Since the release of their latest album, Cry Is for the Flies, Le Butcherettes, Teri Gender-Bender, Jamie Aaron Aux and Chris Common, have spent their nights in arenas full of screaming, adoring fans ready to get a glimpse of the band. They take the stage and command the audience’s attention. Gender Bender makes performing a raw, hair-thrashing abnormal event you crave to see more of. Encountering everything from dislocated jaws to hecklers, Teri herself takes time to give an exclusive look inside the tour diaries of Le Butcherettes.
The First Performance—I was 12 years old when I first got an acoustic guitar and decided to take it with me to class. While the teacher was writing a long paragraph on the chalkboard for us copy unto our notebooks I took the opportunity to get in front of the class and sing songs I had freshly written. The teacher tried to interrupt me but I wouldn’t’ stop playing eventually the teacher was taken aback and let me finish my songs. The bullies in the classroom tried to make fun of me after I finished so I smashed the my guitar over the leader of the packs head. His head was so thick and dirty that it ended up breaking my guitar into pieces. The teacher did not like this one bit so she sent me to the principal’s office. I got a suspension. It could have been much worse for me said the teacher but he said in a whisper, “You may have a future in music and in…. prison…”
The Best Performance—The best show? Damn, they are all so much fun and each show has it’s own unique moments. But recently, the best after show must have been in NYC (with The Melvins) because we got to hang out with our loved ones, Trevor Dunn, Kimbra, Brian Cook, Bex Sheers, Mudhoney, Ipecac team, were all there to show their support so that was like taking a hit of delicious powered orange juice to the brain. It was very nice. The crowd is always good in NYC. So much goes in in that City. Damn oh man.
If you could go back and tell yourself something the first time you performed, what would you say? I would tell myself to not be so trusting of people. But I would have not listened to my now self either way. I can be very stubborn. Always. In any dimension I am sure.
How is touring different with a second album under your belt? It’s definitely more exciting because you can get pretty bored of playing old material over and over again. Playing new songs is always fun because it’s a process of breaking into them. Like breaking into leather shoes. You need to use them a bit until they stop hurting your feet.
How do the crowds differ from your first tour? It’s always different every time. You try to feed off the energy of an audience but when the crowd seems to be more interested in looking at their phones or yelling obnoxious sexist remarks I tend to beat the shit out of myself out of desperation because it brings me back to my childhood at school where I would blame myself for not being accepted by the bullies.
The band is known for the eye-catching shows, do you ever feel pressured to exceed expectations? I would probably feel pressure if it was a gimmick. But I can assure you that the one thing I’m good at in this life is being able to express honest emotions. Honest emotions created by a hologram world? Maybe. So then that means it’s all a copy of a copy of a copy of a machine from another machine that will never know the true purpose of it’s purpose. Not knowing your true purpose makes one feel purposeless therefore life turns into a crude joke, so funny yet so hauntingly beautiful. So to feel pressure by something that is essentially funny would be even more hilarious but I’m not that funny. Just good at being a clown.
Have you ever left the stage unhappy? Never leave a stage feeling unhappy. Quite the opposite I leave it feeling fulfilled; for that split moment it feels Like it is okay to pass away. Mission completed. Even if there are technical mishaps or a stale audience or this or that or power shortage or this or that… The key is to use those problems as elements and turn them around to favor you. Again, playing music is a beautiful joke. Have a good time. Release. Just like lovemaking. Release. Accumulate. Release. And if the juice is good it will leave it’s magic behind if not at least there was some sort of pleasure.
The craziest thing that has happened on stage? My jaw was dislocated during singing with a very wide mouth while…. then there was a blur and it felt like a volcano had erupted in my face and before I knew it a 12 year old in the audience helped me pop it back in. Mexico is a surreal country.
What is the worst part of touring— Getting sick on tour. Everything else isn’t bad at all. I really like the repetition to it. It’s a reinforced routine. I actually love it.
Is there anything you dread? Oh, not so many things: Illness, Incompetence, Lack of sleep, my morning breath and people with a lack of perspective and empathy.
Your past has a way of catching up to you; a feeling Teri knows too well. She’s outspoken, raw and has made it known to push the boundaries and redefine normal. With a strong female lead there are bound to be some antagonists lurking in the crowds.
“You try to feed off the energy of an audience but when the crowd seems to be more interested in looking at their phones or yelling obnoxious sexist remarks. I tend to beat the shit out of myself out of desperation because it brings me back to my childhood at school where I would blame myself for not being accepted by the bullies. Whoever is mean and rude to opening bands speaks volumes of what they are like in a modern day in the life. You have to be pretty bitter person to give someone hell for pouring their guts out to strangers. But then again, it’s what makes a show more interesting: the battle.—The constant shift of moods in an audience is impressive. Fortunately enough I feel a sincere connection between the audience and us. Because if you work for their trust they appreciate that and they themselves begin to trust you and slowly open themselves up to you as well. It’s a two way street.
Behind the scenes
What are the main things you personally need to survive a tour? Carry on bag, notebook, book, recording device, small four wheeled luggage, neatly rolled up clothes, zinc, elderberry immune boosters, acoustic guitar and good company.
What is the one thing you always look forward to on the road? Writing in notebooks, drinking Chai tea while listening to Marc Maron podcast, it varies though; From working on new tracks in my logic to listening to The Beatles. JAJAJA! Such creatures of habit we are!
Is there any particular place you look forward going back to? I looked very much forward to visiting Kentucky. I have never been there before until recently on tour with The Melvins. The Bluegrass state.
What have you learned about the band on the road? The band is very easy to travel with. We all keep to ourselves but at times it feels like a comedy club cause Jaime and Chris can crack out hilarious observations when in unknown cities or eery midnight road driving. One thing is for sure we are all introverts so it’s nice to be in sync cause’ also we are all creatures of habit so touring goes well with us. : )
With a third album, A Raw Youth, to be released in September you can bet the band will be on the road again with plenty of chai tea, notebooks and lots of ‘love-making’ on stage.