Hard Rock was the first release from Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace! label. One side of the hand-labeled cassette had a fucked-up spoken word piece by The Swans’ Michael Gira titled “I’m An Infant, I Worship Him” and the other a dark short story by Lydia Lunch, “Wet Me on a Dead Night.” Both pieces were recorded in Gira’s apartment in February of 1984.
The cassette listed as the label’s address, 84 Eldridge St, #5, New York City, 10002. I think it’s safe to assume that young Thurston was the one making the dubs and that this was where he lived at the time. I picked mine up at the legendary ‘zine store See Hear on 7th Street in the East Village. I lived down the block from the store when I was in my early 20s and I’d see Moore there often, more than anyone else save for the proprietor, Ted Gottfried (who, it occurs to me, has a ukulele combo called Sonic Uke.)
It’s pretty extreme stuff. The Gira piece is simply depraved. It represents a hefty dollop of what made The Swan’s live shows so incredibly powerful and scary—well, that and the mind-splitting volume—back in the 80s. You want intense? Go see The Swans live. They will pulverize you. It’s like getting beaten up by pure sound.
YouTube commenter, “falloutMAN84” mused:
I wonder if when Michael Gira was writing this he thought.. hmm, maybe I should keep this to myself. Nah, fuck it…
Er, yes, that’s right: DO NOT even contemplate putting this on where you work for any reason whatsoever. Not even for a minute or two. The rest of the cubicle farm will shun you, it’s virtually guaranteed. You have been strongly warned.
No matter where you are, proceed at your own psychic risk. I probably should have posted this on Halloween. I wonder if Moore’s deal with the Universal Music Group to distribute Ecstatic Peace releases covers this one? Even if it would I’d think the chances of the UMe re-releasing Hard Rock are slim to none.
Michael Gira, “I’m An Infant, I Worship Him”
Lydia Lunch, “Wet Me on a Dead Night.”
Bonus clip, Swans’ “A Screw” from the It’s Clean, It Just Looks Dirty video: