Though much of his career has been centered on recordings and concerts, music seems tangential to Genesis P-Orridge’s mission. For more than twenty-five years, he has asked us to reconsider what exactly makes our modern life any more civilized than what came before. And despite having been listed as one of England’s “undesirables,” his work, in all its varied manifestations, has consistently proposed a more dignified way of living.
In 1975, after several years of touring with a performance art group called Coum Transmissions — who made their final appearance in the riotous “Prostitution” show at London’s ICA — Genesis and his co-conspirators reconvened in their East End studio to establish the band Throbbing Gristle. And so began a five year intervention into popular music. While most of the punk bands around them were shouting over stripped-down one-chord rock and roll, TG responded to post-industrial England with nothing less than industrial music.