Gen's upcoming events and Misc.upcoming projects...

GENS MISC. UPCOMING PROJECTS: Heartworm Press are publishing “Collected Lyrics and Poems of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge – Volume One 1961 to 1971. Later they will publish Gen's first novel, written in 1969, “Mrs. Askwith”. Other books will follow.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Jim Hayes Skyscraper magazine interview with Genesis March 2003

Archive reader Jim Hayes contributed this interview he conducted with Gen in March 2003 for Skyscraper magazine..thanks Jim!
Check out Jims blog

Jim's Introduction. I had the opportunity to chat with Genesis Breyer P-Orridge for an interview that was published in the magazine Skyscraper. This is the whole transcript. I hope you enjoy it. I certainly did!

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge interview 30 March 03

(Numbers being punched. Ring, ring, ring. Dial tone, different numbers being punched.)

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge: Hello.

Jim: Hey Genesis, this is Jim Hayes in Georgia.

GBP-O: Hi.

Jim: Good time? Bad time?

GBP-O: No it’s fine.

Jim: Awesome, I’m sorry I took a little nap when I got home from work.

GBP-O: It’ll be okay.

Jim: I was telling a friend of mine that we have done the interview yet but he’s a brilliant conversationalist so I just love talking to the guy…so how are you how do you feel?

GBP-O: Oh I feel great.

Jim: Well what I was wondering was…do you have any…

GBP-O: (murmurs off phone to a male voice in the background).

Jim: You all right?

GBP-O: Yeah yeah I’m fine, the neighbor’s cat’s been escaping and coming upstairs and then we think he started peeing.

Jim: Ut oh.

GBP-O: I can’t get any rest, aah!

Jim: I forget to tell you had an Austin Spare moment a couple of months ago. It was my first day of work at this department store thing and I had masturbated and I went out to the back porch to smoke and one of the pipes above the garage burst.

GBP-O: (laughter)

Jim: I was thinking about him and I thought that’s great.

GBP-O: That’s funny cos for the article that they’re reprinting about Austin Spare I sent a couple of scans of pictures to Richard Metzger and I got an email back from him saying as he opened the file to look at the illustrations, there was an earthquake! (laughter)

Jim: Oh that’s awesome.

GBP-O: I thought you’d be amused…cos it’s actually the file of Mrs. Paterson, actually it was the first time I sent the scan of Mrs. Paterson to him.

Jim: Now that was the lady that taught him.

GBP-O: Yeah.

Jim: Were you ever old enough to meet him?

GBP-O: No, well I was technically old enough, he died in ’56 and I was six years old and I didn’t. (laughter)

Jim: Okay.

GBP-O: No I never met him. I met an old guy that did used to hang out with him, that had loads of stuff, through a book dealer I knew in Brighton. So there were a few contemporaries that lived longer and were around. I think Zack, ahh I forget his name, his name escapes me, whoever it was the old man wrote kind of a rather, a rather inept attempt at biography but he was just an old guy he wasn’t really anyone, he wasn’t a writer or anything…

Jim: Well you know people do the best they can…

GBP-O: (high voice) I’ve heard that rumor.

Jim: You’ve heard that rumor! What was I gonna say…

GBP-O: You’re lucky you called, I wrote down 8’oclock.

Jim: I took a nap, I’m sorry.

GBP-O: I was just saying to Jack, okay it’s nine o’clock, I’ll keep the phone near me but I’m gonna start working.

Jim: What would you be working on tonight?

GBP-O: Finishing up the Burroughs/Gysin one.

Jim: It’s an essay?

GBP-O: The one about Burroughs and Gysin.

Jim: Oh for (Richard) Metzger.

GBP-O: Yeah.

Jim: Well I was thinking that since this is a rock and roll magazine, so the TG reissue is done, is it selling at all?

GBP-O: It’s a bit crackly, is that you or me?

Jim: You.

GBP-O: Let’s see if I can find a good spot…nyah nan an an. (hums in high voice)…

Jim: You there?

GBP-O: This is like doing yoga…let’s find somewhere where it stays okay. Tell me when it’s okay, hang on…how’s that?

Jim: That’s great.

GBP-O: Good.

Jim: So you did the reissue box set, is that selling at all? Do you know?

GBP-O: Umm, we did-have you seen it?

Jim: No I haven’t it yet.

GBP-O: Oh okay, it’s actually really, really a beautiful production. It’s a grey kind of semi-fabric box that it’s in. TG’s 24 on the top in black in a little rectangle so that when you open it, it has a brown envelope, like the one’s they use for legal documents and that has a piece of string wrapped around it and they put a wax seal on here.

Jim: Okay.

GBP-O: It’s sealed with sealing wax with a TG flash symbol in the sealing wax. So every single box was complicated to put together cos there’s lots of different mementos that can only be put together by hand. Then you break the seal and inside is the original Industrial News from Nineteen Seventy-whenever it was-let me get you the date cos I do have it here-(sings) la la la la la so it says Industrial News and it is l979, the um, some of the things from the Industrial News letter we did in l979 and then a new Industrial News that’s from December 2002, on the 23rd of December of course and it’s got lots of new essays. Everybody wrote a new statement with a sort of hindsight vibe and there’s an article on sound effects, using noise as a weapon and so on. There’s an obituary for Brion Gysin, an obituary for William Burroughs, Robert Rental, Derek Jarman.

Jim: I didn’t know that Robert Rental died.

GBP-O: He also passed away, yes.

Jim: Oh that’s too bad.

GBP-O: And then there’s an article by Jack Sargent about mysterious death by bio-terrorism labs. Cosey wrote a really good essay about terrorist memo teach (sp?) and I did a statement about TG and punk and what made them so different from each other. So it’s really good and you also get full color post cards of new collages by all the members of re-TG and new badges with the TG flash and the TG 24, new combinations, an embroidered patch that says “TG 24” and a circular TG embroidered patch with the flash in silver, stickers: a new one that says “assume all communications are tapped.”

Jim: Yeah yeah, who doesn’t?

GBP-O: So it’s all upgraded with the same aesthetic, it’s beautiful and then you get your 24 CDs and of course there’s notes on all the CDs. Chris did a really detailed breakdown of what was there, how it was picked-

Jim: Is that every gig?

GBP-O: No, no, it’s not every gig.

Jim: What about the other gigs?

GBP-O: Well…that’s a very good question, given that this is a conceptual piece as well, of course, it had to have 24 hours. If people get it directly from Industrial Records through Mute cos we reformed Industrial Records.

Jim: Oh you have.

GBP-O: Yeah. So we reformed Industrial Records, the four of us, and this is the first release on Industrial Records 2002.

Jim: Are you going to release all the other stuff? All the Monte Cazzaza stuff, the Leather Nun-

GBP-O: What we want to do is just blow the-work all way through all the worthwhile rarities that either have been really badly bootlegged or have been never known about cos there’s still things that no one has actually heard or seen. And we have, I would imagine, we’ll ignore the call waiting for a second, I would imagine that we have maybe another seventy or eighty hours-

Jim: Oh really?

GBP-O: -of studio jams and ideas and demos and sketches and so on. The technical quality is probably a bit like the Velvet Underground and some of Andy Warhol’s movies, but that has a certain charm.

Jim: Did you hear that Velvet bootleg, the Quine tapes?

GBP-O: Which one is that, is that with the long instrumental jams?

Jim: Yeah.

GBP-O: Yeah I really liked that.

Jim: Yeah I really liked that too, you’re right the sound isn’t that great but who cares.

GBP-O: Exactly, there comes a point when it becomes charming and valid in its own write. If it was neat and tidy it wouldn’t be a historical document, it would be-something else.

Jim: So it was the first time in twenty years that you’ve gone back and saw them (TG). How did it go? I mean was it water under the bridge…

GBP-O: Yeah it was November last year the first time the four of us had all been one room at the same time. Um, and uh, I think I told you…

Jim: Yeah you did-

GBP-O: Jackie took a photograph of that moment-

Jim: Cool-

GBP-O: So we probably should think about utilizing that, if you want to-

Jim: I’d love to but y’know, did you guys say, “uhh hi how y’doin?” and just go from there-

GBP-O: Mute put us all in the same hotel, so we all arrived at slightly different times, I think Sleazy came from somewhere abroad, I came from New York with Ms. Jackie, actually I should say Lady Jayeaye cos her name is officially now Lady Jaye-

Jim: Yeah I remember that part.

GBP-O: Oh you do, that’s so much easier. And Chris and Cosey came down from the North of England where they live. We met the first evening when we went for coffee together and…It was strange, because it was almost as if, even to each other it felt, to me it’s nothing like a subjective sensation how it felt. It was almost like all of us had become fictional characters or kind of distant. It’s if TG is for me as much of a myth it is for anyone else at this point. It was kind of like: ‘oh they are real, we really did know each other and it really did happen,’ kind of thing! (Laughs)

Jim: Right right right.

GBP-O: There was a little moment of it being very surreal and then it was Cosey that said that what surprised her was how quickly we all slipped back into…communicating like, almost like a Third Mind y’know.

Jim: Right.

GBP-O: We did interviews, the reason we were all there together was to do interviews with the Press to promote (24 Hours) and announce the fact that it was out and we did the classic thing of all being in a room and then the PR person from Mute would bring in a different journalist or journalists every hour on the hour all day long.

Jim: Oh really?

GBP-O: Yeah. Mainly European magazines-

Jim: Well you always had a bigger influence in Europe rather than the United States.

GBP-O: Well I don’t know about influence, I think we got more press. That was primarily cos we only did those two gigs in America and we didn’t have a big machine behind us. (indistinct)…there was some (?) hope of having three major labels with a lot of hype before they came over…and our own label doing everything with money we borrowed.

Jim: Wasn’t the first couple of PTV records on CBS?

GBP-O: Yeah. But that’s a whole separate story.

Jim: Well how did that happen?

GBP-O: Well one thing at a time.

Jim: (laughs)

GBP-O: I’m answering the other question.

Jim: Okay okay, you’re right you’re right.

GBP-O: Yes. So um, Cosey had mentioned that we just knew, almost without, even without body language, we just naturally remembered how we would just look or glance at each other so that whoever was appropriate would answer the question. One person would answer a certain amount, the others would then take over one by one and add to it and embellish and expand upon it. It happened so naturally as if it was yesterday that we were being TG on that level. So the TG mind, y’know the special Third Mind of TG, instantly kicked back in. And likewise with photographs, it was actually, surprisingly, natural. So there was this whole thing of like on one level like meeting each others’ ghosts, even my own. And on another level it was completely natural, like going around the shop again. Sorta meeting the neighbors. It was interesting. Interesting, it was much less confusing then I expected. It was a happy time.

Jim: well did you think you were going to be over there and at each other’s throats?

GBP-O: We never were. Y’see this is one of these great myths that people have seem to assumed. But in fact, that’s not my or anybodies recollection. We just, all for our reasons we knew it was time to stop. And, uh, that was that. I mean as you know, I mean for example if we were at each other’s throats I wouldn’t have been in Psychic TV with Sleazy. But people kind of make these kind of weird distinctions like “oh yes, then you all hated each other.” But then I spent several years working with one of these people that I supposedly wasn’t speaking to y’know? I don’t know why the public are like that. They seem to want to invent things. For example, I am so bored with reading things like (high whiney voice): TG split up cos Cosey and Chris were together and they became lovers. But they became lovers in early 1978.

Jim: Right.

GBP-O: And we did, and after Cosey had moved out with Chris, and with my full knowledge obviously. We recorded Dead On Arrival, 20 Jazz Funk Greats, Heathen Earth, Adrenalin and Distant Dreams, Discipline- all those classic records after that. And it was three years later before we decided to end the mission. Y’know, it’s like people are trying to imply that I didn’t notice for three years and that all of a sudden the day after I remarried somebody and Cosey was already six months pregnant (voice mockingly quivers) I was supposed to be really upset and I’m not gonna be in this band anymore! Y’know the inability of people to add up chronology is baffling. (laughs)

Jim: Yeah yeah, I see what you’re saying but I never knew why Sleazy left PTV and I attribute that to I just never read anything about it.

GBP-O: Well that’s just a matter of…it was Brion Gysin who, he actually wrote in Latin on a tape he gave me about Brian Jones and on that tape he was talking about his interpretation about happened when they were all in Morocco together cos he was there. He wrote in Latin the equivalent of “don’t speak ill of the dead”. Well, obviously, (laughs) Chris and Cosey and Sleazy and myself aren’t dead but…uh…

Jim: I understand what you’re saying.

GBP-O: It just didn’t seem to be anyone else’s business to go into that. I personally think it never reads well. You read about bands in the heat of the moment, or because of the business strategy they bitch about each other afterwards.

Jim: Then it becomes real.

GBP-O: Yeah exactly. And so we never did that but people chose to try and invent stories but never having information, so they made it up. It only takes one person to write something and give the impression that that was the story. But even so, y’kinda look and y’think can’t anyone figure out that there’s three years here and that entire time all four, err all the other three had keys to my house at Beck Road (?) all the time cos Industrial Records was the downstairs of the house. It’s just ridiculous, we were all working together everyday. Chris would come around everyday and work downstairs with me duplicating the cassette tapes of the original cassette version of 24 Hours. I never did understand it. It can get really frustrating but my overall policy is that someday someone is gonna wake up and realize that’s obviously ludicrous. And this ridiculous story about our readjustment. Who’s invested in it I don’t know, why people invest in it.

Jim: It’s easier to understand.

GBP-O: You think?

Jim: It’s easier to understand rather than the ideas.

GBP-O: I’ll have to take your word for it! (laughs)

Jim: Well it’s easier for me to talk about why you hate somebody as why the group broke up rather than the group was a flux, a changing principle.

GBP-O: Right.

Jim: You could buy one Psychic TV record and never know what the other one’s sounded like and think that’s what Psychic TV sounded like.

GBP-O: Yeah well that caused lots of agitation and I can see why that would happen. People would buy something maybe they had read or heard rumors, maybe they’d been to a gig and then they’d go out and buy something and it would be nothing like they heard at the gig. Or nothing like they heard or read reviewed and they would either be really pleased about that or sometimes be really annoyed about it. In fact with Psychic TV, because Throbbing Gristle was so meticulous and in a way so beautifully and clearly defined as an aesthetic. TG was very clear and it unfolded designed way actually. With Psychic TV I definitely wanted it to be much more challenging. I didn’t want to be constrained by anybodies’ expectations. And often we would do a recording or change a style simply to completely and utterly contradict the previous statement. Almost like a mathematical formula. What did we do last time? Did they like it? Yes, let’s do the opposite this time. Or, what did we do last time? Did they hate it? Let’s do the opposite this time. The thing with Psychic TV was I had felt in the end, and I think the others felt in different ways that we were boxed in by our own success of TG. The more and more people who decided they liked it, the less they thought about what we were doing. And they started to go “yes TG, do…”

Jim: That guy on the “Heaven” tape screaming “Hamburger Lady”.

GBP-O: Yeah. So in some ways I almost worked, who am I to argue with hindsight? (Indistinct) overly hard to keep contradicting previous statements with Psychic TV but it was the only strategy I could feel, uhh, gave me space to think independently of the pressure from outside.

Jim: Well what’s the strategy with The Majesty?

GBP-O: With Thee Majesty?

Jim: With Thee Majesty.

GBP-O: With Thee Majesty what happened was, after the fire in Los Angeles.

Jim: Right.

GBP-O: At Harry Houdini’s old mansion, I quite literarily had to take a minimum of a year off, a year or two because of the physical injuries, the posttraumatic stress disorder and everything else.

Jim: Pardon me, but how are you doing with the injuries?

GBP-O: Uhh, well my left arm still hurts everyday. It’s one of those things that anybody with an ongoing injury will tell you that you adjust to a certain level of discomfort.

Jim: You broke the shoulder right?

GBP-O: No the elbow was smashed to pieces. The elbow was, I think in more than thirty pieces. They said it was like someone had got a steel hammer and then just put my arm…cos it hit the edge of a concrete step, it was like they put it on a piece of concrete and just smashed it with a steel hammer.

Jim: You jumped out a window didn’t you?

GBP-O: Well I fell. Yeah I had to climb out of the window to escape the fire and then I slipped on all this dust and fell backwards and landed on concrete steps so the edge of this one step hit my wrist and broke my wrist. Most of the impact, in a way, thank goodness, you can tell how hard it was, the elbow of the left arm just exploded into fragments and broke three ribs underneath the elbow as well. So if you can imagine that kind of pressure. And I also I got, my leg didn’t break but to this day the whole outside edge of the left thigh has nerve damage and I got a pulmonary embolism, blood clots from the impact as well. That’s what nearly killed me too.

Jim: What’s a pulmonary embolism?

GBP-O: A clot that goes to the lungs, it stops your breathing.

Jim: Ohh.

GBP-O: A coronary is when they go into the heart and pulmonary is in the lungs. And it was in my lungs so basically I almost suffocated to death cos of these blood clots to the lungs. I was in intensive care for ten days.

Jim: That was out in California right?

GBP-O: Yeah. So all of that combined with, and this, this is honest. I mean my last memory more or less before the agony of, heh heh, of hitting the ground is opening a door and looking down the corridor of this huge kind of, it looked like (indistinct) this tar like plastic smoke swirling towards me like Hell. Like the doors of hell, y’know. There was all this carpet burning and it was coming through the walls at the same time. It was these wooden walls with gaps in them, y’know what I mean?

Jim: Right.

GBP-O: Hollow walls and I closed the door and that door started getting hotter and hotter and hotter. I was like ‘ut oh, when that door goes I’m fried, literally.’ So, err, it was, I didn’t think I-I mean they told me that I had very severe post traumatic stress disorder and at the beginning I didn’t believe them cos it seemed kinda wussy…

Jim: Yeah yeah.

GBP-O: No no no, I just nearly died. (laughs) But actually as time went by I realized that it had an incredibly profound psychological effect on me. And that gets back to your question.

Jim: So you took a year off?

GBP-O: Lucky for me Lady Jayeaye, um, we were already engaged but she obviously rushed to my side. She heard, from MTV of all things, it was on the MTV News and then she got a phone call. She rushed to my side. She is also, very fortunately a nurse, a registered nurse, coincidentally, she said her gift to me was “I’ll take care of you and I’ll take care of everything and you just get well.” And that she said something that was really, really significant. She said: “You don’t ever have to do anything again if you don’t want to. You’re not obliged to make music just because people expect you to or people want you to and you don’t have to do anything in public anymore and rock and roll isn’t the be all and end all of life. Just take your time and think about what you want and what it is that you want to feel and get from life. Y’know, whatever it is, I’ll support you in that, y’know.” So in a way she liberated me from my um, British Protestant work ethic idea of my duty to keep working, to keep trying, bashing my head on the brick wall of culture. Saying ‘please please wake up and start trying to behave with a little bit more common sense, creativity is a healthy thing.

Jim: So you stepped back in where you started doing the visual arts and stuff.

GBP-O: For a long time I didn’t know what I wanted, I just decided, yeah I’m not gonna do anything else. Maybe I’ll change my name and just disappear y’know a bit like that Dadaist-

Jim: Arthur Craven?

GBP-O: Craven, yes.

Jim: He just got in a boat and sailed off.

GBP-O: I kinda thought well that’s not such a bad idea. Maybe I should change my name to Arthur Craven and go off.

Jim: Yeah yeah, but remember he had the title fight with Jack Johnson? And Johnson beat him up. GBP-O versus Mike Tyson-

GBP-O: Yeah, so I kinda went through all those things and then finally I stopped worrying about it. And after about a year I sort of able to look at things and say to myself what is it that I really love to do. What is it that really still intrigues me and excites me and I thought: I love words. I just love playing with words, writing them, changing them around, setting random things and when you alter this combination and cutting them up. So I love language and words and I love messing with the human voice as well. Not singing per se but just words, voice and then I thought I like just sounds. Sounds at the service of words to illustrate. Like in a movie you have light and camera angles and settings in order to enhance the method for the actual story. That’s kind of my interest in music. More than making sort of good or technical music. I’m not really interested in composition as music for music’s sake.

Jim: can you read or write music?

GBP-O: I used to. A little known fact is that when I was younger, from the age of eleven to fourteen I was in school choir. In (indistinct) Grammar School. I used to read music and sing in Latin, (indistinct) I used to sing alto. So that’s why I like all these harmonies, strange semi-atonal harmonies is because alto is the one between tenor and uh, the high one. And it has that kind of weird medieval, slightly flat sounding harmonies. That’s what I used to sing in the school choir. I even sang in the cathedral and stuff a few times, with one of those nice outfits with the big collar and red robe and everything. So I used to do that and read with my music teacher we’d sit and look-we’d have to listen to, say a symphony with all the music for all the instruments in front of us and then he’d suddenly stop the record you’d have to tell him exactly which note which instrument was playing as soon as he’d sort of said your name y’know? To prove you all were reading the music. So I did all of that and of course I also had piano lessons as well, the guy stood at the piano. So yeah, I used to read music. Now, if you had a gun to my head I couldn’t read music.

Jim: Well don’t you think it’s in there someplace?

GBP-O: Well obviously. My feeling is with a lot of technical things is that you absorb them at the beginning and then, some of some people, artists musicians, some people who’s life is dedicated to creativity choose to begin to push the edges of what they’ve been told the rules are or what the uhh specifications of equipment are or whatever and improvise if you like, in the shorthand. So once I became obsessed with things like cut-ups and free form jazz improvisations it was less and less relevant to me to follow music in the old style.

Jim: You said ‘free form jazz’ did you listen to Coltrane and Miles Davis?

GBP-O: Coltrane and Albert Ayler, many people like that, a lot.

Jim: I never knew you were into that stuff.

GBP-O: It was a long time ago. We’re talking about the mid-sixties. I was into that the same time I was listening to the Rolling Stones, early Pink Floyd and then the Velvet Underground.

Jim: so you were hip to the Velvets the first time around?

GBP-O: Yeah it was funny. I hadn’t heard them but my friend at school, (indistinct), he told me that he had been listening to John Peel on this pirate radio broadcast from some boat, Radio Caroline out on the river or something, the days of pirate radio in England. He heard this band playing this track and they were called the Velvet Underground and had somebody he thought was playing an electric violin. I had already got hold of an old violin and stuck a tape recorder microphone in it and was sort of playing an electrified violin in my, in the loft in my house. You know in the roof of the house and experimenting with that with tape recorders and the amplifiers so I was recording it as it fed back. So he, because there was this electric viola, he told me that I should listen to them if I get the chance. And then I went to the local record store which was the equivalent of Duane Reeds, which was Boots and it was actually a chemist shop. In those days they had a little record section and you were allowed to go upstairs and listen to the first track of the record, and then decide if you want to buy it or not. And I went in and asked them and they said no we don’t have it but we’re getting it in on Friday and that Friday was right in the middle of when I was doing my exams. The first lot of exams that you do in England before going to University. I had a scooter. I used to be a bit of a mod with a Vesper, so I actually did an exam and ran out of the class room, got on my Vesper zoomed down to the shop. Ran upstairs with money that I’d saved up ran in and said ‘have you got that record by the Velvet Underground? It was released today and you got one copy.’ So I ran into the listening booth and they put on, uh the first track on side two and I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. And I just ran back: yes, yes, yes I’ll buy it! Grabbed it, went back to school and carried on taking examinations and I took it home and I played the whole album that night and it was one of those old record players where you could leave the arm up and it would keep going back to the beginning and playing it over and over. And I used to leave it on, one side and then the other side until it actually wore out the record. That was in a way, of all the records in the entire world, The Velvet Underground and Nico was the most directly influential, I mean all levels of my consciousness knows it backwards and forwards, upside down even. I played it thousands and thousands of times. I’ve even listened to it for hours when I’ve been asleep.

Jim: (laughs) is it better awake or asleep?

GBP-O: So…my father also, I think you already know from Painful but Fabulous was a drummer in a dance band, like a Buddy Rich type band, yeah. So I grew up playing the drums too. I remember playing the drums at a wedding reception when I was between three and four years old. Before TG even with Coum Transmissions up in Yorkshire I had a room in the Ho-Ho funhouse with my big drum wheel and all my drums set up with a drum kit. I used to play everyday, three or four hours a day and the same in London when we moved down to London. I had the drum kit set up. I think there’s a couple of photos in the Wreckers book where you can see it in the background. I used to play drums very, very consistently everyday for years, hours and hours I would play. And in those days I could even do rolls, y’know one handed rolls?

Jim: Right right right. (laughter)

GBP-O: All that kind of stuff. (laughter) and I used to play along with stuff by Captain Beefheart. That was one of the things I’d like to drum along to.

Jim: I love Captain Beefheart.

GBP-O: Yeah, I mean the rhythms and the syncopations, fabulous.

Jim: I also saw a parallel between him and you. To the general public you’re both really unknown but to anyone who’s paid any attention to you has just fallen in love with both you and your work, it’s always been an influence.

GBP-O: Well…that’s a compliment. I think I told you, did I ever tell you the anecdote about Don Van Vliet, Captain Beefheart?

Jim: No.

GBP-O: When we finally came to America to do the two Throbbing Gristle gigs before we packed it in. We played at this place called…the Veteran’s Auditorium-

Jim: yeah, Kezar Stadium-

GBP-O: No Kezar was in San Francisco, it was Culver City, Culver City. I think somewhere I have a photo but I don’t know if I could find it. It might be in one of the books. They wouldn’t put the name up outside the hall, where they usually put the name up of whoever’s playing, in big letters, plastic letters. So they just put “modern concert”.

Jim: yeah I’ve seen the photo.

GBP-O: Okay. That was because they wouldn’t put up the words “Throbbing Gristle”. And that night we were supported by SLA, no SWA rather which was really Black Flag and then we had 45 Grave, Don from the Germs. And, umm, before the gig, it was one of those ‘you had to be there nights’-y’know ‘this mythological crazy band from England that’s beyond punk is here y’know. Let’s check it out.’ All these people are coming and going in the dressing room and stuff. And all of a sudden this really nice guy about the same size as me very, very charming and polite, well mannered man came up with a bit of a beard and stuff and introduced himself. And it was Don Preston.

Jim: No shit?!?!

GBP-O: from the original Mothers of Invention and so I of course was really, really excited. I said, y’know you probably don’t care, but the day I decided not to go back to University I hitchhiked to Manchester England from Hull to see you play at the Free Trade Hall with the Mothers of Invention playing “Uncle Meat”.

Jim: Wow.

GBP-O: It’s true I still got the program with the ticket and everything.

Jim: Really.

GBP-O: Yeah. I keep everything. (laughter). And he said “oh wow, y’know” and I came backstage partly to say I really love your album “Second Annual Report” and also I got a message for from Don Van Vliet, Captain Beefheart. I was like: what! And he goes, yeah he said to tell you he thinks the music’s fantastic and he plays it when he’s painting.

Jim: Wow.

GBP-O: I was just flabbergasted. I was awestruck because y’know the early Mothers and the way they improvised-all the issues that you heard I was interested in free form jazz stuff. That helped me get into the Mothers “Uncle Meat” then the Jon Luc Ponty stuff cos of the electric violin so I was all into that for quite some time. And obviously Captain Beefheart in his day.

Jim: Did you ever hear those Don “Sugarcane” Harris albums?

GBP-O: No.

Jim: He was the electric violinist with the Mothers who was a rhythm and blues guy. He made some really good jazz records in the seventies.

GBP-O: No I don’t remember that. So that was one of my all time special moments. If someone had said who would you like to appreciate what you’re trying to do. Captain Beefheart would be definitely up there. So that was just before I went on stage. I was l like I can’t believe it. We’d done something right. And people I respect get it. It was a great moment. Kind of ironic considering I had already decided that was it. Those two gigs were the end of the whole thing.

1 comment:

Kaeli Y. said...

For more information about Brion Gysin and the Dreamachine: