Betty Blowtorch DVD Release Party At Hollywood Cemetery

By Diana DeVille, Rock Goddess
Monday, April 17, 2006 @ 3:45 PM

Band Documentary Hits Video St

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From Foodchain Records' publicist Michael Taub:

The new expanded edition of Betty Blowtorch And Her Amazing True Life Adventures will premiere during the DVD pre-release party at the legendary Hollywood Forever Cemetery, the final resting place of lead singer Bianca “Butthole” Halstead, on Saturday April 22nd. The festivities will include a massive outdoor screen, stilt walkers, fire-breathers and circus acts with rare classic rock and punk videos preceding the premiere of the new cut of the movie. The entire night will benefit MusicCares MAP Fund; a resource to address addiction recovery and sober living needs of musicians.

The award winning documentary directed by Anthony Scarpa, chronicles the rise of the hard rocking, foul-mouthed female foursome from its roots in the P.M.R.C. targeted band Butt Trumpet, through its tragic ending with the death of leader Halstead. Along the way the film unfolds as a hilarious, head-banging, compelling look at a truly remarkable human being. A rock star and a rock band that overcame impossible odds and could have changed the landscape of the music industry, and the way females are perceived in it, if only given the chance. “Bianca Butthole’s life may have been cut short,” says Scarpa “but the fact that she made it as far as she did is pure triumph.”

The DVD is set for nationwide release on April 25th by influential distributor Cinema Libre who have brought us such memorable documentaries as Robert Greenwald’s Outfoxed, Uncovered: The War On Iraq, and Tim Robbins’ Embedded Live.

"The movie in a sense is being brought home to Bianca,” states Victoria Roberts, Bianca’s sister. “Her wish was to be laid to rest in a place where her friends could all visit her. It is exciting to me that not only her friends and admirers will be there but her former band-mates will be together for the first time since her death.”

For those unaware of the band's history, tensions between the members was at a breaking point on what turned out to be the band’s final tour. It will be five years on December 15th since Bianca tragically died while the band was on the road. Her ashes are buried in her prized KISS lunchbox, with her graveside nearby other rock icons including Dee Dee and Johnny Ramone. The Hollywood Forever Cemetery, built in 1899, is also the final resting place for many of the biggest names of the golden age of the silver screen.

"I feel blessed to have had a very close and personal friendship with Bianca that started many years before Betty Blowtorch formed,” says guitarist Sharon Needles. “What an incredible opportunity that we can all literally be together to celebrate her life and the accomplishments of our great band.”

There have been powerful, attractive and talented women rockers in the past, but few managed to captivate and charm both males and females the way this Los Angeles quartet did during its heyday. Betty had a sassy swagger, a sonic supremacy and a junkyard dog-like tenacity never seen before or since from a rock band, female or otherwise.

"Betty Blowtorch was a really special band -- I am proud of all we accomplished together and that our music is still being enjoyed so many years later,” says drummer Judy Molish. “Bianca meant a lot to us and I am glad that we will all come together at the screening to honor her memory."

Bianca Butthole, Blare N. Bitch and Sharon Needles met in 1993 while backing up singer Thom Bone in Butt Trumpet, the first punk rock outfit since the Sex Pistols to sign a worldwide record deal with EMI Records. When Tipper Gore and her cronies sank their teeth into the one Butt Trumpet song sung by guitarist Needles, it gave the band more exposure than misfortune but also caused turmoil within the band. After Butt Trumpet’s lead singer abruptly quit in the middle of a show, Bianca took over lead vocals (that night!) and was an immediate crowd pleaser.

Eager to put Butt Trumpet behind them and follow their own vision, they formed the all girl band Betty Blowtorch in 1998 with new drummer, Judy Molish. Their chemistry and instrumental potency was undeniable. The band’s no-bullshit approach and boisterous live shows were not only wildly entertaining, but their punk meets metal anthems were also catchy as hell and often shamelessly hilarious to boot. With such songs as “Shut Up and Fuck,” “Size Queen and “I Hate Dresses,” Betty said what many girls think but are reticent to say out loud. As the front person for the band, Bianca was known for being sexually aggressive, raw and confident on stage. She often started shows with her famous tag “We’re Betty Blowtorch and we’re from Hollywood and we don’t give a fuck!”

Guns N’ Roses/Velvet Revolver bassist Duff McKagan produced the bands controversial debut EP Get Off, whose title song is a loud and angry affront to Bianca’s former stepfather for his molestation. The EP gained them a rabid following around the country. However, the EP received limited airplay being deemed too “hardcore” for many radio outlets.

In 2001 the band finally began garnering the mainstream attention they deserved with their now classic Foodchain Records release Are You Man Enough? Which leads us, inevitably, to the sad part of the Betty Blowtorch saga. The part that turned Anthony Scarpa’s documentary about a vibrant and promising all girl band blazing its own bold trail to success into a tragedy. Amidst a very difficult tour, Bianca was killed in a high-speed automobile accident in New Orleans. A passenger in a car driven by a Chicago-area fan that had befriended the quartet, Bianca died instantly when the car collided with oncoming traffic.

Betty Blowtorch And Her Amazing True Life Adventures is a glimpse into the lives of a group who were as flawed as the rest of us. Childhood abuse, drug use and relationship drama, it is all in there. Betty Blowtorch channeled it all into something magical and fun and bawdy and badass. Betty blew us away, and thankfully, through this movie they’ll continue to do so for decades to come.

Film Threat Magazine named the movie # 1 of its “Top 25 Docs That Rock” and gave the movie four stars, praising, “We dare you not to be moved by the tragic story presented here. Once the film has ended, you can’t help but feel the tremendous loss documented.” The American Film Institute hails the film as “Honest, vulnerable, gritty and unafraid set against the backdrop of one of LA’s most prestigious and infamous punk bands. The film refuses to be become melodramatic even when faced with death. The subject never becomes saintly or smoothed over. Betty Blowtorch And Her Amazing True Life Adventures is a film every music-lover owes it to themselves to see.”

"It's been a long time comin' ... the Betty movie is finally coming out on DVD,” says lead guitarist Blare N. Bitch. “Bianca will be there in spirit and all of her friends and the band will be there too. I'm very proud of Tony Scarpa and the work he did. Come on down and celebrate Bianca and Betty Blowtorch. This is an event not to be missed.”

“This movie is Bianca’s legacy”, concludes Bianca’s sister, Victoria. “I am truly grateful to Anthony Scarpa for being there to document, and taking the time to create a feature film, which I believe shows a glimpse of how incredibly special Bianca was. It means the world to not only myself, but the whole family."

Festivities begin at dusk. Film screens at 8:00 pm. $10 donation at the door. Guests are encouraged to bring picnic dinners/drinks, blankets or low back chairs for the screening. Free parking on cemetery grounds. Hollywood Forever Cemetery is located at 6000 Santa Monica Blvd. (between Gower and Van Ness) in Hollywood.

For more information, please visit www.bettyblowtorch.net

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