Genitorturers first blew my mind when I was only 18 years old in South Florida. Years later, I caught them in Detroit, and I’m superpsyched to get to see them playing January 4th at the Howlin’ Wolf, 907 South Peters, New Orleans, LA. Not only does their music inspire mosh pits, but their stage show remains as one of the best.
The interview with sexy front woman Gen starts with a small conversation about how the show is on the same day as the Saints and Eagles playing the post season. New Orleans residents like to watch the Saints, but Gen assures that their headlining band will most likely be going on after the game is over. For those not into football, come out early, as there will be plenty to do and see at the 20th anniversary show.
During the 20 Years of Depravity show, Gen will be joined on stage by Jerry Outlaw, Sean Colpoys, and Howard Davis. Get ready to hear their first album, 120 Days of Genitorturers, in its entirety, along with selections from their other rockin’ albums. Of course, with this band, expect torture and unparalleled stage antics as well.
Author Marisa Williams: How has Genitortures changed over the 20 years, and what types of things can people expect from the band in the future?
Genitorturers: We actually got a lot of cool stuff. It’s our 20-year anniversary of 120 Days of Genitorturers, our first album, our defining CD. We released independently before then, but most people know it as our first album. These shows, including the one at the Howlin’ Wolf, we are doing a special set. The band has evolved from leaps and bounds. We have originally players from ‘93 and ‘94, guys from the album, so it’s a special show for that reason, hearing songs we haven’t played in 20 years. It’s a special occasion, a lil’ diff from others; we have retro stage things from that era, a little more intense of BDSM theme of that album. Sin City was more glitzy, a lil’ dancier, lil’ more industrial, than Machine Love, more electronic. The first album was a heavy record, a lot of fun to play; it’s a pretty brutal set, kinda fun. We evolved a lot. It’s guna be fun, because we’ll play selections from other albums and eras as well.
Marisa: How was Genitorutrers selected to have one of the only multi-page spread in Hustler for a rock band?
Genitorturers: Kinda interesting, a friend of ours was working for Hustler, writing a column; posed it, was really excited about idea of doing it. Years ago, I was approached by Penthouse and asked if I would pose for the magazine, but I told them to fuck themselves; because I’ll be happy to do it if I can do it how I want, if I can have artistic license. They were saying stuff like I’d have to be completely naked on a bearskin rug. I have no problem with nudity, but I’m an artist, and I don’t want to put myself in a position where I’m not happy with end result. Hustler said whatever I wanted to do. We did a live x-rated show, so we got to show people that element. In doing the 20 Years of Depravity shows, we’ve been digging up things in studio, like masks, a branding iron, cool, fun things – novelties we haven’t seen in years - and we did find half a box of Hustler. We will be bringing a few of them to the show in case anyone wants one of them.
Marisa: From pre-medical studies to starting an underground legend, what has been the most challenging part of your musical journey as a band and individually?
Genitorturers: There’s a lot of things. A band is challenging to begin with. We started in the late 80s. We were essentially a three piece. I played bass and sang, like a punk Motorhead. Dealing with different musicians - as we have a revolving door in Genitorturers - people play, go on, and come back. Whoever jumps on the bus and comes along for the ride. It’s challenging with different personalities, but it’s also rewarding to be around different types of folks.
Marisa: Of all the antics you’ve done over the years, in your opinion, what has been your most shocking stage show?
Genitorturers: I’m not sure how to quantify that. There’s stories. We are a band that has fans participate in show, which keeps things in the moment, but sometimes, we have bizarre experiences because we interact with different people on stage. There’s one fellow, I guess; I don’t know where to begin. In the early years, there was a guy that was into scrotal inflation, and he was also in the medical field, so he brought all gear to be able to do it. Essentially, his scrotum was filled with helium , up to about the size of a basketball, so that was a little different. Things like that, when people have certain levels of intensity in sexuality, there’s times where I’m like, “wow.” There’s a girl on hooks; she’s absolutely amazing. I’ve never seen anyone spin as fast as she did, almost like an ice skater, when they get going really fast in a tight spin.
Marisa: How did you and your husband first meet, and is your stage life separate from your married life, or do things inevitably cross over?
Genitorturers: Whenever people are together and writing music, it’s a pretty unique experience. As far as something being separate, we have different musical tastes, and there’s definitely big difference between the stage and reality. We had first met at a show, Napalm Death and Godflesh. We had mutual friends; they introduced us.
Marisa: When writing music, what is your favorite musical technique, and what is your writing process like?
Genitorturers: That’s something that has evolved over time. My favorite is pure stream of consciousness. On Blackout Revolutions, Confessions of a Black Heart, I let music take me in the moment and record the first thing that comes out of my mouth. Four Walls Black is an interesting song. I had a body bag that I got from the medical examiner; I climbed in the bag, put the microphone in there and sang the song. Said that’s it, Four Walls, Black. It’s just a fun psychological experiment as well. I did other odd things, like put myself in enclosed spaces to feel more agitated. It injects different emotions and passions into it, but typically that’s what I start with; I let the music dictate what needs to be there. I write to the music, which is almost backwards from the way some other people do it.
Marisa: With 20 years, what has been the highs and lows of the band?
Genitorturers: The high point has definitely been playing huge festivals, playing with bands I grew up listening to and idolizing, being able to travel, literally playing in an old castle. That’s pretty overwhelming, the feeling you get. The low points usually have to do with the way the music business has moved. The biggest disappointments were after the first record, and the label didn’t know what to do with us. Trent Reznor wanted us out, but the label couldn’t afford that. The label dissolved, or gets sold, and you get stuck in limbo. Most frustration has been dealing with labels, so I don’t mourn their loss.
Marisa: As a woman in rock, and working with shock value, what has been some of the biggest hurdles to overcome?
Genitorturers: Just the fact that it’s not acceptable. How it’s received as a woman; it is a completely different value system as a woman, especially in dealing with sexuality. We push a lot of people’s buttons, get people to think outside the box. They get uncomfortable, attack; they lash out. It’s way different for a woman than a man. When we started, it was completely taboo. My idols go out there and do what they wanted to do. I can think of on that a lot of people never grasped the fact that she was extremely intelligent, was into animal rights, but she never got the recognition.
Marisa: What is the scariest thing about being on the road, and what are three things you must have with you when you are on the road?
Genitorturers: Scariest thing… I’m pretty rough and tumble when being able to endure different situations, such as living in close quarters with 12 people for a month, with not a lot of personal space, but you deal. The scariest thing is traveling in a tour bus in the snow, like when trying to go to Denver. It reminds you of the Cliff Burton situation, sliding around on the ice. I absolutely enjoy traveling, seeing so many amazing people and growing a fan base. Three things I must have with me on the road are whiskey, makeup, and random insertable devices.
Marisa: What was the first album you bought and the first concert you attended?
Genitorturers: Very interesting, first concert was the Eagles. First album that I personally bought – because, you know, your parents will get you things as a kid and whatnot – but the first defining album I personally bought was probably Nevermind the Bullocks by the Sex Pistols.
Marisa: What is your biggest musical fantasy?
Genitorturers: I’ve been lucky to meet a lot of idols, but the only person I wish I would’ve gotten to meet was Bon Scott. I got to play with AC/DC, but I can’ t meet him, because he passed away.
Marisa: Are there are any graphic books featuring Genitorturers, or have you ever ventured into the world of animation?
Genitorturers: We have not. There’s a guy that does a couple comics, Kidd Walley, from New Orleans. We had talked of doing a comic book at one point, but another guy was pretty famous a long time ago that we were talking to at one point. We never really did. It’s been brought up, but it’s never materialized.
Marisa: With as shocking as you have been over the years, many would think you might be jaded, but can you name three things that have shocked you over the years?
Genitorturers: I’m shocked everyday, just by the level of people’s humanity, how ridiculous it is. What makes it on TV; you got to be kidding me! One other thing is just how technologies have taken the place of human interaction; that is both shocking and upsetting. I’m pretty jaded, but I see things that I’m blown away by, like how people treat each other. How certain things become so common place and acceptable in our society is very shocking.
Marisa: What is a band that you would suggest people to check out?
Genitorturers: I absolutely love Danko Jones. They’re the nicest people in the world, and they’re fantastic as a band. They bring elements of all the things from KISS to Black Flag to Thin Lizzy. I am hugely influenced by his influence in his voice, lyrics with a little more push or a little more sass.
Marisa: Do you collect anything?
Genitorturers: I used to collect, but you reach a point where you need to calm down on this. I used to collect odd medical instrumentations and books, because I was in the medical field; it’s part of my past in pathology. We featured a lot of stuff on stage, like a circle electric bed, as well as a chair that was used for spinal taps in the 30s and 40s.
Marisa: What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
Genitorturers: I don’t even use guilt and pleasure in the same sentence; do what thou wilt. I love raw meat, like steak tartare. Recently, I had fruit bat, and most people would be really offended. I was horrified until I tried it, then it was like the best duck I ever head. My vampire friends would kick me out of the club.
Marisa: Do you have any advice for musicians starting out?
Genitorturers: It’s kinda like Nike, just do it. If you wait… just get out there and start playing. Do anything you can to get in front of people; hone your skills. You can learn to play guitar. You can’t be taught how to deal with an audience, just jump in, regardless if you feel ready. When Genitorturers started, we had a name, a logo and a t-shirt before we were a band and just started playing.
Marisa: Any closing comments?
Genitorturers: Just what you had brought up before, what we do have planned is a new DVD and a pretty cool book that goes over fun tour stories, bizarre incidences, and all the things we experienced doing the silly things we call Genitorturers. Interviews, past members, fans confessing sins, like the first time they saw the band. It’s pretty fun. It might be distributed with the DVD. We are working on both together, so it might be one product.
For more information on the Genitorurers, visit www.genitorturers.com. The author of more than 100 books, Marisa Williams earned her Master’s in Writing at the Johns Hopkins University. For more by Marisa, visit www.lulu.com/spotlight/thorisaz and http://www.examiner.com/tourism-in-detroit/marisa-williams.