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Eurythmics go krautrock (and the Throbbing Gristle connection)

When Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart left The Tourists to form Eurythmics in 1981, they traveled to Cologne to work with noted German producer Conny Plank on their first album, In the Garden. Some of the musicians involved were Can’s Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit (billed as “Les Vampyrettes”), DAF’s Robert Görl and Blondie’s Clem Burke. Karlheinz Stockhausen’s son Markus was also on the album. (Annie Lennox would record a lot of the vocals—eight tracks—for Robert Görl’s 1984 solo LP on Mute, Night Full of Tension.)

“Never Gonna Cry Again” was the first single, and in the duo’s first TV appearance as Eurythmics, they played it along with “Belinda,” the second single release. Neither song would hit, but they became famous worldwide with their next album, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) in early 1983. Lennox and Stewart were joined by Burke and Czukay—who looks like an absent-minded old guy who just wandered onstage to jam with his French horn—when they debuted on television’s The Old Grey Whistle Test (In the album’s credits, Czukay’s include “walking.”):

A second Eurythmics recording with some even more decidedly avant garde co-conspirators than most people might assume would be a fit, was the darkly pulsating “Sweet Surprise” single they recorded with former Throbbing Gristle members Chris and Cosey, recorded in 1982, but released on Rough Trade in 1985. Lennox and Stewart are not mentioned on the sleeve which shows a photo of Chris & Cosey beside two familiar-looking silhouettes with question marks. They are credited on the label, however.

A ‘sweet surprise’ after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
When half of Throbbing Gristle ended up on a UFO LP cover, making out pantsless

In 1975, the notable British buttrock band UFO released Force It, a barrage of boogie riffs and and double-entendre lyrics about fucking. As hesher-metal albums go, it was fairly interchangeable with a lot of the era’s hard rock, but its cover art has proven durable even as the band’s sound has aged. It’s a photograph depicting what could be read as a coercive sexual advance between a couple of indeterminate sex, one of whom is sans pants. Collaged into the photo are many, many faucets.

Faucet. Force it. You get it, ha ha, let’s move on.

The cover was designed by one of the era’s most distinctive and forward-thinking design studios, Hipgnosis. The firm consisted of designers Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell, and were responsible for singularly surreal album art for Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, and Led Zeppelin, among many, many other clients. Force It was hardly their only controversial work, but it ranked high on that score. The US version of the cover was censored, by making the aggressively embracing couple half transparent. The irony here is that the models for that cover were already known for works that made the Force It cover look kid-friendly. From Neil Daniels’ High Stakes & Dangerous Men: The UFO Story,:

The artwork was risky for the time and because of the amount of flesh on display was almost banned—well, it was the 1970s, a non-PC age, but also surprisingly prudish too. It was toned down for the USA release, where they were even more prudish. One point of interest, is that the gender of the couple remained a cause of debate amongst UFO fans, but the couple turned out to be Genesis P. Orridge [sic] and his then girlfriend Cosey Fanni Tutti.


Kissing and buttocks mercifully ghosted for delicate American sensibilities.

Many of this blog’s regular readers know that Genesis P-Orridge and Cosey Fanni Tutti were, at the time, the principals behind COUM Transmissions, an art group known for incredibly transgressive performances that included heavy doses of kink, up to and including unsimulated bleeding and vomiting, violence, and even live sex—so this “controversial” photo was actually one of the tamest things they’d ever done. The year after Force It, COUM would evolve into the pioneering industrial band Throbbing Gristle, and Throbbing Gristle included in its membership one Peter Christopherson, who in the mid ‘70s was an assistant at…Hipgnosis.

More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
We need some discipline in here: Throbbing Gristle live in San Francisco, 1981
04:27 pm


Throbbing Gristle
Mission of Dead Souls

It’s astonishing how much Throbbing Gristle can claim credit for. Apart from having pioneered and named the industrial music movement, their fingerprints are all over EDM, and there’s hardly a subgenre of noise music that doesn’t owe them a tribute. Really, TG were basically industrial and noise’s Beatles, Stones, and Who all in one, and in their five years of existence (the first time, that is—they reunited in the oughts for another go-‘round to collect their overdue accolades and disturb the peace anew) they explored musics and aesthetic strategies so extreme as to make punk look like a conservative movement.

In May of 1981, before they ended their first incarnation to split into Psychic TV and Chris & Cosey, Throbbing Gristle played a final and brutal show at the Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. There was a Raymond Pettibon flier, and SF’s notorious sludge progenitors Flipper were the openers. A good deal of documentia survives of the show— it was videotaped by Target Video, the audio was released on the LP Mission of Dead Souls, and the complete video was included in the 7-DVD set TGV.

The Target footage includes work like the excellent “Guts on the Floor” and “Vision and Voice,” neither of which turn up elsewhere in TG’s discography. Later on, it also features 20 Jazz Funk Greats’ “Persuasion,” and the intense piece that became a sort of signature for the band, “Discipline.” That song is loosely structured, and largely consists of noise improvised over a electronic pulse that mimics a martial rhythm, while singer Genesis P-Orridge chants “We need some discipline in here.” Some recorded versions of the song have lasted nearly a half hour. This one is about twelve minutes, but it’s truncated to three minutes on Mission.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Throbbing Gristle’s ‘24 Hours’: Extreme TG rarity for auction on eBay
10:22 am


Throbbing Gristle

A rare opportunity to snag an impressive trophy is in the offing for a lucky Throbbing Gristle fan with some spare cash to burn. A copy of the 1980 cassette box set 24 Hours is up for auction on eBay. The set was limited to 200 copies, each personalized to its buyer—this one was originally inscribed to a “Kevin Combs,” and the seller is located in Greece. 24 Hours consisted of 26 cassettes packaged in a customized attache case, and also included prints signed by the band. All but three of the tapes in the set currently available are live recordings, but the contents could vary from set to set:

Each set is personalized to the buyer and dated. Each copy is unique with hand-made collages on each of the primary (signed) information card. The sleeves for IRC A and IRC B (which were only available in this box set) were also hand made. Each set also came with three color-copied inserts (color copies were very expensive and rare in 1980 when these were made). One featured an informal shot of the band while another was a collage by G P-O of the proposed “Industrial Records HQ”. Copies also contained 2 full-sized b&w original photos: one a classic press shot and the other an informal image of the band being interviewed (by a small radio station in US).

Box sets often varied in contents between each other as they were supposed to contain the “most recent twenty four tapes” (quoted from the mail-order catalog). Thus early buyers (low numbered copies) would get tapes IRC2 to IRC25 while later buyers would get later tapes. The 1980/81 Industrial Records catalog stated that buyers would get IRC5 to IRC26 + IRC29/30/33 (note that IRC31 was by Clock DVA and and IRC32 was by Chris Carter hence not included in this set).

Note that IRC1, “Best Of ... Volume II”, was a collection of live and studio recordings, note there never was a Best Of ... Volume I until much later, which was (initially) a bootleg as IRC00.

Initially offered for £77 for the UK, £80 for Europe and £82 for the rest of the world. By the time of the 1980/81 mail order catalog, each set retailed for 88 UK pounds (for UK and Europe) or 99 UK pounds rest of the world (postage paid).






The last time a copy of this set changed hands through, the price was US $2,200. As of this posting, with four days left until closing, the price sits at under US $1,000. Best of luck. Should you get shut out, a CD version called TG24 was released in the early oughts, and it’s going for much more manageable resale prices.

I tried to find motion footage of any of the concerts contained in this particular version of the set, but had no luck. However, to my delight, I did turn up the 1980 Oundle School performance, itself once a VHS rarity, wherein TG played for an audience of schoolboys ranging in age from 8 to 16 who keep yelling “Show us your legs!” at Cosey!

Tip of the hat to Jack Smiley for bringing this to our attention

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Amusing Throbbing Gristle ‘dog whistle’ tee shirt
01:11 pm


Throbbing Gristle

I found this “covert” Throbbing Gristle tee shirt rather funny. But what I found funnier was its description on Read below:

In the good old days music was made like it was supposed to be: with anvils and hammers and slamming car doors. Now you’ve got all these kids with their Abletons and their Winamps who don’t know where they came from.

Help them out by sporting this tee to your local industrial night. You will get meaningful nods of admiration from your peers, and looks of puzzlement and fear from the youngsters.

This shirt is also a great way to smoke out recovering rivetheads on Casual Fridays. Imagine being able to replace tortured smalltalk about the weather with hour long inter-office chat debates about if their favourite band is really industrial.

The shirts are being sold for $25 a pop. It looks like (maybe I’m wrong here) there’s only 50 of them to sell. So far 14 have already been sold.

Below, a bOING bOING TV interview with Peter & Gen & Chris & Cosey shot in Los Angeles during 2009’s brief Throbbing Gristle tour of the US.

With thanks to Graham Duff!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
This 1977 David Bowie outtake sounds just like Throbbing Gristle
12:25 pm


David Bowie
Throbbing Gristle

Have a listen to this insane instrumental outtake from David Bowie’s Low which first appeared on Rykodisc’s Low CD reissue in 1991 and later on All Saints: Collected Instrumentals 1977-1999 an expanded version of a CD that Bowie gave out to friends for Christmas of 1993 (only 150 copies were produced, making it a highly sought after collectible). At the proper volume, this song can almost knock you off your feet.

Joe Stannard, writing at The Quietus describes it ably:

This track, from the Berlin recording sessions which produced Low, is almost indistinguishable from early Throbbing Gristle. Play it back-to-back with TG circa 1979 (as compiled on 1986’s CD1) and you’ll see what I mean. A gnarly squall of low-end electronic noise punctuated by sprite-like coils of treble, this track more than matches the original industrialists for uncompromisingly ugly beauty and offers a stark contrast to the far less visceral instrumental pieces which made the album’s final cut. In truth, Bowie’s decision to leave this piece off Low is understandable; it seems likely that the other tracks would have simply withered in its proximity. Bowie wouldn’t properly release anything as harsh as this until 1995’s flawed but fascinating reunion with Eno, Outside, by which time the term ‘industrial music’ meant something completely different.

Stannard’s observation about the wisdom of leaving the (I think) quite incredible “All Saints” off the track listing of Low is probably right on the money. Can you imagine what the mainstream rock press would have made of a song like this in 1977? Low was already considered to be an uncompromising and impenetrable album at the time, the inclusion of “All Saints” would have seen the critics questioning Bowie’s sanity.

And YES, it most certainly sounds just like Throbbing Gristle. I wonder if that’s an accident? In any case, if you want an amazing, vintage Bowie rarity to blow your doors off, turn this up super loud and let it wash all over you.

Bonus: Here’s another lesser-known Bowie number, recorded with Brian Eno and Tony Visconti for “Heroes.” The original name of this brooding, almost mid-period Can meets dubstep-sounding instrumental is unknown, but the title “Abdulmajid” is a tribute to his wife Iman (it’s her maiden name). Again, you can see why he left this off the album, but it’s stunning nonetheless.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Hear the 1978 sampling record championed by John Peel, Throbbing Gristle and Julian Cope

The second release on the tiny English label Waldo’s Records was a 45 credited to one “Nigel Simpkins.” The three songs on X. ENC. (1978), Simpkins’ only record, organized alien found-sound collages around a single, insistent drum loop. In the single’s fold-out liner notes, beneath numerous shots of the pseudonymous musician with his face obscured, a note from Waldo himself alluded darkly to the mystery man’s recent troubles in the music biz: “Nigel,” whoever he was, was forced to record incognito “to avoid 3 years of lawyer trouble he’d just left behind him, after leaving his previous band.”

Waldo was goofing. As it turned out, the man behind the shades was Martin “Cally” Callomon, a member of The Bears (see Waldo’s first release) and the Tea Set (see Waldo’s third release), who would soon manage the mighty Julian Cope and, later, the estate of Nick Drake. Cope remembers the impact of the Nigel Simpkins 45 in his second memoir, Repossessed:

[...] Cally Callomon had a punk pedigree, an experimental pedigree, a Krautrock pedigree, the lot. He knew his music because he had lived it. For fuck’s sake—this man was Nigel Simpkins.

Nigel Simpkins had released the first ever sampling record in 1978, to tremendous applause from the underground scene. ‘Time’s Encounter’ [the A-side of X. ENC.] had taken a drum demonstration record and added snippets of every hip record in the world to its Krautrock stew. Neu! Can, Stockhausen, SAHB, Amon Duul 2, Meryl Fankauser [sic], Dr. Z, Soeur Sourire, Metal Urbain, Doctors of Madness, Runaways, Residents, George Harrison’s Wonderwall Music, Pierre Henry, Charles Ives, Dashiell Hedayat’s Obsolete, Hymie Kangaroo Downstein’s classic Australian glam album Forgotten Starboy, it was all on that record, even Godley & Cream’s [sic] Consequences and the T. Dream freakout from Sci-Finance, where Lulu finds the guy’s head on the hot beach. The sleeve featured “Nigel” as a guy with Madcap Laughs-period Syd Barrett hair, wearing seven pairs of shades at the same time—it was an image that Robyn Hitchcock would copy a year or so later.

‘Time’s Encounter’ had sold truckloads and never been off the John Peel show, though Cally treated it as an inspired joke at best. What? Throbbing Gristle had cited it as one of the most forward-looking 45s of its time and everybody had run to cop some of its trip. Planks all, said Cally.

Admittedly, even after narrowing Cope’s list of sources down to those that actually existed, I can’t identify note one when I listen to X. ENC. However, I don’t listen to this 36-year-old disc to hear familiar samples—I listen to it because it resembles a crude field recording from a society that does not yet exist, and so sounds more futuristic to my ears than any EDM.

X. ENC. side A: “Times Encounter”

X. ENC. side B: “Scattered Strategies” and “Oblique References”

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Devil’s Gateway: Throbbing Gristle live in Manchester
10:57 pm


Throbbing Gristle

Cosey Fanni Tutti onstage at Rafters. Photo by Peter Bargh

About twelve years ago I was having a conversation with a rock snob pal of mine who opined that Throbbing Gristle was “noise… unlistenable shite.” As I normally respected his taste in music, I decided to to make him a mixed CD to prove that this wasn’t even close to being accurate (they made avant garde classical music for a barren, post-apocalyptic landscape, obviously!) I’ve listened to TG for over thirty years and I know that catalog better than most people. In fact, I even had a long-running argument with Genesis P-Orridge about a song he insisted didn’t exist called “Want You To Kill,” which I was ultimately able to prove did exist. I really do know the insides and outs of TG’s recorded output.

I based my TG mix on the notion explored by A Young Person’s Guide to King Crimson, in other words, a “primer” for a notoriously difficult to categorize band. Something to ease in new listeners who could have been scared off the group should they have picked up something like the live Mission of Dead Souls album first. Over the years there have been a lot of unofficial TG releases. If you don’t know what the good stuff is, it’s probably more of a crapshoot with them than with most groups. (There is one TG bootleg titled Kreeme Horn that Genesis told me was mostly just him and Chris Carter turning stuff on in their studio and letting it warm up and feed back on itself while a tape was running. For the record, I love that one!)

Convinced that this needed to be an actual product in the marketplace—call it a gateway drug—I suggested it to the members of the group. Ultimately they released The Taste of TG (subtitled “A Beginner’s Guide to the Music of Throbbing Gristle”) compilation, but the overlap with my picks was minimal.

A very sweet spot if you’re dipping a toe into Throbbing Gristle’s wall of noise is a live 1979 performance in Manchester released as “Live at The Factory” (and “Live at the Death Factory”) on bootlegs. Most of it is spread across volumes 3 & 4 of the live TG boxset released in 1993 as well. I think it’s the best start to finish TG concert. I’d even give it the edge over their Heathen Earth set. Everything that was astonishing about TG live comes together in this one show. They called their gigs “psychic rallies” and the Manchester show certainly was one. There’s an incredible “mind meld” going on here, as their shows were largely improvised.

“... the one in Manchester… It only happens once every six or seven. You suddenly hit it. It’s like a seance. It’s almost like you’ve been taken over or something’s coming through that’s nothing to do with you or the people there - and everyone can feel it, but you can’t describe it, and that’s why sometimes when it’s like that and people try and describe the gig to someone else they sort of talk about it like a kind of drug or a religious experience. The words they use are much more like that and they almost never talk about the music… because it isn’t music, it’s something else… It was very tribal and pagan, the whole feeling. Like one girl got hysterical… she just couldn’t handle it, and it was like one of those gospel meetings where the odd person goes over the top, you know… and that’s why we started calling them psychic rallies… it’s actually more accurate; a rally or a ceremony that we’re trying to generate a psychic event, and that’s why we deliberately changed it to say that we’re basically no longer affiliated with music in any way. Although we use sound in some musical pattern, our basic concern is a psychic one… and it will become more so, and that’s probably why I feel we’ll have to change the name. So that we can start again and become even more and more focused on that side of it without the history of TG to spoil it.”

Genesis P-Orridge, 1981


Genesis, looking just a little bit nuts, onstage at Rafters. Photo by Peter Bargh

Live at the Death Factory (side one): “Weapon Training,” “See You Are,” “Convincing People,” “Hamburger Lady”

Live at the Death Factory (side two): “His Arm Was Her Leg,” “What A Day,” “Persuasion,” “Five Knuckle Shuffle”
Manchester audiences seemed to inspire the group. Here’s a second astonishing TG set from Manchester, shot at the Rafters nightclub on December 4, 1980. The softness of the vérité VHS video lends the proceedings an impressionistic gloss. but the sound quality is quite a bit better than their shows that were supposedly recorded on cheap Sony cassette tapes. The voice you hear on tape at the beginning is Aleister Crowley’s, by the way.

Set list: “Illuminated 666,” “Betrayed Womb Of Corruption,” “Very Friendly,” “Something Come Over Me,” “Playground,” “Auschwitz,” “Devil’s Gateway”

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge visits ‘The Pharmacy’

Gregg Foreman’s radio program, The Pharmacy, is a music / talk show playing heavy soul, raw funk, 60′s psych, girl groups, Krautrock. French yé-yé, Hammond organ rituals, post-punk transmissions and “ghost on the highway” testimonials and interviews with the most interesting artists and music makers of our times…

This week cultural provocateur Genesis Breyer P-Orridge visits The Pharmacy…

—Genesis discusses William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin and the “Cut-Up”

—Brian Jones’ ghost visiting Psychic TV in the studio.

—The rise and fall of Throbbing Gristle.

—Gen’s relationship with Joy Division’s Ian Curtis and the unrealized plans the two had when Curtis died.


Mr. Pharmacy is a musician and DJ who has played for the likes of Pink Mountaintops, The Delta 72, The Black Ryder, The Meek and more. Since 2012 Gregg Foreman has been the musical director of Cat Power’s band. He started dj’ing 60s Soul and Mod 45’s in 1995 and has spun around the world. Gregg currently lives in Los Angeles, CA and divides his time between playing live music, producing records and dj’ing various clubs and parties from LA to Australia.

Mr.Pharmacist - The Fall
Who? - The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Three Girl Rhumba - Wire
Intro 1 / Party Machine - Rx / Bruce Haack
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge Interview Part One
William S. Burroughs on Brion Gysin, William S. Burroughs / Sun Ra
Just Like Arcadia - Psychic TV
Collapsing New People - Fad Gadget
Totally Wired - The Fall
Intro 2 / Computer Love - Kraftwerk / Rx
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge Interview Part Two
Adrenalin - Throbbing Gristle
Definitive Gaze - Magazine
Sensoria - Cabaret Voltaire
Intro 3 / Neuschnee - Rx / Neu!
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge Interview Part Three
Interzone - Joy Division
Just Out of Reach - The Zombies
Levitation - The 13th Floor Elevators
Intro 4 / Freedom Dub - Rx / Linval Thompson + the Revolutionaries
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge Interview Part Four
Brian Jones on Bad Publicity - Brian Jones
Godstar - Psychic TV
2000 Light Years from home
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge Interview Part Five
Intro 5 / Ravah - Rx / Mr.Pharmacist on Sitar
Mr.Pharmacist - The Other Half
Station ID - Genesis Breyer P-Orridge

You can download the entire show here.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Genesis Breyer P-Orridge,’ the life of a radical and uncompromising artist, in pictures

One Sunday morning, probably about fifteen years ago, I got a call from Genesis P-Orridge inviting me over to help him sort through his archives, which were then kept safely in a locked room in the basement of the Brooklyn brownstone Gen shared with his late wife, Lady Jaye (or Jackie as I knew her).

As one of the world’s most ardent Throbbing Gristle fans—I wouldn’t be the person I am today without Gen’s influence during my formative years—this was not an opportunity I was going to turn down. We sorted through art work (the tampon sculptures from the notorious “Prostitution” exhibit, for instance), press clippings, several boxes containing hundreds of different Psychic TV tee-shirt printings of which one example of each was kept, 16mm film canisters, photographs, letters from people like William S. Burroughs, items from the “Mail Art” movement, videotapes, albums, posters, cassettes, CDs and so forth. It was big fun for me and naturally I got a private sort of “gallery tour” with the artist, albeit in a moldy-smelling basement with washing machines and stuff, as we sorted through the boxes and cataloged what was in them.

At one point, the conversation turned to the recent so-called “Beat Auction” at Sotheby’s—we’d gone together—where the personal effects of Allen Ginsberg were sold to the highest bidder, as well as artifacts related to, or that once belonged to, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Harry Smith, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and others. The cataloging of his past seemed almost wearying to Genesis that afternoon, and his attitude seemed to be “Oh, who’s going to care about all this old stuff?

Whereas Genesis was not optimistic regarding the future value of his archive, I on the other hand, a book publisher, saw a potential goldmine from where I was standing. “Are you kidding me? Other than Patti Smith or Kenneth Anger [and Lawrence Ferlinghetti] you’re practically the last living link to the Beat Generation. Within no time at all, you’re going to be having museum retrospectives and people flying you all over the world to have you lecture. I can think of a gazillion ways to monetize the ephemera in this room. Books, documentaries, DVDs of these concert videos, CDs of the unreleased cassettes, all kinds of things. I mean, come on! The annuities that will support you in your dotage are in this room.

Gen, being Gen, took this in world-weary stride, but of course I was right. Just this summer The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh held a three-month long retrospective of Gen’s art. There’s Thee Psychick Bible anthology of Gen’s writings on magick. Now London-based First Third have published a beautiful new high quality monograph coffee table book retrospective of Gen’s life with the title Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, as Gen—who these days prefers the feminine gender assignation “she”—has re-dubbed herself in honor of her late wife, Jackie Breyer.

Photo: Marti Wilkerson

There are two variants on the Genesis Breyer P-Orridge publication, a numbered “standard edition” limited to 990 copies worldwide and a “deluxe edition” of 333 signed books with a linen bound Japanese-inspired presentation box with a cut-out PTV logo and several other extras including an art catalog, three 45rpm records and a 51cm square poster of the erotic Polaroids taken by Gen and Lady Jaye (“not for the easily-shocked” according to the press materials.)

First Third‘s publications are slick, beautiful, heavy objects that look rather fetching on a coffee table. (I reviewed their—excellent—book of Sheila Rock’s punk era photographs here). They were kind enough to send me a review copy of the standard edition of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and as a longtime fan—forget that we’re pals—I must say that it’s quite a superb volume, offering a highly intimate glimpse into the public and private life of one of the most uncompromising artists of the past one hundred years, if not ever. (How many artists can YOU name who can boast of a worldwide occult network/cult? The entire idea of a cult band (Psychic TV) with an actual cult of followers (Thee Temple of Psychic Youth) is one of the greatest prolonged performance art pieces—one that scared the piss out of the British establishment, of course—ever in history. One day there will be serious sociological books and PhD dissertations written on the topic, mark my words.)

Photo: Sheila Rock

To be clear, this is not a cataloging of the life and work of Genesis P-Orridge, just the life part (the work slips in, too, in context, but it’s not the point). Genesis Breyer P-Orridge is an idiosyncratically themed, nearly purely visual autobiography—there is a very good interview by Mark Paytress that I wish I could read more of, but nearly all of the book’s 323 pages are devoted to photographs.

I’ve seen some of these shots before, but many of them are new to me, and they’re often quite illuminating or revelatory. Contradicting what I wrote above, seeing these photographs arranged in this way—there’s a definite art to it—the lifelong modus operandi of P-Orridge the artist, the man and now the woman, becomes much, much clearer. From the hippie gross-out performance art of COUM Transmissions through Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, Gen’s influence on the piercing, body art and tattooing subcultures, to the elaborate plastic surgery of the Gilbert & George meet Orlan pandrogeny experiment with Lady Jaye, a very definite narrative emerges. The reader (more the beholder, I suppose) also gets more than an eyeful of Breyer P-Orridge’s sex magick rituals, which are interesting, to say the least.

Some of the shots are just priceless. I love the ones of Gen as an incredibly mischievous looking kid and the one of him with FRANK ZAPPA. I’ve never seen someone—especially someone as loquacious as Genesis is—express themselves or “write” their autobiography so successfully in scrapbook form like this. It’s a unique and interesting publishing experiment on so many levels. (It’s also interesting to see who is pointedly missing from the book, but I’m not about to step into that one.)

My guesstimate of the potential worldwide buyers for Genesis Breyer P-Orridge is about 6000 people, but there are just 1323 copies. This book could make a boffo (certainly unexpected) Christmas present for “a certain person” on your list, or if you’re that certain person yourself, don’t snooze and lose because once these are sold, they’re gone.

You can order Genesis Breyer P-Orridge at

Below, the mesmerizing and beautifully evil long version of Cerith Wyn Evans’ video for Psychic TV’s “Unclean.”

A 2009 interview that I conducted with Genesis upon the publication of Thee Psychick Bible. Part 2 is here.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Throbbing Gristle’s Chris & Cosey announce first American shows since 1991

Exciting news—well, if you happen to be in the right two cities—this just in from Carter-Tutti‘s manager Paul Smith…

In addition to PS1/MoMA‘s invitation to have them to take part in the museum’s celebrations for the first ever Mike Kelley retrospective exhibition, where they will exclusively perform live an enhanced remix, of the X-TG Desertshore album tracks at the VW Dome venue at PS1 on Sunday 5th January 2014. The event is dedicated to the memory of both Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson & Mike Kelley.

Chris & Cosey will also appear live on WFMU for Dan Bodah’s Airborne Event show on January 6th at 9pm and in Chicago at the Metro Club on January 9th where they will revisit their 1980’s “techno-noir” material as “Carter Tutti plays Chris & Cosey”

They return to New York on the 11th for “Carter Tutti plays Chris & Cosey” at Santos Party House

To be clear, the two NYC gigs will be very different. At the Mike Kelley exhibit, they’ll be performing and remixing the X-TG tribute to Nico’s Desertshore album, while at the show on the 11th at Santos House Party, they’ll be playing their own material.

Tickets are on sale now and are only $20 each. There will also be an exclusive limited tour CD available at the shows.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘In the Shadow of the Sun’: A film collaboration between Derek Jarman and Throbbing Gristle


‘Hello Derek.’
‘Hello. I’m writing in my diary about James Anderton. What a ghastly man.’
‘He’s saying we’re living in a cesspit of our making. I mean, how absurd. What a horrid little man. How the supposed Chief Constable of Manchester can say such vile things. It just makes me more determined, you know what I mean? I want to make a film about it.’

Film was personal and political for Jarman. While most most cinema during the 1980s was vacuous, empty, full of sound and fury, Jarman made films that were infused with his life, his thoughts, his passions, his politics—even the biopic Caravaggio mixed-in elements from his life to that of the Renaissance artist.

Jarman was a painter who made movies.


In the Shadow of the Sun is an extraordinary collaboration between Derek Jarman and Throbbring Gristle. It is a more personal work for Jarman, which mixes elements from 3 of Jarman’s Super-8 movies: Journey to Avebury (1971), Tarot (aka The Magician) (1972) and Fire Island (1974), into a dream-like film, filled with magick and ritual, which Throbbing Gristle’s music matches perfectly.

In the Shadow of the Sun was premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 1980. It contains many of Jarman’s favorite leitmotifs—mirrors, fires, dance—which he returned to again in the more political, The Last of England


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An incredible video of Throbbing Gristle: Recording their album ‘Heathen Earth’

An incredible video of Throbbing Gristle recording their album Heathen Earth in one take, on a Saturday night between 20.10 and 21.00 hours, on February 16th 1980. The album was recorded in front of a small audience of friends and associates, at the Industrial Records studios, and was filmed by Monte Cazazza on a single camera, with “certain visual information” included by TG.

“The soundtrack of this tape was taken independant of the 8-track audio master recording and it remains ‘live’ and unremixed and consequently differs from the album in some places. Like the TG sound itself, the quality and content of this recording cannot and should not be compared with conventional commercial recordings…”

Tracklisting: as provided by Genesis P-Orridge:

01. “Cornets” (that’s all we ever called it on gig sheets etc, boring hey!)

02. “The Old Man Smiled” (this is a song I wrote. Originally I was messing about on my own in the Death Factory, at Martello St. I got a rhythm I liked on my COMPURYTHM drumachine. Then a fuzzed lead bass guitar sound. So I recorded it. Maybe 15 minutes or so. One section made it onto 20 Jazz Funk Greats as “Six Six Sixties” I believe. But I always wanted a longer version. So after I came up with a story telling lyric primarily about William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin in Tangiers and their stories of Captain Clark, boys etc I decided to do the NEW song on Heathen Earth. We did it live a couple of times too. At Oundle School for eg.) For Heathen Earth we used my original cassette as the basic track.

03. “After Cease To Exist” (yes, a new version for Heathen Earth)

04. “The World Is A War Film”

05. “Dreamachine” (Brion Gysin LOVED this track. Said it was best music, equal with The Master Musicians Of Jajouka to use his dreamachine. The rhythm had already existed (one of Chris Carter’s gems). So I always think happy thoughts of Brion, Bachir Attar and others listening with eyes closed in Paris at his apartment opposite the Beaubourg Museum in Rue St Martin. Ah, happy daze.)

06. “Still Walking” (A permutation of ‘meaningless’ phrases cooked up by myself and Sleazy, that were repeated over and over as the musics rythm gave shape to the shapeless. Chris and Cosey were shy of vocals at that time. It was partly a formula to get them to begin using their voices that I suggested based on Gysin’s theories and my own experiences of gaining confidence with microphones simply by using them.)

07. “Don’t Do As You’re Told, Do As You Think” (To be honest I think this is the weakest vocal track and lyric. Someone, a journalist or Sleazy or both suggested we should have a “positive” message! Ugh! Certainly Sleazy persuaded me to try and this is the resultant track. I still find it embarassing and wish I’d never listened to him. It would have been better as an instrumental. Ah well…)

08. “Painless Childbirth” (Named after a 10 inch vinyl album I found in a junk shop from which the voice was stolen.)

A great video of a brilliant performance by an excellent band.


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The fabulous BMX Bandits: Interview & performance of ‘(You Gotta) Fight For the Right (To Party!)’

A handsome young Duglas T Stewart of BMX Bandits gave this brief tour of his favorite things for 1980s pop show FSd. Amongst the items on display in Duglas’ den were: a fan’s portrait made from sticky-back plastic, records by Village People, The Beach Boys and Throbbing Gristle (nuff said?), and his plastic fish tank. This will go in some way to explaining why BMX Bandits are one of the most beloved, beautiful and inspiring bands of all time. As has been said by others in the documentary film Serious Drugs, BMX Bandits’ music is like being hugged by all the people you love, all at the same time. Pretty heart-warming.

Duglas’s piece to camera segues into a quick clip of Wray Gunn and the Rockets, featuring a very young Keith Warwick, now with The New Piccadillys, before we return to Duglas and BMX Bandits performing a subversively delightful version of “(You Gotta) Fight For the Right (To Party!)”

Serious Drugs - The Film about BMX Bandits is to be shown at the Portobello Film Festival, in London on 7 September 2012, check here for details.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

The New Piccadillys: If The Beatles played Punk


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South Park Throbbing Gristle
10:35 pm


Throbbing Gristle
South Park
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