Since 1982 - with a break between 1997 and 2010 - Michael Gira and his band SWANS stand for experimental noise rock at deafening volumes. But on the 15th studio album "Leaving Meaning" the 65-year-old suddenly strikes a very quiet, restrained note - a change of heart for which he has a simple explanation.
With the double album "To Be Kind" the Swans delivered a real monolith two years ago, whereby they discovered the blues for themselves, set off on uncanny psycho trips and set suitable counterpoints with introverted string pieces. Nevertheless, they managed to improve on the "The Glowing Man" announced as a farewell album - probably also because Michael Gira and his proven comrades-in-arms (among others Norman Westberg, Christoph Hahn and Bill Rieflin) wanted to put an impressive end to their career.
We don't talk to Michael Gira in an anonymous hotel room or a shabby backstage chamber of a club, but in the living room of guitarist Kristof Hahn, who since 1989 belongs to the illustrious circle of New York "Destructive Apostles" ("Der Tagesspiegel"). Gira looks like a living work of art: a tall, skinny cowboy hat wearer who smokes a chain, slurps black coffee, speaks good German ("as a teenager I worked in a sawmill in Solingen"), his counterpart is strictly fixed and has a lot to tell.
eclipsed: Michael, I hear "The Glowing Man" is your last album with the Swans. How do you know it's time for something new?
Michael Gira: Quite simply: When you're with the same five gentlemen 200 days a year - and that in the narrow tour bus and in the rehearsal room - at some point you know every molecule of them, and there are hardly any surprises left. So it's high time to throw in a Molotov cocktail and see what happens next.
RIVAL SONS - Tied Up (3:25)
Album: Hollow Bones (2016)
When the Californians gather for their recording sessions, a lot of 70s stuff - musically meant - has to race through their brains; grooves, vocals, song construction seem to come directly from that time. Beside Bluesrock there are also soul and psychedelic parts like in this song.
The Alice Cooper Interview
eclipsed author Michael Lorant has interviewed Alice Cooper nine times over the last three decades. These included telephone calls, but also conversations in which people sat opposite each other. In addition, there are several so-called Meet and Greet meetings on the fringes of concerts. The last time he met the veteran shock rocker was in Essen in April during the "Rock meets Classic" concert series.
The discovery of slowness
Swans were always gloomy and heavy, ignoring all mainstream and alternative trends. Their last album "The Seer" might have been hard to digest in its power, the new recording "To Be Kind" follows again the more transparent sound aesthetics of albums of the early nineties like "Love Of Life". Michael Gira, who has led the swans from the very beginning, is not a man of friendliness, although everything is going well privately at the moment and the sixty-year-old is getting married this year. In return, you can always rely on his depth and sustainability. His statements are explosive across time. That's why you can take your time listening.
eclipsed: "To Be Kind", like all your albums, has an almost religious quality.
The creative potential that the Swans have shown since they were founded four years ago is and remains unparalleled. On their album "The Seer" from 2012 they celebrated in extreme song lengths a unique orchestral symbiosis of rock riffs, folk particles, noise collages and a lot of noise. They thought they heard the primeval being of the world. Whoever experienced the band around singer/guitarist Michael Gira at one of their rare gigs in Europe since then became part of an evocative fair for absolute sound demands that surround themselves with the beautiful glow of contemplation.
To everything there is a season
He'd be in jail by a hair's breadth. He was saved from that by joining the army. There he met Billy Cox, with whom he would later play in Woodstock, among other places. But before this happened, the US American Jimi Hendrix had to take the road via England to be recognised as a star in his home country. We remember important stages in the short life of the immortal rock guitarist, who would have turned 70 on 27 November.
Full Power Back
The showman must go on
62 years old, nominated for the BRIT Awards - Robert Plant doesn't give the impression that he wants to hang up the microphone so quickly. On 22 January, on the verge of his two appearances in Toronto, Canada, the legendary shouter talked about how he became the musician he is today and why a Led Zeppelin reunion would give him nothing.
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eclipsed is a music magazine based in Aschaffenburg and has been on the German market since 2000. It is aimed at friends of sophisticated rock music who want to go on a new acoustic voyage of discovery month after month.
eclipsed deals in detail with the rock greats of the 60s and 70s in the areas of art rock, prog, psychedelic, blues, classic, hard rock and much more as well as with the current scene in these areas.