Otep on Hydra, Piracy, and Leaving Heavy Metal Forever

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For a long time, the girl in the band was the bass player. And I have respect for that because there are some really great bass players, but that's really all they were allowed to do. Before, if they were singers, they had to wear leather or something, and high heels. And now in the decade I've been doing this, I've seen a lot more women in extreme music and whether I had anything to do with that or not, other people smarter than I, like historians, will have to be the judge of that.

What bands are you listening to now?

Contemporary bands? No, I haven't heard anything I really like in a while. That's probably not the right political answer? It will be turned into, "Oh, Otep hates all bands! She hates metal!" But I listen to music for the message and for innovation. I like music that challenges me. I don't like music that sounds like they are trying to be Pantera again. Because there can only be one Pantera. Only one! My God. And everything else is just a copy of a copy of a copy.

I'm curious about your tattoos. What was your first, and what is the one that means the most to you?

The first tattoo I remember getting was in my friend's kitchen. I had just seen Natural Born Killers and my friend said he knew how to do tattoos. And I wanted Mickey's yin and yang tattoo that he had on his forearm. So I got that on my upper chest. It's really awful and ugly . . .

But it's a memory.

For sure -- we were just a bunch of hoodrats thinking we were doing something real. And based on one of the most fantastic films ever made.

And is there one that means more to you than the others?

Well, not really. In fact, most of my tattoos have now become regrets.

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Lauren Wise has worked as a rock/heavy metal journalist for 15 years. She contributes to Noisey and LA Weekly, edits books, and drinks whiskey.
Contact: Lauren Wise