to pursue individual projects. It wasn't
until 1996 that the pair returned to the studio to record
a new Shadow Project album. Released shortly after
Rozz Williams' death, "From The Heart" marked a departure
from previous recordings. Primarily acoustic, the album
was a mix of new material as well as re-recordings of fan
In 2005, the EP, "Shadow Project : The Original" was
released, as well as the dvd, "And Then There Was Death",
documenting unreleased material from the band's career.
In 1987, while living in San Francisco, Rozz Williams
began work on his solo noise project, Heltir. Drawing
influence from Nazi-era Germany, Rozz utilized samples
of marches, cabarets, and speeches. The material was written,
recorded and produced solely by Rozz Williams.
Through the independant label, Happiest Place On Earth,
Heltir released three recordings. In 1994, Rozz collaborated
with Ace Farren Ford, Christian Omar Madrigal Izzo, and Aaron
Schwartz on "Neue Sachlichkeit".
In 1997, while performing at Coven 13, a new vision for
Heltir was unveiled. Rozz had now decided to concentrate on
vocalizing as his main source of sound input (something absent
from previous Heltir material). This freed Rozz from the restraint
of working behind a console table, and allowed him to bring much
more of the performance element to the live experience.
While Rozz focused on his new stage presence, much of the
sound structure and noise element was performed by Erik Christides
during Heltir's concerts.
Several Heltir recordings, including one never before released are scheduled
as part of "Rozz Williams: The Lost Recordings".
Daucus Karota was a project Rozz toyed with at several points
throughout his career, however, it was in 1993, with Daucus Karota, that
Rozz was finally able to shed his
image of goth idolatry and bring to the table the type of
music that had inspired and influenced his artistry. With
the Christian Death reunion tour, Rozz began
interspersing a melange of rock music into the sets;
Gary Numan's "Down In The Park", Aerosmith's
"Draw the Line", Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song",
David Bowie's "DoDo", Lou Reed's "Kill Your Sons",
Daucus Karota initiated a path that would carry
Rozz Williams to the end. "Shrine" was released
in 1994 to critical acclaim, and press that tended
to overlook the Gothic/Deathrock genres
was taking notice of Rozz Williams. In addition to
the new sound, Rozz also adapted his stage persona;
influences of T-Rex and David Bowie were clearly
The band toured extensively in 1993 and 1994, infusing
classic Christian Death material into their sets, with a
collection of new material, including a cover of T-Rex's
"Sunken Rags". The response was overwhelming,
and resulted in the release of "Rozz Williams :
Live In Berlin", one of the few official releases that
included the new songs.
Spoken word was an almost natural direction for
Rozz Williams to take his talents. The first spoken word
track Rozz recorded was, "The Blue Heart". Combining his
penchant for writing and the skill he'd developed
over the years with sampling and soundscape, Rozz
created and produced, "Every King A Bastard Son".
Recorded with Donato Canzonieri, Paris and Ace
Farren Ford to six track, the release marked an up-
close and personal side of Rozz Williams that fans
had not previously experienced.
Several years later, while living with Ryan Gaumer and
losing to a heroin addiction, Rozz and Ryan began work on
"The Whorse's Mouth". This was a deeply personal
release for Rozz, who questioned whther or not it
should ever see the light of day. It was released to
critical acclaim in 1996.
Very few of Rozz's spoken word selections have been
performed live. Amid an odd assortment of tracks
chosen for the Dark Harvest Festival II, Rozz
performed 'Mind Fuck (Soundtrack to a Murder)',
and essentially left the audience stunned and
speechless. During the cabaret tour with Gitane
DeMone through Europe, Rozz occasionally
performed material from "The Whorse's Mouth".
In the mid-nineties, as Rozz Williams was
adopting a more rock-oriented sound, he
began touring and performing solely
as Rozz Williams. Though often considered and billed as a
Daucus Karota tour, Rozz's trek through Europe in
1994 was a catalyst for change. He realized, that
fans were recognizing and responding to him by
name, no longer solely as the founder of Christian
Following a successful cabaret-style tour with
Gitane Demone, Rozz immediately began performing
venues under his name alone. First was the Dark
Harvest Festival II in Philadelphia with friend, David E.
Williams. On Halloween 1997, Rozz performed at the
'Expo of the Extreme' in Chicago, an amalgamation of
music and performance art. Less than a month later,
in his first and only internet broadcast, Rozz played
in Los Angeles for Billboard Live. Despite: a nationally
broadcast concert, the film, "Pig" nearing completion,
"Wound of Exit" and "From The Heart" with imminent
releases, and "The Whorse's Mouth" receiving rave
reviews in the press; personal tragedy derailed Rozz's
momentum. Rozz Williams performed publicly for the
last time on 6 January 1998 during a memorial for Erik
In 1994, while touring Europe with Daucus Karota,
Rozz Williams and Gitane Demone were reunited after
years of separation. The chemistry was so magical and
the fans so responsive, that Rozz and Gitane were
resolute to record together again. During the Spring of
1995, the friends recorded "Dream Home Heartache".
Despite a cover of both Roxy Music and Jimi Hendrix,
the overall emotion exuded on the recordings is one
of desperation and sadness. Fans responded well to the
Rozz Williams track, "Flowers", many adopting it as a
In late 1995 Rozz and Gitane embarked a tour that
took them across Europe. It was decided that for their
sets, they'd shed the normal concert atmosphere and
instead replace it with a very warm, personable, almost
cabaret-like mood. The stage was often adorned with
candles and flowers, and fans were greeted by a calm,
relaxed Rozz Williams. Response to the shows was
tremendous resulting in a lot of attention returning to
not only Rozz Williams but also Gitane Demone.
Though sadly, their union resulted in only this one album
and one tour, their friendship remained strong up to Rozz's
EXP took root in 1992, fronted by Paris and Ryan Gaumer
but was in large part a culmination of talent from members of
The Family. Rozz Williams is credited with bass guitar
on their eponymously-titled, full-length debut. EXP was
less noise than it was experimentation, hence the band's
name. Working in standard song structure, with some lyric
accompaniment, EXP utilized samples and a myriad of
instruments to restructure traditional sounds.
Like many bands in The Family, the members of EXP
had other project commitments, and it was
essentially a revolving door of musicians. EXP went
on hiatus when Paris devoted his efforts to Involution.
Aside from Paris, the other core members of EXP were
Ryan Gaumer, Dor and Ace Farren Ford.
EXP performed a number of shows throughout
California beginning in 1996. Rozz often accompanied
the band during their shows, fulfilling his role as bassist.
EXP is still an active project and are putting the finishing
touches on a new album, that will include reworkings of
material included on "The Whorse's Mouth".
Bloodflag was a short-lived project founded
by Erik Christides that featured Rozz Williams
and Ace Farren Ford. Like many projects within
"The Family", the line-up was in a constant state
of flux. In 1997, Bloodflag recorded, 'Daughter
Of Darkness' and 'Stain MK1', both tracks were
included on compilations released through Cleopatra
Records. With the death of Erik Christides in
November 1997, Bloodflag became a defunct project.
This was an additional noise project for
Rozz Williams, in the same vein as Heltir and
Premature Ejaculation. Rozz titled the project
1334, significant to him as the year in which
the black plague claimed an extraordinary
number of victims. Two tracks were officially
released on compilations: 'Behind The Wall
Of Sleep' and 'Resistance'. 1334 did perform
live for a couple of shows 1996.
Amid legal tanglings with the name "Christian Death",
Rozz performed live on two nights in June 1988 as
simply Christ Death and billed as Christxxx Death. Rozz performed with Eva O.
and James McGearty, and the first show consisted
of punk covers. The second show was a pre-
matrimony celebration of Eva O. and Rozz Williams.
The album, "Mandylion" was released in the UK
under the name, Christ Death.