Pop Life

Black Leather Jesus: The Most Horrifying Origin Story Ever

It's a well-known fact that most band names are essentially gobbledygook, but here at Rocks Off we're trying to find meaning in the oddest monikers.

Warning: Everything in this article is terrifying, and none of the links are remotely safe for work.

For over 20 years Black Leather Jesus has been there, watching, waiting, playing in small, poorly-lit rooms. Founded by Richard Ramirez, everything they do is harsh, chaotic, and completely unlistenable to the sane mind. Is experimental really the right word to describe an act where no knowledge can be obtained, and instead you risk actually having some part of you deleted? Maybe. We guess it depends on your goals.

Ramirez, like Clive Barker, was inspired by the gay S&M scene to create something that will haunt the hallowed halls of your soul. How best to describe the Black Leather Jesus's music... Well...

Did you see Jason X? No? Well, there's a scene in that movie when Jason stuffs a camper into a sleeping bag, and then uses the bag to beat another camper to death.

OK, now imagine that instead of a camper, the bag is stuff with Ataris, Kaos pads, 3 dildos, and the plot of Videodrome, and the other camper is your freshly lubricated ear canal. Now turn out all of the lights and be prepared to show the doctor where the bad man touched you on the teddy bear the next morning. That about sums it up.

Do we like it? It's hard to say. Since we're pretty sure that the sun has left us without any capacity for honest thought over the course of this boiling Summer we certainly wouldn't trust our judgment. Black Leather Jesus is beyond good and bad. It just is.

That name though... it gave us a bad feeling. It felt kind of like the time we interviewed Owl Witch and ended up combing through a book on Native American black magic that made the Hostel films look like the Care Bears. Somehow, we knew that whatever had inspired Ramirez was likely to be just as bad. Still, our compulsion to decode band names is something we are too weak to fight, so we tentatively emailed Ramirez for a chat.

We wish we could tell you where we met Ramirez, but we were blindfolded the whole time. It made taking notes a little difficult, but still we asked him where he had come up with such a band name.

"Black Leather Jesus came from a story that I saw on the news about a woman that was held captive by a man who kept her under his waterbed for seven years," said Ramirez. "He raped her and told her he was Jesus Christ. He performed bondage acts on her as well. She finally escaped after seven years.

"His wife claimed she did not know that a woman was under their bed. That story stuck with me. I couldn't believe someone could have been held for that length of time without going mad."

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner