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Live and in Vinyl

Blonde Venus in Bikini

ROUZE: What's your personal take on the fetish scene?

Venus: I'm a performer. I love to be onstage. And I love fashion and costumes, so I enjoy that aspect. But I do get a little tired of everybody not paying attention to anyone besides their own little groups. We throw our own fetish shows in Minneapolis, and we encourage people to come in costume, of course, but we try to make it open for anybody to come. It makes it a little more fun. I know there are a lot of people in the fetish community who don't want that. They want it to be exclusive so that people can go farther. My feeling is that there's plenty of places to go to for that. What I like to do is allow people to begin to see what it's all about.

ROUZE: To be honest, All The Pretty Horses could pass for a standard goth-glam act in most clubs.

Venus: Often, we do. That's part of the performance, the revealing of who we are. But I'm the only person who actually works with that. The other band members just play straight ahead and wear the costumes. I do more of the performance part of it. But one of the things that we do differently than some of the other bands is that we're not a porn band. So we don't cross that line. We're not just doing a performance for the sensationalism. I do performance as a performance artist. I've also been without any clothes on for my performance art, but it always has a point of reason for it. We don't do it just for the shock value. Our music is serious, and I deliver it seriously. I reveal who I am physically for a purpose.

ROUZE: And what about when you're touring and there's isn't a goth club or fetish ball to play?

Venus: I actually prefer just doing the regular bars. You don't know what the reaction is going to be, and that can be really fun. I don't alter my voice very much, so the audience isn't quite sure how to read me. I usually get down to my pasties during the performance. That makes them completely off-balance. I've gotten things like death threats, and people offering to give me an operation for $10. But when you're in heels and playing heavy metalwith a big sharp guitar, you're pretty much in charge.

All The Pretty Horses is not just
another transsexual rock band
By J.R. Taylor- 
Playboy Magazine
-July 2000

Venus better known to her parents as Steven Grandell arrives to an interview wearing a tight corset, elaborate eyeliner and a necklace made of nipple-clamps. In other words, she's standard issue as glamorous goth gal. The band she fronts, however, is genuinely talented. All The Pretty Horses has a unique sense of melody amongst all their dramatic darkness, as heard on the band's latest release Ruin (available, of course, through

The Minneapolis act might still have to wait for a big goth-glam revival. That said, Venus has an instant core audience courtesy of her transgender status. All The Pretty Horses is one of those acts you can often find onstage at assorted fetish events. Shortly before playing a show hosted by NYC's own Misstress Formika, Venus sat down with ROUZE to discuss her strange niche market.

ROUZE: What's it like to get your band booked because you're a transsexual?

Venus: Well, it's interesting. Transgendered people have always been around but not quite so much in the in the fetish community. I was once invited to model for a fetish event, but they couldn't clothe me, because the fetish designers only wanted biological men in the men's clothes, and biological women in the women's clothes. So it can still be a bit of a challenge.



ROUZE: It has to eventually get old playing to folks in fetish clothing.

Venus: Sometimes, yeah. We did a festival, I suppose I shouldn't say where, on one of our tours, and something I found very interesting was that there wasn't necessarily an audience. Everyone was a performer, and they weren't necessarily all that interested in watching a band. They want everyone watching themselves.

ROUZE: Do you ever worry about being just another transsexual fronting a rock band?

Venus: I don't think so. I know that there are a number of them, but often the trans people are not quite as aggressive as we are with our music.The metal sound is very different than what they're expecting.


Reprinted from an interview by J.R.Taylor for Playboy Magazine's July of 2000 Return to previous menu