Women in music: ‘Suicide. Death. Love. Second chances’ – Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes on bloody stage shows, ‘misogynist pscyhoanalysts’ and ‘A Raw Youth’

Kirstin selfie for column

By Kristin Hay (@kristinhayCS)

With the stage name ‘Teri Gender Bender’, you are made immediately aware that Teri Suárez – lead singer, guitarist and founding member of the Mexican garage band Le Butcherettes –  is not a woman of subtlety.  Her message is clear, emblazoned across three albums and live shows infamous for being disquieting for the faint hearted, to say the least.

In summing up Le Butcherettes in a sentence, Gender Bender sees the band as a “never ending, vicious cycle of spiritual terror and confrontation.” It is evident that cheeriness is not embedded in the band’s heritage.

Mobilized (inspired seems too soft a word), by human rights movements in Mexico concerning immigration and women’s rights in 2007, Le Butcherettes have since then toured the world with bands such as Deftones, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and last month headlined King Tuts Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow.

An articulate and spiritual woman, inspired by everything from history to feminism and beyond, Gender Bender tells me that her fire derives from her mother, and being “surrounded by chaotic and dramatic elements,” such as moving from Denver to Mexico, aged 13, after the death of her father.

Le Butcherettes are perhaps best known for their stage show – making the use of blood and meat as a prop long before Lady Gaga wore that dress. But their use of gore in their show is neither a keen marketing strategy, nor simple shock value, but instead part of musical activism and self-expressive art: “I tend to be very passionate and once I’m in love with a subject or a story I will want to do my best to interpret it with my own artistic language.”

With themes of “history [and] oppression…Suicide. Death. Love [and] second chances,” their new album ‘A Raw Youth’ continues on from their 2014 release, ‘Cry Is For the Flies’, as “a new introduction for the more that is to come.”

In discussing feminism and music, Gender Bender has much to say:

“It’s one of humanity’s greatest frustrations: The Woman Problem (as many misogynist psychoanalysts would call it). Because, it is with occurrence the feeling of being undervalued, the repeatedly sonic social boom of being an object undervalued. Women have to work twice as hard within the music industry to be taken seriously.

“Feminism was a spiritual tool for me to learn to intellectually philosophise and analyse [female] suffering and learn from our history of suffering and genius, to pave way for future humanity.”

Ultimately, the message that Gender Bender wishes to spread is that “life is in the nude.” Her live-in-the-moment attitude is solidified when she tells fans to “expect nothing,” from the band after their tour ends, but to rest-assured that the band have been recording throughout November.

A rare diamond in the punk scene, Le Butcherettes are not to be ignored, with Gender Bender a beacon of the resurrection of the politically-motivated musicians of the 70s and 80s – lighting the way for the mobilised female musicians of the Trump-elected future.