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RIP industrial music pioneer Genesis P-Orridge, dead at 70.

If you like your music hard, heavy, and clanky, then spare a moment on the passing of Genesis P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle and the person who invented industrial music.

P-Orridge (real name Neil Andrew Megson) was a musician, poet and Dada-inspired performance artist whose career extends all the way back to 1965. He’d/she’d been battling leukemia for the past while and finally died on Saturday (March 14) at the age of 70.

P-Orridge was originally from Manchester and had been using the pronouns s/he and h/er long before that became the norm in society. S/he proposed a new gender beyond just male and female, something he pursued with gusto together with partner Lay Jaye.

They didn’t mess around, either. In 1993, they announced something called the Pandrogeny Project. Each underwent various body modifications to make them more like each other so they could identify as a single pandrongynous person. That included P-Orridge getting breast implants. (Lady Jaye died in 2007 of heart issues.)

Throbbing Gristle came about in 1975. Shows were chaotic, shambolic affairs featuring material that ran the gamut from serial killers to sadism. Members cut themselves onstage. Audiences were attacked–and vice-versa. And the sex. Oh, the sexual explicitness of it all.

TG was so intense that P-Orridge’s house was raided by Scotland Yard on the suspicion that he was the leader of a satanic cult.

The invention of industrial music came about with TG’s 1977 debut album, The Second Annual Report which came with the slogan “Industrial music for industrial people.” It was a difficult listen at the time, but looking back, we can now see the straight line back to TG groups like Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and Ministry.

Other bands followed, including the very excellent Psychic TV. This was in rotation during the overnight hours in the old Spirit of Radio days at CFNY.

Read more here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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