Photo by Paul Heartfield

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, the British musician, poet, performance artist, occultist and avant garde avatar who co-founded pioneering industrial act Throbbing Gristle as well as Psychic TV, died Saturday after battling leukemia for 2½ years, the Dais Records label announced.

P-Orridge was 70 years old.

The label shared a statement from P-Orridge’s daughters Careese and Genesse:

Dear friends, family and loving supporters,

It is with very heavy hearts that we announce thee passing of our beloved father, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. S/he had been battling leukemia for two and a half years and dropped he/r body early this morning, Saturday March 14th, 2020. S/he will be laid to rest with h/er other half, Jaqueline “Lady Jaye” Breyer who left us in 2007, where they will be re-united. Thank you for your love and support and for respecting our privacy as we are grieving.

Caresse & Genesse P-Orridge
#s/heisher/eforever

Born in Manchester in 1950, Neil Andrew Megson adopted the Genesis P-Orridge name after leaving university and moving to London. P-Orridge founded the avant garde art and music troup COUM Transmissions with Cosey Fanni Tutti, garnering outraged headlines for dealing with subjects such as serial killers, pornography and occultism.

Out of that troupe grew Throbbing Gristle, featuring P-Orridge, Fanni Tutti, Chris Carter and the late Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson. The hugely influential group traded in noise and disturbing visuals, and were active from 1975 to 1981 and again from 2004 to 2010. After the initial break-up, P-Orridge co-founded experimental rock act Psychic TV with Christopherson.

The always provocative P-Orridge told the New York Times in 2018:

“We know that Neil Andrew Megson decided to create an artist, Genesis P-Orridge, and insert it into the culture. Some people take their lives and turn them into the equivalent of a work of art. So we invented Genesis, but Gen forgot Neil, really. Does that person still exist somewhere, or did Genesis gobble him up? We don’t know the answer. But thank you, Neil.”

Long a body manipulator, P-Orridge began undergoing gender reassignment surgery in the mid-2000s and, according to a 2019 interview in the Los Angeles Times, preferred gender-neutral pronouns in part because of “a desire to include into conversations the voice of their longtime creative and romantic partner Jacqueline ‘Lady Jaye’ Breyer, who in 2007 collapsed and died in her partner’s arms.”

No stranger to controversy, P-Orridge was accused by Fanni Tutti in a 2017 autobiography of physical and emotional abuse when they were lovers and bandmates in Throbbing Gristle in the ’70s. The allegations were numerous, detailed and very serious, but dismissed by P-Orridge in the New York Times as, “Whatever sells a book sells a book.”

P-Orridge’s illness was quite public, thanks to detailed Instagram accounts. In that L.A. Times interview last October, P-Orridge acknowledged what was coming, telling Randall Roberts, “I’m going to try and last just as long as I can. As the doctors keep saying — and I love it when they tell me this — they say ‘You’re complicated.’ At which point I burst out laughing and say yes, that’s been told to me before.”

 

 

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It is with great sadness we announce the passing of our friend, great influence and beloved artist and legend Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. The following message is from Caresse and Genesse P-Orridge: Dear friends, family and loving supporters, It is with very heavy hearts that we announce thee passing of our beloved father, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. S/he had been battling leukemia for two and a half years and dropped he/r body early this morning, Saturday March 14th, 2020. S/he will be laid to rest with h/er other half, Jaqueline “Lady Jaye” Breyer who left us in 2007, where they will be re-united. Thank you for your love and support and for respecting our privacy as we are grieving. Caresse & Genesse P-Orridge #s/heisher/eforever

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