Le Butcherettes' Teri Gender Bender On Raw Meat And Sexism In Mexico
Steve ApplefordLe Butcherettes in rehearsal: Teri Gender Bender behind the keyboards, with former drummer Gabe Serbian
This week's feature story is about Teri Gender Bender -- neé Teri Suarez -- of Le Butcherettes. Let's just say she has no intentions of going quietly. She drenches herself in blood, she screams, she thrashes her guitar, and, oh yeah, she pees onstage. Meanwhile, the wild, melodic rock from her band's bristling album Sin Sin Sin won the attention of critics at Lollapalooza and South By Southwest. On Thursday, Dec. 1, the trio opens for the Stooges at the Hollywood Palladium; there's no telling what to expect. In any case, it goes without saying that Teri Gender Bender is a fantastic interview, and here are some quotes from our interview that didn't make the story.
The meaning of her song "Dress Off":
People at school always wanted to see legs. I went to a private school in Mexico, and you had to wear a uniform, and the uniform was a very short skirt - I hated that - and a nice little sweater. I made a petition trying to get girls the option of wearing pants, like the guys did. Even girls didn't want to sign it, because they thought if they were sign it they'd be less sexy. So I was like, uh, fuck it, take everything off, take my uniform off and go to school naked. That's what you want, right? You want to see skin, I'll give you skin.
Before punk rock, she was a teen poet:
It was great for me, but when I opened myself up to friends or to frenemies, they'd read it and they wouldn't understand it, so there was another sense of frustration of not being understood. It's the same thing in music - people are not going to understand your music all the time. You basically fall into the same things over and over again. I keep telling myself, "Your problems aren't special. Just embrace what's around you. Focus on the good things of life.
On loving the Spice Girls:
I grew up listening to the Spice Girls. I never thought I was going to end up being in a band. I'd always wanted to be a singer. I'd be in the shower and I'd be coming up with my dance moves - Posh Spice! I found the path.
On rock music in Mexico:
You either start your band or you go see their band. That's how it was in the music scene in Mexico. There is all kinds of music in Mexico, but in the rock scene it was more like an emo scene, and I hated it. I hate emo music. Taking Back Sunday or Thursday or Atreyu and all these bands around me - they were making music to get the girls, not to be heard. And I wanted to be heard.
On using raw meat onstage:
In Mexico, I was 17, and that was the first thing I wanted to use. I obviously was playing with all my heart, but I wanted to bring elements onstage to express what I felt. I felt like a piece of meat at the time. So did many other people. Especially homosexuals at the time. In Mexico - there's beautiful things but there's also a lot of repression. It's a third world country, there's a lot of sexism, so I and a lot of my friends felt like shit. That's why I would use the meat. It was my way of screaming out to the world, "You may see me as this, but I'm going to put it on my head, put it in my mouth, and I'm making fun of you by making fun of myself."
On her mom's expectations for the Stooges show:
My mom has no idea who Iggy is because she grew up in a whole different culture. She says, "Who's Iggy?" And I'm like, oh man, if only she knew.
My mother has been telling me to expect the worst my whole life. My father was the opposite. He said to expect the best.
On her days working as a telemarketer while reading great Russian lit:
Instead of being happy for having a break, I'd be reading these books and just crying to myself because they are so miserable. But also full of comedy and humor, and I thought that was great. That's what I thought my life was. Why not mix a little bit of dark humor with misery? And you get the Butcherettes.
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