Many times my inbox is flooded with emails about bands who have little-to-no impact on my world. They tend to sound exactly the same as the last good-looking pop tartlet to flash across my inbox and their Myspace pages play familiar cookie-cutter songs that blend right into the next. So, imagine my surprise when the deliciously political punk rock sounds of Le Butcherettes made its way to my hungry ears.
The band, which started in Mexico as a female duo, has gone through some major highs and lows. As is what happens with many bands, internal tensions ran high and former drum player, Auryn Jolene, departed, leaving the band’s founder, Teri Gender Bender, on her own. Thankfully, Teri is an unstoppable force of nature – she recruited drummer Gabe Serbian and with the help of Omar Rodriguez Lopez (The Mars Volta, At The Drive-In) the band will be releasing its first proper full-length album, Sin Sin Sin later this year.
We had the chance to talk to Teri about her music, the meaning behind her name and what’s up with there being so many haters.
AfterEllen.com: First off, I have to tell you, I love your sound. It’s kind of a mix between the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Detroit Cobras and Girl in a Coma – who, are all on my hit list. Asking who your influences are is probably a very played out question – in that there are so many amazing bands to choose from – so, what have you been listening to lately?
Oh man, I have to say I’m a little bit nervous right now.
AE: Oh? Don’t be, I’m nervous too, we can be nervous together. I feel like I’m totally geeking out right now. Ever since coming across your music I haven’t been able to stop listening.
AE: Wait, why all the haters? What’s up with that?
AE: Well, that blows! I know you use a lot of weird imagery like an actual pig’s head onstage. Are you using that to de-sexualize your performance?
But in the past I was really trying to use it as a representation of what everyone is turning into nowadays and show that I was angry about it. Everyone says, “Oh women’s rights, everybody has it,” but so much crap is still going on these days. Like in Mexico right now, there’s this famous reporter, Carmen Aristegui, who was fired for expressing her concern about the president’s alcoholism. She’s a really important figure not just in Mexico but also in the states. And now the government did everything they could to get her out of her job. And then she fought and the people of the towns stood up for her and she was able to get her job back.
I’m done with that phase though and going to find another way to get my point across.
AE: Well I would be afraid of getting E. Coli or something like that, touching all that animal nastiness. Speaking of politics, talk to me about your video for “Bang” because I could watch that video of George W. Bush getting a shoe thrown at him over and over.
For example, I have this amazing manager named Cathy Pellow. She’s this freaking woman who fights for the rights of others and is super hard-working. Now a lot of people think women shouldn’t be doing that — they think the quieter you are the prettier you are. And it just makes me so angry because people still think that way. So basically what “Bang” is, is a political protest.
AE: As a part of the queer community, I need to know where your name, Teri Gender Bender, came from.
Actually, Malcolm X has been a bit of an influence on me as well. The way his name got to be Malcolm X is that he said his ancestor’s last names were stolen from them. Then they were given a white name — and he rejected it, he said “I don’t know what my last name is — I’m Malcolm X.” Then when I was reading a lot of feminist books, like Simone de Beauvoir, or Christina Sommers, bell hooks and especially Betty Friedan I started thinking about it — my mother’s last name was given to her by a man and so on — even if I were to marry and keep my last name, it would still be my father’s last name and therefore be given to me by a man. I love my father with all my heart, it’s still a masculine last name. So, I wanted to start off fresh.
AE: How did you get hooked up with Omar Rodriguez Lopez?
It’s pretty awesome because Omar has his label, Rodriguez Lopez Productions and Sergeant House manages me, and the two kind of work together and Sergeant House just has this amazing group of musicians working together. It’s like a community — it’s like my dream come true. I couldn’t think it could get better than that. I’m really lucky.
AE : You mentioned some of your favorite feminist authors, who are some of your feminist role models?
Not counting my mother, I’d say Kathleen Hanna, I just love her.
AE: Oh my God, yes, she is amazing. “Rebel Girl” is one of my favorite songs of all time.
And writer-wise, I’d say I really like Christine Sommers. She criticized the feminist movement while also reconstructing it.
AE: So, since I think you’re awesome and I’m intimidated by your literary collection, tell me a dirty secret about yourself. You must love Toddlers and Tiaras or something like that.
AE: There is no shame in that game. I own Spice World on DVD.
Le Butcherettes will be releasing Sin Sin Sin on May 10, but you can grab some seriously slick free tracks at their Myspace page.