Passes away tragically at the very young age of 30.
By Fred Mills
The metal community is mourning the loss of one of their most beloved icons today with the passing of singer/violinist/juggler Serena Von Orbit (nee Cathcart), erstwhile frontwoman for Potential Weight. The official cause of death has not yet been announced, but it’s rumored that it is drug-related as in recent years Von Orbit has had a very public struggle with drugs and alcohol following the acrimonious breakup of the group two years ago. She was 30 years old.
The classically trained Von Orbit achieved prominence early on in her career when, after graduating with honors from the Berklee School of Music she signed on with Phoenix hard rockers Rebar Walk right before the release of their 2001 platinum-selling album Construction Sight. Riding the post-alternative wave with the group until 2008, she then formed Potential Weight with her then-boyfriend Saturn (no last name), and together they issued a series of albums that, while not quite notching the same level of commercial success as the earlier group, were critically acclaimed. Constant touring meant steadily increasing pressure on their relationship, however, and their attempts to keep the band going even after they had severed the personal side of that relationship eventually failed.
Following the split, Von Orbit launched a solo career in which she re-introduced the violin to her still-heavy music, additionally taking the unique step to juggle an array of objects, some of them potentially dangerous, while singing. (One classic moment arrived during a European tour stop in Gothenburg, Sweden: juggling three large knives, she stumbled over the mic stand’s feet and one of the knives dropped to slice through the front of her silk blouse, resulting in her rather large breasts to fall out in front of 10,000 hooting fans.) Still, she was also reportedly battling depression and self-medicating during this time, entering rehab on two separate occasions.
At the time of her death she was preparing a new album, provisionally titled Around The Solar System. The unfinished record’s status is now, obviously, up in the air.
Go HERE to watch a classic clip of Von Orbit onstage.