J. G. Thirlwell
|J. G. Thirlwell|
|Birth name||James George Thirlwell|
January 29, 1960 |
|Genres||Industrial, Post-industrial, experimental, noise music, electronic, electro-industrial, Avant-garde, no wave, post-punk, noise rock, EAM, instrumental, jazz, big band, soundtrack, exotica, dark ambient, alternative rock, garage rock, Spy music, electronica, post-rock, Lounge, new wave, Gothic music, Spoken word, Cabaret, dark cabaret, art rock, maximalism, neoclassical, minimalism, math rock.|
|Occupations||Musician, songwriter, Composer|
The Immaculate Consumptive
James George Thirlwell (born 29 January 1960) – also known as Clint Ruin, Frank Want, Foetus among other names – is an Australian singer, composer, and record producer. He emerged during the heyday of – and is sometimes associated with – No Wave and early industrial music , but because of his musical diversity he is perhaps more well known for juxtaposing a variety of different styles.
Life and career 
Thirlwell was born in Melbourne, Australia. He briefly studied Fine Art at Melbourne State College (now part of the University of Melbourne) before moving to London, England in 1978, where he played with the post-punk band prag VEC and formed the first of his numerous musical projects, Foetus. In the 1980s, under the pseudonyms Clint Ruin and Frank Want, he contributed to various releases by Nurse With Wound, Marc Almond, The The and Nick Cave. He released his first 7" single, OKFM/Spite Your Face, in 1981, on his own Self-Immolation record label in his first incarnation as Foetus. Over the next few years, he would release two more singles, a 12" EP, and four full-length albums, Deaf, Ache, Hole (his first release on Some Bizzare Records) and perhaps his most seminal album from that period: Nail released in 1985. After visiting the United States during a live stint with the Immaculate Consumptive (Lydia Lunch, Nick Cave and Marc Almond) Thirlwell settled in New York, where he is still based. Since his move he has released several singles, fourteen EPs (including Stinkfist, with fellow New York artist Lydia Lunch and Thurston Moore), and seventeen full-length albums.
In addition to being a prolific artist in his own right, Thirlwell has remixed and produced numerous pieces for artists including Nine Inch Nails, Front 242, The The, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Marilyn Manson. He has also done voice-over work for MTV and other entities.
Since 2000 Thirlwell has become more active as a composer, having written commissions for Bang on a Can, League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots and Kronos Quartet, and scoring the Adult Swim cartoon The Venture Bros. He also revived his primary instrumental project, Steroid Maximus, and initiated a more experimental project in Manorexia. He continues to write and perform regularly as a solo artist and with various ensembles.
Throughout the span of his career, Thirlwell has toyed with his own identity by releasing music in the guise of numerous alter egos. During the earliest phases of his recording, Thirlwell's "groups" were composed of a plethora of fictional characters: Foetus Under Glass supposedly consisted of Frank Want, Phillip Toss and two Brazilian statistics collectors; Scraping Foetus off the Wheel was claimed to be the work of Want and Clint Ruin. Furthering the confusion, Thirlwell adopted these personas outside of his own recordings; for example, Frank Want can be found on The The's Soul Mining and on releases by Edwyn Collins's Orange Juice.
Thirlwell's persona of Clint Ruin was particularly notable. During the mid-1980s and early-1990s Thirlwell exclusively went by this pseudonym, even conducting interviews as Ruin. As Ruin, Thirlwell was a member of Wiseblood with Roli Mosimann and Flesh Volcano with Marc Almond. He also recorded two collaborative EPs with Lydia Lunch, and starred in and scored films of Richard Kern under the Ruin alias. Ruin is also credited on numerous releases for a variety of roles with Boss Hog, Coil, Fur Bible, Annie Hogan, Nurse With Wound, Pigface, Sonic Youth, Workdogs and others.
This practice seems to have been discontinued since 1995, and "J. G. Thirlwell" is credited on all subsequent musical recordings. However, Thirlwell currently makes DJ appearances under the pseudonym DJ OTESFU (an anagram of Foetus).
Thirlwell's music—released under his various project names of Foetus, Wiseblood, Steroid Maximus, Baby Zizanie, Manorexia and others—includes elements of punk rock, 20th century classical music, industrial music, big band, Americana, jazz, African and Cuban percussion, and epic/horror film soundtracks. Much of Thirlwell's aural output is built on a percussive, rock music-type structure, though to call it rock music would be inaccurate. His music employs elements of many genres: with an often frenzied aesthetic, Thirlwell's music combines percussion, strings, distortion, brass, electric guitars, electronic sounds and voice. Recurring lyrical themes include destruction, persecution, anxiety, abuse, incest, masochism, angst, self-destruction, self-abuse, lust, prejudice, murder, failure and machismo, often expressed using American colloquialism and black humour. J. G. Thirlwell is also a member of Freq out and the Freq out orchestra.
Musical projects 
- Foetus: Thirlwell's main project. From 1990 until 2010's 'Hide', most Foetus songs featured lead vocals. Though popularly known as simply "Foetus", Thirlwell released albums under diverse variations of the name, including: Foetus Art Terrorism; Foetus Über Frisco; Foetus Corruptus; Foetus In Excelsis Corruptus Deluxe; Foetus Inc.; Foetus Interruptus; Foetus Over Frisco; Foetus Under Glass; Philip and His Foetus Vibrations; Scraping Foetus Off the Wheel; The Foetus All-Nude Revue; The Foetus of Excellence; The Foetus Symphony Orchestra; and You've Got Foetus On Your Breath.
- Steroid Maximus: Primary instrumental project.
- Manorexia: Experimental instrumental project.
- DJ OTESFU: DJ work.
- Wiseblood: Collaboration with Roli Mosimann.
- Flesh Volcano: Collaboration with Marc Almond.
- Baby Zizanie: Collaboration with Jim Coleman.
- Garage Monsters: Collaboration with skater artist the P!zz. (Sympathy for the Record Industry)
- The Immaculate Consumptive: Touring ensemble with Lydia Lunch, Nick Cave, and Marc Almond
- The Venture Bros.: Musical score by Thirlwell.
Partial discography 
- Clint Ruin & Lydia Lunch: Stinkfist (EP, 1987)
- Garage Monsters: Powerhouse! (7" single, 1990). A cover of Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse" This recording was later credited to Steroid Maximus.
- Clint Ruin & Lydia Lunch: Don't Fear the Reaper (EP, 1991)
- Garage Monsters: Safari To Mumbooba! (10" single, 1992)
- J. G. Thirlwell: The Venture Bros.: The Music of JG Thirlwell (album, 2009)
- Steve Huey (2001). "Foetus" in All Music Guide to Electronica, ed. Vladimir Bogdanov. Ann Arbor:. All Media Guide. p. 187.
- Peter Buckley (2003). The Rough Guide to Rock, 3rd ed. London:. Rough Guides. p. 385.
- Chuck Eddy (2011). Rock and Roll Always Forgets: A Quarter Century of Music Criticism. Durham:. Duke University Press. p. 54.
- Neal, Charles (1987). Tape Delay: Confessions from the Eighties Underground. SAF Publishing. pp. 127–136. ISBN 0-946719-02-0.
- Official website
- The Corporate Mofo Interview
- Thirlwell Biography/Discography at Trouser Press
- Interview @ Legends
- J.G. Thirlwell interview at Allaboutjazz