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."
The case the Ramirez is referring to is that of Colleen Stan. When she was 20-years-old she was kidnapped while hitchhiking by Cameron Hooker, whose wife and child were in the car at the time. The purpose of the kidnapping was the fulfillment of an arrangement between Hooker and his wife Janice.
Hooker had been forcing her to participate in increasingly brutal sexual bondage games, and she agreed to allow Hooker to get a slave whom he would be allowed to torture as long as he reserved sex for his wife alone.
Stan was indeed forced to live under the couple's bed, and Hooker would take her out one hour each night to torture her. He would leave her hanging above his wife and himself while they had sex. Eventually, he began orally raping Stan, as well as penetrating her vaginally and anally with various objects feeling that this did not constitute a breach of contract with his wife.
Stan was also kept in thrall through Stockholm Syndrome, where a captive begins to have illusions that their captor is working in their best interest, and through threats of an all-powerful, invisible organization Hooker invented called the company. Stan was so scarred mentally by her ordeal, that even when Hooker began allowing her out to jog, care for his children, and even work outside the home, she made no attempt to escape.
Janice Hooker pulled the plug on the entire thing once her husband began saying he wanted to make Stan his full second wife. Janice released Stan, and after several weeks of freedom she called the police and related her story. Hooker was sentenced to 104 years in prison in 1985. His wife received full immunity for testifying.
We were led from Ramirez's location by the man himself, who seemed pleasant enough no matter what horrible things we now had in our head thanks to him. The last thing he said before removing the blindfold was...
"Black Leather Jesus to me takes on a different meaning. It's more of a constraint - bondage if you will - that religion has on people. It's so sadomasochistic in every sense."
As the staff Satanist, we don't really know what to make of Ramirez's statement. Hooker may very well have claimed to be Jesus. Who among us hasn't at least once? However, a man like Hooker has only one god, Pain. What does that say about the music of Black Leather Jesus. Honestly, we're too frightened to explore any further.
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Black Leather Jesus (n): 1. An act of particularly brutal sadomasochism. 2. An experimental noise band from Houston. 3. Pain.
Black Leather Jesus plays with Balaclavas, DJ Dull Knife, and DJ Chemical Mange Sunday at Notsuoh.