Psychic TV and a New Parallel Culture Part One

Psychic TV, photo by Drew Weirdermann, interview/story by Tom MurphyPsychic_TV_by_Drew_Weidemann_Web

Tonight, Psychic TV will perform in Denver at the Mercury Cafe with Rotties and DJ Tocsin uniting a Denver institution whose existence dates back to the late 70s and an original location off of 13th Avenue and Pearl Street and a band that had yet to get its footing in the USA until Denver concert promoter Tom Headbanger got PTV into its first tour bus and from there into a kind of cult following that resulted in a more cultural institution to spread esoteric and spiritually evolutinary/revolutionary knowledge into the world at large with network of likeminded communities and seekers under the umbrella of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth. Those worlds come together again with this show at the Mercury.

Ahead of the show we were able to speak with the band’s leader, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge to discuss the still powerful and abundant ability of creativity and imagination to transform at least the world around you and to impact the world beyond. We will publish the conversation in full in the next few days. In this first section we discuss Gen’s early projects and how they lead in part to the founding of noteworthy modern music label Dais Records, which not only made the early Worm and COUM Transmissions recordings widely available but is also a proponent of music by artists touched by the continuing legacy of the strain of music operating outside the mainstream pioneered by Gen and their collaborators in creating a parallel culture.

Queen City Sounds and Art: Psychic TV kind of got its start here with a bus provided by Tom Headbanger.

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge: We used to love that bus so much. We had so many amazing times on that bus. Then when we moved to New York with Lady Jaye we discovered you’re not allowed to have a bus in New York so we gave it away to some hippies in California as a gift. Apparently a year later they got very stoned and burned it.

T: You’ve long been a keen observer of society and culture. Right now we’re at an interesting/dangerous point internationally. But I think we can act on the local level with creativity and affect the larger world. As a teen you did the ‘zine Conscience and then later in your late teen years and early 20s, COUM Transmissions.

GBP-O: There was an exhibition in Howden, Yorkshire in January that was a retrospective of COUM Transmissions and Spydeee [Gasmantell] was there. I hadn’t seen him for decades so that was really nice. We’re corresponding again now. He’d done an issue of Conscience after we’d gone off to university and got expelled from the school for it. So the last issue was seized, banned and he was expelled for and that was the end of Conscience. We started one at the university we called Worm.


T: That was a band as well?

GBP-O: It was going to be. We did that one record and we disbanded and forgot about it. But that was one of those amazing stories when the Tate Britain decided to buy my archive we needed people to help us catalog everything. So we got these people who volunteered to come in. One of those people was Ryan Martin who came to me one day and said, “Gen, what are all these reel to reel tapes in this box?” “Oh, it’s just stuff we were doing when we were young. It’s rubbish. Don’t listen to it. Forget about it.” He said, “What does it sound like?” “You don’t want to listen to it, it’s not important.” “I think it is important and that people would like to hear it. Even if it doesn’t sound great it’ll show people your thinking about sound from an earlier age.” So we said, “If you think it’s so interesting, why don’t you go and do it?” Then he went off to start Dais Records with his friend Gibby [Miller] and now Dais is celebrating it’s tenth anniversary this month. It has released records by eighty different people all because he nagged me about this old, reel-to-reel tape. He released Early Worm and [The Sound of Porridge Bubbling, Sugarmorphoses and Home Aged & The 18th Month Hope from COUM Transmissions]. We like that something done that long ago can trigger someone else into changing what they do in life. Suddenly it’s become this energy attractor and makings things possible for lots of extra people. In a way that’s what we’ve always been trying to do—come up with ways of looking at things or perceiving things or just shifting the point of views so that new opportunities and ways of analyzing society can happen.

Author: simianthinker

Editor, primary content provider for this blog. Former contributor to Westword and The Onion.