Thursday, April 02, 2020

Disco Cum New Wave Glamourpuss Cristina Dies at 61 of Coronavirus Complications

Crushed to learn about the passing of yet another music idol of mine, taken by the coronavirus pandemic: 

Cristina Monet Zilkha -- who was born Christina Monet-Palaci, and recorded under the mononym Cristina -- died on Wednesday (April 1). Her death was confirmed by Michel Esteban, co-founder of her label ZE Records, who wrote on Facebook, “Wake up this morning with this devastated news, dearest Cristina past away. So sad.” She was 61.

In a Facebook post, Steve Wasserman, a UC Berkeley professor and friend of the late singer, said Cristina posted to social media that she was experiencing a high fever, but “her lungs were clear” and she appeared to be recovering. “Then, with appalling swiftness, she was gone this morning,” Wasserman wrote.

Fellow new wave geeks will remember her video "Ticket to the Tropics" was an obscure MTV favorites. One blogger described Cristina as Lydia Lunch "if Lydia had been a debutante," which said it all.
The daughter of a French psychoanalyst and an American novelist, playwright and illustrator, Cristina dabbled in theater (both as a writer and a critic) before turning to pop music at the behest of her eventual husband -- Michael Zilkha, co-founder with Michel of ZE, an influential New York post-punk label. Zilkha persuaded her to record “Disco Clone,” a single ultimately produced by Velvet Underground guitarist John Cale and released on ZE in 1978. Campy, self-aware and infectious (with a young Kevin Kline as Cristina’s spoken-word co-star on a later re-recording), the song developed an underground following. Cristina would release two full-length albums on ZE, 1980’s self-titled effort and 1984’s "Sleep It Off" -- produced by a pair of left-field disco fixtures in August Darnell (of Kid Creole & the Coconuts) and Don Was (of Was (Not Was)), respectively. While the former followed in the winking disco model of “Clone,” the latter adopted a sharper, punchier new wave sound to match Cristina’s increasingly dry, acerbic songwriting:  
“My life is in a turmoil, My thighs are black and blue/ My sheets are stained, so is my brain/ What’s a girl to do?” lamented the chorus to “What’s a Girl to Do,” arguably her signature track. (Via Billboard)
Singer Zola Jesus paid tribute on Twitter, calling her a “HUGE inspiration” and praising her for being “too weird for the pop world and too pop for the weird world.”

Other notable names in music who have died from the virus include singer Alan Merrill, the songwriter behind "I Love Rock ’n’ Roll," country musician Joe Diffie and Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne and Ivy fame. Truly heartbreaking times.

1 comment:

Donald Hargraves said...

How recently was this picture taken? I've never seen it before, and if it is of recent vintage she had aged well.