It was nine years ago today that the world lost Bianca "Butthole" Halstead of hard-rock band Betty Blowtorch. Life goes on, and time does fly, but it seems like yesterday that I heard Are You Man Enough? for the first time and absolutely fell in love with the band. While on the outside, Bianca appeared to be a tattooed tough girl who wrote songs about drinking, sex, and rocking out, to those that knew her, she also had a soft, tender side to her.
Unfortunately, I'm just a fan of Betty Blowtorch and Bianca. I never had the chance to meet her in person. Even worse, I never started getting into their music until after Bianca was tragically killed in a car accident after a show with the band Nashville Pussy in New Orleans. I chatted briefly with former rhythm guitarist Sharon Needles a few years ago and learned that Betty Blowtorch had played in my own backyard at First Avenue & 7th Street Entry on previous occasions. Obviously, I didn't know about it and wasn't there. It's hard for a person to regret not being able to meet a person or see a band while they were active, especially when you didn't know about them at the time. I think about what it would have been like to see the band live instead of regret at missing them. It would have been great to see them take the stage with Bianca screaming their trademark intro: "We're Betty Blowtorch, and we're from Hollywood! And we... don't... give... a... [EXPLETIVE]!" You can see what I mean in the YouTube video.
While I'm still saddened that she's no longer around to make great music (whether that would have been with Betty Blowtorch or not), I'm happy that I'll be able to forever enjoy the music that she did make. I'm also happy that I'm not the only one who was impacted by her and the band. When I mentioned Bianca and Bettly Blowtorch in an article last year, I received an email from Kelly Spencer, the Vice President of A&R at Foodchain Records who put out Betty Blowtorch's first (and only) full-length album, the previously-mentioned Are You Man Enough?. She was kind enough to send me some rare Betty Blowtorch memorabilia, and I appreciated the gesture, as well as the fact that somebody else still loves this band.
I did a brief search online today and didn't see anything at all mentioning Bianca Halstead or remembering her on this day. I'm not so much a stickler for dates, because we can "remember" everybody that we lost every day, instead of waiting for an anniversary of the day they died. They weren't a multiplatinum selling band, but what they lacked in record sales they made up in their ability to "rock the bleep out"! Still, I wanted to continue to put her name out there and have people keep playing their music to keep Bianca's legacy alive. You can view a variety of Betty Blowtorch videos online, as well as check out Anthony Scarpa's absolutely-amazing and highly-recommended documentary Betty Blowtorch And Her Amazing True Life Adventures.
I don't know of much current news regarding the remaining band members or Betty Blowtorch other than the fact I do know that there is going to be an upcoming tribute album to Betty Blowtorch, so be on the lookout for that. If anybody has any other information about Bianca, Betty Blowtorch, or the other band members, please share it in the comments.
Until then, we will never forget you Bianca!
(If you liked this, click here to view my past articles on Examiner.com.)