by David Necro
Photos by: David Necro, The Pusher, Ken 9
Ever since Alice Cooper shocked (and rocked) audiences with his now trademark brand of bizarre and humorous rock n’ roll back in the late 60s, many bands that followed have tried time and time again to carry the torch. Few have been successful (in an artistic sense,) most have been dismal failures. Merely using the maek-up and theatrics to cover up for an obvious lack of talent, as well as an inability to convey real emotion. It’s style without substance, and let’s face it, there’s a lot of bands floating around that wear make-up, leather, and such that blow chunks. There are always exceptions, and 1 of these is the subject of this interview. They are the Genitorturers. For almost 20 years now, this Tampa, Florida based band-led by a true femme fatale if there ever was 1, Gen, along with her significant other/partner in crime Dave “Evil D” Vincent, have been taking audiences down the mean streets to the S&M club, up to your local shrink’s office, and then slam you right in the middle of high-energy rock n’ roll mayhem (and debauchery) all in 1 night. It’s quite the decadent party to say the least; sick, sleazy, maybe even a little cheezy at times. But it’s the real deal. Believe it or not, this band combines raw power (and raw sexuality) reminiscent of Iggy and the Stooges, or more appropriately, the Plasmatics with a similar psychological bent to that of (you guessed it), Alice Cooper. There is something beyond (and behind) the image. Gen doesn’t mince words in this interview; it is passion, and that’s the way it is…
David Necro: Who are you influenced by, and why?
Gen: Very heavily influenced by a lot of the early punk bands. Obviously, the Plasmatics; Wendy O. Williams was a pretty big influence on me in that she was a very strong female and I respected her vocal style a lot. Because growing up, I really didn’t care for a lot of the female singers. So, there was her being one of the few that I could really stomach listening to at the time.
DN: The late Wendy O. Williams.
DN: What about Iggy Pop?
Gen: I was not a big Iggy Pop fan. I was into some of the stuff, but I was more into stuff like Stiv Bators and the Dead Boys; early, early punk stuff.
DN: You’ve mentioned Alice Cooper before, and a lot of people would say that he’s a big influence. Is that true?
Gen: I would say, theatrically, yes. Musically, somewhat more on my musicians than on me.
DN: Would you like to tour with Alice Cooper?
Gen: I would LOVE to tour with Alice Cooper.
Evil D. Vincent: The bass player would… That’s the bass player’s favorite band.
DN: The original group, or just all of it?
Gen: He’s really, really into Alice. Looking back on some of his old stuff, I really like some of his old stuff.
DN: Like ‘Love It to Death’?
Gen: Yeah, I don’t really care for much of his newer stuff as much.
DN: Would you like to cover another Alice Cooper song?
Gen: (starts singing “Some Folks”)
DN: Oh, really? Something like that?
Gen: I just like that kind of cabaret feel…kind of my style.
DN: So you’d like to do some more of his showbiz type stuff, true?
Gen: Yeah, I like some of his more thematic songs.
DN: Like “Hello Hooray”…
Gen: “Cold Ethyl”, stuff like that that’s more telling a story.
DN: The S&M thing, do you think that takes away from the music at all?
Gen: Well, it’s part of who we are as artists and as people, and part of me as an artist. So, when we put together the band, I wanted to put something that reflected me as an artist and brought together my lifestyle and my being. So, that’s what an artist does… You bring out your inner passion, and that’s part of how I express my passions. So, it makes sense to incorporate them into my art.
DN: So, the music doesn’t really take a second place - true?
Gen: No, the music comes first in the band. The show and everything else is structured around the music. Basically, the music is written first, and the concepts are developed around the music… How the music makes me feel. The music moves me; it gives me different visuals and then I write based upon that passion from the music. So, really, the music is a foundation, and then I build on it.
DN: How would you describe your lyrics?
Gen: Well, lyrics really deal with a lot of different types of feelings and trying to look at sensuality… sexuality. But, at the same time, they can be very psychological and it takes people through different regions of their psyche.
DN: It’s just what goes on in the mind…
Gen: Yeah, the darker elements.
DN: The darker corners of the mind…
DN: So why don’t you sing songs about flowers and rainbows?
Gen: I do (sings)
Gen: “such a lovely day, wash it all away, such a lovely day for killing you”… What I do is that I take a lot of dual metaphors. I may sing something; a lot of times when I’m singing really pretty, it has a harmony, even though I may be singing something that’s actually very disturbing. But I’m singing it in a nice way, so…
DN: Getting back to the S&M, why does society find that so bizarre and offensive?
Gen: I think that if you really looked into people and took them on an individual basis, you’d find that S&M is probably a part of a lot of people’s lives… they just don’t know it. They may not be aware of the elements of their sexuality that already exist. They may not understand the associations that they’re already making that really are the basis of SM.
DN: Ok, are you trying to shock people? Be honest…
Gen: Am I trying to shock and offend people? I would say that there’s been times when I wanted to shock people, and to wake them up out of their state of complacency. But, at the same time, what I do is just a part of who I am. If that indeed is shocking to people, it’s not done to shock… It’s just an expression of who I am.
DN: So you’re not trying to change society…
Gen: Well, let’s put it this way; Society evolves based on the push and pull of people who make statements. The thing is, can I change everyone’s mind about sexuality and the interpretations they make with that? No. Is it my job to? No. But, have I moved a lot of people to heighten their awareness about a lot of things? Yes, I have. I’ve been doing this longer than a lot of people when it comes to the issues that we represent in a live setting.
DN: How would you handle yourself with somebody that has misconceptions about the band?
Gen: The thing with Genitorturers is that it’s kind of, like, yeah – There’s a strong image and there’s a strong message to the things that we do. It’s kind of like what you want to get out of it, and how deep you dig, and how far you scratch beneath the surface. There’s a lot to what we do in terms of the multi-facets and the depth of thinking that goes into this project. But, is everyone going to be able to grasp it? No. Do I expect that everyone’s going to be able to grasp it? No. Am I disappointed that not everyone can grasp that? No. Am I ever upset that people want to come to the show and see some tits? Fuck no. It’s fun… This is about entertainment, and it’s about fun. It’s about moving people and making people feel something when they leave… whatever it is. Every single person functions differently; people function at different levels, and so people on different levels will take it differently.
DN: At least you know you’re turning people on, that’s probably one thing for sure…
Gen: Then there are some people who are revolted and disgusted… We crucify a guy onstage and nail him to a cross. I mean, there are some people who would find that offensive if they’re Christians… It’s making a statement about the patriarchal society that we live in. Also, the control that the church has issued over people for many centuries. For me, it has a deep meaning. But for some people, they’re just disgusted.
DN: Well, I’m sure that you don’t care what they think anyway.
Gen: That’s the point; that they walk away feeling something.
DN: It’s about getting a reaction out of them, positive or negative.
Gen: Yeah, I don’t care. The thing is, that if people walk away and they’re, like, “ho hum," then I’m not doing my job. People will either love it or hate it… That’s kind of what it’s about.
DN: There is no middle ground with this band.
Gen: Not really.
DN: How would you describe the imagery of the Genitorturers?
Gen: I would say strong, dark, and erotic.
DN: Anything else?
Gen: Titillating and sinister at the same time.
DN: Do you intimidate men?
Gen: I don’t know…Are you intimidated?
DN: (laughs) No comment.
DN: Do you draw from history and religion?
Gen: Yeah, in terms of my style, more comes from, obviously, literature… It comes from historical literature. It comes from real life-events. The thing with Genitorturers is to take music to a new level which is the combining of theatre with reality. That then makes things surreal; It’s not knowing when something is real and when it’s melding into other realities, and that’s kind of what we try to do.
DN: You have one of the most diverse audiences in rock… You could probably play on any bill. True?
Gen: We do have a very diverse audience; there’s kids that listen to metal, industrial, punk, gothic… Pagan type of people, people that are into SCA, theatrical people, “Rocky Horror Picture Show” type people. And then you’ve got your fetish community, and that really runs the gamut of age groups, too. We don’t have a typical rock audience.
DN: Are you into horror flicks?
Gen: No, not really. The thing is, for me, reality is a lot more horrifying than really any film anyone can really dream up. (Ed. Note: I digress, Rob Zombie’s “House of 1000 Corpses” kicks ass…) See, I used to deal with a lot of death and dismemberment on a personal level, being that I used to work in a field of transplant… My job was to go out and remove body parts from people… So I’ve seen more horrifying shit than I’ve ever seen in any horror movie. I like suspense, psychological thrillers, things that stimulate me. Blood and guts bores me, I’ve seen it already.
DN: So, you’re beyond the make-up and fake blood. You’re grown up and into real life.
Gen: Well, the funny thing is that this band, this death metal band called Death that used to play with us… It was so fucking funny, because I remember when I was in school – I was in college at the time and I promoted a show that we played, they (Death) played, and, I think, the Meatmen played. It was like this weird…
Gen: Yeah, crossbill thing. It was so funny, because I remember having some of my textbooks there with me… My forensic pathology textbooks that had all of these death and dismemberment … How to tell the time of death and that stuff. I was out and I had it with me, and I remember the singer (the late Chuck Schuldiner RIP) was looking at it and just, like, freaking out over it – And he’s the singer of Death! It was just, like, dude – you know?
DN: So you scared the singer of Death with your book…
DN: Then you whipped him to a pulp after the show…
DN: Now regarding sexuality, is that what you’re all about, or just in part?
Gen: Well, it’s just a part of who I am, so it’s a part of what’s going to come out in my art, sure. See, to me, music is about passion. So, anything that relates passion to people and moves people; sexuality is a part of passion. So really, when it comes down to music and sexuality, you can’t really separate them.
DN: But you like to express the fullest extent of your sexuality.
Gen: Yeah, I’m a performer… Whatever moves me, that’s what I feel and do.
DN: Are you fascinated by death?
Gen: I’m actually comforted by it at this point in my life, because of the fact that I’ve been around it so much. I think I probably have a deeper understanding of what mortality is. Experiencing it first hand, being around it so much, I think I’ve come to a new level of understanding. I don’t necessarily fear it. I think that it’s a different stage, and it’s something that should probably be welcomed.
DN: Is death a subject you like to touch upon?
Gen: Yeah, I mean, I deal with it in my songs. Sure.
DN: Does the term death rock bother you, or shock rock?
Gen: Shock rock sounds boring and clichéd to me… It doesn’t really describe the depth of what we do, and it kind of trivializes what I do. So, it’s not really something that I care too much for, I guess. If people are really at a loss for creativity and they have to say that, then why not?
DN: Getting back to death. Does it fascinate you as to why people die?
Gen: Yeah, of course. I mean, that’s why I went into the field that I did. Why did I go to study forensic pathology? Because I was fascinated with death, sure. But I’m just saying that; after studying it, after being around it, and working with it every day… You develop a different understanding. It’s almost a comfort, or comfortable. Literally, you’ve got to understand the type of job I had meant that I was the head of a transplant team, which meant that I was called… First of all, when I worked, I worked on-call, so I was called on every death in five counties. They’d call me, and they’d say, “Ok, we’ve got so and so, he’s this old, had this, he died of this, blah blah blah…”. So, for me; I had to call the family, I had to talk to them, I had to get consent, I had to see if they wanted to donate shit. It was, like, “Do you want to donate this?" That was kind of a weird thing, because I had to deal with them freaking out. Some people were very happy to talk to me because they felt that, donating, their loved one would live on. Then some people were fuckin’ offended and would scream at me, and I’d have to deal with that. Then I had to go to the morgue at the hospital, or to the OR, or to the ME’s office. Then I had to go take whatever they gave me; bones, kidneys, eyes, skin, heads… Whatever.
DN: You’ve been there, and done that.
Gen: Yeah, and literally there were a lot of nights that, if it were eyes or certain types of retrievals, I was by myself… I’m on call, 3 a.m., and it’s, “O.k., come down here and get this guy.” I drive my little van, get my old suitcase out, go in there, and I’ve got a room of dead bodies. It’s me and fifty fuckin’ dead bodies. (Sound like an undead orgy! - Ed.) I’m just sitting there, cutting them up. So do you have to be centered to do that? Yeah, you need to be able to get a grip on the fact that I’ve got to go do this stuff…
DN: Where do the Genitorturers stand right now? Where are you headed?
Gen: Ready to conquer the world.
DN: Is your stage show where you want it at now?
Gen: Nothing’s ever where I want it… Success means you’re never satisfied and, to me, it will always be perfected, and perfected, and perfected.
DN: What would you like to do with the stage show?
Gen: You’ll have to wait and find out…
DN: It’s all in your mind, that’s where it starts…
For more on the Genitorturers, visit: http://www.genitorturers.com
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