Coolgrrls.com end of year report
12/30/01by Miss Kastle
Well, I have the unfortunate task of writing yet another obit this year. Bianca Halstead (aka Bianca Butthole) lead singer and bass player for the Los Angeles hard rock band Betty Blowtorch was killed in an automobile accident in New Orleans in the early morning hours of December 15. The incident occurred following the band's show while on tour with Nashville Pussy. Reportedly, Bianca accepted a ride home from [Brian] McAllister of Burbank [Illinois] who lost control of his '86 Corvette and went speeding into oncoming traffic [Note: In the original story, the driver was misidentified as William McAllister of Burbank, Ca.]. According to police, the car was going close to 100 mph and McAllister is suspected to have been under the influence at the time. He is currently facing criminal charges.
I have written about Betty Blowtorch many times in this column. They were by far one of the best all-female rock bands around. Though word has it, the band suffered internal problems during the Nashville Pussy tour and two members unceremoniously left the group. Nonetheless, I had the great pleasure of writing them up for the New Times Awards this fall and I last saw Bianca doing a rockin' duet with Taime Downe at the Pretty Ugly Club for Downe's birthday party. I thought Bianca was one of the toughest, coolest front ladies around. The 36 year-old New York native was well known on LA the scene, not only for all the band's awesome performances but also as a sales clerk at the Serious store on Melrose Ave. Betty Blowtorch did an in-store show this year for Serious's annual Fourth of July party. In addition, she was known as a sweetheart of a girl and a damn fine cook to boot. (Who knew!)
A couple of days following the news of her death, friends gathered at the Serious store in her memory. Candles were lit all around the storefront with giant posters of the band and snapshots of Bianca displayed in the window cases. Those on hand to pay respects included Pretty Ugly Club's Taime Downe and JD, Coyote Shivers, members of Bubble, New Disease, the Blessing, Pleasure Seekers, Johnnie Nixon of Star Shoes, Paul Black, Vinnie Stiletto, Drew of Lip Service, LA Times columnist Heidi Siegmund Cuda, club promoters Dayle Gloria and Ricky Vodka, Texas Terri, Serious Clothing reps Magnes, Karen, Eric and Casper as well as a slew of others from the Hollywood rock scene. Everyone hugged, cried, signed memory books and shared stories. Many talked about how they would get tattoos in her honor.
Other tributes took place later that week at the Pretty Ugly Club's 3-year anniversary where most everyone had memories to share. That following weekend, Dragonfly held its own memorial gathering following the family's private funeral services.
In a feat of modern technology for those who may have been unable to attend Bianca's funeral, a live web cast was posted on www.forevernetwork.com. Also see the Chapel Tribute for a video montage of Bianca. Goodbyes to everyone's favorite Betty have been posted everywhere from the ads in the Dragonfly and Whisky a Go-Go listings and articles in all the major local papers. It was clear how loved this "Cool Grrrl" was in the rock community.
Bianca's family has asked that all donations be made to Narcotics Anonymous, who helped her stay sober for over 10 years.
She's one rocker who will be greatly missed. My condolences go out to her family and friends.
To all, have a safe and happy new year. Make a new year's resolution to live every moment to its fullest.