Artist: Le Butcherettes Video: 'I'm Getting Sick of You' Highlight: "Being able…
- Posted on Jul 12th 2011 2:00PM by Nicole Pajer
Thanks to the recent release of 'Sin Sin Sin' -- which sees the band signed to the label of renowned producer and musician Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (the Mars Volta, At the Drive-In), who also plays bass on the disc -- the act's stock is rising. The record has even reached No. 1 on the iTunes Mexico Alternative charts in Bender's homeland.
With a string of dates with the mighty Queens of the Stone Age on the horizon, Bender sat down with Spinner to discuss her crazy live show (from the early days of incorporating a severed pig head into the set to her token blood-soaked apron.) The fiery 22-year-old also recounts a near-death stage-diving incident in Tennessee and how Malcolm X inspired her rock 'n' roll namesake.
Why did you nickname yourself "Teri Gender Bender"?
I was really influenced by Malcolm X. I love how he said, "OK, my last name is part of who I am but it really doesn't mean anything to me because all of my ancestors were robbed of their original last name by the white man." The reason of "X" was for him unknown. For me, gender bender is, "OK, look at me as an individual, not for my sex." It's like the literal meaning of taking the gender and you're bending it -- I want you to see me for my ideas not for my anatomy.
Have you always worn the blood-soaked apron on stage? What is the significance of that?
I think there was only one time when I didn't wear it, at one show at South by Southwest. It's not like I feel that I need the apron forever, I just feel that I'm wearing it right now, going through the phase where I'm trying to portray the bloody apron of the housewife. A lot of people focus on it and I understand why -- it's provocative and it calls for attention. But for me, it's so much more than that. To me, it's about the character, trying to break the cliché of that passive-aggressive, gentle lady ... And, for me, that's what the apron means: the blood and the fury and the more obvious metaphor for the women that have died because of violence, muertas de Juárez ["the dead women of Juárez"], all the injustices that have occurred against women, mutilation, circumcisions...
You are selling replicas of the apron online in your fan store. Have those been popular?
A long time ago we sold handmade ones. We started doing this [last] tour and Gabe was like, "Let's do it again." So I think the aprons are a very good idea. I wear it and I also see a lot of girls sending me pictures of them wearing aprons, which I think is very cool.
When you say that they are "homemade," how do you go about making them?
I bought my apron in a little store in Guadalajara just in front of Plaza de Sol, which is a really popular little plaza there, and outside of that they have uniforms. They have so many types of aprons so I just buy my aprons there whenever I get the chance. I buy a bunch and Gabe is a painter as well, besides being a drummer, so he's really good at splashing things around. He takes care of the splashing blood on the aprons.
How do you make the transition between Teresa Suaréz and your wild stage persona?
I just block myself out. I block the norms that are imposed on me. I block the passive-aggressiveness out and I just go and lose myself in the moment, in the energy, in the sweat. It's my therapy. If it wasn't for that, I don't know what I'd be doing right now. I just don't think about it -- just go with my instincts, my animal instincts, that's what impulses me. Of course, I already bring the pre-meditated elements like me dressing up like a housewife or having flowers or grapes on aprons and feather dusters on stage ... but everything else, the body-surfing and all that is so fun.
Courtesy of Le Butcherettes
In Mexico, it was more to get the attention. We wanted to say, "We're here and we have this manifestation to say that we're women, we're in rock, and whether you like it or not we're gonna do this." We used elements before like the blood and the pig's head. This was me screaming against female chauvinist pigs because there are so many women that eat each other up -- even here, in the States, there's just so much hate against the girl that plays guitar; they think that I want to take their men, that I want to be sexy, that I'm a slut -- so that's what I'd do in Mexico, I'd use the pig, the meat. Now, it's just me. It's too expensive to be spending so much money on meat and it's bad for our luggage [laughs].
Did you used to lug that around from city to city?
In Mexico we did the dumb mistake of leaving the meat in the luggage for three day and we opened it up and it was the worst smell you can imagine. I think that's probably one of my motives to stop doing that.
When you throw yourself in the crowd, do you ever get nervous that the audience won't catch you?
I almost died in Tennessee; I believe in angels now. We were onstage and I did a backflip but with my back heading towards the front stage and there was a huge gap where there was a security guard and then the rail and then the people. The stage was six or seven feet away from the rail and the people, and I didn't think about that. I literally backflipped off the stage and onto the floor bashing my head. My head was the first thing to bash against the floor and then my body fell on top of my neck. I didn't get hurt, I didn't get one bruise on my body, not one fracture or anything. I could have seriously paralyzed myself. I didn't feel fear and that kind of scares me, because when I'm onstage I'm capable of doing so many things to myself, which is bad. I got this long email from my mom saying, "Teri please don't do this again. You don't want to die -- especially as an opening band."
Lastly, you recently relocated to L.A., what's been the craziest thing you've experienced since moving there?
Silver Lake, every time that I walk around the studio where we rehearse, there's this guy -- I don't know if he's a skin head or a wresting dude, but he wears these tight leather pants, no shirt -- walking around with a collar on. We think he's a sadist or something, walking around looking for a high or a partner. So that's kind of crazy. Lots of weird people, but I love weirdness.