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Jolene Siana

Go Ask Ogre: Letter from a Deathrock Cutter

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It's hard to write about Skinny Puppy without making the group sound like a professional wrestling act. But throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the Vancouver, B.C., group's grotesque mechanical clatter set a standard by which all industrial bands were compared. The group's mutant limbs reached out to disaffected teens the world over. Jolene Siana was touched by Skinny Puppy all the way in Toledo, Ohio.

Seeking refuge from emotional insecurities, her abusive mother, and a lack of a father figure, Siana found escape in Skinny Puppy and began writing to the group's frontman, Ogre. She threw her anxieties at him with the same demented force as the music that cradled her. With Go Ask Ogre, Siana compiles her letters, tracing her path from inane chatter to dangerous obsession.

At his insistence, Ogre's responses remain private, so one-sided badgering, like "Am I ignorant? Annoying?" and "Are you sad?" go unrequited.

Talk of death and suicide is often done as a ploy for attention. But when she asks Ogre if he would come to her funeral or if he would kill her, things get creepy. Then she starts cutting herself.

Her story culminates when she bails the group out of jail for being falsely accused of torturing a dog, which consummates their bond.

Siana was a troubled teen a decade before doctors handed out Prozac like candy on Halloween. No kid in America ever had a relationship with a drug that was as rewarding or facilitated self-expression as organically as what she shared with Skinny Puppy, and she's better off for it.

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