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GASH: The Fetish of The Floggers.

February 9, 2015
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GASHonlineText by Gabi Chepurny. Image by Michael Bucher.

The practice space of Philly S&M punks GASH is tucked away in an easily overlooked alley one block south of South Street and decorated with mural-sized naked ladies, close-ups of vaginas included.

It’s perfect for the six-piece group – vocalist Tibbie X, guitarist Hit Cunningham, guitarist A.J. Delinquent, bassist Travis Travesty, drummer Atom Riot and dominatrix Mistress Stephxecutioner – whose relationship began when Cunningham and Tibbie X met via Craigslist.

“I was playing bass in Reagan Youth and that was awesome,” Tibbie X says. “But I really wanted to write some new songs and somehow Hit came through Craigslist. It’s actually really sleazy that we met on there.”

Cunningham knew Delinquent from music theory class at the Community College of Phladelphia. The two started talking, began playing music together and writing a bunch of new material, as both axemen wanted to start a new band. The rest of the factors soon fell into place, including the band’s name.

“I was trying to think of something that made sense for what we were trying to do,” Cunningham says. “This was around the time that we started thinking of the whole S&M thing and the style that we were trying to go for. I mean honestly, ‘gash’ just is slang for pussy.”

Halloween 2013 marked the release of SUBSPACE, the band’s first EP. What followed was a series of live shows with performances that developed organically and became something not many see when they go to a concert.

Tibbie X and Cunningham started with the initial idea of making it into a live BDSM performance. Then Tibbie X decided to bring in Mistress Stephxecutioner.

“I’m just a fetishist and everything came out naturally,” Tibbie X says. “I never really had the idea to do fetish performance or anything like that. It’s a part of who I am. So when I’m on stage, I separate from my regular life and stuff just comes out.”

GASH shows feature heavy moshing and random flogging. Don’t be surprised if Stephxecutioner pulls more than a few audience members over to dance with – or get flogged by – her.

“There’s just this natural flow and I feel like we’re sort of influencing each other in a way,” the domme says. “There’s very good chemistry on stage. We have a very base idea of what we’re going to do on stage. We run with it and it gets better every time.”

The success of their live shows doesn’t mean that some people wouldn’t be offended by the band’s actions. But band members don’t see any problems.

“Honestly,” Cunningham says, “we’re just doing the shit that people think about but they never will do because society tells them they can’t do it.”

“We’re playing around with the elephant in the room,” Riot adds.

The Philly natives are set to start recording their full-length record, Astral Liberation, a continuation of SUBSPACE, and hope to release it sometime early next year.

“I like to call it an Akashic record because I was just reading about how the entire universe is held in these Akashic records where everything that is to come and has been before,” Tibbie X says. “SUBSPACE is the four songs that are the introduction to the full length and subspace is a mental state that you get in as a submissive when you’re sexually playing in S&M. So Astral Liberation is like the freedom point, when you break from reality and you’re entwined with your lover.”

While the band loves knowing that fans blare their music from car stereos, Travesty admits that a recording is just not the same as a live show.

Riot often passes out between songs because he puts so much into it. Tibbie X and Stephxecutioner perform their live domme/sub show. Cunningham jams on guitar and Delinquent jumps all over the place.

“We bring this energy that cannot be reproduced on a record,” Travesty says. “It’s a good time.”

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