Le Butcherettes' Teri Gender Bender on her New Philosophical Movement, Butcherism: "I'll Take Feminism, Nabokov, Bulgakov and Theater and Mush It All In"
Ivan Fernandez Le Butcherettes: Subverting everything! (even French grammar!)
Mexico City's Le Butcherettes made their second appearance in Los Angeles this past Tuesday as the opening act for the Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group at the Troubadour. The trio led by vocalist/guitarist Teri Gender Bender brought their well-documented onstage antics and treated the packed house to a preview of their upcoming debut album Sin Sin Sin to be released in January 2011.
"We're born of sin and we're meant to feel guilty about our virtues," she said of the album title as we sat by the merch booth in the front bar and watched the Rodriguez-Lopez Group perform on a television screen. "If we're good at something, they teach us to do it for the greater good or for the love of someone else. There's a wall of strict religious traditions and prejudices."
Challenging social norms is all part of a day's work for Le Butcherettes whose existence serves as a living manifesto in support of feminism and equality. "When I say feminism," she explained, "I don't mean anti-man or the typical stuff. I mean real feminism as equality between a man and a woman or a man and a man or a woman and a woman. Men also took part in the feminist movement."
Her interest in feminism developed through years of witnessing and suffering harassment and discrimination in the US and Mexico. Teri was born and raised in Denver, CO to Mexican immigrants and moved to Guadalajara, Mexico five years ago. "My mother as a working Mexican woman that didn't speak perfect English could hardly get jobs or would be paid very poorly," she said. "My father as well would work his ass off and, because he was a Spaniard, people would tell him to go back to Europe and other discriminatory things."
"I was bullied in school a lot," she continued. "It traumatized me. My parents would take me out of school, put me in a different school and I would still get picked on all the time. Those little things stuck to me."
Teri completed her education in Guadalajara and, soon after, recruited drummer Auryn Jolene to create Le Butcherettes in 2007. The duo grew in popularity seemingly overnight and won "Best New Artist" and "Best Punk Record" for their EP "Kiss & Kill" at the 2009 Indie-O Awards in Mexico.
Le Butcherettes almost came to an end that summer when Jolene attempted to take over the band with the help of her own manager and publicist. Teri put an end to the drama and moved to Mexico City to continue her music career. She recruited drummer Normandi Heuxdaflo and the new duo grew more popular thanks to playing opening slots for The Dead Weather and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Earlier this year, drummer Heuxdaflo invited his friend Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (The Mars Volta, De Facto) to a Butcherettes show in Guadalajara. "She was playing right down the street from where I lived in Guadalajara," recalled Rodriguez-Lopez. "The electricity cut out but Le Butcherettes played anyway and I thought that was pretty cool. They played real aggressively and I really liked the energy of it."
"I was screaming through a megaphone," said Teri with a laugh. The musicians developed a close relationship and, earlier this summer, Le Butcherettes recorded their full-length debut album with Rodriguez-Lopez serving as producer.