PTV and Fred Gianelli

By enquirewithin · Sep 27, 2013 · ·
  1. enquirewithin
    Genesis P-Orridge is mentioned by RU Sirius in his book about drugs and rock music, Everybody Must Get Stoned, as being about the strangest of them all. P-Orridge was a friend of Tim Leary and was very influential in the development of industrial music. However, as Fred Gianelli (the who provided a great deal of Psychic TV's teckno muisc) outlines in this interview, all was not as 'magickal' as some fans might believe.

    Psychic TV: "There are a lot of fools in the world"

    23rd Peter in talk with Fred Giannelli, june 2000

    23rd Peter: For how long were you engaged with psychic tv?

    Fred Giannelli: I was an actual touring member from 1988-1993? I think. Gen stopped calling me around '93, I forget. He was going through too many of his personal problems.

    How did you come to join them and how to leave?

    I met Gen in 1984 in Boston. He helped put out some of my first records back in those years. In 1988 I was invited over to England to record "R.U. Xperienced?" I wanted to have Caresse do the vocals. Then I was drafted into the band for the U.S. tour that summer/autumn.

    I stopped working with Gen because I couldn't afford to work in that manner any longer. PTV didn't earn enough money to make it a worthwhile venture. Working in PTV exhausted my personal savings and I had nothing to show for all the work I was doing and had done. Gen certainly had no financial power. So financial problems were #1.

    #2. As Acid House and Techno developed it appeared you no longer had to work in the outmoded way PTV had been working. It was very expensive for PTV to work back then because we were going into recording studios and laying down the electronic stuff and then adding the drums & guitar etc. This was very time consuming and cost a lot of money. When I started my label Telepathic I returned to the way I worked in the early '80's. More electronic and home studio oriented If I had known then that simple electronic sounds and rhythms would be so popular I would have recorded much more of my electronic noodlings back then.

    #3. Gen had too many personal problems. Children, divorce, deciding to leave England, enormous ego, lawsuits from assaulting people, drug problems, psychological instability, etc.....

    #4. Gen alienated all the record companies who wanted to work with us when we were a valid working unit. Of course the offers weren't worthwhile anyway but after meeting Gen, most people in the business didn't want to have anything to do with him. In retrospect: perhaps rightly so.

    Speaking of Psychic TV mostly means speaking of Genesis P-Orridge. How did you handle that, backstage, on stage, in general contact?

    We tolerated his excesses with great patience and discipline. Attributes he has never appeared to have developed in himself.

    An honest answer contrary to what you will read in any interviews or history books which are all bullshit hype and self-promoting fluff.

    How did the actual ptv work take place: rehearsals, composing, touring, etc.?

    There was never any real rehearsals. It was pretty much impossible because I was still living in the U.S.A. and would commute to London when we had gigs or recording sessions lined up. I would program the sampler to play a skeletal beat and bassline with progressions etc. and they would loop after 4-7 minutes. The band would ride the dynamics over the top. We would usually run through a new track during soundcheck when we had a show a few times and then just try it out live. Matthew Best (drums) and I (guitar) had an instant musical rapport when we started working and you could basically do anything over the top of our foundation and that's what happened. This was the only real magic I experienced while in PTV.

    Gen was incredibly distracted and disturbed from actually developing any craft to his approach to working on vocals and lyrics. Some would call it laziness. In his notes to some CD's he has elaborated extensively but his reasoning sounds more like overly romantic excuses.

    It wasn't till we were actually recording in the studio that he actually had to get some work done. And even then the results were less than satisfactory, ie. "I.C. Water". He would get some OK lyrics together but never prepare his vocals. Basically he could do 4 takes at a vocal and that was what I had to work with. Taking the best bits and comping 1 complete take out of 4. Live, it often degenerated into self-indulgent rubbish. Often times he would be too drugged out and in the audience to do any vocals. The fans took it upon themselves to jump onstage and take over most of the time. Our sound man Richard had to kill the mic a lot.

    How did you deal with the ever-changing line-up of ptv?

    From '88-90 PTV was very stable as a live unit and we did more gigs and touring than any other version of PTV before or after.

    In the studio I got to work with some skilled and talented people. Dave Ball, Gini Ball, all the remixers like: Evil Eddie Richards, John Gosling, Greedy Beat Syndicate (Matthew, Sean and Hugo), Richard Schiessl, Caresse ;), etc.

    Live I got to work with Monte Cazzaza, Timothy Leary, Andrew MacKenzie, Z'ev, Alex Ferguson, Jordi Vallis, Greedy Beat Syndicate, Richard Schiessl, the P-Orridge family. The only person I wish I hadn't worked with was Z'ev and I wasn't really interested in working with Larry Thrasher at all. Z'ev had a real talent at being a jerk but as a percussionist he couldn't keep time with Matthew our drummer. I didn't really get to know Larry at all but didn't get any good vibes off of him.

    Once Gen invited a saxophone guy who couldn't play to blow over my techno tracks in San Francisco and that was especially horrible. I don't like saxophone playing, especially over my music.

    Did PTV really invent acid house music?

    I would like to take this opportunity to publicly refute Genesis P-Orridge's claims of "inventing" Acid House. Since when did a short englishman look like a black guy from Chicago?

    Not a very nice thing to do. I know Gen isn't really a racist but why does he keep claiming this?

    Gen has made this claim so many times in interviews that he actually believes his own bullshit. He never noticed the rest of the band rolling our eyes as he was interviewed backstage by stupid gullible rock journalists all those years ago. The more press he did, the more grandiose and absurd the claims. Don't burst his bubble now. Take everything he says and what you read about him with a heavy dose of skepticism.

    However, Gen is really a master of self promotion and @ getting interviewed for shitty so called "films" like "Modulations" and this new one called "Better Living Through Circuitry". One of my PTV tracks is even on the soundtrack distributed by Moonshine so you know it's a complete piece of shit.[imgl=red][/imgl]

    Incidentally Genesis P-Orridge had no substantial input on that particular track. It was recorded during the "Infinite Beat" sessions. The title, music, concept of using voice samples of Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol were entirely mine. Dave Ball provided some additional keyboard overdubs. Gen did suggest to use the Dali/Warhol samples on that particular track however I had planned all along to use them on one of the tracks for the CD and had them ready in my sampler. The reason he received 50% writing credit and publishing was due to a disagreement we had over the publishing of other tracks on the CD. Particularly "I.C. Water" which was picked as a single and Gen was greedily claiming that he was entitled to more than 50% of the publishing. I suggested that we split all the tracks 50/50 since "Money for E..." was the only track where I could honestly say I deserved 100% of the publishing. I was willing to make this concession on the principal that Gen didn't deserve more than 50% of any of the songs. 50/50 all the way.

    I don't really consider "Money for E..." an important track. Just a funny filler track to end an LP and make a stupid ecstasy joke, which he was doing a lot of then. Amazing how some people find the money for their indulgences.

    To his credit he did help me get my start and put out my first records in 1985. Somehow he did attract a good crew and bandmates. Matthew Best, Dickie Dawes, Richard Schiessl, Dominic Parker , Milli Laws, his wife @ the time Paula and in small doses ; ) their 2 girls Caresse and Genesse were all great fun to be with and experience the camaraderie of being on the road.

    Psychic TV was his project and he can have it. Judging from his mismanagement of the PTV backcatalogue it's all worthless now. But then again he just thinks I'm just a miserable asshole.

    Old topy proverbs or gpo quotations have an almost religious meaning to some people. what do you think of that?

    I think that there are a lot of fools in the world.

    ...and whats your religion?


    Any other comments on PTV, GPO, other band members, TOPY, fans, etc. ?

    I don't really want my comments to hurt or humiliate Gen but feel compelled to answer honestly and share my point-of-view truthfully. Plus set the record straight a bit. Not that any of his sycophants care. His need to cultivate sycophants was always a disturbing turn-off to many of his collaborators. So much of what Gen has said in interviews and what has been written about him is just superficial self-mythologizing and comes off as fantasy.

    Of all people, Gen should understand my attitude. Especially after he has built his career on anarchic and often disparaging comments about others. I do not believe my words are very harsh at all but instead sincere and honest. Gen as spokesman for the group always tried to portray a united front (that we all shared the same POV) for his collaborators which was not always true. But while I was in the band, each of the members had very different personalities and the differences created the dynamic that made the group interesting. Judging from his non-relations with the other members of TG and the fact that Sleazy and Chris and Cosey still get along speaks volumes about Gens character.

    You are also still in music business...

    Sort of. ;)

    What are your actual music projects?

    Telepathic Recordings, my record label. The Kooky Scientist project which was involved with Richie Hawtin's label Plus 8 Records/ +8. I still perform live electronic music all over the world as The Kooky Scientist.

    Upcoming releases: PSI-031 The Kinky Scientist 12" via Telepathic Fred Giannelli EP via Tektite / Austin, TX The Kooky Scientist 12" via TSF / Superstition, Hamburg, Germany. Also a remix of the classic D.H.S. track "House of God".

    Are there still relations to other former PTV members?

    Yes, Matthew Best, Richard Schiessl and Dickie Dawes I keep in touch with. I get E-mail from Paula or as I call her now Paulaura, occasionally. I've tried to maintain a friendship with Gen over the years but he doesn't seem interested in dealing with true honesty in a real friendship so we only communicate occasionally about PTV business relating to the back catalogue and even then it's very little. I haven't seen him in many years although I let him know when I come to NYC to visit but he never wants to get together. I have an electronic friendship with Chris and Cosey as well as John Balance from Coil. Monte Cazzaza is a dear friend that I haven't had a chance to see in quite a long time but we keep in touch electronically.

    I have a special name for people who have worked with Gen because we kind of form a little club and even though we haven't all met in person we all have this in common. We are "Genesis Survivors". ;)

    What is the status of your ptv book project?

    Since there is so little interest and money I will wait until my retirement to compile something. I'm more involved in my present creative work than to rehash the past. (hint, hint....)

    How old are you nowadays and where do you work and live?

    I am now a youthful looking (so people tell me) 40 years old and live in Salem (a/k/a The Witch City), Massachusetts, U.S.A.

    What has actually most influence on your life?

    Probably my upbringing. I was born into unusual conditions. I often joke about having children as costing an arm and a leg. An American expression meaning "Very expensive". Incidentally, I don't have any children.

    In my fathers case it is quite literal. When my mother was pregnant with me, my father was on his friends boat and had an unfortunate accident. He was thrown overboard and was caught in the propeller. His right hand and left leg below the knee had to be amputated. My mother witnessed this accident from the shore. Maybe that shock had some effect on me while I was in the womb.

    I also had a bizarre freak accident when I was 10 years old. I was attacked and bitten on the neck twice by a horse. It also stepped on my leg. I was extremely lucky I wasn't hurt too badly. I thought I was paralyzed at first because I couldn't move my head or walk. Luckily, only a nerve was pinched in my neck and after a month recovering and not being able to turn my head I was OK. My leg took 3 months to heal. I still experience a strange tension in my neck however and the nerve that was pinched controls my left eyelid which slightly droops. Fatigue makes it droop even more..

    After I recovered I was sent away to a work camp every summer to caddy. Carrying golf clubs on a private, very exclusive island on Cape Cod. I got to observe and encounter how very wealthy people live and wasn't impressed with their lifestyle. However, we worked and lived in very primitive and militaristic conditions. Nowadays, it would be considered child abuse.

    Probably the most interesting man I caddied for many times was a retired 5 star general from World War II. He was also appointed as the Ambassador to France by John F. Kennedy in the '60's. I caddied for him during the early '70's and he seemed very disillusioned about the Vietnam War. He told me his life story. He was starting to write his memoirs which correct the official military history of many of the events which he was involved in during World War II. His name was James M. Gavin. His humility was admirable.

    Does the internet take influence on your work, on your life?

    Yes. My phone and fax bills are considerably smaller now that there is E-mail. Researching information is much easier to get done now also.

    Is it important to use drugs on this kind of music?

    Not really, I don't really do drugs. The attention and hype surrounding drugs in the media devalues the significance of music.

    Do drugs have importnace on music in general?

    For some people. Unfortunately, it's been the destructive force in many talented musicians lives. I don't really care about drugs. I've had too many friends screw themselves up over it. But I don't look down on people who do drugs and would fight for their right to do whatever they want. Except for maybe heroin and crack most people seem to be able to deal with whatever they are involved with in moderation. Whatever makes you happy.

    Does humour belong in music?


    Does it belong in YOUR music?

    It's definitely there. If not in the music then in the Song titles and double entendres.

    A final egoistic question: did you hear of FOPI before?

    Yes, but I'm not sure why it exists.

    Share This Article


  1. Saraha
    yes PTV TOPY "23..i jusT saw this,will be back soon,probably.Al have been mixed with my perception and drug use from early 80s on.Had above LPs ,livinnig in Leeds,on their release.beyond and toward thee infinite BEAT.was reading on porridge-GEn for coupkle hours can tell what state iam in...thats me bored with spellcheck and i havr Uni english..meltin after stressfull nite/morn..speake soon..:thumbsup:
  2. enquirewithin
    I loved the PTV teckno period :)
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!