While 30 years of activity in any genre of music is worthy of respect, 30 years of being an industrial metal group with heavy fetish/S&M overtones is absolutely jaw-dropping. It's just not done. Yet the Genitorturers, the outfit in which vocalist and provocateur Gen has explored all of her beautiful dark twisted fantasies, are still with us. And in rude health. The band is preparing for a 30th birthday show in Orlando with major influence and icon Lydia Lunch opening the night. Beside Lunch's human tornado presence on the bill, this anniversary show is also noteworthy as Vincent plans a unique, career-spanning set featuring guest appearances from a phalanx of formers 'torturers. Orlando Weekly picked Gen's brain about everything from starting the project at Rollins College (!) to housewife S&M chic.
Orlando Weekly: So 30 years of Genitorturers ...
Gen Vincent: I'm writing liner notes for a release we're doing, and I was going through the history of the band and it's just crazy how many incarnations of the Genitorturers there have actually been. And you can really see the evolution of the band. When I started the band I was at Rollins College – I came from New Mexico, a punk rock kid, walking around preppy Rollins with my big Mohawk. It was my first culture shock. That in itself was an incentive for me to start a music project that was riveting and interesting.
Tell us about your Orlando origins.
I was a pre-med student, microbiology major, it was a very different world, going to Rollins. ... And it was crazy because on one of my first days I saw the only other punker on campus, my friend Marisa Demeio. I walk into the dining hall and there's this Italian girl with a huge black deathrock Mohawk and I walk in wearing a Plasmatics shirt with a Wendy O Mohawk! And we came up with the idea of starting the most extreme band that we could think of, which was a band that of course pierced men's genitals and did all sorts of wacky things.
I stumbled upon the name for the band on one of our outings to Parliament House. They had a bookstore and there was a card in there that said, "Know your hot hanky colors." This was back in the '80s when the bandana thing was happening; in the gay scene it was a way to display what you were into – what your fetish was – going down the card I see purple and it says "genitorture."
When we started off as a band, Marisa was the singer and I was the bass player and we were the Festering Genitorturers, and then she left and started her own band and then I dropped the "Festering" part and we became the Genitorturers. I started incorporating the fetish elements and put the bass down and kind of evolved into a singer-performer. And then I could do costume changes, all of the things you can't do when you're weighted down with a bass. And I could pick up a whip!
Before we had go-go dancers or performers, it was just audience participation. We'd strap a guy down, do nipple piercing ... all sorts of displays of body modification.
How did the audience react? Piercing was pretty outré at the time.
You could get away with a lot in an underground club! But it's one of those things where now we have backup dancers and costume changes, but back then it was really raw and crazy and super spontaneous. It's funny, now you'll get people jumping onstage and they're all excited to be onstage, but they're doing a selfie video!
And now we live in a post-50 Shades of Grey world. What did you think of that?
You mean that housewives and soccer moms were reading it?
It's really interesting how mainstream these things have become and I think the internet is a big part of that. It's allowed people to go places that they wouldn't normally go. Back when we were doing this, in order to experience anything fetish you had to go to a bookstore and buy like ... Dungeon Master Magazine or Skin 2. But now people don't have to venture out of their homes, people can just sit in their living rooms and let their minds wander and experience things they perhaps wouldn't have the balls to do if they were face to face.