After a two and a half year battle with leukemia, the world bids adieu to legendary industrial pioneer Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. Performance artist, eccentric, avant-garde musician, provocateur, and truly unique human, P-Orridge was best known for h/er influential work in the industrial music genre, and was often referred to as the “Godparent of Industrial Music.”
Dais Label released this statement:
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
Born 1950 in Manchester and raised in Essex, P-Orridge, né Neil Andrew Megson, developed interest in occultism, avant-garde art, and music during h/er adolescence at Solihull School. S/he dropped out of the University of Hull to join a London commune, departing after three months to found improvisational art/music collective COUM Transmissions, and changing h/er name to Genesis P-Orridge. The group quickly gained notoriety for outrageous music and visuals highlighting serial killers, sex workers, Nazi concentration camps and pornography. S/he formed Throbbing Gristle alongside Chris Carter, Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson, and Cosey Fanni Tutti towards COUM’s end.
Chris Carter, and Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson later joined the troupe, forming Throbbing Gristle in September 1975. Throbbing Gristle first disbanded in 1981. P-Orridge was accused in a 2017 autobiography of physical and emotional abuse by Cosey Fanni Tutti during their time in Throbbing Gristle. Despite the damning accusations, P-Orridge remained dismissive, telling the New York Times “Whatever sells a book sells a book.”
After Gristle’s first disbanding in 1981, P-Orridge and Scottish musician Alex Fergusson formed Psychic TV. The duo published a monthly series of live albums beginning in 1986, landing them a Guinness Book of World Records honor for most records released in one year. This occurred after the band attempted to release 23 live albums on the 23rd day of 23 consecutive months.
The acid-house-inspired band collaborated with a wide range of artists including Current 93, the Cult, Andrew Weatherall, and many more. Their most influential works were 1984’s Pagan Day and 1988’s Allegory and Self. The group underwent many changes over the years but kept performing until recently.
P-Orridge 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. The two had previously embarked on a years-long pursuit of “pandrogyny”, undergoing plastic surgery procedures to become identical gender-neutral human beings. In October 2007, Breyer, suffering from stomach cancer, suddenly collapsed and died in P-Orridge’s arms from an undiagnosed heart condition.
P-Orridge was quite frank and public about h/er leukemia, and documented the illness on h/er Instagram. P-Orridge acknowledged what was coming, telling interviewer 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.”