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"Industrial culture? There has been a phenomena; I don't know whether it's strong enough to be a culture. I do think what we did has had a reverberation right around the world and back."—Genesis P-Orridge
Widely recognized as the Ur Example of the genre, Throbbing Gristle was an avant-garde Industrial band from England, originally active from 1975 to 1981. They reunited in 2004, only to disband again in 2010 after the death of Peter Christopherson. Though they are oft overlooked these days, the group was notorious in the 70s for their transgressive, gruesome live shows and extremely dark lyrical content, which covered (among other things) serial killers, cynical political/social commentary, and feelings of angry helplessness that followed the 1960s; this effectively set the tone for future industrial bands, whose subject matter rarely strayed far from these themes. They also founded Industrial Records, the label which gave the Industrial genre its name, and published many of its earlier exponents.
Band members included:
- Genesis P-Orridge (bass, violin, vocals, vibraphone)
- Cosey Fanni Tutti (guitars, cornet, vocals)
- Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson (tapes, found sounds, horns, vibraphone, synthesizer; also a member of the Hipgnosis studio; also also one half of the duo Coil)
- Chris Carter (synthesizers, tapes, electronics)
This band provides examples of the following tropes:
- Artist Disillusionment: Genesis P-Orridge as the band gained critical recognition.
- Author Existence Failure: Peter Christopherson died in his sleep on November 24, 2010, pretty much putting a end to the band for good.
- Black Comedy / Dead Baby Comedy: "We Hate You (Little Girls)", anyone?
- Careful with That Axe: P-Orridge dips into this very, very frequently.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: "Something Came Over Me".
- Disobey This Message: Invoked and Deconstructed with "Don't Do As You're Told, Do As You Think" and, more subtly, "Convincing People".
- Doing It for the Art: .
- Gorn: "Slug Bait" and "Very Friendly"
- Hermaphrodite: Genesis became one by choice as part of an unrelated project.
- Industrial: The Trope Codifier and arguable Trope Maker. In any case, their record label was the Trope Namer.
- Intentionally Awkward Title: "Throbbing gristle" was an old regional slang term for an erection.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Much of TG's earliest cassette material is almost impossible to find. For a while, the CDs of their early vinyls were also difficult to locate.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: All of the band members come off as extremely affable in interviews, standing in stark contrast to the brutality of their music.
- Obligatory Bondage Song: Played with on "Discipline".
- Mind Screw
- Refuge in Audacity:
- Ripped from the Headlines:"Slug Bait" and "Very Friendly" were both inspired by actual killings, and "Hamburger Lady" was based off a medical letter the band read.
- Sensory Abuse: Their live performances often mixed extreme sonic frequencies with wild visuals and intense lighting effects for the express purpose of disorienting their audience.
- Serial Killer: "Very Friendly", "Urge to Kill", "Slug Bait"...
- Stealth Parody: "United", "20 Jazz Funk Greats" and "Hot On The Heels Of Love" all play with this, to differing degrees.
- This Loser Is You: "Maggot Death" may or may not be this.
- Three Chords and the Truth: Their earlier works tended to fall into this.
- Word Salad Lyrics: Invoked with "Five Knuckle Shuffle", gradually devolving into Singing Simlish.
- Xenophone: Or as they called it, the Gristleizer.