by Ivo Perez
Today, New Jersey band Tyrannosaurus Sex will be returning to Nyack for the first time since their controversial appearance at the Nyack Halloween Parade. During the show, the band used Christmas decorations of Mary and Joseph with a T. Rex skull between them as a prop. The photo of the performance sparked outrage when it was posted to the Village of Nyack’s official Facebook page. Many of the page’s followers believed the image was offensive because it “mocks the Catholic religion” (as one of the commenters wrote). Recently, Tyrannosaurus Sex’s drummer, Dominick Rosato, and the band’s vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Slyder P, discussed motivations behind their eccentric stage set-up, and what concert goers can expect from their up-coming show at Olive’s.
For people who may not have heard of Tyrannosaurus Sex, how would you describe the band?
Dom: Tyrannosaurus Sex started as a text message exchange between Slyder and I, in the form of ideas. What were those ideas? Ridiculous ideas for band names, such as: The Happy Catholic Family, Cranberry Sturgeons, etc. This went on for months before we settled on Tyrannosaurus Sex. When we started out, we were sort of punky, with some classic rock influences. As we’ve grown, we’ve become a groovy, show-gaze band, with some heavier influences.
Slyder: For years before we ever actually played together, we were a band in theory. We’ve definitely come a long way in terms of developing a unique sound. We started as a straightforward punk band, and now I’d describe us as a funky, genre-spanning band that isn’t afraid to improvise.
What is the significance of the name, Tyrannosaurus Sex?
Dom: First off, T-sex is about gender disparities. More specifically, how they’re perceived by the culture. Everyone likes to act as if there is a “Tyrannosaurus” difference between men and women, when in reality there isn’t. There have also been some recent scientific discoveries regarding the Tyrannosaurus Rex that reveal they’ve been tragically misrepresented. T-Rexs, in fact, had feathers, not scales. It’s the rawring ’20s, and it’s about time we see the T-Rex in a flapper outfit.
Slyder: I’ve always been a fan of a solid pun. Generally, I think it’s a good band name. Also, I think our music has a sort of Tyrannosaurus and sexy quality to it.
How long have you been playing as a band?
Dom: The first iteration started when we were 17 or so, and we’re 24 now, so that’s like seven years.
Slyder: Dom, Paul (our friend and bass player), and I met in high school. In that time, we all jammed or performed with each other separately. It wasn’t until our first year of college that we all got together and started a band. More recently, we’ve expanded to become a four-piece adding another guitarist, Connor, who I’ve known for 20 years. We’ve been playing as a four-piece for about a year now, and it’s a huge addition to our sound.
What happened at the Nyack Halloween Parade?
Dom: I’ll tell you what happened! We played a fantastic set, even though we didn’t have a set list. We were well received, people were dancing, we had a good time! Then at the end of our set, some guy came up to us and asked what our props were about. I believe I said, “They are his [Slyder’s] parents.” And this guy had the gall to throw the T-sex skeleton across the stage.
Slyder: Afterwards, when pictures of the event were posted on social media, we received a very negative reaction. Some even demanded the picture be taken down from the Village of Nyack Facebook page.
What is the significance of the use of Joseph, Mary, and the T-sex skeleton in your stage set-up? Did you mean it to be offensive, or to “mock” the Catholic Faith?
Dom: It’s art. Was it meant to be offensive? Um… No?
Slyder: A big part of it is, I just like how it looks on stage. It’s also been something we’ve done at all of our shows for a while now. This was the first time people have ever responded negatively to it. As for the significance, I think it’s totally up for interpretation. I just like being on stage and looking like a funky/weird nativity scene. I understand it was a family event, and maybe we were being a little thoughtless, but we didn’t hurt anyone; also, a mother asked me to keep an eye on her stroller while she danced with her baby to our music, so I think we qualified as family friendly. Everyone in our band has graduated from a Catholic school. The props are meant to be irreverent and humorous, not offensive.
Will the props be present at your show at Olive’s?
Dom: Only one way to find out.
Slyder: It’s likely.
Who will you be sharing the stage at Olive’s on January 18th?
Slyder: The gifted Athena Aliferis, and twee-overlords Granite Lake. They are so, so talented and you can catch them, and us, playing every Monday at the Ridgewood Coffee Company Open Mic.
I’ve heard you have a new album coming out. Can you tell me a little about it?
Dom: It’s a live album, called Tyrannosaurus Sex Live at the Spunflower Festival. The audio was taken from a set we played over the summer in Sussex County, NJ at the Soundwave Garage Spunflower Festival. It’s a sonic adventure from beginning to end.
Slyder: We are really very proud of the album. To date, it’s the best recording we have. It was mixed and mastered by our guitarist Connor Leitch, and he played a huge part it making it come out as good as it did. We are going to be releasing the album the same night as our show at Olive’s.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Dom: Bring your grandma to the show. She’d love us.
Slyder: We’d love to see you at Olive’s, if you can make it out. It’s going to be a lot of fun! We’d like to invite anyone who is reading to come out and dance with us on Saturday night! It’s going to be a really exciting night for us and we’d like to share it with as many people as possible.
Tyrannosaurus Sex will be playing at Olive’s on Saturday, January 18th. The night marks the band’s return to Nyack, and an exciting moment in the development of an up-and-coming band, as they release their new album, Live at the Spunflower Festival.