Goth and Industrial

The Genitorturers: "Before Cell Phones, Our Shows Were Much More Extreme"

For bands that take the stage at any of the Fetish Revolution events, the term "tough crowd" can take on an entirely new meaning. The annual party is equal parts sexual dream (or nightmare, depending on who you ask), bondage carnival, alternative lifestyle symposium, and lingerie fashion show.

It's one thing to perform for a crowd of people when they are staring back at you from behind zippered bondage masks and masquerade makeup, but it's quite another to compete with the other entertainment of the evening -- flogging shows, live suspensions, and sexy vendor demonstrations.

However, industrial metal band The Genitorturers is a scintillating match for the stage at this year's Fetish Revolution event, scheduled for Saturday at the Marquee Theatre. With influences ranging from '90s hardcore punk to pornographic theatrics, the band helped pioneer the underground realm that bridged the fetish and music scenes. For more than 20 years, the Orlando-bred Genitorturers have been performing, becoming known for their provocative live shows, which utilize audience volunteers and are filled with sexually charged antics, and their unique style of music.

In fact, lead singer Gen alludes to the fact that their past shows -- long before everyone could whip out cell phone cameras -- were far more erotic then the band's present shows, since there was more anonymity and actual "underground" scene.

The band consists of frontwoman Gen (married to Morbid Angel bassist David Vincent), guitarist Eric Griffin (also known for his work in horror punk band Murderdolls), bassist Filip "Abbey Nex," and drummer Kriz DK.

With five albums out, the most recent of which was 2009's Black Heart Revolution, The Genitorturers are set to bring their brand of unique music and live show to Phoenix this Saturday and are currently writing a new album and book and making a DVD.

Up on the Sun talked with Gen about her role as a strong sexual female in the world of music, the evolution of the band's stage show, and the Genitorturers' upcoming album.

You guys will be playing at the Fetish Revolution, which is always a pretty crazy environment. Do you prefer those over regular concert setups, just because it's already so sexually charged?

Well, interesting you should ask that. Being that we are a band that pioneered the "fetish music realm" -- in terms of our types of shows we've been doing for over 20 years -- it is always fun to do our show in that kind of setting. We have a lot more maybe free participants, I guess you could say, like people from the audience who want to be utilized in our show. So I think that's part of the fun because people really dress up for the event and are there to have a wild time. So your last album was in 2009, and you explained that you wanted it to translate the same excitement you felt from AC/DC's Highway to Hell, combined with the dark intrigue of Alice Cooper's Welcome to My Nightmare. Is that how you would describe your live show?

Yeah, it's definitely a raucous rock show, and it also has a lot of theatrical elements and dark intrigue. A lot of the songs we write are very conceptual, so each song has a theme to it that we act out on stage with stage actors. People bring the show to life, much like Alice Cooper.

How do you feel like your live show has evolved over those years? Back in the '80s, it was probably a bit easier to be provocative, especially nowadays, when sexuality and shocking live shows and musicians are splashed all over the media and Internet.

It's interesting because when I started the band, we were a three-piece hardcore punk/metal- type band. One of the reasons -- I played bass and sang -- for me wanting to get a bass player was so I could be on stage and do costume changes. So that was the first evolution. Then from there, the piercing and fetish were things that were extremely underground when we started out. We definitely brought that underground to the stage. This was before the Internet and before you could access all these different types of fashions and sexuality and fetishes.

Now obviously you can get on the Internet and be a part of those communities. But before, people could come to our shows and be a part of like-minded people. In that regard it changed . . . When you have pretty crazy shows like we do, there weren't cell phones where you could take pictures. It was more extreme in those days. It was a very different world. Now, everybody has a cell phone and can take pictures and you don't have that anonymity and that underground. It doesn't really exist anymore.

That's something we've had to deal with and I think our show is becoming a little less sexually oriented and more theatrical oriented. That's part of the evolution as well. Plus the way we started writing our music; now we think about the performance element. A lot of the stuff I do now is certainly very deliberate, in terms of song writing.

Are you guys writing anything right now?

Yes, we have a new album that is coming along very nicely. We're going to try to get it out for the end of this year.

Is there a title?

I do . . . but I don't release my titles until the last song is done.

What can you tell fans about it?

Our last album, Black Heart Revolution, really dealt with, once again, the evolution of where we've come as a band. That's not only psychologically; it's also about how society views us. I think the next album is going to be a very unique continuation of Black Heart Revolution. It will continue to push the envelope and push the evolution of the band, especially in the terms of women in music and women in art. It seems one of your goals as an artist is showing the role of women's sexuality in a positive life, and how the ties between sexuality and music is undeniable. Do you feel like these goals evolve as well, or are they always in that realm?

Well I think "always" has a different commentary based on where society is going and how it's changing. As things change in the world around us, then our commentary continues to change, although obviously we are putting forth that type of imagery, a strong woman, and trying to instill that strength into others.

You guys have been in the hardcore industrial scene for quite some time. What are some of your favorite acts out there right now?

I have a lot of different bands that I really have looked up to over the years and continued to evolve. And I've always involved Sick Puppy. Their live shows and how they have continued to be godfathers and masters of bringing this digital realm and video realm and costuming to the audience is really great. And Danko Jones is also one of my favorite bands, a really hard three-piece rock band, just balls-to-the-wall. It's all the energy they have, and they are great songwriters as well.

What other projects are you currently involved in? I know that you guys did some video game soundtracks in the past.

I'm actually writing a book right now that's pretty crazy. It's all about the tour antics and just the stories the insane things that we've been a part of. It includes interviews with people who have been hanging around the band. We have a long history and there are a lot of insane things that have gone on. Very, very out-of-the-ordinary. It ranges from being the only band that has ever been in Hustler magazine. And once again how people accept the role of strong female front person, or don't accept them.

We actually have a DVD that will go along with it called Confessions of a Black Heart. It's pretty cool: We've set up confessional booths at our shows, and people can go in and make "confessions" about what happens at a Genitorturers show, whether it's a weird activity or something that is a part of them. Something that changed their lives or affected their lives.

The Genitorturers are scheduled to perform Saturday, February 15, at Fetish Revolution at Marquee Theatre in Tempe.

Find any show in the Valley via our extensive online concert calendar.

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