AKA M. Gira, American musician and author

The former lead singer/guitarist of Swans is a strange and sometimes disturbing man. His lyrics are dark and often depressing, ranging from aggressive attacks on life and society to religious broodings. His deep drawling voice emphasises the feeling of detachment and listening to his songs can be a very intense experience. His book The Consumer is in the same style: disgusting realism so stark it is almost surreal.

Two stories about Gira sum up my impressions of this complicated personality. When Swans was playing a gig in Sweden, the audience responded to the energetic music in the expected way: they danced, jumped around, and moshed as they would have done at any other concert. Gira got really irritated with this and said "Would you please show some dignity. We're not a punk group!"

On the other hand, a journalist who was to interview Gira after the release of the Children of God album, went to the interview feeling somewhat anxious about meeting this evidently difficult person. Gira then appeared, wearing a ten-gallon hat and a big grin, turning out to be very talkative and friendly, having a very positive outlook. The surprised journalist forgot most of his questions and let Gira talk about whatever came to mind...