UPDATED: Betty Blowtorch's Bianca Butthole Dies In Car Crash
Saturday, December 15, 2001 @ 2:59 PM
Betty Blowtorch Leader Bianca
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Bianca Halstead (a.k.a Bianca Butthole), bassist/singer for Hollywood hard rockers Betty Blowtorch was killed around 5:30am Saturday morning in a car accident in New Orleans. The driver of the car was William McAllister, who, according to witness accounts, claimed throughout the night to be a "correspondent" for Metal Sludge.com.
According to Chris Lee from the New Orleans band Supagroup, who was with Bianca up until she left with McAllister, McAllister and Bianca left the El Matador Lounge near on Decatur Street after a night of post-gig partying with tourmates Nashville Pussy following their gig at the Howlin' Wolf. “Thbey were driving on the I10 toward Kinner in a ’86 Corvette when McAllister lost control of the wheel and the car spun around. They were sideswiped by another car on Bianca’s side and she was killed instantly. Witnesses estimated McAllister's speed at more than 100 mph, and he apparently had been drinking, said Trooper Todd Marchand. According to Associated Press, the wreck began when McAllister was changing lanes and sideswiped another car. McAllister's car then went out of control, skipping across a grassy median and into oncoming traffic. McAllister is being held by New Orleans police and is facing criminal charges. The two passengers in the other car have been hospitalized.” According to police, the other car -- which was driven by Robert Fenkel, 50, of Colorado Springs, CO -- broadsided the Corvette, nearly shearing it in half. Fenkel had to hospitalized but his injuries were not described as life threatening. Jacquelyn Hampton, 35, of Kenner, was driving the first car McAllister hit, but was not injured. It should be noted that while both the police and KNAC.COM sources claim McAllister was inebriated, Bianca herself has been sober for 10 years.
According to Lee, the members of Supagroup had dinner with Bianca earlier that evening, closed out the El Matador with a late night of socializing, stopped by another bar for a minute, and then everyone went their separate ways, with McAllister offering Bianca a ride home.
Throughout the dinner earlier that evening, Bianca told Lee about her troubles with her former bandmates Judy Molish and Sharon Needles, who had left the group in the middle of the Nashville Pussy tour, taking their van and gear with them. According to Bianca, when the duo returned to L.A. they instigated legal action, informing Bianca of a Cease and Desist order that would prevent her from carrying on with the name after their dates with Nashville Pussy, which was to wind down after some Texas shows next week. “She was really bummed about all that stuff," says Lee. Despite all the drama, Bianca's ceaseless enthusiasm for rocking is evidenced by the fact that she and BB guitarist Blare were fulfilling the scheduled dates opening for Nashville Pussy despite the mid-tour departure of Judy and Sharon.
Bianca played in the band Butt Trumpet in the '80s before forming Betty Blowtorch in the late-‘90s. The band released their full-length debut, Are You Man Enough?, early this year through Foodchain Records. Bianca was a hard rocker, a strong woman, and about as nice as they come in the world of rock n’ rollers. She was also a longtime friend of this writer and I can assure you she will be missed dearly all.
We at KNAC.COM send our warmest condolences to Bianca's family, friends and bandmates.