Swans | M. Gira, Jarboe | Interview via ChatThis interview was a SonicNet Online Happening on 2.7.95. M. Gira and Jarboe of SWANS logged in from Atlanta, GA. They covered everything from their new album, The Great Annihilator, to the erotic influence of Georges Bataille and 120 Days of Sodom. Read on...
(SONIC HOST) SO WHO'S AT THE SWANS KEYBOARD?
(SWANS) Drew is typing in the answers as Jarboe and Michael answer.
(SONIC HOST) GOT A QUESTION FOR THEM?
(NANCY LEOPARDI) DID YOU RECORD THE ALBUM AT THE DIE WARZAU STUDIO IN CHICAGO?
(SWANS) Some of it was recorded there, but it is a terible memory that I am unable to forget, so it remains a bloody red stain. mg
(SONIC HOST) WHAT WAS SO TERRIBLE?
(SWANS) The company. mg
(NANCY LEOPARDI) Why did you move out of NYC?
(SWANS) The company. mg
(SONIC HOST) GOOD ANSWER.
(SONIC HOST) DON'T YOU MISS THE BIG CITY? SH
(SWANS) As far as I'm concerned it's a petrified forest filled with ugly....
(SWANS) ....make that toxic-petrified forest, peopled with evil trolls and and predatory lepers. mg
(SONIC HOST) OUCH. NO LEPERS IN GEORGIA? SH
(NANCY LEOPARDI) Where did you move to, and is it any better?
(NANCY LEOPARDI) Do you mean the Max Fish crowd?
(SWANS) Next week I will be living across from Max Fish when I am visiting NYC. Jarboe
(NANCY LEOPARDI) Isn't Jarboe from there?
(SWANS) Rural North Georgia. It's better because there are huge crows. Jarboe
(SWANS) I'm from Mississippi. Jarboe
(SONIC HOST) DID YOU WRITE THE NEW ALBUM IN GEORGIA OR NYC?
(SWANS) We wrote it in NYC, recorded it in Chicago, and destroyed it in GA. mg
(NANCY LEOPARDI) Well I guess I'll ask the usual questions, but only the ones I really want to know: Are you going to tour? What books are you reading lately, you seem very literate. n
(SWANS) Yes, we are going to tour as SWANS/World of Skin in June w/ Jarboe, myself, Bill Reiflin, Clinton Steele, and Larry Mullins. It will not be loud guitar oriented, but will be hopefully extreme and powerful nonetheless. mg
(SWANS) I just finished reading Pete Dexter's _Brotherly Love_, and am now reading Ballard's _Highrise_. mg
(SWANS) Jarboe is reading varios Buddhist texts. Jarboe
(SONIC HOST) WHERE WILL YOU PLAY IN NYC? LIMELIGHT AGAIN?
(SWANS) No, we won't be playing the Limelight! We will be playing the Mercury Lounge. mg
(NANCY LEOPARDI) My roomate wants to know if Jarboe still wears that latex rubber suit that she wore at the Ritz in 86?
(SWANS) Only in private. mg
(HUNTER YIP) I see you guys got a little write-up in NY Mag.
(SWANS) Which magazine?..mg
(HUNTER YIP) This week's New York.
(NANCY LEOPARDI) When will you play Mercury Lounge? Also, I want to ask mg if he remembers being thrown out of Save the Robots about 2 or 3 years ago?
(SWANS) Yes I do remember, my nose was broken and my teeth were loosened.
(SWANS) And the next day I went to the opera with a huge black eye. mg
(ROREE KREVOLIN) This is my question...
(ROREE KREVOLIN) I hope it does not sound rude...
(ROREE KREVOLIN) I was just wondering...
(ROREE KREVOLIN) I heard your cover of Love Will Tear Us Apart.
(ROREE KREVOLIN) I felt like you were trying to impersinate a dying man or something.
(SWANS) Yes....I totally loathe that and feel it was the lowest moment in my life...
(ROREE KREVOLIN) I know he sounded somber and all but as he is dead it seemed a bit much.
(SWANS) Though I like the song, we just made a horrible mess of it. mg
(ROREE KREVOLIN) Do you know what I mean?
(SONIC HOST) CARE TO ELABORATE, SWANS? SH
(SWANS) No...I just looked at it as a song that was available to sing.
(SWANS) But unfortunately, I did a bad job. mg
(SONIC HOST) WHY'D YOU CALL THE NEW ALBUM THE GREAT ANNIHILATOR?
(SWANS) To answer the question about the title _The Great Annihilator_...
(SWANS) The Great Annihilator is according to my knowledge the ultimate black hole into which all matter and time gets sucked when the universe reverses...
(ROREE KREVOLIN) So Swans, what bands do you listen to? Any hardcore?
(SWANS) No, I don't like hardcore and haven't since 83. mg
(ROREE KREVOLIN) I liked Dag Nasty then. I wish they were still around.
(SWANS) I liked spk. mg
(ROREE KREVOLIN) What about 7 Seconds?
(SWANS) Isn't that the length of a nun's orgasm? mg
(NANCY LEOPARDI) I love the explanation of the title, it's like a Bataille kind of pineal eye or rotten sun vague but meaningful. Can you elaborate?
(SWANS) To answer Nancy's question....it's actually a postulation offered by a physicist describing the inward and outward movement of matter and time through space and to me being uneducated and essentially uninformed about science, I took it as a metaphor for breathing. mg
(SWANS) Hey fabio, what is the special secret of your sun dried tomatoes? mg
(WILD WANDA) The band has such a sweet and elegant name -- wondered if they were into S&M.
(SWANS) I leave s&m to bank managers and politicians. mg
(SONIC HOST) HAR HAR...
(SWANS) Yes m'am it was. mg
(FABIO) Hey Michael, since when have you been into S&M? I thought you were just into spanking the monkey.
(SONIC HOST) WHAT IS THIS, AMERICA ONLINE?
(SWANS) Fabio, I have never called you a monkey before. I resent the implication. mg
(FABIO) No, it's America in the toilet.
(SONIC HOST) FLUSH...
(SONIC HOST) SWIRL...
(NANCY LEOPARDI) Michael, what do you really think about all this technology?
(FABIO) I'll say it again Michael, You are too much a man for me
(SWANS) I try to ignore the technology. mg
(NANCY LEOPARDI) Do you hate having to do this promo crap?
(SONIC HOST) CRAP? TOILETS? SUCH SCATOLOGICAL OBSESSIONS?
(SWANS) It's not crap if you call it sugar. mg
(FABIO) Hey Michael, why don't you tell them what you really think about record industry scum.
(SWANS) Obviously I am a product of my environment. mg
(SONIC HOST) SO, MG HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHO TO COLLABORATE WITH?
(SWANS) Well I start out with a large number of candidates, alienate most of them, then work with those that are left. mg
(NANCY LEOPARDI) Is Chicago as bad as New York?
(SONIC HOST) HOW'D YOU HOOK UP WITH LARRY MULLIN?
(SWANS) I like the city of Chicago, just had some bad experiences there. mg
(SONIC HOST) AND MULLIN?
(FABIO) Is it true that you were once Nick Zedd's lover?
(SWANS) I hooked up with Larry because he came back stage in San Fran and we got along.
(SWANS) He drums for Iggy, but is also a classically trained percussionist, and also a guy that smokes cigars. mg
(SONIC HOST) THAT ALWAYS HELPS.
(SWANS) Nick and I did lay in a bed togeher looking at his colorful films. Jarboe
(SWANS) But I went to sleep. mg
(NANCY LEOPARDI) Did either Michael or Jarboe take vocal lessons and for how long?
(SWANS) Nick Zedd slept on my floor for a month, and asked if he could wash my sheets. mg
(SONIC HOST) NANCY ASKED IF EITHER OF YOU TOOK VOCAL LESSONS. DID YOU?
(NANCY LEOPARDI) Couldn't be, Nick only sleeps with country club girls that will give him money or a place to live.
(SWANS) Yes, I was classically trained and had to unlearn all of it to sing in a more expressive fashion. Jarboe.
(SONIC HOST) LIVE PERFORMANCE IS SUCH A BIG PART OF SWANS. HOW DO YOU INCORPORATE THAT INTO THE RECORDING PROCESS?
(NANCY LEOPARDI) Are you, Jarboe, a fan of Diamanda Galas?
(SWANS) The performance at Cathedral of Saint John the Divine was unforgetable. Jarboe
(SWANS) I don't look at live performances as having much to do with recording. mg
(SONIC HOST) HOW DO YOU SEE THEM RELATING THEN?
(SWANS) I don't see them as relating much. mg
(FABIO) Getting back to Nick, really now, what about that four way tryst with Madonna I have too agree with Jarboe on that one, really powerful performance by Diamanda.
(FABIO) Michael, have you mentioned the instrument line-up on this next tour, I think it would be interesting for any real Swans fans to see/hear this.
(SWANS) Hey Fabio, can you send me this week's New York Magazine, apparently there is an article on us. mg
(NANCY LEOPARDI) I saw the last few things at the kitchen, but they didn't compare to the plague mass theatrical stuff. Did you hear or would you want to hear the J.P. Jones collaboration?
(FABIO) Ok, I'll look into getting a copy.
(SWANS) I will sing and play accoustic/electric guitar. Jarboe will play keyboard/samples, etc, and sing.
(SWANS) Larry will play stand up bass drum, snare and vibraphone. Clint will play electric guitar.
(NANCY LEOPARDI) What kind of sampler do you play?
(SWANS) And Bill Rieflin will play piano, organ, etc. mg
(NANCY LEOPARDI) Maybe I missed it but did you say when you are playing NYC?
(SWANS) Middle/end of June. mg
(SONIC HOST) WHAT'S THE FIRST THING YOU'LL DO BACK IN NYC? SH
(SWANS) Throw up and smell the roses. mg
(SWANS) My answer to that question (nyc) is immediately going to Temple Bar on Lafayette. Jarboe
(FABIO) Hey Michael, Have you mentioned your upcoming solo album and book?
(SWANS) Yes. I finished a collection of short stories this year that Rollins is publishing in late March. mg
(NANCY LEOPARDI) What inspires you?
(SWANS) Georgie red clay between my toes. Jarboe
(SWANS) Fabio, there is a white ferret with pink eyes in this room. mg
(SWANS) He's telling the truth, I'd like to add. Jarboe
(FABIO) Now don't be shy Michael, tell us about that solo record, you cigar chomping freak you.
(FABIO) Michael, is it true that you have become a cracker?
(SWANS) Jarboe and I recorded my so-called solo album Drainland with Bill in his living room last summer. mg
(FABIO) That ferret doesn't hold a candle to my pink fuzzy orb.
(SWANS) Fabio, there was someone online that goes to Max Fish, do you know her? mg
(FABIO) Jarboe, is it true that you were once a goth?
(NANCY LEOPARDI) Did you know I signed up for SonicNet only because I saw this ad for this?
(SONIC HOST) A TRUE FAN.
(SWANS) Fabio, the sacrificial cake album is finished. Jarboe
(SONIC HOST) WHAT'S IT LIKE?
(NANCY LEOPARDI) That is the last thing that GG Allin ever said to me.
(SONIC HOST) GG ALLIN SAID HE DIDN'T MEAN TO BE RUDE, NANCY? WOW.
(FABIO) Larry will be pleased, we await our copy for examination. Bring a tape for the station.
(SWANS) The album is atmospheric but also sometimes increadibly violent and abrassive, like Jarboe herself. mg
(SONIC HOST) WHAT ABOUT CELEBRITY LIFESTYLE. WHO'S THE INSPIRATION?
(FABIO) Didn't you once do Madonna?
(SONIC HOST) IS THAT A CLUE, FABIO?
(FABIO) Hey, you are quick!
(SWANS) Watching too much MTV and noticing how people's bodies begin to look like automobiles, and then feeling high on the endorphines released by anxiety caused by the manipulative images which are eating the center of my brain. mg
(SWANS) I don't believe in the Catholic religion anymore. mg
(SONIC HOST) DID YOU EVER? SH
(SWANS) Yes I went to Catholic school, and I spent three months in prison once. mg
(SONIC HOST) WHAT FOR?
(SWANS) Selling hashish in Jerusalem. mg
(FABIO) Max Fish is a funny place, full of youngsters and wish they still were youngsters.
(SONIC HOST) THE BEST THING ABOUT MAX FISH IS THE PIZZA PLACE AROUND THE CORNER. SH
(SWANS) What pizza place? Jarboe
(NANCY LEOPARDI) I went to jail 3 times for working at Robots.
(SONIC HOST) ROSARIO'S. IT'S CRISP, YET NOT TOO GREASY.
(SONIC HOST) BAKES THE CHEESE JUST RIGHT.
(FABIO) Bullshit, there is no good Pizza in Manhattan anymore, come to Brooklyn.
(SONIC HOST) PLEASE, FABIO, YOUR HAIR'S GETTING ALL TUSSLED.
(FABIO) I have very few hairs, except on my back.
(SONIC HOST) STOP BOASTING, F.
(FABIO) Yeah, what about sodomy?
(SWANS) I read 120 Days of Sodom there and it taught me everything I know today. I also learned to really truly hate authority, except when it's me in control. mg
(FABIO) Hey, this is supposed to be a SWANS conference! Dark gloomy stuff, how 'bout it?
(SONIC HOST) HAVE YOU READ BATAILLE'S STORY OF THE EYE? SH
(SWANS) No I haven't read it, but Jarboe has, so that's good enough for me. mg
(SONIC HOST) WHAT'D YOU THINK JARBOE? SH
(FABIO) Hey there're some real literate people here, huh?
(FABIO) Actually, the story of the Eye is amazing in my humble opinion.
(SWANS) I thought it was highly erotic. Jarboe
(NANCY LEOPARDI) If Madonna were really as perverse as she pretends to be she would have included that Bataille aspect to her bullfighting video.
(SWANS) I find Henry Rollins to be erotic. mg
(SONIC HOST) YOU MUST THINK BIAFRA'S A STUD, THEN.
(SWANS) Biafra has a sense of humor, so that makes him worth while. mg
(SELENA LEONG) Hmmm, well actually, I don't know who the Swans are...what do they sound like?
(SWANS) Well there are a lot of bands that sound like us. Fabio, who are they? mg
(FABIO) What was it you once said Michael, A slow ride to Hell?
(FABIO) Godflesh did a good job of ripping you guys off.
(SONIC HOST) MELODY MAKER HAD MY FAVORITE SWANS DESCRIPTION OF ALL TIME..." A DEEPLY REPULSIVE FORM OF AUDIO PORNOGRAPHY," THEY SAID.
(SELENA LEONG) That's pretty interesting. Would I like them though...? I mean I like the kinda stuff Roree likes, hardcore.
(FABIO) Hey, I think that's pretty good.
(SELENA LEONG) So they sound sorta noisy?
(SONIC HOST) WHY DON'T YOU GO BUY THE NEW ALBUM AND FIND OUT. SH
(FABIO) Hey, let's not start slinging insults here.
(SELENA LEONG) Noisy isn't an insult, I like noise bands too.
(FABIO) This record sounds real BIG.
(SONIC HOST) NOISY IS A WAY OF LIFE.
(SELENA LEONG) O-tay
(FABIO) Noise is beauty.
(SWANS) The whole idea of being a noise band at this point is the most conformist, conservative, consumerist, brain dead route you could take. I think it would be more adventurous to sing at a Holiday Inn. mg
(SONIC HOST) HAS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH EACH OTHER CHANGED IN THE PAST FEW YEARS?
(FABIO) Here here Michael! I'm going to the Ramada Inn in Conn to see Harvey Sid Fisher.
(SWANS) Thanks for your interest, but we don't talk wbout our personal life. mg
(SWANS) I'll be there. mg
(SONIC HOST) ACTUALLY, I MEANT PROFESSIONALLY...AS A BAND...
(FABIO) Harvey is from LA. Michael, he does songs about golf and astrology.
(NANCY LEOPARDI) Did you ever hear of a band called Thorn? The drummer played in Cabbages and King's with Al. . .
(SWANS) There is no "band" and never has been. Who ever we pull into our personal vortex is who ends up on the album or tour. mg
(SWANS) No I never heard of that. mg
(SONIC HOST) DON'T YOU CONSIDER THE TWO OF YOU THE "BAND" IN THE SENSE OF BEING THE CONSTANT CREATIVE FORCES? SH
(SWANS) At this point yes. mg
(FABIO) Michael, can you get real cuban cigars in Georgia?
(SWANS) But Reiflin is becoming a strong contributor in the future. mg
(SWANS) I order my cigars through the mail from New York...mg
(SONIC HOST) ANY LAST QUESTIONS OR WORDS OF WISDOM?
(SWANS) Thanks for your time...bye. mg
(FABIO) Bye you guys.
(SONIC HOST) THANKS FOR COMING.
(FABIO) See you in NY.
(SWANS) Fabio, see you at the Monkey Bar. Jarboe
(SONIC HOST) FABIO, GO SHAVE YOUR BACK.
(FABIO) Thanks, think I'll do that.