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Thread: Michael Gira

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    Default Michael Gira



    Michael Gira: musician, author, artist, etc. Swans frontman.

    Michael Gira is an extremely private person; he doesn't like interviews, and he does not enjoy the prospect of sharing his personal emotions (outside of the realm of performance) with anyone... unless he chooses to. Choice is a key concept in relation to attempting to better understand Gira; his personal freedom is perhaps the core, the very foundation of a musical odyssey that has lasted nearly a quarter of a century and shows no signs of slowing or mellowing by any interpretation. The man says and does exactly what he chooses to do, woeful to the point of insolent at any forces outside of his choosing that might attempt to control or carve out his destiny. Out of this resistance to anybody or any institution that might exercise authority or control over his person or his thoughts, one could argue that Gira has forged a meaningful career.

    That is not to say that Gira is a closed or obviously temperamental personality these days, though he would be the first to admit that his unpredictable and often caustic behavior served as a distancing factor early in his career with SWANS; on the contrary, he is capable of demonstrating a very keen sense of humor and is self-deprecating to a fault. His dealings in the past with the record industry and music journalists have caused him to shun rubbing shoulders with their ilk, even to dread it; any effort to analyze or intellectualize his works seems equally irksome to Gira who claims, "I have absolutely no mission whatsoever except to make music. I have no point to make. There's no ulterior motive. I love making music, singing, shaping sound. That's enough."
    Around 1969, Michael Gira moved to Paris with his father, where Gira began hanging out with hippies, panhandling (though he didn't need to), and taking drugs. At one point he was jailed for several weeks in Amsterdam (as a minor) for vagrancy, abandoned by his father in hopes of teaching the young boy a lesson. After a stint at a tool factory in Germany which he chose over a prestigious school in the Swiss Alps, Gira ran away, hitch-hiking through Greece and Yugoslavia until arriving in Israel at the age of 15, selling hash first on a collective farm, or kibbutz, and later (after a near-bust) a hostel, where he was finally taken into custody by Israeli police.

    Gira was incarcerated for a month and a half in Jerusalem without formal charges before a civil rights lawyer found out about his case. Released without bail, he hung out in Jerusalem, mostly panhandling or selling his blood before his trial, in which he was sentenced to another two months in an adult prison, where he depended heavily on his luck and quickly acquired shrewdness to avoid being gang-raped. Gira recollects, "Total time was only about three months, not much really, but enough to get me thinking later about TIME (one's own control of it) being the most valuable thing one can possess..." After his release, he spent nearly a year in Israel working twelve-hour days in a copper mine before being tracked down by his father with the aid of Interpol agents. Deciding he could no longer deal with his son, Gira's father sent him back to his mother in California, who was now living in the working class community of Torrance. He tried his hand at working at a plastics factory, roofing, and plumbing before jumping back into formal education. After passing a high school equivalence exam, he went to junior college to study art; later, he attended Otis Academy Art Institute (where he first met Kim Gordon, who would later go on to join SONIC YOUTH in New York), and later began publishing NO MAGAZINE with Bruce Kalberg, featuring band interviews, stories and pornography.
    https://younggodrecords.com/blogs/pr...gira-biography

     
    Deny it as he may, Swans' Michael Gira is a scary looking guy. As we talk for half an hour or so on Skype, this is the profile picture, blown up to full screen, that I’m looking at. Confessing to jetlag and understandably weary of press commitments, Gira is a surprisingly humble, thoughtful and considerate guy but nonetheless the most terrifying interviewee I’ve had the pleasure of coming across.
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Gira
    Sometimes I write from things I've read, or recently I wrote a song after seeing a really beautiful movie. It doesn't describe the movie but rather it's inspired by the sensations it provided. The songs start from a memory and then build into something, but it'S not like I'm singing about my problems. To sing about myself, I think that's very onanistic and not very interesting.
    http://drownedinsound.com/in_depth/4...-gira-of-swans

    As it turns out, Gira—despite tedious stories of sound guys being hurled from the highest bridge—is a charmer. He's warm, laughs easily and is open to both philosophical disagreements and longwinded digressions about your own life. It's easy to imagine an interviewer glowing every time Gira says, "Good question." [...] As multiple Swans members tell me, getting praise from Michael Gira is like having Nick Cave compliment your hair.
    "I wanted it to be more violent than rock"—but when pestered about the perceived religiosity running through their music, he'll reasonably say, "I don't want to focus on the spiritual aspects too much. That's fucking corny. It's rock music for god's sake!"
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Gira
    First of all, transgression? That means you're a slave. Because you have to transgress against something that has power over you. Why would you need to transgress? I'm pretty much a solipsist as far as that goes. People's lives are up to them... I didn't want to shock or transgress or teach anyone. I wanted to make a good object or block of sound.
    The one truth everyone seems to agree on is Michael Gira's will. Whether it's current bassist Christopher Pravdica or alums from Gira's Young God label—like Tristan Bechet of Flux Information Sciences, or Calla frontman Aurelio Valle—everyone emphasizes the stark presence of Gira's perseverance. As Bechet puts it, referencing the film Fitzcarraldo and one of Gira's favorite directors, "He's like [Werner] Herzog; he's got to carry the ship over the mountain."
    When I ask him where the line is drawn between his life story and what can be construed or consumed by his fans, admirers and/or enemies, he says, "A sense of decorum, respect for my dead parents. [My songs] are certainly not autobiographical. They're an amalgamation of my experience that I try to shape into a body of work, but they aren't just about me. I find that selfish, trite. I'm not the Charles Bukowski of music. The words aren't about me. I'm trying to make something bigger than myself."
    http://www.self-titledmag.com/2014/0...ming-of-swans/

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Gira
    Do you employ extreme psychological tactics on musicians, like Captain Beefheart or Mark E. Smith?

    I don't know if I'm adroit enough psychologically to do that, but maybe I do, inadvertently... I generally push things, but I've gotten better at it as I've got older. I don't elicit quite so much fury, but I want to push things until they reach the highest state. That requires a total physical and psychic commitment from the band, but I don't completely lose it like I used to do. Maybe I had an epiphany or something. I just thought "You're a fucking asshole" [laughs].
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Gira
    You told an Italian magazine: "Thank God I'm no longer me." What did you mean by that?

    I think that is the highest state you could reach, to no longer be yourself, but I guess I was referring to the caricature of what I was at that time. Tempestuous, bossy dictator guy. I should have learned from my father who was a business executive... the way to get the team going is through making them feel valuable and being nice to people, not barking commands like some low-level drill sergeant.
    https://www.theguardian.com/music/20...tour-interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Gira on Filth
    I was preoccupied very much with how the work that one does constitutes usually at least a third if not more of your life and what a tragedy it is to spend your life doing work which doesn't fulfill you or is debasing or in some way that you're controlled by some kind of corporate or other entity. And I was also very preoccupied with media control of people's identities and thoughts, which has gotten even worse since then. I was pretty obsessed with those subjects so they turned up on the records.
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Gira
    The reason I ask about masochism is I read you once licked part of CBGB?
    It was the floor in front of the audience.

    Why on earth?
    I just found total abjection to be for some reason desirable at the time. I thought it was my job as a performer to be as abject as possible, I suppose.
    https://www.rollingstone.com/music/m...e-filth-45478/

    Quote Originally Posted by Alec Foege
    Perturbed by the audience's pogo-dancing antics, de rigueur in hardcore/new wave circles of the day, Gira jumped off the stage mid-set and started beating up one young audience member who had been smiling and jumping around with his girlfriend. Then Gira returned to the stage and announced, "I'm really sorry, but you were having too much fun."
    Last edited by hag; 05-25-2019 at 10:16 PM.

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    Michael Gira - INFJ - Dostoyevsky


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    lads @Luminous Lynx @Sol your thoughts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hag View Post
    lads @Luminous Lynx @Sol your thoughts?
    I've typed quite a few musicians (at least in MBTI) but Gira's type always alluded me. He's very interesting, particularly the controlled chaos of (most of) his music. Interviews from his edgy days of youth in the 80s, he was very "I'm not a conformist, maaaan" and always staying ahead of the 'scene', trying to be avant garde. Always made me think Ne and Fi in retarded MBTI terms, but Socionics is far more complex and encompassing. He could be a few things. The lass he partnered with for ages, Jarboe, is brilliant as well.

    Probably my fave Swans song tho - I absolutely ADORE this track


    "We live in an age in which there is no heroic death."



    Model A: EIE-Ni2
    -
    Model G: EI

    Quadra Values: Beta
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    Quote Originally Posted by hag View Post
    yeah ive had trouble figuring out his type too, i think Se/Ni is a given tho. for a while i had him at gamma NT but idk anymore. i really like him
    He's a babe. Swans has to be one of the most evolving and unclassifiable synthesis of stylistic influences in musical history. Three decades and they're still producing massive (double) albums.

    Featuring Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker of the superlative slowcore group, Low:


    "We live in an age in which there is no heroic death."



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    Quote Originally Posted by hag View Post
    yeah ive had trouble figuring out his type too, i think Se/Ni is a given tho. for a while i had him at gamma NT but idk anymore. i really like him
    If he's Gamma NT I'd wager ILI-Ni. He certainly has a chaotic imagination, he's also got a reputation for being perfectionistic, and can be hard to work with

    "We live in an age in which there is no heroic death."



    Model A: EIE-Ni2
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    Quadra Values: Beta
    Dyad:
    /
    Enneagram: 6w7, 2w1, 8w9
    Instinctual Variant: Sx/So


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    some I, more for N
    Types examples: video bloggers, actors

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    I've settled on LIE (Ni esoteric crustlord subtype).
    "hag is the elizabeth bathory of t16t" – Luminous Lynx

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    [Gira] played a few bars of "Blind," stopped and said, "I can't do this song. Shut the motherfucking fuck up or go in the other room. Fuck you! Hey, what the fuck are you? Raised in the fucking barn, you animal? Shut the motherfucking fuck up. I can't even hear myself. If you came here for the other band go in the other room for now. Fuck you. Unbelievable. Why don't you look at Pitchfork or something? Fucking children... Fuck you."
    https://www.westword.com/music/revie...-24-12-5716914

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Gira
    this is both embarrassing and funny (to me). there were hundreds of people there to see/hear me (and i'm blessed, some flew from faraway places or drove 100s of miles) but the audience for david were apparently not interested, and rude. david and his music are wonderful, but was a sort of odd mix. no hard feelings. anyway, this is what happens when i lose my temper onstage. i will never grow up, it seems. (plus, i look like a corpse. amazing i still breathe) http://blogs.westword.com/…/audio_mi..._chatty…
    https://www.facebook.com/SwansOffici...4726202888848/
    "hag is the elizabeth bathory of t16t" – Luminous Lynx

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