Band's rough sound tries to hurt so good

Published November 24, 2006

Somehow, despite all these years of living in Tampa and listening to music, I've managed to miss the Genitorturers.

The quartet originated in Orlando but makes its home in Tampa. The group has toured the world with its industrial-influenced alt-rock and a live show that revels in the sadomasochistic lifestyle one might expect of, well, Genitorturers.

Funny thing about the Genitorturers, who play the State Theatre in St. Petersburg tonight: When I mentioned to my co-workers in the Times' Tampa office that I would be writing about the Genitorturers, and hopefully working in the word "Genitorturers" at least five times in a single paragraph of this Genitorturers column, I expected shock and dismay. (Oh yeah, one more thing: Genitorturers.)

The reaction was underwhelming.

"Yeah, I used to live down the street from them in Seminole Heights - 'Mr. and Mrs. Torture,' " said my co-worker John Martin, almost yawning. "They had chickens, and she used to come out in all leather and work in her garden."

"She" would be Gen, the iconic blond bombshell lead singer of the Genitorturers. And that's not all.

Another co-worker, Jonathan Milton, is a musician. But like John Martin, he's also a very proper, professional guy. I knew he'd be at least a little shocked when I told him I was writing about some band called the Genitorturers.

"Oh yeah, I hung out with them when I was in California," he said.

Figuring I was dreaming, I pinched myself. I almost pinched Jonathan, but he's 8 feet tall and works out 12 hours a day. So instead, I asked him to elaborate.

"I hung out with some of the members of the band while at a music convention in Anaheim," he said. "It was one of those situations where you see someone from your hometown, and you just decide to hang out.

"Normally, being someone of a slightly conservative nature, I wouldn't normally see myself engaging in conversation with members of a band called Genitorturers. However, the members are just normal people who know how to put on a good show. They love to perform."

I don't know too much else about the Genitorturers, other than what Alex Henderson of allmusic.com says.

He writes: "Gen is a real-life dominatrix who has described the Marquis de Sade as a 'literary master,' and the band's over-the-top live shows have included piercings, whippings, spankings, and other kinky activities."

We haven't gotten those stories out of Jonathan yet. But we'll see what we can do.

Rick Gershman can be reached at rgershman@sptimes.com or 226-3431. His Times blog, The Ill Literate, is at sptimes.com/blogs/tampaarts.


If you go

The Genitorturers

The Genitorturers play tonight at the State Theatre, 687 Central Ave, St. Petersburg. Doors open at 7. Tickets are $18. Call 727 895-3045 .