Monte Cazazza, who coined the phrase “Industrial Music for Industrial People”, has died aged 68.
The American shock artist and Industrial music legend, who is said to have been the first to use the word “industrial” to describe heavy electronic music, passed away on June 29, after battling a mystery illness.
His collaborator Meri St. Mary confirmed the news on Twitter, writing: “It is With immense sadness and Love I had to let Monte go. “He was very ill and in pain so I take comfort in the fact that that part is over but I miss him already! Where ever it is we go off to I am certain He will be causing trouble in his own way RIP the One and Only Monte Cazazza. (sic)”
Monte is best known for shaping the genre by working with London’s Industrial Records in the mid-1970s.
He is credited for the noise collages and experimental sound manipulation the label was making that became known as industrial music.
Industrial music has harsh, mechanical, transgressive, or provocative sounds and themes.
And Re/Search Magazine’s Industrial Culture Handbook dubbed his work as “insanity-outbreaks thinly disguised as art events”.
One of his performances in 1975 was hailed a “Sex – religious show; giant statue of Jesus got chainsawed and gang raped into oblivion.”
Much of his artwork courted controversy and he was disruptor from an early age.
Monte attended the California College of Arts and Crafts and got expelled after creating a cement waterfall that disabled the main stairway of the building for his first sculpture assignment.
Later, he made a metal swastika and was known to bring a dead cat and formaldehyde (methanal) to set alight in front of friends.
Monte released eight solo albums, his final being 2010’s ‘The Cynic’.
He was also known for his work with the Industrial group Factrix from San Francisco and recorded soundtracks with Mark Pauline and Survival Research Laboratories.
Monte infamously sent out photos of himself in an electric chair on the day of convicted murderer Gary Gilmore’s execution, which mistakenly led to a Hong Kong newspaper publishing it as the real execution.
In 1977, Gilmore became the first person in almost a decade to be executed in the United States after being convicted of a double murder.