Wednesday, June 29, 2011


 Michael Gira is the man responsible for Swans, Angels of Light, & Young God Records; a musician, author, and artist that has masterful skill at creating amazing songs by merging textured noise, raw rhythm, beautiful melodies, and haunting lyrics. 

After his parents divorced, and living with his mother in Los Angeles didn't work out, Gira moved to Indiana with his father, and eventually they moved to Paris.  He ran away from home and hitchhiked across Europe.  He was arrested for selling drugs in Israel.  Even though a teenager at the time, he was throw into an adult prison for 4 1/2 months.  His father found him with the aid of Interpol and sent him back to the United States.
Back in Los Angeles he got into music, and dropped out of art school after becoming disillusioned by  the elitism and academia surrounding the art world.  In 1979 he moved to New York, and soon formed Swans.  I got into his music via Angels of Light.  Growing up in the 80s/90s, I remember one of my closest friends being into Swans, but my musically journey hadn't quite prepared me for Gira's art at that point.  It didn't catch.  Years later, while working at night club in PDX as a production manager, we hosted Gira playing as Angels of Light with the Akron Family as his back up band.  I was floored and blown away.  Most of the crowd was made up of old Swan fans; punks, goths, etc.  One ladies driver's license had expired and the bouncer wouldn't let her in.  She was in tears, and pleaded and begged for us to let her in.  She promised she wouldn't drink, and was obviously older than 21.  She needed to see Gira, to be close to him.  I let her in, and it was at that point that I realized how important an artist Gira was.  There I began exploring his work.   


1 comment: