Throbbing Gristle (formed on September 3, 1975 in London) are a British experimental music and Industrial Music group that evolved from the performance art group COUM Transmissions. The founding members of Throbbing Gristle were Chris Carter, Genesis P-Orridge, Cosey Fanni Tutti and Peter Christopherson (sometimes known as Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson).
Their confrontational live performances and use of often disturbing imagery, including pornography and photographs of Nazi concentration camps, gave the group a notorious reputation. However the group always maintained that their mission was to challenge and explore the darker and obsessive sides of the human condition rather than to make attractive music. Throbbing Gristle pioneered the use of pre-recorded samples, and made extensive use of special effects to produce a distinctive, highly distorted background, usually accompanied by lyrics or spoken-word performances by Genesis P-Orridge.
In 1977 they released their debut recording, 2nd Annual Report. Although pressed in a limited initial run of 786 copies on the band's own Industrial Records label, it was later re-released due to high demand. Throbbing Gristle broke up in 1981, with founders Genesis P-Orridge and Peter Christopherson going on to form Psychic TV, whilst Cosey Fanni Tutti and Chris Carter continued to record together under the name of Chris and Cosey. Christopherson later went on to become half of the band Coil with fellow Psychic TV member John Balance.
Throbbing Gristle was noted for its live performances, which were often experimental and quite different from their pre-recorded work. In addition to studio albums, a large number of recordings of live shows were released, of varying sound quality. A concise history of Throbbing Gristle and Coum Transmissions can be found in Simon Ford's book Wreckers of Civlisation (ISBN 1901033600). A 24 CD boxed set, TG24, documenting many live Throbbing Gristle performances was released in December 2002. A follow-up to this boxset chronicling the last 10 performances was released as TG+ in January of 2004. These releases accumulated recordings that had originally been released on cassette-only boxed sets and individually released vinyl albums of official and bootleg status. Long out of circulation, the new releases sparked a renewed interest in the band.
Throbbing Gristle was scheduled to play a live show in May 2004 at the RE~TG festival, but the festival was cancelled due to rising costs and scheduling complications. They decided to play anyway and set up a show at The Astoria in London on Sunday May 16th 2004, which was the same day they were to play at RE~TG. The show was free but open only to those who had tickets to RE~TG, whether they had gotten a refund or transferred the ticket to Throbbing Gristle's final reunion show at All Tomorrow's Parties, in April 2005. The show was filmed by the band, and is supposed to come out as a DVD in 2006. It was Throbbing Gristle's first live performance in nearly twenty-three years to day.
The band have just finished recording their first studio album in almost 25 years. Titled Part Two, it is set to be released by Mute on March 20th 2006.
The group's name is British (Hull) slang for an erect penis.