Don't Fence Me In
Pride Toronto- Alterna-Queer Stage Preview- GASH
Philadelphia’s self-described ‘S&M Punk’ band GASH will be part of this year’s Pride Toronto performers at the Alterna-Queer Stage. The music is reminiscent of 70/80’s punk with the prerequisite “fuck you” attitude in full effect. What I’m most fascinated by with this band is their live stage show which includes a Dominatrix and a message about the S&M culture.
I had the pleasure of interviewing the extremely articulate and passionate lead vocalist/front woman Tibbie X about their upcoming show in Toronto and the sexual politics behind the band.
Lucas– The band is self -described as S&M Punk. Where did the inspiration come to intertwine S&M and your music?
Tibbie X– GASH is a total reveal of our subconscious so there was never a decision like, hey lets be S&M punks. I believe we have all been liberating each other as musicians working together, and our song writing process naturally opened up these previously hidden identities and desires. We became our inner truths externalized. In other previous bands I wrongfully thought “professional” meant hiding my sexuality. Ya know there’s this societal conditioning to separate work and personal life, but in rock-n-roll there’s no rules. It took a long time for me to be comfortable with who I am and to let go of that repression. I can do it only because I get to do it for the band and for the audience, who become GASH “family” at our live shows. Our shared experience is so interactive that it bonds us for life, and that energy exchange is my sexuality. I am a sub so it makes sense. I perform my truth so that we all have a blast doing it together.
Lucas– Sex and rock n’ roll is something we often hear intertwined, but usually the sex part is left to behind the scenes. Why did you feel the need to bring your sexuality into your music so explicitly?
Tibbie X– There is literally nothing we do that is pornographic or vulgar. I am explicit about my beliefs of love and lust. I believe that our world right now is unbalanced and dishonest based on hateful religious delusion and media consumerist lies. It’s my purpose to use the time I have publicly to challenge wrongful authority and speak my truth to open the doors for others to join us, and to have fun. Also I am an exhibitionist and I feel defined by my interaction with lovers, so I’m feeding my own personal need to feed off others and to give them everything I can. It is a vampiric punk rock sex party, only with no actual physical penetration. A live GASH show is mind/spirit integration with a little physical to inspire our audience to take the openness and experiences we’ve given them, and to bring it home (or to the bathroom or parking lot) to share more with their personal lovers…which could be themselves. As long as we have musically sexually instigated more love into the world, then our mission is accomplished. We are the Sexual Catalysts of the Rock-n-Roll Freedom Revolution.
Lucas– S&M is a highly criticized way of life. I’ve heard of critics call it immoral or dangerous. I’ve even heard some call it anti-feminist. Is any part of what you do with GASH trying to bring awareness and understanding to the S&M culture?
Tibbie X– Absolutely.
#1 Most important is to communicate that everyone is entitled to their own sexuality no matter what, as long as its consensual and not hurting anyone who doesn’t want to be hurt. I think the S&M culture knows what’s up. It’s people who are stuck in any repressed negativity that I hope to LIBERATE. I’ve tried on false identities for the purpose of pleasing others, and it sucks. I think religion and mass media have a majority of people brainwashed to hate themselves and to stay as separated from each other as possible, so that those two things continue to have $$$power$$$ and $$$control$$$. It’s part of culture to hate, to feel good about yourself. and belong to a group a people who all hate the same thing. This is what I mean by unbalanced. I’m betting pharmaceutical sales would drop, if everyone was getting laid the way they would like to be getting laid (or not laid…asexual pride <3) .
#2- When I stopped watching T.V. and cut myself off from as much mainstream media as possible, I had an inner body experience. The time away from the mind control gave me my intuition and truth back. I realized I’ve been taught to be separated from myself my entire life. We all are. If we were taught self love from the start, and able to give love in a real truthful way, the entire structure of society would change, and that kind of miserable uneducated hate for the purpose of elevating the self and “belonging” could be geared towards belonging to yourself and your own positive reality for everybody with love.
Lucas– Who would you say your audience consists of and do you find you have a higher rate of queer folks at your shows? If so, do you think it is because of the openness of the sexuality in your music?
Tibbie X– I am absolutely honoured to have the audience that GASH has been bringing to our shows. I invite people to come perform with us, such as our Pet Pup Chris Wiz, our Trans go go dancer GASH KITTY. and many beautiful drag performers, pets, subs, etc. All types of people have been coming to our shows and we make a point of it to meet our audience. I’m lead by my collar to everyone by my Domme to introduce ourselves personally before performing.
I’m openly bisexual, at times asexual, genderfucked, and a Sub. I am married to a transgendered woman, I am submissive in public to our bands Domme “Stephxecutioner”, and I discuss my sexual tendencies and history onstage. Saying “I fucked a stranger in the bathroom and that’s how I prefer sex”, or declaring “right now my body is my temple, and I am my own God and none shall enter” into a microphone in-front of an audience is inviting a lot of judgement. THE reason I do it anyway is so that other people can feel comfortable at our shows and open up in life after our shows. Also I don’t have much of a choice, I go on some kind of autopilot with a microphone in my hand, and the whole world becomes a confessional booth, only I’m not apologizing I’m celebrating. I also have a 4 year old son, and I play bass in an old school New York Hardcore band called Reagan Youth. By combining all of these identities publicly, I hope has made it easier for anyone who previously felt maybe they couldn’t go to a punk show and “fit in”, to come out for GASH and KNOW that they “belong” with us.
Lucas– Are you excited to play Pride Toronto? What should we expect from your live stage show?
Tibbie X– I am so excited. I try not to think about it because I shut down with fear at the prospect of fulfilled dreams. It’s really not until we are at the show, my collar is on and I’m kneeling down at the front of GASH with Domme Stephxecutioner by my side, that I can relax because I know we are all going to share the experience. Whatever that moment is going to be, we’ll have to find out together, but until then it’s in my dreams and I wish to be in yours. Astral Liberation, Love and Lust and see ya soon XO!!!
You can catch GASH at Pride Toronto on Sunday, June 28th at 7 PM at the Alterna Queer Stage located at Alexander Parket (12 Alexander St.) right by Buddies In Bad Times Theatre.
About the Author
Lucas Silveira is best known as the front man, songwriter and founding member of the rock band *The Cliks. *Lucas has become a leading force in the LGBTQ community for the promotion and visibility of transgender people in the mainstream music industry. He is the first out transgender male to be signed to a major record label deal and has toured with music icons including Cyndi Lauper, The Cult, Debbie Harry and The New York Dolls.