Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Gender-Bending Rock Musician and Artist, Dies at 70

P-Orridge led the British rock bands Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV

Last Updated: March 14, 2020 @ 5:01 PM

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, the pioneering and boundary-pushing British rock musician and performance artist, died Saturday at age 70 after a battle with leukemia, according to an announcement by he/r daughter’s manager on Ryan Martin’s Facebook page.

P-Orridge, who first rose to fame as frontperson for the influential British rock bands Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, identified as third-gender and used the pronouns s/he and h/er.

In addition to musical work, P-Orridge also pushed boundaries with a series of surgeries seeking to merge identities with h/er wife, Jacqueline Mary Breyer, in a single genderless entity they dubbed a “pandrogyne.” Jacqueline Breyer died in 2007.

Born Neil Andrew Megson in Manchester, England, P-Orridge adopted a new identity during the psychedelic 1960s amid a brief stint in art school and a longer period leading a London commune. In 1976, P-Orridge’s COUM collective organized a revolutionary 1976 art exhibit called “Prostitution” that featured strippers, pornography and used tampons.

The commune also formed the basis for the “industrial rock” band Throbbing Gristle, whose songs often featured white noise, tape-based samples and spoken-word poetry. Concerts were similarly edgy, often featuring nudity, self-mutilation and images of Nazi concentration camps.

P-Orridge found a broader rock audience in the 1980s as leader of Psychic TV, an acid-house band that managed to release a new full-length album monthly for 23 straight months.