Mina by TT


With Mina Caputo (singer of Life Of Agony)

Singer Mina Caputo is a remarkable appearance in the rock and metal community. Hitting it off as Keith Caputo in the late eighties, being the tough singer of the Brooklyn, New York based metal band Life Of Agony, the four-piece soon claimed its fame with debut `River Runs Red’ [1993]. After 3 albums were successfully made, Caputo left the band in 1997 to follow different musical paths, including making solo-albums. A reunion in 2003 led to a second split in 2012 but in 2014 Life Of Agony announced to be back in the saddle and the new strong studio album `A Place Where There’s No More Pain’ [out April 28, 2017] proves that. Meanwhile, in 2011, Keith Caputo made the brave decision to come out as transgender and Mina Caputo was officially born. Mina is a creative spirit who clearly has more upon her sleeve than only being the leading lady of Life Of Agony. HeadBangers LifeStyle spoke with Mina about sex, relationships, pollution, creativity, beauty, fashion, lifestyle and her favourite country The Netherlands.

(Photo credit: Jeremy Saffer)

,,Straight after 9/11 happened and as soon as they were letting flights back out, I fucking took a flight straight to Amsterdam and I squatted in an empty bank building in Alkmaar. I’ve lived in Amsterdam, in Diemen, Heerhugowaard, Kaatsheuvel and people even used to make fun of me by asking if I was from the park de Efteling because I’m kind of elfin and fairy, especially with the long hair. I also have lived in Venlo for a little while and I probably have lived in more cities in The Netherlands than most Dutch people. I stayed there way over my visa. I got thrown out of the country and when I was travelling into Germany and the Germans realised I was 19 days over my visa they fucking send me straight back to America. The fact that it rains a lot was oddly one of the things I liked so much about The Netherlands, because I am kind of a reclusive individual. Give me any reason to stay indoors and it’s on. I love going out of course but I rather stay in and get work done, read, write and record. Be creative.’’

How does a perfect day off looks like for you?
,,Everything in my life, everything that I make money of, is all creative and I have followed the path to my most intense passions. I’m always writing, not only for Life Of Agony, but I’m also doing solo records, writing music for TV and documentaries and I’ve always got various musical projects going on. So I’m always involved in the recording studio, the laboratory, as I’d like to call it. I wake up and I involve myself with music because it is also my hobby. And like now the momentum is with the boys, Life Of Agony, but let’s say if I have a break from the band and if I do need to step away from music and kind of abandon that creative process, the perfect day off is in bed, coffee is made, the dog is in the bed with me and a fucking book, or watching movies that I want to catch up on. Either way I like it quiet. Believe it or not I have a very, very, very, very quiet, isolated and peaceful life. My public life is very demanding, busy and noisy, but then when I come home, I retire. Making sure everything is okay at the house. I don’t really go out like clubbing and stuff because I work in venues. I spend a lot of time with my dog, go with her to the park for a couple of hours. And whoever I’m having sex with, he comes over, we have sex all day long, smoke weed, watch movies and cuddle and that’s that. Then fuck off there’s the door because mommy has got to take care of shit, you can’t stay here so get the fuck out [laughing].’’

Do you find it easy or difficult to have a serious relationship and friendships as an artist?
,,I experience it as a little bit more difficult, yes. I am very picky with who I want to surround myself with. I am constantly in the process of de-cluttering people in my life, people who are too toxic for me. People can be just so shallow. These days properly communicating with people is becoming rare. People still don’t know how to use knowledge and utilize wisdom and knowledge to their benefit. Everybody is just everyone else, sharing everyone else’s opinion whether it is on politics, sex, religion, gender, this or that, there is not too many original thinking. Especially in the politics; everybody is jumping on the blame game. And guys are such pussies; I don’t know how else to put it. If guys just let go and drop their ego and drive for power the world would be much better. I am very sensitive, so if a guy holds the door open for me I fall in love like immediately. So yeah I like it quiet, I like it peaceful, I like my one on one talks. I am the type of person that avoids all the holidays, I don’t like the big crowd, and I’m introspective more than anything. I am a big reader; I’ve got like 2.000 books in my house. I am constantly working on my library.’’

What kind of neighbour are you?
,,I am the type of neighbour that bakes scones for her neighbours and knocks on the door when someone new moves in and give them a batch of scones. My landlord really loves me and when something needs to get done in my apartment, I live in an apartment building in the city, she gets it done right away instead of me waiting for a fucking month. Then I bake pumpkin scones for her or I make her a bag of clothes that I don’t wear anymore so she can give it to her kids, like tops that don’t fit me anymore because my breasts grew and clothes I was wearing 3 years ago and certainly don’t fit me right now. On Christmas I was wound up getting a migraine so the party that I was invited to I ended up not going. But I had bought wine and a couple of cheesecakes for my friends and had all these shit in my refrigerator that was literally go bad and a waste of money. So I knocked down on my neighbours and gave everybody something, so yeah I guess I am a pretty cool fucking neighbour [laughing]. I am a fucking piece of shit who doesn’t want to talk to anyone but if I can make that one person smile, whether if it’s in my building or in my street than I feel like `Yeah’!’’

(Photo credit: Tim Tronckoe)

Do you have a certain interest in clothing? Are you a fashion junkie?
,,I’ll be honest with you, I hate fucking clothes and I’d rather be naked than wear anything at all [chuckles]. I’d rather be in bed with no clothes on than having to get up and get all suss down. But I do love fashion, I do but I’m not a name brand person. I don’t need the new Prada bag or the new Versace fucking hat, like I could give a fuck. If the band ever wins a Grammy I’m showing up to the Grammy Awards with a ripped dress or something. For photo-shoots and stuff like that then that’s hot getting all dressed up in lingerie or a gorgeous dress. A lay out for Vogue, yes that’s when I really adore fashion, but to take Alexander McQueen to the streets you just can’t do because fashion is more of like an imaginative body boundary breaker in a sense.’’

What do we mainly find in your wardrobe?
,,I have dresses and I like pretty flower dresses. I have some flannel, rib jeans and T-shirts. I don’t really wear high heals anymore; I’d rather wear a wedge, a flat or a Dr. Martens, I do have a few pairs of Doc’s in my closet. I rather wear and re-wear my jeans so they get broken and they fit my body real well than having a new pair of jeans every fucking time. I am also kind of a no bra person because I like to be free and less is more [laughing]. A dress and maybe a pair of short shorts underneath and that is that.’’

What makes you feel sexy and super feminine?
,,I feel that way naturally. I enjoy my body the way it needs to be enjoyed and the way my body demands makes me feel really sexy. I am already a very sensual and sexual person so all he or she has to do is drop on the floor and start kissing my feet and I fucking melt. I am very sensual about life and I take a very sensual approach even if I’m cooking eggs in the morning for myself, or if I buy myself flowers. The solo music that I make, how I play instruments, it is all very sensual.’’

(Photo credit: Jeremy Saffer)

Do you have a certain beauty and make-up regime?
,,Yeah, I try to keep as much make-up off of my face as possible. I am like less is more. I’m an eye person but I am not a lipstick girl at all. I like to use lip-gloss. I use mascara but I am getting more and more into fake eyelashes and I just bought some eyelashes of MAC. They make such really cute, funky eyelashes, I’m really loving them. I like a real thin black line over my eye, but further I like it more natural because I think that is more beautiful. Every pretty girl I see has a ton of fucking foundation on her face and I think it doesn’t look good at all. I have a really clean diet, which pretty much keeps my skin, especially on my face, healthy and clean. I steam basically all the food I eat unless I want to treat myself and go out to eat, that is the only time I cheat. I also eat a lot of fruits. I only use natural beauty products, like deodorant without aluminium and even my toothpaste has no fluoride in it. I use CeraVe moisturizing cream for my face, I have Victoria Secret body lotion, and I love, love, love Rituals. Even their shampoo is amazing. I recently bought mango shampoo of Burt’s Bees, which also doesn’t have sulphate, petroleum and synthetic fragrances in it. Also their toothpaste and deodorant is great. Strange enough the older I get the more sensitive my skin gets, so I really have to be careful what products I use.’’ 

Do you have a solution for a bad hair day?
,,Yeah and it’s called a fucking hairclip. I just throw it up in a clip and I let it be bad, look freaky and messy [laughing]. Or I wear a sunhat. I coloured my hair in my teens but then I lost interest, I wasn’t really into it. But I need a haircut soon because it got so long and I consider to colour all the hair tips. I have never done that before but I see a lot of Chinese girls in my neighbourhood having it. So I am thinking of doing that or shaving one side of my head. I don’t know, I just want to do something funky. Right now I’m kind of too Plain Jane, my hair looks like Emmylou fucking Harris. It is too simple, I want it a bit more crazy.’’

How do you further contribute to save the planet in your daily life?
,,I don’t support the meat industry. I don’t buy plastic bottles. My diet, by eating a lot of raw food, eliminates packaging. I just eat organic food and I don’t participate in any kind of food that has hormones, antibiotics or pesticides. Well at least I am trying. I don’t know whom to believe anymore because there are so many corrupt agenda’s. So yeah I might be getting some organic frozen broccoli, but is it really organic? I also meditate. I do yoga now for about 20 years. In my opinion it is not what you do, it is what you don’t do for the world. I can do more in my bedroom by meditating for 20 minutes than someone can do in 10 years in their life. It is important to be aware of the energy and frequencies that you are putting out into the world. Mother earth is angry and I think we definitely add to the deterioration of a lot of plant and animal species.’’

Why did you choose for the name Mina after you came out as transgender?
,,One of my very first girlfriends I ever hooked up with and told about my true nature was called Mina. At the time I was too young to label it as transgender because I didn’t know what was going on. I just knew that my soul wanted nothing to do with living as a guy. I always thought Mina was a very beautiful name. There is sex-appeal, warmth and a romantic sound to it and it sounds cosy too. I am like an old, ancient romantic.’’

What is it you do to raise awareness for transgender issues on a global stage?
,,Just by being me. The fact that I’m majorly in the public eye awareness raises itself obviously. I think I have shifted many paradigms on a personal level from people that had no idea on how to even understand or tempt to understand the phenomenon of what I’m going through, or what people like me go through. I am not running around the country advocating for transgender rights. It is really not my style and I think there are many great girls out there that are already doing that. I am more into volunteering for a transgender suicide line. I have already helped many people. I have put many fans of the band, who have come out to me being transgender or who have children being transgender, on the right path, with the right books and documentations, the right websites, the right endocrinologists, and the right gender therapists to go to, especially here in New York City. I have given people my private number to talk them out of what could possibly be a suicide case, which gave me the idea to actually volunteer because I have a very thick skin and I can really talk someone out of hurting themselves. You know, I was there in my twenties and I totally wanted to put a bullet in my head or OD from heroin because I just couldn’t deal with the pain, the mix up of my neurological and biological system. Yeah, maybe I can do more but I am not a public speaker. If that day comes maybe I’ll give it a shot but I am more of a one on one kind of person. But I am very active on social media, especially on my twitter account.’’

(Photo credit: Jeremy Saffer)

What is your life motto?
,,Care about how you feel and care about feeling good. Always reach for the good, for the fun things and the things in your life that are going to make you feel good regardless of your mood. Embrace the moments that you don’t feel good, then allow your emotions and try to reach for that good feeling. Just by taking a nap, or go sit in a room quiet, listen to your favourite music, or go take a walk. Just anything that makes you happy then you will feel good again. That is how I live my life now, because I don’t have any more time to feel bad and not worthy.’’

What would you like to say to your fans?
,,Thank you for all the years of loving me, being my ally, understanding how sensitive and how explosive I am as a creative individual. I just want to thank everyone in The Netherlands for just always nurturing me in my good times, my bad times, my high times and my low fucking times. You were there for me when I got stoned as fuck and I couldn’t sing a song back in the day. That is why I always have a special place in my heart for the Dutch people.’’

You know what? We actually didn’t talk about the new Life Of Agony album `A Place Where There’s No More Pain’ at all. Are you okay with that?
,,Oh absolutely! Please! I have been asked the most boring questions the last few days and this has been a real refreshing conversation. Thank you for that.’’ 

(Photo credit: Robin Looy)

Follow the official Mina Caputo Facebook page
Visit the website of Mina Caputo here

Visit the website of Life Of Agony here

Header photo by Tim Tronckoe


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