Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes & Bosnian Rainbows Interview

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Every single day Teri Gender Bender feels grateful as she travels the globe with her bands – new romantic alternative rock collective Bosnian Rainbows & the garage punk, Le Butcherettes – putting on passionate, breathtaking performances, bringing joy to thousands of people. Personally, she’s one of my all-time favourite people (she’s such a big hearted, genuine soul) and music makers (her lyrics are poetry, full of power, bravado, beauty, and grace) and every time we get a chance to catch up and chat it inspires me and makes my heart happy.

I know that you identify as a feminist Teri. What are your thoughts on feminism and femininity?

TERI GENDER BENDER: I’ve always identified myself as a feminist because to me this word is linked to a powerful movement that has changed not only culture but even the core of economy. I’m reading a book called Freakonomics and it speaks about the hidden running ways that change the economy on a daily bases. Example: Jane Roe vs. Wade case has helped improved security in the late 90s, lowering criminal rates. My thoughts on feminism, it has helped tremendously, however there are fanatics in every “ism” group and fanatics is a nice way to call someone a poseur. Fanatics generally don’t understand the essence of a movement and focus only on literal translations… resulting in a neo movement that alienates young women.

Teri live

Is it OK to be both?

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EXCLAIM! Live review of Bosnian Rainbows at Rifflanida Festival

imageimageimageimageBefore the rain came down on the last night of Rifflandia, eclectic four-piece Bosnian Rainbows performed what had to be the oddest, most exciting set of the festival. The El Paso band, featuring former the Mars Volta and At the Drive-In guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, played the overcast main stage in what amounted to 45 minutes of weirdo interpretive dance and strange behaviour from lead vocalist Teri Gender Bender (Le Butcherettes). But the highlight came near the end of the band’s proggy rock set, when Teri jumped down off the stage, speed-crawled through the festival grounds on all fours, stopped to dance like a maniac with a very excited crowd member, then made her way back to the stage in a serious of bizarre and questionable moves (including leaping onto an unfortunate security guard).

Driven by the same sort of ferocious inner demons and angels that affect the likes of Iggy Pop, Karen O. and PJ Harvey when they perform live, Teri ran through the full gamut of emotions in a creepy, The Ring-like way, grabbing at her stomach as if she was experiencing stabbing pains. The rest of the band, although overshadowed by Teri, were like a singular unit up there, Rodriquez-Lopez, drummer/keyboardist Deantoni Parks (also ex-the Mars Volta) and keyboardist Nicci Kasper were literally connected together in a semi-circle of keyboards and drums, which made their performance even more interesting. The goal of most bands is to be in sync with each other and, granted, being in sync with Teri and her oddball take on performance art tied to melody and chaos is a difficult task. They rose to the challenge and delivered one Rifflandia’s premier sets. 
By Jason Schreurs

DON’T MISS BOSNIAN RAINBOWS ON TOUR NOW SEE ALL SHOWS

RedBull Music Academy: Interview with Bosnian Rainbows’ Omar Rodriguez Lopez

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When At The Drive-In reformed for a handful of gigs last year, the motive was fairly obvious. The nostalgic pleading from fans and promoters became too great to ignore for the El-Paso pioneers and perhaps more importantly, so did the digits on the paycheque.

But as it turned out, that look back into the past sparked a new chapter of creativity for Omar Rodriquez-Lopez. Inspired by the democratic spirit of At The Drive-In, the guitarist went on to form his latest band Bosnian Rainbows – who performed a special show for RBMA Radio’s Panamérika show on June 28 and then dropped by RBMA Radio Berlin last week – with Deantoni Parks (drums) Nicci Kasper (keyboard) and fantastically named Teri Gender Bender (vocals).

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Teri Gender Bender of Bosnian Rainbows & Le Butcherettes being called the Latina Bjork

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Teresa Suárez, better known by her stage name “Teri Gender-Bender,” is fast becoming the Latina leading lady of the music genre “garage punk,” even once called the “Latina Björk.” 

A performer of many facets, Suárez is best known as front woman to the explosive Guadalajara garage band Le Butcherettes. Notorious for her performances that include fake blood, flour, a pig’s head, and whole lot of red lipstick, Suárez is now the featured singer in the recently formed band, Bosnian Rainbows. And it’s her powerful voice that steals the show.

Suárez has left Le Butcherettes on hold for a bit and said the new band is a sort of new evolution for her. It’s been a good ride for Le Butcherettes though; their quick recognition led them to win both “Best New Artist” and “Best Punk Record” in the Indie-O Awards in 2009.

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NPR Morning Edition: Bosnian Rainbows

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To understand why Bosnian Rainbows' music stands out, you have to go back to 2007 in Guadalajara, Mexico. A singer named Teresa Suarez has taken the stage name Teri Gender Bender — adopted as a feminist statement while at the head of a band called Le Butcherettes .

With a snarl that could send Billy Idol off whimpering into a corner, she’s a mesmerizing and at times terrifying performer. Her style is part Iggy Pop and part Mick Jagger, with a Mexican punk soul. “Frightening and glorious” is how one audience member described her to me. There is no woman quite like her in Latin music, but she says that early on, that seemed to work against her.

During one particularly rough gig in Guadalajara, the power went out, but the band played on. It was a good thing it did, because somewhere in the audience was a Grammy-winning producer and musician named Omar Rodriguez Lopez. He was mesmerized: She was exactly what he was looking for in a collaborator for his new project.

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Rolling Stone: Interview with Bosnian Rainbows

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There is a Spanish phrase that Omar Rodriguez-Lopez keeps in mind as he pushes forward with Bosnian Rainbows, his newest experimental rock band: con vivir. It is a motto not only for his new music, but for what he describes as a new way of living.

"In English, the only translation is ‘togetherness,’ but that doesn’t do it justice," the guitarist tells Rolling Stone, as the band celebrates this week’s release of their debut album, Bosnian Rainbows. “It’s the essence of the chemistry that happens when people come together.”

For Bosnian Rainbows, that togetherness has been unusually intense since the quartet formed a year ago, as Rodriguez-Lopez stepped away from At the Drive In and the Mars Volta. Joining him is Mars Volta drummer Deantoni Parks, keyboardist Nicci Kasper and singer Teri Gender Bender (Teresea Suaréz), the explosive leader of Guadalajara garage band Le Butcherettes.

Rodriguez-Lopez calls Bosnian Rainbows a collective of artists who spend virtually every moment together. “We wanted to create a microcosm for what we’d like to see in everyday life,” says the guitarist, who has openly admitted to being a creative “dictator” in previous bands. “I’ve awoken to a reality that has taken me 36 years. This is the project to us: our togetherness, the films we watch, nutrition, then the nutrition of the mind, the ideas that are coming into our head. If we stray true to that, music will happen.”

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BOXX Magazine: Teri Gender Bender Is no bloody gimmick

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In her performances with the band Bosnian Rainbows, vocalist Teresa Suarez aka Teri Gender Bender has the appearance of a caged animal. She stomps about the stage, pumping her arms and flicking her gaze across the audience; at other times, she stands stock still, her eyes glazing over and her hands curling into fists as she unleashes a deep wail. Crowds hang on to her every move because they don’t know what she’ll do next.

Gender Bender’s unpredictable nature extends into her conversational style, too, as was discovered in this interview. Sometimes she speaks in a rapid-fire voice about family, feminist theory and the duties of fronting a band before doubling back on her declarations to add depth and clarity to her epigrammatic statements. At other times, the silence as she ruminates on a question is so thick you can practically hear the singer furrow her brow and bite her lip.

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Paste Magazine: Bosnian Rainbows featured in “The Best of What’s Next”

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“You have no idea how lucky I feel,” Teri Gender Bender—born Teresa Suarez—admits about her new band, Bosnian Rainbows. As she talks this new sense of community that she’s found in her bandmates, there’s certain urgency in her voice, and she pauses for just a second after a few rapid-fire sentences. “Sorry,” she says after a longer pause. “I’m getting really emotional.”

“It’s like when you find your long, lost family,” she continues. “You’ve been an orphan your whole life, because it takes a lot of energy to fake it. It feels so good, [to have] people who understand you.”

Of course, to appreciate a sentiment like this, the vocalist had to already experience the opposite. Gender Bender, now 24, also fronted a garage-fueled punk band called Le Butcherettes, which got its start in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2007. And it was in Butcherettes that she first experienced the loss of a friend, drummer Auryn Jolene, an experience that would fuel her appreciation for this new four-piece family in music all the more.

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Austinist Interview with Teri Gender Bender & Omar Rodriguez Lopez of Bosnian Rainbows

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The mythology of At the Drive-In is wrapped up in bodies. The work of performance, the spontaneity of movement, the ferocious activity of channeling emotion into sound: their frenetic creativity brought these ideas to life and is now best preserved in clips that show off Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s howl and Omar Rodríguez-López’s throwing off guitar in favor of tambourine. In addition to the video archive, this corporeal energy is ever evolving through the projects the group spawned, generating a timeline littered with friendships and failures most recently embraced by Bosnian Rainbows — the result of what happens when one protagonist of the above mythology meets a woman with an even greater passion for moving intensely.

Rodríguez-López first saw Teresa Suarez (who performs as Teri Gender Bender) at a venue in Guadalajara where her band, Le Butcherettes, took the stage even as a power outage had convinced other artists to cancel the show. Now, having produced and toured two albums as Le Butcherettes, they’ve reformed and come together with Nicci Kasper (Kudu, KRS-ONE), Deantoni Parks (John Cale, The Mars Volta) to define a new and all-encompassing aesthetic as Bosnian Rainbows.

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CLASH Magazine Live Review: Bosnian Rainbows in London, UK

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The word “supergroup” can be a tricky term. It’s one of those words that has a habit of raising expectations, and that’s not always a good thing. Bosnian Rainbows are certainly an act who fit firmly into the supergroup category, made up of former The Mars Volta members Omar Rodríguez-López and Deantoni Parks, plus Le Butcherettes vocalist Teri Gender Bender, and Nicci Kasper on keys.

Considering this musical prog-punk pedigree, it’s no wonder how hard it is to get close to the stage of London’s 100 Club for the band’s headline set. This intimate venue has built its reputation on being the place where numerous punk legends, such as Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Adicts, have cut their teeth.

This proves to be a fitting lineage for tonight’s show. The low ceiling and tightly packed crowd give proceedings a sweaty house party feel. And as Bosnian Rainbows take the stage, cheers are hushed into near silence and the band launches straight into the sinister synths of ‘Eli’, the opening track from their forthcoming self-titled album.

The fact that the band have been constantly on tour since their inception in 2012 shines through as the four-piece instantly come together like a tightly honed machine. Rodríguez-López’s virtuoso guitar work fits seamlessly with the pounding beats and rhythmic synths of Parks and Kasper.

It’s clear, however, that the stage belongs to leading lady Teri Gender Bender. Having a name reminiscent of ’70s punk icons like Poly Styrene is no accident. Her stage presence is drenched in gloriously exhibitionist spirit as she dominates the stage like a cross between Alice Glass and Patti Smith.

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Teri Gender Bender announces second pressing of her book The Missing Carcass and two Book Signings In Mexico on April 26 & 27

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Teresa Suarez aka Teri Gender Bender the band leader and lyricist of Le Butcherettes and singer and lyricist of Bosnian Rainbows is also a published Poet. She will be going to Mexico in late April to celebrate the second pressing of her book of poems entitled “The Missing Carcass” with two Porrua Book signings - details below. 

April 26th @ Porrua (Mariano Otero) Guadalajara at 6:00pm.
April 27th @ Porrua (Bosque de Chapultepec) Mexico City at 4:00pm.

photo above by Robin Laananen

VOTO LATINO: An Interview with Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes & Bosnian Rainbows

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I was a little nervous to interview Le Butcherettes frontwoman Teri Gender Bender (real name Teresa Suarez) last October at her Rodriguez-Lopez Productions record label, which Omar Rodriguez-Lopez runs with Cathy Pellow of Sargent House run out of a house in the hills of Echo Park. Her stage presence is intense, so I was expecting her to scream at me for asking stupid questions; or not answer them at all. Instead, we vibed off deep discussions on feminism, philosophy and the healing aspects of nature.

“We were stuck behind this cement truck that wouldn’t move,” Teri’s first words were to me before going in for a big bear hug. “I thought, ‘Oh my God. She’s gonna think I’m a diva.’”

The Le Butcherettes creator-slash-singer-slash-songwriter is anything but a diva. She bummed a ride off a friend, who was letting her couch surf in Downtown, to tell me her story. She doesn’t drive and just got out of a seven-year relationship with her very first boyfriend, who just so happens to live down the street from where we were (“I have to be free…know myself…know different things,” she said of the breakup.) She hates social situations and feels most comfortable in nature. Hiking through Elysian Park is her current past time (and mine).

“I like to lay in the grass and just breathe. It’s so humbling. I feel like I’m becoming a hermit. I’ve just been staying away from people. I’ve become so anti-social. I’m dealing with myself for once,” Teri, who doesn’t drink or smoke, said. “I feel like you’re my therapist.”

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