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And while Throbbing Gristle and early compatriots Cabaret Voltaire and Clock DVA remained entrenched within a thriving underground, it was P-Orridge’s connection to another musician that would ensure the genre’s further dissemination into the mainstream. “I was very good friends with Ian Curtis from Joy Division,” P-Orridge says. “In fact, I was the last person he spoke with before he died. We used to talk about Frank Sinatra’s early records and how they influenced our phrasing. That crooning style we both had was knowingly done. And the two of us had a plan. Joy Division and Throbbing Gristle were going to play together in Paris, and at the end, Ian and I would announce that we were both quitting our bands to start one together. It was not to be, though.”
But anyone expecting the current incarnation of Psychic TV to offer a night of moody electronic music is in for a surprise. The band have evolved considerably over the years. They began as something akin to Throbbing Gristle, took time in the late ’80s to help introduce acid house to English rave culture, before emerging in the last few years as a modern interpretation of ’60s psychedelic music. Their latest album, Hell Is Invisible . . . Hell Is Here, offers an intriguing mix of fuzzed-out guitar rock and futuristic gender politics merged with the more exploratory aspects in P-Orridge’s audio arsenal.
“When I re-formed Psychic TV, I asked myself, ‘What’s your favorite music that you’ve made, what gives you sheer pleasure?’ ” he says. “And it was the psychedelic-pop aspect. I’ve always felt that all the music I’ve made is psychedelic, including Throbbing Gristle. And because I began recording in the ’60s, in a sense I’m a ’60s band that’s still going. I really feel that I’ve been unjustly exorcised from the story of psychedelic music.”
Accordingly, P-Orridge promises a live show worthy of his mind-expanding roots, featuring projected videos, a light show, dancing and lots of interplay between musicians. “There’s very much an early Pink Floyd feel to it,” he says. “I would say that’s the closest parallel I can think of, having actually seen Floyd in the ’60s. People also remark how everyone in the band is smiling and having a real good time. We’re not shoegazers.”
Psychic TV at the Henry Fonda Theater, 6126 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd., Sat., Aug. 25.