Originally was doing this sketch for another blog post. Decided to let this sketch stand on it’s own. It was intended to get the full ink and watercolor treatment, but the weather was too hot. Instead, I got a little lazy, sticking only with pencil.
The thing is, many ‘traditional’ Goths from the ’80s and early ’90s weren’t fond of Marilyn Manson. I’d give credit towards one thing: it gave ’90s kids an introduction to the Goth subculture. Marilyn Manson wasn’t really considered officially ‘Goth’. The band was more of a hybrid of Hard Rock/Metal and ’90s Alternative. Goth wasn’t still considered mainstream. After Kurt Cobain’s death, Marilyn Manson filled a void for some. His imagine, and interests, influenced by LaVey Satanism, Alister Crowley/Thelema, and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche hit a core with some. Many of his fans ended up going into the Goth subculture anyway.
Not really a fan of Marilyn Manson anymore, but I appreciate what him and the band did back during the ’90s. I ended up seeing Marilyn Manson in concert either four or five times. First time was in 1994, when Manson was the opening act for Nine Inch Nails. That might’ve been at Roseland Ballroom, NYC. Speaking of NIN, I saw a very early incarnation of NIN, when Trent opened for Skinny Puppy, way back in October 1988. Back to Manson, they shared a tour with Monster Magnet, which I also saw. Last time was maybe sometime during the early 2000s, at an Ozzfest show in Camden, NJ, just outside of Philadelphia. By then Marilyn Manson was doing repeat of everything they had done in concert before. To be fair, my interest of Manson was fading anyway.
Occasionally I’ll do a search online to see what Brian Warner, aka, Marilyn Manson is doing with himself. He’s taken up painting, collaborating with film maker David Lynch. In addition, Manson still makes music, acts, and has his own sex toy.
With that, here’s my pencil sketch, done on a really humid night. Cheers.
Been on a kick lately. Listening to music from the late ’70s and early ’80s. Which means lots of classic New Wave and Punk Rock.
Due to this, it was time for a portrait of Poly Styrene. For those who don’t know, Poly Styrene is best known as the lead vocalist for the seminal British Punk band X-Ray Spex. X-Ray Spex’s album Germ Free Adolescence is considered a Punk classic.
Born to a Scottish-Irish mother and Somali-born father, Poly was born Marianne Joan Elliott-Said in 1957 England. Her mother raised her as a single parent. After trying her hand in Ska and Reggae, Poly was inspired to form a band after catching The Sex Pistols in concert. That band was X-Ray Spex.
Poly Styrene sitting among other female vocalists from her time, such as Siouxsie Sioux, Deborah Harry, Chrissie Hynde, Pauline Black and Viv Albertine (from The Slits)
Poly Styrene sitting among other female vocalists from her time, such as Siouxsie Sioux, Deborah Harry, Chrissie Hynde, Pauline Black and Viv Albertine (from The Slits)
After performing at a gig in 1978, Poly started getting visions. Her mother, alarmed about Poly’s hallucinations, took her to the hospital. There, the singer was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia, and taken out of the public eye. Thirteen years later in 1991, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In 1983, she converted into the Hare Krishna faith.
Around 1980 she embarked on a solo career. Poly Styrene released a few albums over the past few decades. Her last album, Generation Indigo was produced by Martin Glover, best known as Youth from the band Killing Joke. Generation Indigo was released on April 24, 2011, a day before Poly’s passing. The cause of death was metastatic breast cancer.
In 2017, her daughter started a crowd funding online for the documentary Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché. Two years later in 2019, a biography titled Dayglo! was published. The documentary is expected to be finished in 2020, unless Covid19 gets in the way.
Without further ado, here’s a portrait of Poly Styrene, in one of her famous stage outfits. After doing the illustration, I read that Poly later complained about the ensemble. While I could understand why she wasn’t fond of the gear, like many others, I beg to differ. If anything, it would be considered highly couture today. The illustration was done in pen, ink and watercolor. Another little bit of irony. After just finishing the piece, I discovered Poly Styrene’s birthday was only a few days away, on July 3rd.
Since the quarantine, I’ve been sketching a lot. Here’s one of the German Neue Deutsche Härte band, Rammstein. Done in pen, ink, and watercolor. You can see the glimmer watercolors in person.
In the U.S., Rammstein is known for one song, Du Hast. Personally, I’m sick of Du Hast, and the other single Engel, from the album Sehnsucht. Instead I prefer songs from Mutter. Rammstein’s latest, debuted on May 2019. It has been ten years since the band released an album. The band was supposed to begin their first ever U.S. stadium tour, starting late summer/early fall 2020. It’s hard to say what’s going to happen thanks to Covid-19. The band posted a statement regarding future info on their website.
Rammstein’s lead singer, Till Lindemann, was recently hospitalized. Originally it was reported it was Coronavirus. Later the press confirmed the opposite; Lindermann tested negative.
The last of a three post tribute to Genesis P-Orridge, who passed away on March 14th, 2020. P–Orridge had been battling leukemia for two years, so the passing wasn’t a surprise. S/he was 70 years old.
As stated in previous posts, Genesis P-Orridge was many things. Among them, a poet, an artist in both fine and performance art, archivist, musician, occultist, and all around trangressor. Between 1993 – 2009, Genesis went under a series of body and face modifications with S/he wife Lady Jaye under ‘The Pandrogeny Project.’ The goal was to create a third gender. This is the reason for the S/he pronoun after 1993.
Genesis’ path towards creative transgression started after leaving art university sometime during the late 60s, Gen joined a London counter culture commune. These communes were popular during those days. After moving back to Hull, he met Christine Carol Newby, better known as Cosey Fan Tutti. Tutti and P-Orridge became a couple, and formed COUM Tranmissions.
Influenced by the Dada movement, the performance art collective specialized in subversive confrontation. Subject matter included taboos such as prostitution and pornography.
In fact, it was the art performance of ‘The Prostitution Show‘ that gathered the attention of not only the British press, but of Parliament. It was a conservative MP who declared the event, and persons involved to be “wreckers of civilization”.
Industrial has since morphed into various other sub-genres. If it wasn’t for Throbbing Gristle, certain bands wouldn’t even exist. One prime example is mainstream rock act *Nine Inch Nails. (Later, Christopherson, who formed the band Coil, got into directing music promo videos. Christopherson later directed videos for Nine Inch Nails)
Throbbing Gristle continued on their subversive mission. Their first gig abroad was performed in front of the Berlin Wall, before the unification. In 1980, the four piece performed a concert at an English all boys boarding school.
On May 29th, 1981, Throbbing Gristle played their last concert in San Francisco, California, U.S.A. Gen and Sleazy went on to form Psychic TV. Sleazy later broke off from Psychic TV to begin his own band Coil. The other half became Chris and Cosey, later known as Carter Tutti.
In 2009 TG embarked on U.S. tour. In New York, they played a series of concerts at a Brooklyn masonic hall, and at Le Poisson Rouge. I was lucky enough to see both TG concerts at the Brooklyn masonic temple. Not just once, but twice. During intermission TG had a meet and greet. Below are autographs in a sketch pad.
Although I should’ve done this already, I still haven’t gotten those signatures framed. The sketchbook is tucked away somewhere in my home.
Below is a very bad cellphone recording of TG during one of those nights.
Throbbing Gristle hit another snag again in October 2010. Genesis P-Orridge announced s/her’s departure, and the rest of TG continued to tour under X-TG. The band broke up for good following the death of Sleazy. Sleazy died in his sleep, November 2010.
Most people outside of the Industrial/Noise/Experimental scene have never heard of Merzbow. As someone once said “that’s a hard sell.”
Masami Akita started the Merzbow project back in 1979. His style of music, or rather, anti-music combines distortion, feedback, and noises from synthesizers, machinery, home-made noisemakers, with help from laptops. Due to his background in drumming, unlike other avant garde Noise musicians, Merzbow blends slight melody and rhythm into his aural assaults.
Masami Akita started out as a traditional drummer and studied art at Tamagawa University. According to his Wikipedia page: “While at university, he became interested in the ideas of dada and surrealism and also studied Butoh dance. At Tamagawa, he learned of Kurt Schwitters‘ Merz, or art made from rubbish, including Schwitters’ Merzbau (meaning Merz building, German pronunciation: [ˈmɛʁtsˌbaʊ̯]), which is the source of the name Merzbow.”
Breaking away from Psychedelic Rock and Free Jazz, Akita’s style evolved over time. Mostly known for Noise Electronics, he’s collaborated with various other avant garde musicians such as Z’EV. Over time he’s been influenced by Grindcore and Death Metal, but later incorporated Psychedelia and Ambient styles into the mix. The tools he’s used also changes over time. Again from his Wikipedia page, “Starting in the mid-2000s, Masami Akita began to reintroduce junk metal and effects pedals back into his setup. By the early 2010s, he was using a large number of pedals, oscillators and tone generators, and reduced to a single laptop running granular synthesis software. In 2014, he toured without a laptop. In 2008, Akita reintroduced the drum kit, his first instrument. This can be heard on the 13 Japanese Birds series.”
In addition to his multiple releases, Akita has been involved in numerous music/noise side projects.
Akita is known for advocating animal rights. He’s supported PETA while maintaining a vegan diet. In Japan he’s also a published editor, writer and author. Merzbow’s articles has documented music, underground/subcultures, and modern art,. Other articles spoke about BDSM and Japanese bondage. Akita’s other interests include painting, photography, filmmaking, and Butoh dance.
I finally had a chance to see him perform in 2015. The venue sold out of advance tickets, taking place in Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s Output (since closed). Genesis P-Orridge opened for him, doing a spoken word set. (Gen also walked on stage during Merzbow’s set for no reason, except to stand there with arms raised. Then quickly rushed off as quickly as S/he rushed on. Completely random.) There was another chance to see him over at Knockdown Center two years ago, but my schedule wouldn’t allow it.
Here’s a quick sketch I did last night. Hand drawn, pen and ink. Now that I have all this extra time due to the Coronavirus.
With this quarantine now in place back in NYC, I finally have a chance to post about the past few months. Of course, the pandemic wasn’t the way I wanted this happen. With that, let’s look on some happier times.
I was invited to stay with a friend during MICE Expo 2019. October 2019 was particularly special, because it was their tenth anniversary. For those into indie, alternative, underground and non-superhero comics, MICE, which stands for Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo, is one of the best indie comic cons. It takes place annually over at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In conjunction with MICE was Podtales, taking place next door.
One of the 2019 guests of honor was Xamie Hernandez, one half of Los Hernandez Bros. He had a panel discussing his career, from Love and Rockets onward. It should be noted that one of the sections, formely known as the Robert Crumb room, was renamed after Xamie Hernandez.
Drawing Power was the name of the panel discussing the anthology Drawing Power: Women’s Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival. On the panel was respected underground cartoonist Diane Noomin, along with three contributors, Katie Fricas, Claire Folkman and Kelly Phillips. Noomin was the anthology editor, gathered the contributors by invite only. The recent #metoo movement was one of the catalysts behind this collection.
On Saturday night, MICE had an after con party celebrating their 10 year anniversary.
The next day, the event was just as crowded. Attendees discovered new comics and art.
Due to the COVID19 pandemic, MICE is reassessing whether or not to go ahead with the 2020 con. This was the right thing to do. By June, MICE officials should know whether or not to go ahead. You can check any updates on the website. Other comic cons scheduled in 2020 have followed suit. Until then, here’s to perhaps, 2021.
Let’s take a few months back to October 2019. Only a few months before Coronavirus came along and ruined everyone’s plans.
Cambridge, Massachusetts was where the first annual Podtales con took place. Podtales was an event created for anyone interested in Podcasting. The focus was on storytelling. Think back to the days before television, when radio ruled. From the 1920s to the 1950s, radio was the main source of entertainment for American families. Listeners tuned in to various dramas, comedies, soap operas, sci-fi, and other creative genres. With the current rise of podcasting, people are creating new audio worlds, straight from their living rooms to yours.
Admission inside Lesley University was free, coinciding with the annual MICE Expo, which was celebrating next door with it’s own tenth anniversary. Most of the Podtale vendors were from the Boston area, with a few traveling as far as the U.K.
Of course, since the pandemic, Podtales 2020 doesn’t look possible. It’s partner, MICE Expo is already cancelled. Hopefully Podtales will continue where it left off in 2021. Meantime, if you’re already bored of Netflix, check out some of the podcasts from the 2019 Podtales exhibitors.
I first heard about Psychic TV way back during high school. This was during the ’80s. It was nearly the height of my Siouxsie wannabe phaze, which actually last a few years. (During high school, I was a Siouxsie clone.) By this point I was hopping around all the import record shops down in NYC’s Greenwich Village area. I remember all of the Temple Record releases. I believe this might’ve been the era where Psychic TV tried to release 23 albums, on the 23rd day for 23 months. Already the PTV brand caught my eye.
One day, a friend told me a mutual friend of ours took her to see Psychic TV over at The (old) Ritz, which is where Webster Hall now stands. Her assessment wasn’t much. She called them ‘pretentious.’ Looking back, her attention span probably was due to the lack of the ‘cute’ guy factor. Despite her negative review, this only peaked my interest more. My disregard for her scoffing was proven correct. This ‘friend’ later went from being Goth to chasing after all those tacky hair metal glam bands of the late ’80s. Don’t ever trust a Guns n Roses fan.
The turning point was a purchase of the seminal RE/Search book Modern Primitives. Before tattoos, piercings and body modification were accepted in the mainstream, the underground movement was documented by V.Vale. After purchasing the book from See/Hear, I discovered a new world. Among those interviewed were Genesis P-Orridge and his first wife, formerly known as Paula P-Orridge. It wasn’t just tattoos they discussed. Through this book, I discovered many other worlds. I believe this was one of the first times I heard about Alister Crowley and William S. Burroughs. After reading about the frequency of the number 23, I started seeing 23s everywhere. Maybe it was my subconsciousness bringing it on. Later I discovered The 23 Current. It was my introduction to the esoteric, or occulture.
After barely graduating high school, I started collecting Psychic TV albums. Similarly I learned about the Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth. I sent away for information. The instructions received wasn’t something I was prepared for – although I kept that manual for many years. (Might even still own it)
Finally had a chance to see Psychic TV live in NYC, year 1991. This was during their ‘Acid House’ era. To this day it still remains one of the best concerts I saw in my life. Why I say this. Looking back on the concert, it wasn’t the performance, but the vibe, the energy. It’s only now I realize that concert might’ve altered my life. My perceptions slowly started to change. Still, it wasn’t until many years later when I decided to act upon my influences.
As the ’90s went on, my life switched directions. Psychic TV wasn’t on my radar so much. Occasionally I brought scattered PTV releases, such as a (now) rare spoken word CD which was later *stolen* (a-hem). In the meantime, Gen, Paula and their two daughters had to go into exile. After settling in California, Gen and Paula divorced.
In California, Genesis P-Orridge later got into a nasty accident while hanging out with the British band Love & Rockets. Escaping a fire, Genesis later sued record producer Rick Rubin, winning a large financial sum.
Didn’t get into Psychic TV again until maybe around the early 2000s. By then, Gen had moved to NYC, met Lady Jaye, and a new chapter developed. It was known as the ‘Pandrogeny Project.’
In summer 2007, I saw Psychic TV live for the second time. The concert was at The Bowery Ballroom. I had just arrived back from Kansas City to NYC. It was the end of a chapter in my own personal life. During this gig, Lady Jaye was in the background playing the tambourine, as the latest incarnation of Psychic TV, now known as PTV3, embraced a more guitar psychedelic vibe. Video montages of the Pandrogeny couple flickered on stage as the band performed.
NEW YORK STORY (2007) originally made as a video projection to be projected behind the band Psychic TV during their live performances. Breyer P-Orridge, also known as Genesis P-Orridge and (recently deceased) life partner Lady Jaye, have garnered attention in recent years by undergoing medical procedures to eliminate their physical differences. “One of the central themes of our work is the malleability of physical and behavioral identity,” they explain, giving rise to their merged identity. The two intended to create a new gender, the “pandrogyne” called Breyer P-Orridge. This video takes Breyer P-Orridges exploration of the fictional self one step further. A video about identity and trans/formation that blurs the line between fantasy and reality. A video by Nicolas Jenkins
After Lady Jaye’s death, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge continued with Psychic TV. I saw Gen’s spoken word performances numerous times during this period. (One spoken word project was known as Thee Majesty.) Once was when Gen was on the same bill as (early) Cold Cave and Boyd Rice. It was commemorating the anniversary of the Manson murders. The last spoken word GPO performance I saw was in 2015. S/He opened up for Japanese noise musician Merzbow. Gen’s whole set was really about Lady Jaye, eight years after her death. It was the saddest I’ve seen Gen. Afterwards, Gen walked on stage in the middle Merzbow’s set, no reason given. S/He stood there for a few minutes, then walked off. That was it. The concert version of “photo bombing.” My words the next day: ‘Gen is not a well woman.’
Winter 2019. I decided to see Cold Cave in concert again, partly because Psychic TV was booked to be the opening act. This was never meant to be. At this point, Gen was diagnosed with leukemia. The night of the concert, Genesis was much too ill to perform. PTV had no choice but cancel their set last minute.
That’s when I knew Gen didn’t have too long to live.
Luckily, Gen found a new love, who supported not only Gen emotionally, but was comfortable living with Lady Jaye’s memory.
Now it’s 2020, a year of chaos and uncertainly. While COVID-19 was just starting to be acknowledged as a serious threat, news broke about Gen’s passing. Just happen to be cruising through Instagram, when I stumbled upon a post by Cold Cave. Genesis Breyer P-Orridge went on to H/She’s Greater Feast on Gen’s death was expected, but it still left a void. Despite all the controversies, (people have told me over the years how S/he screwed many people over), Gen still broke boundaries, influencing many worldwide. It’s this blog post that I acknowledge the crucial influence GPO had upon me.
Here’s an illustration I did the other night. It’s Genesis P-Orridge from s/he early PTV days. Around the time Thee Temple of Psychick Youth was formed.
The next and final GPO post will focus on COUM Transmissions and mainly, Throbbing Gristle. Stay tuned.
Love and/or hate the person, Genesis P-Orridge was many: performance artist, musician, occultist, ‘cult/anti-cult’ leader, archivist, author, poet. To simplify, let’s just say Genesis was a life long agent provocateur. The word boundaries wasn’t in Gen’s vocabulary. With that, P-Orridge not only broke them, but influenced generations of other fringe creators in the process.
Genesis P- Orridge did more in a day than most people achieve in a lifetime. For me personally, through Gen, I learned about mail art, William S Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Alister Crowley, the occult, cult philosophies, tattoos, body modification, and numerous other sub-cultures and ‘alternative lifestyles.’ Mind you, this is only scratching the surface.
It’s going to take more than one blog post to explain the impact of Genesis P-Orridge. To those who only follow mainstream personalities, it doesn’t mean anything. For those who explore a bit deeper, P-Orridge was always in the background. If it wasn’t for S/He’s first band Throbbing Gristle, there would be no bands such as Nine Inch Nails.
Most people aren’t saints. Genesis P-Orridge had more than S/Her share of detractors. There was abuse allegations from former associates. Cosey Fan Tutti, former band mate with Throbbing Gristle, and former girlfriend, details some offenses in her autobiography Art Sex Music. (In S/His defense, Gen was quoted in The New York Times: “Whatever sells a book sells a book.” You can also read more here.) After divorcing S/Her’s first wife, Paula (now known as Alaura O’ Dell), Gen pretty much erased Paula’s history from the Psychic TV back catalog. Paula and Gen reconnected later on, healing some wounds. Finally, Fred Giannelli could spare a few choice words.
Despite this, Gen continued to evolve and shape shift. After being exiled from S/His native U.K., Gen met Jackie Breyer, a.k.a, Lady Jaye. Lady Jaye became his second wife. Together they embarked on the Pandrogeny Project. They each had plastic surgeries to resemble one another, creating a ‘third sex.’ It’s from this point Gen switched the pro-nouns from “he” to “S/He”, “She” and “They.” The union didn’t last. In 2007, Lady Jaye dropped her body. The cause of death was stomach cancer. Gen continued the Pandrogeny project after Lady Jaye’s passing.
As with other chapters within Gen’s life, S/He continued to rise above the ashes. In the later part of Gen’s life, Gen continued with yet another version of Psychic TV, aka, PTV3. S/He received accolades with museum exhibits, spoken word performances, and acknowledgments from younger bands.
Unfortunately Gen contracted leukemia. Due to health issues, Gen mostly retired from creating music, with the occasional gig here and there. Gen fell in love again, this time with a much younger woman. A 28 year old lady from Granada, named Susanna. Gen nicknamed her ‘Susan Atkins/Hamburger Lady.’ (Hamburger Lady was previously a Throbbing Gristle song.) The public view of Gen was documented on S/He’s Instagram account, Pandrogyne. Gen and the ‘Hamburger Lady’ were engaged before Gen’s passing.
This blog entry focused more on the personal aspects of Gen’s personal life. To document all of Gen’s work, the final version would be the size of a encyclopedia. Regardless of one’s involvement, hypothesis, or what have you, Genesis P-Orridge left an undeniable imprint. The sub-cultural influences will continue for years after S/He’s passing; similar to two of Gen’s own influences, William S. Burroughs, and Byron Gysin. Like David Bowie, S/He opened a gateway for many. It is this, that I personally thank Gen for all of the Occulture sensibilities I still sustain. Even recently, thanks to Gen’s Instagram, I discovered artist Hermann Nitsch. In a way, Gen never stopped giving. May Gen find peace after dropping the body, going on to S/He’s Greater Feast. Here’s to Ov Power.
*Mostly likely, additional blog posts about Genesis P-Orridge.
Okay, so it’s been over a month since posting a Psycho Bunny Sketch of The Week. Life has been really busy. Plus I started a brand new radio show, which I interview comic book pros, like artists, writers, podcasters, and other pros. Details forthcoming in another post.
In the meantime, October is here, which means it’s also Inktober. So combining the two, here’s my Psycho Bunny and Inktober 2019 sketch # 1, with the Inktober prompt of Ring.
Want to buy some of my designs? There’s RedBubble: Witchipoo
Finally, don’t forget to purchase my latest comic:
*To order any Psycho Bunny issues, or The Temptation of Squeaky, send $4.00 per issue along with your shipping address to Vemno @ Witchipoo. You can also order via PayPal, firstname.lastname@example.org. Specify which issue you’re ordering. Currently in stock is Psycho Bunny issue 3.75 and Temptation of Squeaky issue one.