Thursday, 15 May 2014
The leader of the 1791 Haitian Revolution, Toussaint L’Ouverture aka “The Black Napoleon”, has resurrected himself and immediately opened a lawsuit against Michael Gira and his rock group Swans.
The point of contention is a song entitled ‘Bring The Sun/Toussaint L’Ouverture’, a thirty-five minute morbid rock dirge that is the centrepiece of Swans’ latest critically-adored album To Be Kind. L’Ouverture’s lawyers hope to secure a substantial sum for damages as well as a stake in all future Swans music and merchandise royalties. They accuse Gira of violating L’Ouverture’s intellectual property rights, defamation of character, and misappropriating L’Ouverture’s name.
L’Ouverture was reborn last Thursday in Port-au-Prince via an elaborate voodoo ceremony involving painted skulls, rosary beads, a bunch of really freaky-looking masks and Baron Samedi from Live And Let Die.
A press statement from L’Ouverture reads:
“Since dying in imprisonment at the hands of the French in 1803, I have witnessed countless reprehensible actions from the vantage point of my wicker throne in the netherdimension. The country whose independence I secured through the only successful slave revolt in history has suffered under countless internal and external threats and misfortunes. The French resisted our bid for freedom and even had the gall to attempt to reconquer us. The Americans refused to recognize our independence until decades after their own civil war and then occupied us in 1915. We’ve been ruled by merciless dictators. We’ve been blighted by earthquakes, tropical storms and devastating famines. And to make matters worse, in 2010 Wyclef Jean off of The Fugees turned up wanting to be President. Now this is the last straw. Michael Gira waving his arms around pretending to be me. What’s he playing at? Shouting my name. Acting like he’s channelling my spirit. It’s not on. Everyone has a go at Avril Lavigne for that Hello Kitty song but I don’t see any critics accusing this Gira pillock of cultural appropriation, just because the Swans are actually good. Well that’s no excuse.”
Should the lawsuit fail, L’Ouverture plans to form a rival group of post-no wave droners with members of Earth, Throbbing Gristle and Oxbow so that he can compose his own overlong indulgent slab of dawdling metal in which he repeats the words “Michael Gira, Michael Gira, Michael Gira, Michael Gira” over and over again in an authoritative baritone while vehemently refusing to change chords.