Betty Blowtorch frontwoman Bianca Halstead was killed on December 15th in a car accident near New Orleans. She was thirty-six.
Halstead, who performed as Bianca Butthole for the up-and-coming female punk quartet, was the passenger in a 1986 Corvette that spun into oncoming traffic at about 5 a.m. on Saturday at a speed believed to be in excess of 100 miles-per-hour. Earlier that evening, Halstead and Betty Blowtorch performed at the Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans, where they shared a bill with tourmates Nashville Pussy. According to police, Californian William R. McAllister was behind the wheel and had been drinking prior to the accident. He survived the wreck, but underwent surgery over the weekend and will likely face criminal charges.
In the early Nineties, Halstead performed as a singer and bassist in Los Angeles punk ensemble Butt Trumpet before departing with two other members — guitarists Blare N. Bitch and Sharon Needles — to form Betty Blowtorch three years ago. The group released its debut, Are You Man Enough?, in June.
While on tour with Nashville Pussy (which kicked off in early-November), Betty Blowtorch imploded. After their November 16th gig in Atlantic Beach, N.C., Needles and drummer Judy Molish effectively quit and disappeared with the group’s gear. Halstead and Bitch quickly rallied by recruiting L7 guitarist Jennifer Finch and a temporary replacement on drums.
“Bianca was wonderful. She had a great sense of humor, which is rare today in rock,” Poison drummer and friend Rikki Rocket said. “In spite of her image, she was a loving, humble, kind soul who would totally go out of her way for people . . . She wanted to make people rock, smile and forget.”