Take Her Literally: Teresa Suárez of Le Butcherettes

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Le Butcherettes' Teresa Suárez, aka Teri Gender Bender (Esteban Calderon)

Le Butcherettes' Teresa Suárez, aka Teri Gender Bender (Esteban Calderon)

Cry Is for the Flies, the second studio effort from garage-punk band Le Butcherettes released in May, and the group’s frontwoman, Teresa Suárez (aka Teri Gender Bender), says the album’s title is very literal.

“The title is actually really literal. The album was recorded two years ago, and a series of terrible things started happening. People I was close with passed away around me, my dog had a heart attack, my mother had to move drastically because of a particularly bizarre situation she was dealing with in Guadalajara,” begins Suárez.

She goes on to say that it was a personal incident that triggered this album and its title.

“Then, when I was driving with stuff from El Paso to L.A., the car broke down and I didn’t have a cell phone. I was stranded in the middle of the highway, and when I went to get back inside [the car], it was full of flies,” she tells. “I just started crying my eyes out, and some of the flies would get in my mouth. Eventually, after waiting, the engine stared again. I realized at that moment ‘hey, I’m alone,’ and that’s when [the album title] hit me.”

Le Butcherettes was founded in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2007 with Suárez, who was 17 and still in school at the time, as the lead vocalist and guitarist, and Auryn Jolene as the drummer. Their punk and garage rock feel has caused several in the industry to compare Le Butcherettes to other artists. Suárez, for one, is often compared to Björk because of her onstage personality and artistic ways.

Suárez was born in Denver but moved to Mexico at the age of 13. Now, she’s in her mid-20s and recalls her beginnings with the band, when she used her lyrics and mic as a weapon to fight back against sexual harassment from the older men she encountered when she young.

“At first, that was my dream, when I started performing with the band in Guadalajara,” confesses Suárez. “The main purpose was to sing about women’s rights. We didn’t want to keep singing about that over and over again, there are different aspects, so the second album was more about my grieving buddies.

“Of course, in some lyrics, I still mention what I did in the first album, but in a more personal, introspective way,” she adds. “It changes with every album, but the essence is still there. I feel like every song is a different voice.”

Over the years, what has propelled Suárez to do what she does is an array of things, including her love of “moving music,” theater and literature. Other music artists have also inspired her.

“The Dead Kennedys moved me with their music, and also the Clash,” she says. “They were artists that were never afraid to keep changing their sound. Another great one was Patti Smith. My mom would hum Lola Beltrán to me before I went to sleep, and also Violeta Parra. Again, not punk rock per say, but it’s the message that makes it punk. It’s something that speaks against a certain injustice.”

This month, Le Butcherettes begin a U.S. tour before reaching Australia, Japan and other nations. Their music is going to blow people’s minds.

“It’s important for people who make music to talk about whatever they want,” Suárez laughs. “At the end of the day, it’s just music. If it helps someone out, that’s great. I know music’s helped me out; it’s moved me and compelled me to write.”

Cry Is for the Flies will be available Sept. 16. Le Butcherettes perform Aug. 13 at the Roxy. For more information, visit lebutcherettes.net.

Marvin Vasquez is a Senior Staff Reporter for Living Out Loud - LA, covering lifestyle, entertainment and sports. Follow him on Twitter: @geo_la
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