What is so intriguing about Le Butcherettes? Maybe it’s that Omar Rodriguez Lopez (Mars Volta) took a personal interest in them and produced their debut album Sin Sin Sin. Maybe it’s their recent tour with Deftones and Dillinger Escape Plan or perhaps it’s the fact that punk hero Gabe Serbian (The Locust/Head Wound City) is their current drummer. Signed to Sargent House (Adebisi Shank, Fang Island) Le Butcherettes is the brainchild of Teri Gender Bender, who is their main songwriter, vocalist and guitarist. May, saw the release of their debut album Sin Sin Sin earning them a slot at Lollapalooza and a tour with Queens of the Stone Age. There is no denying that Le Butcherettes are pretty hot right now. State caught up with Teri Gender Bender a few weeks ago to talk about their notorious live shows, recording Sin Sin Sin and her remarkable lyrics.
How long have you been making music?
I’ve been making music since I was 15 but I guess it doesn’t count because someone I know stole an old tape of early songs I recorded when I was kid.
What age were you when you first picked up a guitar?
I was 13 years old. My, oh my how I yearned for a guitar so much. Its imagery would haunt me in so many ways. A guitar for me is a tool and I don’t kneel down before it, we sit down and compromise. I NEEDED a guitar or any instrument at the time to help express what I feel.
How would you describe Le Butcherettes’ sound?
Raw. Different. Some would say weird. I stopped caring though. When I was 17 I would jokingly call it “Butcher Rock”. I just see it as varied.
Tell us about touring with Deftones and The Dillinger Escape Plan.
It was amazing. The guys and the gals on that tour were amazing. Nice people. Chino was very motivational with us musically and personally. The Deftones had me (which I was very happy to do) sing and wail my lungs out to “Knife Party”. It was fun and because of this people are kind of in shock because they are not used to seeing women in the rock industry. They made us feel involved on tour and welcome. Plus D.E.P are old friends of Gabe and Jonathan.
How did you go about writing and recording your debut album Sin Sin Sin?
Lots of alone time. Lots of humming and trying to play out the hums! Improvisation. All these songs were written when I was 19 and brought to life a year and half later. No edits until Omar helped polish them up. That’s were the recording process began. I thank him so much.
What inspires your lyrics?
My sadness. Loss. Expectations. Deceptions. Women’s Rights.
Are the tracks ‘All You See in Me is Death’ and ‘Dress Off’ directed at anyone or anything in particular?
‘All You See In Me Is Death’ is a feeling that has occurred many times in my life. I don’t know. No one really thought I would ever amount to any good when I was a kid. I was too quiet and a class clown. ‘Dress Off’ is to all the people that have tried to ridicule young women in any way, shape or form. You can ridicule me, you can fill me with shame but you will never shut me up.
Do you find it difficult being a front-woman? Is it challenging playing to often male dominated audiences, do you ever feel like your judged harshly for being a female guitarist?
Of course I feel judged but I also feel like people expect too much from me for being a woman as well. I’m never going to win everyone over but I will die trying.
Tell us about your live show, I’ve seen some of your costumes they’re pretty striking. What do you want your audience to take away from your shows?
That I’m real. Rock ‘n’ roll is real for me. It’s made me alive. Any one can tap into their own energy. I tapped into mine. Gabe Serbian is an amazing drummer. He has changed me in so many ways. Humble man. Jonathan is one of the best bassists I have ever met in my life. And he gives it is all, always to himself and to the audience. We are actually grateful to the audience. We want to eat their presence because they are listening to our cries of despair.
Also, what inspired your stage name ‘Teri Gender Bender’?
How did the collaboration between Le Butcherettes and Sargent House come about?
Omar really believes in us. He told Cathy (leader and king of Sargent House) about us. He showed her the album Sin Sin Sin and she got us on board. It was a nice experience. Music bonds people.
You’re touring LA with label mates Adebisi Shank this week, are you looking forward to playing with them?
I am a huge Adebisi Shank fan. They blow my heart and soul and I’m very much looking forward to playing with them. Yes, I think about it everyday! Tera Melos will also be touring with us, so it’s going to be fantastic being together.
What next for Le Butcherettes?
All of us want to play our guts out. I personally feel like we have to give it our all or the hype will eat us up. You can never let your own hype out do you. We have plans to record soon. The Mike Watt Way: make records to put out lots more tours.
Can we expect a European tour anytime soon?
Yes, oh god, yes! Finally! We will be in Netherlands and Portugal in August for two festivals. It’s a start!
Finally, what advice would you give to budding musicians?
They should watch “Spinal Tap”.
Le Butcherettes’ debut album Sin Sin Sin is available now on Rodriguez Lopez Productions via Sargent House.