Photo By Dan Wilton
Teresa Suarez, perhaps better known as Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes, is one of the most enigmatic young musicians to hit the rock scene in quite awhile. Perhaps this is why she’s been sometimes referred to as the “Latina Bjork”.
After conducting an interview with the Denver-born but Guadalajara-raised beauty, that designation could only be further confirmed.
“Playing L.A is a privilege of a place to get to play at,” said Suarez. “I have to pinch myself in the hip skin and face fat to see if I’m dreaming. Maybe in a way we are all dreaming.”
“You have to understand that I’ve played over hundreds of shows in Mexico before ever playing outside of my country. So I can say when I play L.A, I am reminded that all of the hard work is paying off, reminding of the hunger inside wanting to grow and continue to explore. Also, being in Los Angeles in the middle of so much activity is a mind and body captivating, like a rubber glove rubbing against an apple until they both melt into each other.”
Teri Gender Bender with her band Le Butcherettes at the Echo
Even in her interviews, Suarez is a wizard when it comes to coming up with such descriptive details.
Suarez developed the stage persona Teri Gender Bender early on in her performances. This has sometimes involved taking animal meat (such as hog heads) on stage while also donning bloody aprons. Suarez has backed off a tad from the over-the-top personas to reveal a bit more of her true character.
“I believe that Teri Gender Bender was alive before I even existed,” said Suarez.
“I was brought on the earth to be the best Teri Gender Bender there is. Or the best Teresa Suarez… at the end of the day it’s all the same. Suarez, Gender Bender, I was always into the beauty of humans with super powers, more obsessed with women with super natural powers, there was nothing more exciting to me than a woman that would fight evil. Most of the time that evil was portrayed as sexless beings that looked like a man. Gender Bender is an odd type of fighter, she fights herself and the memories of her past demons. She fights her contradictions. Suarez likes to lay in bed all day and mourn. Gender Bender has saved me from my self. She’s my superhero. And I want to be like her and am becoming her more and more everyday.”
Usually, it would require some serious psychedelics to arrive at these types of concepts, but much of Suarez’s appeal as a performer and a person stems from the fact that this all seems to be truly genuine.
Teri Gender Bender with her band Bosnian Rainbows at First Unitarian Church
Some of Suarez’s appeal also comes from the fact that she’s so prolific. She also does work as part of Bosnian Rainbows and Kimono Kult, has done a short film with collaborator Omar Rodriguez Lopez (of At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta fame), and generally stays very busy.
Though she just turned 25, Suarez hasn’t experienced a quarter-life crisis. She’s embracing everything headed her way, which is just so sexy.
“Since the day my father died, a lot has been set off in us (family) making us think of death everyday involuntarily,” said Suarez. “Sometimes my whole being reflects on it so much that fear rises in tremendous amounts making the egotistic ‘I’ think it will will attract death to come sooner than planned.”
“In short, happiness radiates from inside because I’ve been able to live this long and have been given this life and this mother and this family and have been lucky enough to have met and known father. Death hopefully will reunite us.”
Words: Mark E. Ortega
Le Butcherettes – “Henry Don’t Got Love”
Le Butcherettes – Crying Out to the Flies
Bosnian Rainbows – “Turtle Neck”