Posts Tagged ‘throbbing gristle’



The last of a three post tribute to Genesis P-Orridge, who passed away on March 14th, 2020. P–Orridge had been battling leukemia for two years, so the passing wasn’t a surprise. S/he was 70 years old.


As stated in previous posts, Genesis P-Orridge was many things. Among them, a poet, an artist in both fine and performance art, archivist, musician, occultist, and all around trangressor. Between 1993 – 2009, Genesis went under a series of body and face modifications with S/he wife Lady Jaye under ‘The Pandrogeny Project.’ The goal was to create a third gender. This is the reason for the S/he pronoun after 1993.


Genesis’ path towards creative transgression started after leaving art university sometime during the late 60s, Gen joined a London counter culture commune. These communes were popular during those days. After moving back to Hull, he met Christine Carol Newby, better known as Cosey Fan Tutti. Tutti and P-Orridge became a couple, and formed COUM Tranmissions.

COUM Tranmissions wasn’t exactly ‘kid friendly’ entertainment.


Influenced by the Dada movement, the performance art collective specialized in subversive confrontation. Subject matter included taboos such as prostitution and pornography.


In fact, it was the art performance of The Prostitution Show that gathered the attention of  not only the British press, but of Parliament. It was a conservative MP who declared the event, and persons involved to be “wreckers of civilization”.


The Prostitution Show was also the debut of the seminal band Throbbing Gristle. Formed by P-orridge, Tutti, and Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson, with Chris Carter joining. Throbbing Gristle is considered one of founders of the genre  Industrial Music. 



(Check out this PDF file.)


Industrial has since morphed into various other sub-genres. If it wasn’t for Throbbing Gristle, certain bands wouldn’t even exist. One prime example is mainstream rock act *Nine Inch Nails. (Later, Christopherson, who formed the band Coil, got into directing music promo videos. Christopherson later directed videos for Nine Inch Nails)

Throbbing Gristle continued on their subversive mission. Their first gig abroad was performed in front of the Berlin Wall, before the unification. In 1980, the four piece  performed a concert at an English all boys boarding school.

On May 29th, 1981, Throbbing Gristle played their last concert in San Francisco, California, U.S.A. Gen and Sleazy went on to form Psychic TV. Sleazy later broke off from Psychic TV to begin his own band Coil. The other half became Chris and Cosey, later known as Carter Tutti.

They later reformed sometime around 2004, working on and off. During this period, three albums were released: TG Now (2004), Part Two (2007), and The Third Mind Movements (2009)


Throbbing Gristle after reforming, mid-2000s. 

In 2009 TG embarked on U.S. tour. In New York, they played a series of concerts at a Brooklyn masonic hall, and at Le Poisson Rouge. I was lucky enough to see both TG concerts at the Brooklyn masonic temple. Not just once, but twice. During intermission TG had a meet and greet. Below are autographs in a sketch pad.


Autographs from Throbbing Gristle. 2009.

Although I should’ve done this already, I still haven’t gotten those signatures framed. The sketchbook is tucked away somewhere in my home.

Below is a very bad cellphone recording of TG during one of those nights.

Throbbing Gristle hit another snag again in October 2010. Genesis P-Orridge announced s/her’s departure, and the rest of TG continued to tour under X-TG. The band broke up for good following the death of Sleazy. Sleazy died in his sleep, November 2010.

There’s way to much about COUM Tranmissions, and Throbbing Gristle to mention here. My suggestion is, if you can, find three books: RE/Search’s Industrial Culture Handbook (Andrea Juno and V.Vale) , the out of print Wreckers of Civilization: The Story of COUM Tranmissions and Throbbing Gristle by Simon Ford, and Cosey Fan Tutti’s 2017’s autobiography Art Sex and Music. (which does NOT paint Genesis P-Orridge in a good light; P-Orridge was described as being abusive and narcissistic.  Just one of various  accusations pointed at Gen.)

Perhaps I should do a blog post about Cosey Fan Tutti , or Chris and Cosey, aka Carter Tutti. In the meantime, here’s a sketch done in tribute to Genesis P-Orridge. Pen and ink, done March 2020.


Illustration of Throbbing Gristle. Pen and ink. Drawn by Michele Witchipoo. March 2020. 


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Even if you live under a rock, you know about COVID-19. While the pandemic is taking hold of the U.S., news of a different sort was reported. On March 14, 2020, Genesis P-Orridge, best known for S/Her work with Coum Transmissions, Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, T.O.P.Y., and the Pandrogeny Project, passed away. P-Orridge was 70.


Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. During the “Good Vibrations/Godstar” era. 1950 – 2020.

Love and/or hate the person, Genesis P-Orridge was many: performance artist, musician, occultist, ‘cult/anti-cult’ leader, archivist, author, poet. To simplify, let’s just say Genesis was a life long agent provocateur. The word boundaries wasn’t in Gen’s vocabulary. With that, P-Orridge not only broke them, but influenced generations of other fringe creators in the process.


Genesis P- Orridge did more in a day than most people achieve in a lifetime. For me personally, through Gen, I learned about mail art, William S Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Alister Crowley, the occult, cult philosophies, tattoos, body modification, and numerous other sub-cultures and  ‘alternative lifestyles.’ Mind you, this is only scratching the surface.


It’s going to take more than one blog post to explain the impact of Genesis P-Orridge. To those who only follow mainstream personalities, it doesn’t mean anything. For those who explore a bit deeper, P-Orridge was always in the background. If it wasn’t for S/He’s first band Throbbing Gristle, there would be no bands such as Nine Inch Nails.


Psychic TV. During the “Acid House” era. (1988 – 1992) This lineup consisted of Paula P-Orrdidge/Alaura O’Dell and Fred Giannelli.

Most people aren’t saints. Genesis P-Orridge had more than S/Her share of detractors. There was abuse allegations from former associates. Cosey Fan Tutti, former band mate with Throbbing Gristle, and former girlfriend, details some offenses in her autobiography Art Sex Music. (In S/His defense, Gen was quoted in The New York Times:  “Whatever sells a book sells a book.” You can also read more here.) After divorcing S/Her’s first wife, Paula (now known as Alaura O’ Dell), Gen pretty much erased Paula’s history from the Psychic TV back catalog. Paula and Gen reconnected later on, healing some wounds. Finally, Fred Giannelli could spare a few choice words.


British sensationalist article damning Psychic TV during the ‘Satantic Panic’ era. These allegations sent Genesis P-Orridge and the family into exile. Later they settled in California, U.S.A.

Despite this, Gen continued to evolve and shape shift. After being exiled from S/His native U.K., Gen met Jackie Breyer, a.k.a, Lady Jaye. Lady Jaye became his second wife. Together they embarked on the Pandrogeny Project. They each had plastic surgeries to resemble one another, creating a ‘third sex.’ It’s from this point Gen switched the pro-nouns from “he” to “S/He”, “She” and “They.” The union didn’t last. In 2007, Lady Jaye dropped her body. The cause of death was stomach cancer. Gen continued the Pandrogeny project after Lady Jaye’s passing.


Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and second wife, Lady Jaye.

As with other chapters within Gen’s life, S/He continued to rise above the ashes. In the later part of Gen’s life, Gen continued with yet another version of Psychic TV, aka, PTV3. S/He received accolades with museum exhibits, spoken word performances,  and acknowledgments from younger bands.


PTV3. Psychic TV, later years. 2008 onwards. 

Unfortunately Gen contracted leukemia. Due to health issues, Gen mostly retired from creating music, with the occasional gig here and there. Gen fell in love again, this time with a much younger woman. A 28 year old lady from Granada, named Susanna. Gen nicknamed her ‘Susan Atkins/Hamburger Lady.’ (Hamburger Lady was previously a Throbbing Gristle song.) The public view of Gen was documented on S/He’s Instagram account, Pandrogyne. Gen and the ‘Hamburger Lady’ were engaged before Gen’s passing.


 Gen’s last partner, alias ‘Susan Atkins/Hamburger Lady.’ Photo from ‘Susan Atkins”s Instagram account. 

This blog entry focused more on the personal aspects of Gen’s personal life. To document all of Gen’s work, the final version would be the size of a encyclopedia. Regardless of one’s involvement, hypothesis, or what have you, Genesis P-Orridge left an undeniable imprint. The sub-cultural influences will continue for years after S/He’s passing; similar to two of Gen’s own influences, William S. Burroughs, and Byron Gysin. Like David Bowie, S/He opened a gateway for many. It is this, that I personally thank Gen for all of the Occulture sensibilities I still sustain.  Even recently, thanks to Gen’s Instagram, I discovered artist Hermann Nitsch. In a way, Gen never stopped giving. May Gen find peace after dropping the body, going on to S/He’s Greater Feast. Here’s to Ov Power.


(Haven’t drawn the Psychick Cross in aeons) The Psychick Cross, symbol/sigil associated with Genesis P-Orridge/Psychic TV. Created in tribute to GPO, who recently dropped S/Her body. March 2020 by Michele Witchipoo. 

*Mostly likely, additional blog posts about Genesis P-Orridge. 

Additional Links:

COUM Transmissions

Cosey Fan Tutti 

RE/Search – Modern Primitives

Another New Yorker article on Genesis P-Orridge – 2016

MUSE article

Dias Records – PTV3

Pandrogeny I & II – L.A. Times Article 

Thee Psychick Bible

AIN 23

Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth Documentary

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Back in 2009, I was lucky enough to see Throbbing Gristle live not just once, but twice. The concerts were in Brooklyn, at a Masonic temple. I had tickets for one night, but a friend was extremely generous enough to get me in another show, which took place on April 16th, 2009. Don’t ask, it was sheer luck.

Since my old laptop died, I’ve been going through various flash drives in order to retrieve anything. Old artwork, photographs, essays, etc. Then I found this:


Autographs from Throbbing Gristle. 2009. Signatures of Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Chris Carter and Genesis P-Orridge. 

The first night TG played at the Masonic temple, they offered to meet fans during intermission. The offer my friend had was last minute, and was not at all prepared. Wasn’t even aware about the meet and greet. All I could do was to take out my sketchbook. If memory serves me correctly, Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson and Cosey Fanni Tutti were extremely nice. They were all gracious, really, including Chris Carter and Genesis P-Orridge.

When hearing about Christopherson’s death a year later, the news came as a shock.

In 2011 or 2012, when I was back in college, I did a research paper on Christopherson for my ‘History of Graphic Design’ class. Prior to joining Throbbing Gristle, Sleazy was quite active in commercial art. He designed album covers for the legendary British design group Hipgnosis. Not only did he take photographs of The Sex Pistols during 1976, he later did design for SEX. That was the ‘Punk’ fashion boutique ran by Vivienne Westwood and Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren. He continued doing commercial work throughout his life, working with bands like Ministry. By the way, that paper landed me an A.

Of course, beyond TG, Sleazy was in an early form of Psychic TV and later Coil with partner John Balance.

Anyway, back to these signatures. One of these days, I should get this framed. Still can’t believe I was lucky to get such a memento. With that, it’s enough of this Throwback Thursday post. Onward to the present.

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