Way back, Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids would rent a van from Crease and cruise down from Broward to play what became known as the "chocolate cow" shows (don't ask, don't tell) at the perfect rock and roll club, Washington Square in South Beach.
And even then, clueful rock fans saw that for what it was: a papier-mâché version of Alice Cooper. And even more clueful rock fans knew that real-deal shock-and-ouch, the sort of thing Marilyn and company simulated, existed in the form of a Tampa band that also tore a hole in the Square: Genitorturers. The Spooky Kids were soft-core drive-in movies; the Gens were triple-X full-penetration blood-letters with the grinding musical chops to validate their shows as first-rate musical performances. Not to beat this horse, but the Genitorturers were the Marquis de Sade; the Kids were Liza Minnelli in Cabaret.
Fronted by a sweet-natured, intelligent nurse named Gen, the group would typically stage an interactive mélange of black leather, metal jewelry, body ink, dungeonesque props, hard sounds, and gory histrionics perfectly suited to the large room near the crossroads of Sixth Street and Washington Avenue, where regularly scheduled bullshit-free shows took place almost every night. The venue, known for its CBGB-style restrooms (don't ask, don't smell), was a little larger and a lot more active than the other live-rock clubs in South Beach during the early Nineties. Yes, it's true, a wild bunch of edgy night spots existed on the tip of the Beach then, and the Square was king, a perfect place for a band whose growling, howling sonics soundtracked live piercings (on audience members), gross theatrics, and a scary range of sadomasochism that never goes out of style. The band's MySpace page has had some 359,000 hits; songs such as "Lecher Bitch" have been played more than 150,000 times.
The Genitorturers perform at 8:00 p.m. Saturday, November 25, at the Culture Room, 3045 N Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale. Admission is $15; all ages are welcome. Call 954-564-1074 or click www.cultureroom.net for more information.
Among influences, Gen cites Alice Cooper as well as the obvious (Plasmatics) and not so obvious (Patsy Cline). Though publicity has always been limited, a couple blurbs are worth repeating: VH1 called them "the perfect balance of powerful sexuality and darkness, beauty and evil." Hustler magazine declared them "the world's sexiest rock band," an accolade deserved by the lovely Gen if not her three scraggly bandmates (guitarist Bizz, bassist Evil D, and drummer Joey).
Of course there are no longer rock clubs anywhere near South Beach, and no venue in Miami-Dade suitable for this act. The band's show at the Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale is part of a brief tour that includes stops in New Zealand and Australia.
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Way back, by way of introduction, the G's issued in 1993 a ten-track CD, 120 Days of Genitorture ("Pleasure in Restraint," "House of Shame," "Crack Track"). Two more long-players came out, in 1998 and '99, but that's hardly the point. The nurse and pain-as-pleasure advocate as well as her bandmates bring to the stage a spontaneity, a level of maiming mayhem, uninhibited sexiness, and, yes, Bush-worthy torture that Marilyn Manson would die, or at least kill, for. This is not just show. You've been warned. And encouraged.