“As Good as a Clown:” An Interview with Le Butcherettes

If you haven’t heard of Mexican punk band Le Butcherettes, then you are SEVERELY missing out! Fronted by the fearless and enigmatic Teri Gender Bender, these mavericks have been turning heads since 2007. In a few weeks, they will once again be hitting the road with Social Distortion and Flogging Molly in support of their North American Tour and their latest album bi/MENTAL. Here at Bucketlist, we were fortunate enough to speak with Teri Gender Bender about the album, the tour, and what it takes to be the ultimate performer.

Let’s talk about your upcoming tour in September. It sounds both exhausting and a shit ton of fun! Are looking forward to such an intense schedule?

Of course. It was always a dream of mine to be able to do what I am doing now. I see it as, “Oh blessed we are, we have work for the rest of the year!” So, it’s great to be able to have a vague idea of what your life looks like for the upcoming routing and living.

You’re touring with punk legends Social Distortion, were they an influence or a band you listened to as your music developed?

Why yes! Great band and great people. Such class acts, and very sweet and humble.

You were also super busy last spring and one of your performances was at the Mad Cool Festival in Spain. What was that experience like?

It was chaotic but it worked out perfectly. It was such a great experience because the stage we played was very full and the festival-goers showed a lot of support so, I feel that it was a very giving and emotional show. A feeling of all the hard work paying off. It’s always a pendulum though that goes back and forth. This was definitely a high though.

Considering how many live shows you play, is there one throughout the years that stands out to you as your most memorable?

Ufff…

The name “Le Butcherettes” is wonderfully gory. Was that the intentional considering your stage show? Where did the name come from?

It came from my notebooks that I would fill up with avant-garde poetry and compiled ideas of band names. Le Butcherettes was a band name that I forced together… while writing the name down on my notebook I took some scissors out and cut out the s in “Les”. It was a mutilated name suddenly, incomplete, just as I had felt for so long. Butchered and treated like a piece of meat.

Your stage show has reached legendary status for its awe-inspiring theatrics. What do you think it is that makes you so fearless as a performer?

Wow!!! Thank you. In my mind, I wish I could be as good as a clown. They are the ultimate performers. You have to completely mutilate your ego and be open to making a mockery of your former, present and future self. Thank you for thinking of me as a fearless performer. I strive for reaching a climax each time we play music, fear melts away because automatically you are surrounded by vibration even if it’s just the tumbling and rumbling of a feeding back cable.

Your latest album bi/Mental was released earlier this year. How was the writing and recording process different from your previous releases?

The writing for me has been the same until as of late. I write a song and record myself, demo myself all right up until before I know it I have lots of demos and sometimes there are so many I need help in organizing with producers to help what to do with the different sounding textured ones to the more straight-up pop ones. What was different about this process, in particular, was that the band had to learn the songs once they were in the studio, so in the rehearsals during the mornings before recording, Jerry would help us polish the instrumental parts, even though the arrangements and my song were still intact. It was very reassuring and felt very protected having worked with the band and Jerry Harrison on this one. It’s very special to me. A record that I think stands for empowerment all the way in spite of the darkness. Sometimes you need both the darkness and different hues of white and grey.

What was it like recording with Jello Biafra?

More than a recording it was a filming of various scenes for a short film me and Omar Rodriguez Lopez were working on.

This might just be my impression as a listener, but there is such a wonderful amount of raw emotion in your work that seems so honest. How much of it is autobiographical and how much of it is your creativity and imagination?

Thank you. It is a mirrored reflection of what I perceive some moments in my little life and of thoughtless experiences that has only hardened my shell it is up to the light that is life to help us through the hard times.

The tiles on this album have a distinct format (Example: sand/MAN or struggle/STRUGGLE), except the final track “/Breath”. What is the significance of this?

How disconnection between words and feelings have occurred through the mother and daughter’s relationship.

Here at Bucketlist Music Reviews, we have a very important tradition. We like to end all our interviews with this question: what is left on your Bucketlist?

To truly kill my animal personality. DO away with it to be able to be closer to GOD.

Written and Compiled by Shawn Thicke
Header Photo by Chris Sikich

*edited by Danielle Kenedy

About Shawn Thicke 117 Articles
Since the age of 12, Shawn Thicke has had an unhealthy addiction to music consumption and the need to offer his opinion to anyone willing to listen. Thankfully, since writing at Bucketlist Music Reviews, his needs have been met much to the relief of those close to him. Not only is he an avid listener, but music has pretty much taken over the rest of his life as well. His love of the stage has ensured that he is constantly busy as the lead singer and lyricist of local rock bands Rustic State and Thicke Sugar. The former you can find playing on any given weekend all over the city of Montreal. During the day though, he becomes a member of society and works as a music teacher at the Montreal Oral School for the Deaf. Shawn hopes to one day find success with his own music, but until that day comes you'll be sure to see him at your show, bopping his head with a goofy grin on his face.

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