Born in Pomona, Southern California on 6 November 1963, Roger Alan Painter was the youngest of the family. His parents were both Southern Baptists so he and his 2 brothers and an elder sister endured a strict religious upbringing. He first began to take a keen interest in music at the age of 9, listening to David Bowie, Roxy Music, T-Rex, Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, The New York Dolls and many others. He knew even then that he wanted to be a musician. When he reached adolescence he was attracted to the American Punk scene and even shaved his head. By the time Roger was turning 16 years of age, he decided to start making music rather than just listening to it. Deciding to take the name of Rozz Williams from a gravestone he found in his favorite cemetery, his first band was called Crawlers to No who then became known as The Upsetters. Rozz sang and played the guitar, though the band never performed on stage. Rozz then went on to form The Asexuals. He sang, played guitar and the organ, Jill Emery played bass and also sang and Steve Darrow played drums. They performed at a few parties but played no real concert dates. Another project named Daucus Karota had Rozz singing, Jay on guitar and Mary Torciva on percussion. Christian Death was formed in October 1979. The name was a corruption of fashion designer Christian Dior's name. Rozz sang, Jay played guitar and James McGearty was on bass. McGearty then introduced George Belanger to the band as drummer. Their first show together was with 45 Grave at the Hong Kong Cafe, in the China Town section of Los Angeles, California and soon built up a good following. The band broke up for a short time in early 1981 and Rozz teamed up with Ron Athey to form Premature Ejaculation. At the time they were living off and on at Rozz's parents house. They had first met in a garage in Claremont, California where Christian Death was rehearsing for their first concert. They hit it off straight away. Ron remembers that "they were true punk romantics - he pierced my nipple, I tattooed his name on my wrist and slashed his palms open with a straight razor". They performed a few shows in Los Angeles. At one of these performances, Ron started eating, and regurgitating, a dead cat. They found it difficult to get gigs, as clubs were not too keen to book them, so Rozz and Ron began experimenting at home with tapes.

In the summer of 1981, McGearty and Belanger introduced Rozz to Rikk Agnew who had been a guitarist in the Adolescents. Jay had agreed to leave the band as he had begun to get bored and lose interest; Rikk took his place. McGearty financed studio time and the sessions produced songs, which later appeared on the Deathwish EP. Also the song, 'Dogs' was included on the now infamous Hell Comes to Your House compilation LP. The release of the Deathwish EP and their contribution to the Hell Comes To Your House compilation raised the interest in Christian Death to a higher level and Lisa Fancher signed the band to her Frontier Records label and their debut album, Only Theatre of Pain, was released in March 1982. Ron Athey and Eva Ortiz provided backing vocals and Rozz designed the hand-drawn cover himself. The album was critically acclaimed by the music press, but did cause some controversy. A presenter on a religious television program special about Satanic Influences actually broke a copy of the record on air.

The Christian Death stage shows became more elaborate. Rozz would sometimes perform in a wedding dress, perform mock communications or be tied to a cross in a re-enactment of Christ's Crucifixion. These antics, among others, led to Christian religious groups burning their records outside shows and even led to them being banned at certain venues.

Rikk Agnew and George Belanger left the band towards the end of 1982. Eva Ortiz (guitar and backing vocals) and China (drums) join the band as their replacements for the live shows. Another guitarist, Michael Montana went on to replace Eva following the first show that Christian Death and Pompeii 99 played at together. It was around this time that Rozz was invited to a Pompeii 99 record release party and met Valor Kand and David Glass. They discussed the possibility of Pompeii 99 and Christian Death performing shows together, but by the end of 1982 Christian Death had split up. This had mainly to do with feuding and drug problems within the band.

L'Invitation Au Suicide decided to release the LP Only Theatre of Pain in France in 1983 and Yann Fancy wanted Christian Death to support it's release by performing in Europe. Rozz, without a band at the time, agreed to join up with Pompeii 99. He wanted the new band to be called Daucus Karota, taken from a character from a book called The Drug Experience, although Valor was happy to use the name Christian Death. Rozz was the singer and Valor provided guitar. Gitane DeMone (keyboards, backing vocals), David Glass (drums) and Constance Smith (bass) completed the line-up. They performed concerts around Los Angeles at such clubs as The Roxy and Fenders Ballroom. Towards the end of 1983 they were invited to appear on a US music TV show called 'Media Blitz' where they mimed to 'Cavity' and 'Romeo's Distress' and gave a short interview. Their first European show was at Les Bains Douches, Paris on 12 February 1984 and they continued touring Europe until June. Catastrophe Ballet was recorded at Rockfield studios in Monmouth, Wales around the same time. It was a departure from the religious overtones of their debut LP and the lyrics reflected Rozz's newfound love of Surrealism and the Dada movement (the album was even dedicated to Andre Breton). Rozz was enjoying living in France, home of many of his artistic and literary heroes - Rimbaud, Genet, Lautremont, Marcel Duchamp and Rene Magritte, among others. Constance Smith left the band following the recording of the album and, in live shows, was replaced by Dave Roberts.

In autumn 1984 the band returned to America and they recorded the Ashes LP, which was released the following year. Rozz, Valor, Gitane and David Glass provided much of the music for the record; however, guest appearances were made by Randy Wilde (bass), Eric Westfall (violin, accordion synth), Sevan Kand (crying), Bill Swain (tuba), Richard Hurwitz (trumpet) and Michael Andraes (clarinet). The band performed shows in America to promote the Ashes album, climaxing with The Path of Sorrows extravaganza at Los Angeles' Roxy Theatre on 6 April 1985. This multi-media extravaganza featured films, a banquet, and a program. Kristina Fuller coordinated and supervised the visuals, film sections and Rozz's four costume changes. Their performance at Hollywood Berwin Entertainment Centre a few days before was recorded and released as The Decomposition of Violets cassette. These shows saw Rozz, Valor, Gitane and David joined by Jeff Williams and Barry Galvin. However, because he wished to move onto more experimental projects rather than work with the conventional rock band the Valor wanted, Rozz decided to leave Christian Death right on the eve of an Italian tour in June 1985. He telephoned Gitane and said "I can't do it anymore. I'm leaving".

Rozz officially left Christian Death after the American shows in April 1985, leaving Valor to take the rest of the band to Italy as part of the European tour. Rozz had asked Gitane not to continue under the name Christian Death, and Valor had agreed to change the name of the band to Sin and Sacrifice. Instead he decided to keep Christian Death name, much to the annoyance of Rozz. Rozz considered Christian Death to be his creation and felt that it was his decision, not Valor's, whether the band continued or not. Although Gitane felt guilty about this, she remained faithful to Valor. Rozz did not fight for the right to the Christian Death name until a few years later, by which time Valor had effectively won the right to perform under hat name. Rozz had already recorded 2 more songs, 'Haloes' and 'Spectre (Love is Dead)', with Eric Westfall but these were not officially released for 5 years. The songs appeared on the Heavens and Hells cassettes, which also included live performances selected by Rozz from his own tapes. A third, unfinished, song from the session with Eric Westfall was called This Mirage. This was only completed many years after, with assistance from Erik Christides, and released for the first time in 1998.

When Rozz left Christian Death, he teamed up with Chuck Collison and began working under the name The Happiest Place on Earth. Rozz described this as "street performance installation". Rozz wanted to start making music again so, together with Chuck, he revived Premature Ejaculation. They worked first on tapes and then played some live shows, starting at The Krypt, using various noises and video images. The audiences were often hit by the flying meat or eyeballs that were thrown at them from the stage. One performance took place under a freeway in front of a selected group of friends.

In 1987 Rozz and Eva moved to San Francisco and were married. It was here that they started a new band that they called Shadow Project. The line up included Barry Galvin, David Glass and Johann Schumann (bass) and the band played at the Cover Wagon in San Francisco and The Club with No Name in Los Angeles. The name, Shadow Project, was taken from the tests in Hiroshima following the nuclear bomb, which left impressions or ‘shadows’, but no bodies. Rumors had been circulating about Rozz's death or his being detained in a mental asylum and, in 1988, to help stop the rumors; he reformed Christian Death and reclaimed what was rightfully his - his band. The Christian Death reunion shows carried on in 1989 and into the beginning of 1990. The line-up consisted of Rozz, Eva O, Rikk Agnew, Casey (bass) and Cujo (drums).

After the reunion tour Rozz and Eva moved back to Los Angeles and joined up with Jill Emery (bass) and Tom Morgan (drums) to complete a new look and direction for Shadow Project and play a few clubs in California. Later, Paris was added as keyboardist and their first, self-titled album was recorded. Rozz was, at the time, becoming increasingly influenced by Charles Manson. Jill Emery left the band early in 1992 to concentrate her duties on Hole, and Aaron Schwartz was brought in to record 'Dead Babies/Killer' for the Welcome to Our Nightmare compilation CD consisting of cover versions of Alice Cooper songs. Chuck Collison also contributed samples to these tracks. Rozz, Eva, Listo (bass) and David Melford (drums) started recording new versions of classic Christian Death songs for The Iron Mask album in February 1992. The album was made, in part, to finance the Shadow Project European tour of February and March 1992, when they were supported by Mephisto Walz. Peter Tomlinson had replaced Tom Morgan on drums for this tour. To escape from the chaos of life in Los Angeles Rozz and Eva decided to move to Las Vegas. They lived quietly in a house in the desert near the mountains. However, this was not enough to keep their marriage together.

Later in 1992 Rozz, Eva, Jill, Tom and Paris were joined in Hollywood by Ace Farren Ford on saxophone and mussette to record the Dreams for the Dying album. It was recorded during the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. They toured America in October 1992 with William Faith (bass) replacing Jill and Stevyn Grey (drums) replacing Peter Tomlinson. Even later in 1992, Rozz recorded his first spoken word album, Every King a Bastard Son, with assistance from Paris, Ace Farren Ford and Donato Canzonieri. With the help of Eva (guitar), Paris (keyboards), William Faith (bass), Scat Elis (bass), Stevyn Grey (drums), Kris Kohls (drums), Brian Virtue (samples), Wayne James (guitars), Armon Christoff (piano and acoustic guitars) and Aaron Schwartz (harp), Rozz recorded 2 new Christian Death studio albums entitled The Path of Sorrows and The Rage of Angels. Rozz had been quoted as saying; "The Path of Sorrows is probably my favorite Christian Death album." One song on The Rage of Angels was written for Jeffrey Dahmer, the American serial killer and for whom Rozz had a major fascination. For the last time in June 1993 at Los Angeles' Patriotic Hall, Christian Death regrouped for a one show, captured on the Iconologia CD and live video. Rozz was joined by Rikk Agnew, George Belanger, Casey (bass). Following his brother's decision not to come back on stage to play the encores, Frank Agnew was credited as additional guitarist on the recordings.

In the summer of 1993, Shadow Project toured America. The band consisted of Rozz, Eva, Paris, Mark Barone (bass) and Christian Omar Madrigal Izzo (drums). After this American tour, Eva O and Paris left the band to work on the Eva O Halo Experience CD 'Demons Fall for an Angels Kiss'. Shadow Project had come to an end, however a German tour for October had already been booked. Although all tickets, flyers and publicity for this tour would show Shadow Project, Rozz had decided that the band name should change to Daucus Karota. Rozz sang on the tour, Brian Butler was the guitarist, Mark Barone played bass and Christian Omar Madrigal Izzo was on drums. For one show Gitane DeMone drove from her home in Amsterdam to Germany to meet up with Rozz backstage. The Shrine EP by Daucus Karota was recorded in January 1994 with Mark Barone (bass), Chistian Omar Madrigal Izzo (drums) and Roxy (guitars).

Daucus Karota returned to Europe for a month long European tour in November 1994, with Gitane DeMone filling the support slot. The tour had Todd Dixon on drums, Mike Saavedra on bass and Brian Hansen on guitar. Brian had replaced Rolf Donath, who had been the guitarist for the band at shows in Los Angeles and Mexico during that summer. After learning that Jeffrey Dahmer had been murdered in prison the band dedicated the concert in Amsterdam that evening to his memory.

Later in 1994, Rozz released a CD entitled Neue Sachlichkeit under the name of Heltir. Additional musicians included Ace Farren Ford, Christian Omar Madrigal Izzo (percussion) and Aaron Schwartz (harp). The Dreamhome Heartache CD was recorded by Rozz and Gitane Demone in Gent, Belgium between 28 March and 5 April 1995 with help from Pieter Rekfelt. The producer was Ken Thomas who had previously worked with David Bowie on 'Hunky Dory'. Rozz and Gitane played a few shows together in April 1995 and again in December 1995. They toured the UK in April 1996.

Rozz's second spoken word album, The Whorse's Mouth was recorded in 1996 featuring Rozz (vocals, bass), Paris (keyboards, clarinet), Ryan Gaumer (backing vocals), Christian Omar Madrigal Izzo (percussion) and Anne Marie (violin). The CD was influenced by Genet and was written with Gaumer, Rozz's roommate, while they were both heavily addicted to heroin.

Rozz provided bass on the EXP CD, also recorded in 1996 and which featured Paris, Ryan and Ace Farren Ford. Erik Christides, one of Rozz's closest and best-loved friends committed suicide in 1997 and a special commemorative show was put together at Perversion in Los Angeles on 6 January 1998. This would prove to be the last time that Rozz performed on stage.

Rozz was found hanged on 1 April 1998. He was found by Ryan, his roommate in their West Hollywood apartment. He did not leave a suicide note and it is not known why Rozz would have wanted to take his own life. It is known that his alcoholism was beginning to affect him badly, but like his drug addictions, he had always managed to get through any physical and emotional problems that he had. Many of his friends believe that the date had a deeply personal significance for Rozz. A memorial was held at the El Rey Theatre shortly after his death, and a small gathering of family and friends offered his ashes to the earth at Runyon Canyon.

The last project that Rozz had been involved with before his death, was a film called PIG, which was released at the beginning of 1999. Nico B. directed the film, and Chuck Collison completed the soundtrack. In 2000, the book The Art of Rozz Williams was released, which gives a detailed history of Rozz’s life and art.

On April 1st, 2001, the three-year anniversary of his death, there was a public memorial at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in West Hollywood, California. The memorial drew family, friends, and fans from around the world. There is now a permanent memorial niche in the columbarium section of Hollywood Forever Cemetery.