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Rozz Williams – Sleeping Dogs

Rozz Williams Sleeping Dog

In the early 90s, it was common belief that Rozz Williams’ career was peppered with what were thought to be periods of inactivity, most prominently following his departure from Christian Death in 1985 and the demise of Shadow Project in 1993. After his death in 1998, it became evident that he had been consistently active in the underground. He released a prolific mass of material and played live as Premature Ejaculation, EXP, Heltir and Blood Flag. He also reunited Christian Death for short periods, worked with Daucus Karota, and did collaborative live shows with the artist David E. Williams.

As the Shadow Project died off in 1993, Williams fulfilled their concert obligations by touring with a band made up of various musicians including Brian Butler (Technicolor Skull, The Ultras), Mark Barone and Christian Omar Izzo (Chokebore, CD1334). This line-up toured Europe as Daucus Karota (billed as Shadow Project on a few dates) for a short time and also played in the US. The Dream Home Heartache album and tour with Gitane Demone would follow this.

Nico B. was Rozz’s ex-manager and friend; he is also a filmmaker (PIG & 1334) and the author of the Art of Rozz Williams. Nico B. has compiled various soundboard and fan recordings of Daucus Karota live shows in order to curate the tracks that you find here on Sleeping Dogs. There are also two tracks from one of Williams’ final 1997 performances in Los Angeles; “Moonage Daydream” and “Raw Power”. The L.A. set’s line-up consisted of Akubi Object’s Israel Medina and Kenton Holmes; this line-up was amazing though short-lived, and what footage that exists is an archival testament to this.

Rozz Williams

Rozz Williams  |  Credit:  Ed Colver

The overall quality of the recordings is good, and although Christian Death and Shadow Project songs were played during these gigs, only Shadow Project’s “Hall of Mirrors” is featured. Sleeping Dogs mostly contains original compositions and cover versions of David Bowie‘s “Time” and “Moonage Daydream”, Lou Reed‘s “Kill your Sons”, and The Stooges “Raw Power”. The approach of both sets is a hard/glam rock approach that differs from the darker Deathrock material of his previous bands; it was as if Williams had taken a head-first dive into his influences.

The non-Deathrock approach is an advantage and saves Sleeping Dogs from being just another Rozz live recording. Instead, the album represents an artistic shift away from Deathrock into a different glam phase of Rozz’s career. Sadly, he never realized this phase beyond the Daucus Karota Shrine EP in 1994, as well as the track “Flowers” off of Dream Home Heartache. These live recordings are the best of a mass of unreleased material.

There have been a lot of exciting releases that have come to light after Rozz’s death, including Accept the Gift of Sin with David E. Willams, Shadow Project’s From the Heart, Premature Ejaculation’s Wound of Exit, and Malaise Music’s Lost Recordings Series. Sleeping Dogs is like Accept the Gift of Sin in that it points towards some potentially amazing work. Imagine if Rozz had done studio recordings with Kenton/Medina, Butler, or with David E. Williams; what direction would his career have gone? Even over a decade after his passing, his career appears to be a massive web that never seems to stop growing.

With the bad aura that surrounds much online business surrounding Rozz, Nico B. and Dark Vinyl have released a record that cuts through this thick black fog like the strongest ray of sunlight.

Track List:

A1) Time
A2) Nostalgia
A3) Bruised
A4) Dodo
A5) Kill your Sons
B1) Flowers
B2) Hold Me Down
B3) The Doll
C1) World Inside
C2) Hall of Mirrors
C3) 2nd Step
C4) Sunken Rex
D1) Moonage Daydream
D2) Raw Power

Rating: 5/5
Written by: Lazrs4
Dark Vinyl (Germany) / DVLP2-1334 / 2×12″ LP
Cult Epics (United States) / CLT-CD-305 / CD
Death Rock / Gothic Rock