Psychic TVSecond-Generation Industrial Psych
Genesis P-Orridge's second act.
When Throbbing Gristle split up in 1981, frontman Genesis P-Orridge and multi-instrumentalist Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson joined longtime friend Alex Fergusson (formerly of second-wave UK punks Alternative TV) to form an ever-mutable project called Psychic TV. In the ensuing decades, P-Orridge remained the group's sole constant, with Chrisptopher leaving in 1982 to form the noise-dance duo Coil and Fergusson bowing out around 1988. Less confrontational than Throbbing Gristle but capable of an even more cacophonous row when they felt like it, Psychic TV also introduced (largely courtesy of Fergusson) a knack for psychedelic pop singles like 1985's shimmering "Godstar," an elegy for Brian Jones that became the band's best-known tune. That same year, the group began what was to be a series of 23 live albums, released on the 23rd of each month, P-Orridge and Fergusson being fans of Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminatus! trilogy, in which that number figures prominently. (The series petered out around the same time Fergusson left the band.) Later in the decade, Psychic TV traded acid rock for acid house, releasing several putative compilations of acid house tracks under various false band names, but by that time, the group had lost both is shock value and more importantly, its musical focus. Nevertheless, P-Orridge continued to use the Psychic TV name and various forms of its self-invented mythology off and on through the 1990s and 2000s, often with his late wife Lady Jaye Breyer as his primary collaborator.