Friday 11th February 1977 – Throbbing Gristle – Nag’s Head
A common misconception about many of the early ‘punk’ bands was that they ‘couldn’t play’, had ‘no good songs’ and looked like they’d been dragged through a hedge backwards. Of course, only some of this may have been true. Some of the best pop songs of the 1970’s came out of the punk movement and the musicianship was generally of a high standard.
If you wanted real punk, then step forward Throbbing Gristle – a band consisting of 26 year old Genesis P Orridge (real name Neil Megson), 25 year old Cosey Fanni Tutti (real name Christine Newby) and, according to the Bucks Free Press Midweek review of their gig at The Nag’s Head on Friday 11th February 1977, reclusive American artist Monte Cazazza. The latter apparently coined the phrase “industrial music for industrial people”.
A scan of the review is shown below but I’ve also included the text for ease of reading and search engine recognition.
I wish I’d gone home
Anyone who reads the juicer Sunday and popular newspapers will know the name of Throbbing Gristle, pictured above featuring Genesis P. Orridge, Cosey Fanni Tutti and Monte Cazazza.
One may have asked in passing : “Who are these weirdies?” I still don’t know who they are, or why they should have attracted such publicity, and I went out of my way to see them perform at the Nag’s Head pub in High Wycombe on Friday.
Well, I say perform because just at the moment I seem to be lost for words to describe what went on.
I make no apology for saying I am a lover of heavy, noisy. Jarring, ear-splitting music. I’m young and strong and I can take it.
But I had a job to keep my pint in my stomach as I listened to the muck which was Throbbing Gristle’s claim to fame.
An ape with his hands severed can thump just as violently on a bass guitar as Genesis did. I thought that was bad, but then he picked up his electrified violin and suddenly the place was full of agonised cats.
I can’t be sure that he was trying to sing, and I couldn’t make out every word he screamed into the microphone, but it sounded like I should have ignored the man and gone home.
Our photographer gave up early. I wish I’d followed him.
But I waited, and watched dumbfounded as Cosey Fanni Tutti bared both her chest and her ignorance of music, and Genesis poured artificial blood over his head then spat it onto the stage.
At least he did stop playing for a while — but only to shout obscenities at the audience and to throw a table across the hall.
Then he invited half a dozen youngsters from the catcalling and jeering audience onto the stage, and he handed them the instruments. They sounded better than Throbbing Gristle, even though they couldn’t play a note.
Those youngsters paid 75p to go into the hail to listen to the stomach churning travesty of music which Throbbing Gristle was oozing into the Nag’s Head.
The landlord, Mick Fitzgibbon, told me that the youngsters were about ready to throw Genesis P. Orridge, plus his equipment, bodily through the door.
“I’ll never have them back here,” he said. “The kids were threatening to punch the promoter, and I don’t blame them.”
However Gig Reserves, the promoters want to make amends to customers of theNag’s Head. They promise that next weekend’s band, Phil Ram, is good, and not to be missed. I think I’ll go along to make sure
Those with a strong stomach, should follow the link below to read how Cazazza funded his 1977 trip to the UK.
The Nag’s Head gig was also recorded for an official cassette release in 1979.
The track listing included: Very Friendly, We Hate You (Little Girls), Slug Bait, Anarchy And Music. Zyklon B Zombie, If I Was A Little Baby and Wall Of Sound.
Perhaps the ‘Zyklon B Zombie’ track name influenced the later Wycombe punk band ‘Cylcon B’, formed in 1979 with former members of the Plastic People?
Were you one of the people who were invited on stage at this gig? Please get in touch.
There are a couple of tracks available via YouTube. Happy listening!