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Rozz Williams Articles

the below is coutesy of L.A. Weekly

in the Music section,  "Rozz Williams, 1963-1998"

By Ron Athey
published Wednesday, April 8, 1998

 

Though it would make it easier for me, I won’t try to glamorize his death into an art statement. Rozz Williams hanged himself in his West Hollywood apartment on April Fools’ Day. Best known as the founder and front man of seminal goth band Christian Death, Williams played and recorded under the names Shadow Project, the Whorse’s Mouth and Premature Ejaculation. His memorial Sunday night at the El Rey Theater dragged out new fans as well as old collaborators and peers.

Back when he was a not-so-sweet 16 and I was 18, Rozz and I became involved in a love affair that lasted three years. Ours was a volatile relationship that revolved around music, art and monstrous public personas. We met in a garage in Claremont, where Christian Death was rehearsing prior to its first gig. We were true punk romantics — he pierced my nipple, I tattooed his name on my wrist and slashed his palms open with a straight razor. We started a performance collaboration called Premature Ejaculation made up of noise soundtracks and recited text we wrote together; I developed a knack for self-mutilating onstage. We took acid, speed and heroin, and read and wrote together. During that time we lived on and off with Rozz’s parents, and I discovered that his given name was, unsuitably, Roger Allen Painter.

From 1982 until his death, I had very little contact with Rozz. I did see him this last Christmas Eve; he had tattooed an "X" on his forehead, à la the Manson Family. I couldn’t handle it because it seemed out of character — Rozz’s personal style changed very little from the time I met him until this latest transformation. The last few times I saw him, I did notice that his health appeared to be poor, possibly as the result of his heavy alcohol consumption.

Wedlock: Pure love is a deathwish — our right to bleed in public contract/Essential to life/Beauty has seen the marked Beasts born to die/lead all/They follow down/Accept end-world teachings/Blood consumption nurtures censorship.

—Ron and Rozz, excerpt from Premature Ejaculation text published in NoMag, 1981

Contradictory to Rozz’s isolation was the prolific rate at which he produced work in his last year. He created a multifaceted swan song and bowed out just before its release. For Triple X Records he had recorded a Shadow Project CD with his ex-wife of five years, Eva O., as well as Premature Ejaculation’s Wound of Exit, and The Whorse’s Mouth, a spoken-word collaboration with theater artist Ryan Gaumer. Close to the hour of his death, the final edit of a short film, Pig, had been completed; the film, which Rozz shot with Amsterdam-based director Nico B., is about the ambiguity of the role-playing in a killer/victim relationship.

This was the life of an artist, a true Romantic who sacrificed normality, health and happiness for the sake of vision, and a man overcome and destroyed by the demons he lived with: a tragedy. Rozz was fixated on the year 1334 — the height of the Black Plague — and it seems apparent that he’d planned to commit suicide on April Fools’ Day of his 34th year. True to form, his life was dedicated more to symbology and art than it was to life. He’s finished now, but the recordings and the disciples live on.

I can die a thousand times/but I will always be here/With the powder skull secrets/of forgotten years/The hangman’s noose is drenched/with bloodstained tears/my hands are the killer that confirms/my fear.

—"Spiritual Cramp," Christian Death

*****

 

the below is also courtesy of L.A. Weekly

from the great featurette "14 and Shooting"

Photographs by Jennifer Finch, Words by John Albert

published Wednesday, November 1, 2006

A large picture of Rozz was on the cover.

See the full article and photos at www.laweekly.com

 by searching "14 and Shooting"

 

"Long Live the King"


Rozz Williams, the king of death rock,
hanged himself in 1998.
I read about it in the newspaper with my morning coffee and I cried. Not so much for the influential cult figure and Christian Death front man adored by black-clad fans throughout the world, but for Roger Painter, the funny, brave, awkward glitter-rock fan from Pomona, California, who would ride his 10-speed over to my house with a backpack full of T. Rex records. You can actually see that guy in the picture where he is not singing and his eyes are closed. If you look through the kabuki-style makeup, that is my old friend — shy, introverted and brilliant.

 

*****

the below is courtesy of Rolling Stone magazine

www.rollingstone.com

Goth Pioneer Rozz Williams Hangs Himself

Suicide

An idol of early American goth-rock fans, Christian Death founder Rozz Williams hanged himself on April Fool's Day in his West Hollywood apartment. He was 34. |

The forefather to artists such as Marilyn Manson and Trent Reznor, Williams recorded the first Christian Death album, Only Theatre of Pain, at age 16. He worked on five albums with the death rock band before 1985, when he backed out of the group for personal reasons.

"He left the band for the same reason he left life: love situations," said Valor Kand, a former Christian Death band mate who took over as lead singer and copyrighted the band's name after Williams' departure.

Born Roger Allen Painter on Nov. 6, 1963, the flamboyant singer was raised in Pamona, Calif., by two born-again Christian parents. Williams battled alcohol and heroin addiction since his mid-teens, and perpetually struggled with his overt bisexuality and androgyny, Kand said.

"He was a manic depressive," he said. "There have been more times than I could count that I have yanked razor blades from his hands and ropes from around his neck, and stopped him from killing other people with knives. I think this was the way he wanted to go, it was his destiny."

A tarot card titled "The Hangman is a Fool" was reportedly discovered near Williams' body by his roommate and musical collaborator Ryan Gaumer last Wednesday. Williams left no suicide note, but Kand said he believed heartbreak and alcohol played a large part in his death.

However, Bruce Duff, who worked closely with Williams at Triple X Records, said his suicide came as a complete surprise.

"I saw the guy 10 days before he died and he was laughing and having a great time," Duff said. "Obviously there was something wrong. Rozz had a tendency to not think his actions all of the way through."

During the early 1990s, Williams performed with alternative hard rockers Shadow Project and Premature Ejaculation before launching an eclectic solo career. Within the last few years he had released a bluesy cabaret album with singer Gitane Demone called Dream Home Heartache, as well as Whorses' Mouth and Every King a Bastard Son, two brooding spoken-word albums inspired by his personal and musical hero, David Bowie.

At the time of his death, Williams was awaiting the release of From the Heart, the next Shadow Project album due out this month, and organizing a hard rock band with Triple X Records. (Anni Layne)

*****


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