All of us, one way or another, learn of the great injustices around us and decide what we’re going to do about it. Let’s call it, quoting Alynda Segarra from Hurray for the Riff Raff, “#unfucktheworld.” Le Butcherettes —Teri Gender Bender (vocals/guitar/piano), Chris Common (drums) and Jamie Aaron Aux (bass)— pushes us to the edge of our comfort zone and into the streets with their third full-length album A Raw Youth (Ipecac Recordings). This album was recorded in RLP Studios in El Paso, Texas with longtime producer and true boricua Omar Rodríguez López.
A Raw Youth is Teri’s take on our oppressive society. She takes us down rebellion road and inspires us to change the word. So, having fallen in love with her talent, her lyrical content, her energy and overall persona, I saw no other choice but to propose a 10-minute phone date and get into her mind.
Marlena Fitzpatrick: Who are your influences?
Teri Gender Bender: It ranges from Violeta Parra to Betty Davis, and even Fela Kuti. He is the true essence of Punk because he spoke against the government in Africa. Even though his family was murdered, he still continued to sing and inspire a whole entire nation. He spoke without being taunted by the fear that’s imposed on them.
MF: And I can tell this album is completely fearless.
TGB: Wow, thank you!
MF: Why is it titled “A Raw Youth”?
TGB: If you look at history there’s always an outspoken rebel fighting for what they believe in. There have been people that have dedicated their lives for something they truly believe in. In this day and age a good example is Malala, a young girl that was shot in the head and survived. That didn’t stop her. She continues to be outspoken, fighting for the rights of women and education. I completely agree with her. We need to continue to invest in education because the children are our future. If we spoil them with screen entertainment or neglect their right to an education, those two extremes will never work. We need a balance. A Raw Youth represents an ode to these people.
MF: In many ways this seems to stem out of your mother’s remarkable story. Could you tell us about that?
TGB: My mother was kidnapped in Guadalajara when she was 18. She was walking with her boyfriend. All of a sudden a van pulls up, and [the men] pointed guns at them and forced them into the van. She could’ve easily said: “That’s it! I’m going to die.” But she fought her way out of that van. She managed to open the door, roll and jump out. She severed her ribs and her legs. Unfortunately her boyfriend was shot in the head and was in a coma for a while. Pretty insane! That’s a raw youth.
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