Throbbing Gristle In-depth Biography
Abrasive, aggressive, and antagonistic, Britain's Throbbing Gristle} pioneered industrial} music; exploring death, mutilation, fascism, and degradation amid a thunderous cacophony of mechanical noise, tape loops, extremist anti-melodies, and bludgeoning beats, the group's cultural terrorism -- the "wreckers of civilization," one tabloid called them -- raised the stakes of artistic confrontation to new heights, combating all notions of commerciality and good taste with a maniacal fervor.
Formed in London in the autumn of 1975, Throbbing Gristle} consisted of vocalist/ringleader Genesis P-Orridge}, his then-lover, guitarist Cosey Fanni Tutti}, tape manipulator Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson}, and keyboardist Chris Carter}. A performance art troupe as much as a band, their early live shows -- each starting with a punch clock and running exactly 60 minutes before the power to the stage was cut -- threatened obscenity laws; during their notorious premiere gig, P-Orridge} even mounted an art exhibit consisting entirely of used tampons and soiled diapers.
Upon forming their own label, Industrial}, the group issued their introductory release, The Best of Throbbing Gristle, Vol. 2}, in 1976. A full-length debut, The Second Annual Report of Throbbing Gristle}, followed in 1977, in a pressing of only 500 copies; bowing to fan demand, the record was later reissued -- cut from a master tape played backward. The 1977 underground hit "United"} marked a tiny step toward accessibility, thanks to the inclusion of a discernible rhythm. Typically, when the track reappeared on 1978's D.O.A: The Third and Final Report}, it was sped up to last all of 17 seconds; no less provocative was "Hamburger Lady"} (inspired by the story of a burn-unit victim) or "Death Threats"} (a compilation of murderous messages left on the group's answering machine).
20 Jazz Funk Greats}, a harsh electro}-pop} outing, followed a year later, and after 1980's live-in-the-studio Heathen Earth}, Throbbing Gristle} called it quits. P-Orridge} and Christopherson} soon formed Psychic TV} (though Christopherson} split again to form Coil}), while the remaining duo continued on as Chris & Cosey}. As Throbbing Gristle}'s influence swelled, a seemingly endless series of posthumous releases followed, most of them taken from live dates; among the more notable were 1981's 24 Hours of Throbbing Gristle}, 1983's Once Upon a Time (Live at the Lyceum)}, and 1986's TG CD 1}. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide