|Genesis Breyer P-Orridge|
P-Orridge in 2007
|Birth name||Neil Andrew Megson|
|Also known as||DJ Doktor Megatrip, Megs'on, P. Ornot, PT001, Vernon Castle|
|Born||22 February 1950|
|Associated acts||COUM Transmissions
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (born Neil Andrew Megson 22 February 1950) is an English singer-songwriter, musician, writer and artist. His early confrontational performance work in COUM Transmissions in the late 1960s and early 1970s along with the industrial band Throbbing Gristle, which dealt with subjects such as prostitution, pornography, serial killers, occultism and his own exploration of gender issues, generated controversy. Later musical work with Psychic TV received wider exposure, including some chart-topping singles. P-Orridge is credited on over 200 releases.
He has two daughters, Caresse and Genesse, with his former wife, Paula P-Orridge (née Alaura O'Dell).
P-Orridge is now represented by the New York gallery, Invisible-Exports.
Neil Megson was born in Victoria Park, Longsight, Manchester. His parents were involved in theatre and music. His father, Ron, was a Jazz musician who liked bebop and Nat King Cole. A photograph of Neil, age five, appears on the cover of the album A Hollow Cost.
In 1968, while attending Hull University, Neil subsumed himself into the character of Genesis P-Orridge. He used the name for his first pressed recording, "Early Worm" in 1968 (of which only one copy was pressed), and legally changed his name in 1971. The follow-up to this album of improvisation on homemade instruments, "Catching the Bird" was never released.
At this point, the Megson family was living in Solihull, a prosperous town near Birmingham. The attic of the house on Links Drive was not only P-Orridge's den but his first sound studio, where "Early Worm" was recorded.
According to Genesis P-Orridge, Deroy Sound, the lab where "Early Worm" was pressed, also pressed speeches of Adolf Hitler for serial killer Ian Brady, recorded from radio and television by Brady. The Throbbing Gristle song Very Friendly is about Brady and his partner-in-crime Myra Hindley.
The cover of "Early Worm" features handwritten quotes by John Cage, his book Silence being a source of inspiration for Genesis P-Orridge.
In April 2008, American record label Dais Records released "Thee Early Worm" LP for the first time ever in a limited pressing of 500 copies, digitally transferred from the original tape and mastered for vinyl, with liner notes written by Genesis P-Orridge.
In 1971, P-Orridge met William S. Burroughs after a brief correspondence. One of the most significant outcomes of these exchanges was Burroughs' introduction of P-Orridge to Brion Gysin. Gysin would become a major influence upon P-Orridge's ideas and works and was his primary tutor in magic. (P-Orridge, 2003)
P-Orridge dropped out of the University of Hull in 1969 and joined Exploding Galaxy, a commune in London's Islington Park Street. Members abandoned all normal modes of living, all notions of privacy, and Britain's class structure. Discipline was expected and costumes were the norm, as was role-playing and a rejection of all forms of social convention.
He returned to Hull and formed a prankster collective which eventually included Cosey Fanni Tutti. Tutti and P-Orridge became the focus of COUM events and transformed COUM from a music and theatre operation into more of a performance art group with a focus on sex, taboos, and the paranormal. In 1973 they were joined by Hipgnosis' Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson.
Tutti worked as a secretary, stripper, and pornographic and erotic model. The now infamous "Prostitution" show, in 1976 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London included on display Tutti's pornographic images from magazines as well as erotic nude photographs. The show featured a stripper, used Tampax in glass, and transvestite guards. Prostitutes, punks, people in costumes, and general curiosities were hired to mingle with the gallery audience.
The show caused debate in Parliament about the public funding of such events. In the House of Commons, Scottish Conservative MP Sir Nicholas Fairbairn demanded an explanation from Arts Minister Harold Lever and proclaimed P-Orridge and Tutti as "wreckers of civilisation". Fleet Street was not slow to pick up the story. The reviews were cut up, framed and put on display for the remainder of the exhibition. This was also reported in newspapers, so cut-ups about the cut-ups were also put on display.
COUM had always been a confrontational enterprise, one example of this being the Nazi-influenced visual element. Toward the end of COUM, performances would often consist of only P-Orridge, Cosey and Sleazy, the core group who went on to form Throbbing Gristle.
The first Throbbing Gristle performance was at the Air Gallery in London on 6 July 1976. The band performed in one room with the music "appearing" in an adjacent room. Peter worked in special effects and provided the performers with simulated scars; meanwhile, Chris actually used a razor to slash himself.
At that point Throbbing Gristle headquarters was 10 Martello Street, Hackney, East London, an address of an anti-West End artist collective. P-Orridge and Tutti's living and work space was the mailing address of Industrial Records. The IR logo was a faded, high-contrast black-and-white photograph of Auschwitz's main ovens. The final Throbbing Gristle single was "Discipline".
The final IR release was called Nothing Here but the Recordings, a best-of album taken from the archives of William S. Burroughs, who had allowed P-Orridge and Sleazy access to his reel-to-reel tape archive.
Psychic TV was formed in 1981, after Alex Fergusson of Alternative TV had encouraged P-Orridge to start something new. The musical collaboration between the two goes back to the very first ATV line-up, which included Genesis as drummer. According to the official P-Orridge and Voiceprint websites, the name was Fergusson's idea, with the "psychic" part representing P-Orridge and the "TV" part representing Fergusson. "Just Drifting" was the first PTV song, based on a poem by P-Orridge.
Psychic TV made its debut in 1982 at an event organized by P-Orridge, David Dawson, and Roger Ely, called The Final Academy. It was a 4-day multimedia celebratory rally held in Manchester and at the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton, South London. It brought performers and audience together with literature, performance, film and music. PTV, Cabaret Voltaire, 23 Skidoo, Z'EV, John Giorno, William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Terry Wilson, Jeff Nuttall, and The Last Few Days participated to honor the cut-up techniques and theories of William S. Burroughs, Ian Sommerville, Anthony Balch and Gysin. Video projection and early sampling were used here, as well as whispered utterances by P-Orridge reprocessed as a soundtrack to Gysin's Dreammachine by the Hafler Trio.
Force the Hand of Chance, Dreams Less Sweet, Allegory and Self, and Trip/Reset are considered by P-Orridge, in an interview with Sonic Envelope, to be the fully-realized PTV albums -- "metaphorical and very, very considered and carefully constructed meticulous albums."
Earning an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records for most records released in a year by a musical group, Psychic TV set about, in the mid-eighties, to release 23 live albums on the 23rd of each month for 23 months in recognition of the 23 enigma. The liner notes to each of these releases functioned somewhat like mini-manifestos in the tradition of the Situationist International or William S. Burroughs' Electronic Revolution in addition to recounting aspects of the recordings contained therein. For example, the fourth album in this series, Live In Reykjavík, featuring part of a ritual from Godhi Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson includes liner notes that refer to Christianity as "sham X-tianity," in reclamation of a Pagan heritage via an Ásatrú marriage, over which Beinteinsson presided, below a statue of Thor in "thee wilderness".
Psychic TV returned to the stage in 2003, with a concert in New York under the guise of PTV3 and was accompanied by (with the exception of Genesis) an all new line-up. In September 2004, an extensive tour of Europe (covering 16 countries) and North America was launched. 2005 saw the band return to the studio, recording their first album in over 10 years (Genesis also spent 2005 working with Throbbing Gristle on what would be their first album in over 25 years).
In January 2006, the new PTV album was announced on his website. Hell is Invisible... Heaven is Her/e was recorded in NYC and features Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and Gibby Haynes (Butthole Surfers) guesting on some tracks. Genesis describes it as "The Dark Side of the Moon for the 21st century". To inaugurate the release of Hell is Invisible... Heaven is Her/e, PTV3 hosted a five night residency in September 2006 at Galapagos Art Space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. On August the 17th a new album was announced, "Mr. Alien Brain Vs. The Skinwalkers" will be released by Cargo/Sweet Nothing Records on 20 October 2008.
Genesis relocated to Brooklyn, New York City with his second wife, Lady Jaye, née Jacqueline Breyer, and began an ongoing experiment in body modification aimed at creating one pandrogynous being named "Genesis Breyer P-Orridge". Genesis P-Orridge received breast implants and began referring to himself as s/he. A book of GP-O writings, poems and observations, called Ooh, You Are Awful... But I Like You!, was published in Nepal.
In the mid-1990s, GP-O collaborated with different people in music, including Pigface, Skinny Puppy, and Download. GP-O also performed with Nik Turner and a reinvention of Hawkwind, a band with whom he'd shared bills in the early 1970s.
In June 1998, GP-O won a $1.5 million lawsuit against producer Rick Rubin and his American Recordings label for injuries he sustained while trying to escape a fire at Rubin's home in April 1995. According to P-Orridge's attorney, David D. Stein, P-Orridge was staying at Rubin's home as a guest of Love and Rockets when the fire broke out. P-Orridge tried to escape the house by crawling through a second-story window and fell onto concrete stairs. P-Orridge suffered a broken wrist, broken ribs and a pulmonary embolism, as well as a shattered left elbow that will prevent him from playing guitar or keyboards, according to Stein. The jury found that the liability for the fire rested with Rubin and American Recordings and awarded P-Orridge $1,572,000 for his injuries.
In 1999, Genesis performed with the briefly reunited late 1980s' version of Psychic TV for an event at London's Royal Festival Hall, called Time's Up. This is also the title of the first CD by Thee Majesty, Genesis' spoken word project with noise guitarist Bryin Dall. The MC for the event, via pre-recorded video, was Quentin Crisp. A DVD was made of this event, which included the Master Musicians of Jajouka, Question Mark & the Mysterians, Billy Childish, and Thee Headcoats.
The aforementioned Thee Majesty CD Time's Up was released by The Order of the Suffering Clown via World Serpent Distribution. Jaqueline Megson is credited as providing Point Of View, Bryin Dall for Frequency Of Truth and Genesis as Divination Of Word.
In December 2003, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, calling himself Djinn, unveiled PTV3, a new act drawing upon the early "Hyperdelic" work of Psychic TV with media theorist Douglas Rushkoff among its members. On 16 May 2004 all four former members of Throbbing Gristle performed at the London Astoria for the first time in 23 years.
Genesis P-Orridge appears in the 1998 film and 2000 book versions of Modulations, in the 1999 film Better Living Through Circuitry, in the 2004 film DiG!, the 2006 documentary Monks: The Transatlantic Feedback, and in Nik Sheehan's 2007 feature documentary on the Dreamachine entitled 'FLicKeR'.
On 11 October 2007, it was announced that Lady Jaye had died. This message was posted on the official Genesis P-Orridge website:
"Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and her reactivated Psychic TV aka PTV3 are terribly sad to announce the cancellation of their November North American tour dates. This decision is entirely due to the unexpected passing of band member Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge. Lady Jaye died suddenly on Tuesday 9 October 2007 at home in Brooklyn, New York from a previously undiagnosed heart condition which is thought to have been connected with her long-term battle with stomach cancer. Lady Jaye collapsed and died in the arms of her heartbroken "other half" Genesis Breyer P-Orridge."
Psychic TV's current incarnation, PTV3, has recently released the new CD/DVD set, Mr. Alien Brain vs. The Skinwalkers. The album, which was released on 9 December 2008, was the first full length release since the death of Genesis' "other half," Jaye Breyer (best known as Lady Jaye), due to heart failure. The two had previously embarked on a years-long pursuit of pandrogyny, undergoing painful plastic surgery procedures in order to become gender-neutral human beings that looked like each other.
We started out, because we were so crazy in love, just wanting to eat each other up, to become each other and become one. And as we did that, we started to see that it was affecting us in ways that we didn't expect. Really, we were just two parts of one whole; the pandrogyne was the whole and we were each other's other half. 
On 04 November 2009, it was announced that Genesis Breyer P-Orridge is retiring from touring in any and all bands including Throbbing Gristle & Psychic TV to concentrate on art, writing and music.