Thursday, November 25, 2010

Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson, RIP

As long as we're all giving thanks tonight, it's important to remember to give thought.

Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson died yesterday. I never met Peter, never even "saw" him. But I sure did listen to his work. Played the hell out of it on the radio in the mid-80s, too. From his formative roles in Throbbing Gristle, to Psychic TV, to Coil, Christopherson was instrumental in producing some of the most influential pieces of industrial, electronic and trance music of the late 1970s through the mid '80s. Looking back, it might be all too facile to write off the canon of those bands as oh so much pretentious oozing. To each one's own, though, as I'd counter that all three of those bands were at the forefront of their respective moments, releasing music that got under one's fingernails and invaded the listener's thoughts then, and that continues to stand as meaningful, individualistic and anachronistic thirty years later.

Coil's 1984 12-inch single "Panic," along with its B-side cover of "Tainted Love," was among the first ever (if not the first ever) records released specifically to benefit HIV/AIDS programs. All profits from the sale of the single were donated to the Terrence Higgins Trust. The video for "Tainted Love," directed by Peter Christopherson, now resides in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Watch it. Like it or not, give a thought tonight to the memory of the man who made it. And going forward from Thanksgiving toward the year-end holidays, give thought to making a difference, or simply making a contribution, to a local charity, be it for HIV/AIDS or whatever cause is most meaningful to you.

Again, Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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