Swans documentary screening in select theaters (NYC with Norman Westberg / Jim Thirlwell Q&A)
Where Does a Body End? is a new documentary about Swans made by director Marco Porsia who spent five years "in the band's tight inner circle," filming "rehearsals, songwriting sessions, the grind of life on the road, petty arguments and transcendent performances." His time documenting the band included the last months on the former Swans lineup's final tour.
SWANS has always been a collection of singular performers, but there’s been one constant since it’s formation in 1982 - singer, songwriter Michael Gira. His biography (teenage runaway, art school provocateur, alcoholic, family man) and influences (Jimmy Swaggart casts a shadow as large as the Germs) are inseparable from the story of the band and the music they make. With unfettered access to hundreds of hours of Gira/Swans archives of never-seen before recordings, videos and photographs, the film brings us along the path they needed to carve for themselves.
The film is many things, a musical history, a time-capsule, a tour diary, a concert film, but mostly it’s the story of a life in the arts, frequently difficult, spanning decades without a safety net, creating the work because, Gira says “What else am I going to do?”
As band mate Thor Harris notes, “Michael is not a fearless person, but he is a fearless artist.”
You can watch the trailer for Where Does a Body End?, which features interviews with band members and admirers -- including Thor Harris, Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, Karen O, Savages singer Jehnny Beth, Amanda Palmer, Kid Congo Powers, Mute Records founder Daniel Miller and more -- below.
The documentary is screening around the country, including the NYC premiere which happens March 12 at Nitehawk Park Slope, part of the BrooklynVegan-presented "Music Driven" series. That screening includes a Q&A with director Marco Porsia, former Swans member Norman Westberg, and Foetus founder JG Thirlwell. Tickets are on sale. Stay tuned for more screenings.
The current lineup of Swans will be on tour in June.