Norman Westberg

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Norman Westberg
Westberg performing with Swans in 2014
Background information
Also known asNorman Westberg
BornJune 27, 1958 (age 65) New York City, United States
Years active1982–present

Norman Westberg (born June 27, 1958) is a guitarist from Detroit best known for his work with Swans. Present through almost the entirety of the band's existence, Westberg was brought on for Swans' debut album Filth (1983) and appeared on every album through 1991's White Light from the Mouth of Infinity (he also played on the 1995 album The Great Annihilator).[1] Westberg became a full-time Swans member once again when Michael Gira reactivated the group in 2010.[2]

Westberg's playing can also be heard on many Swans side projects including The Body Haters and solo albums by Jarboe. Before Swans he was a member of Carnival Crash. Westberg was for a short-time a member of The Heroine Sheiks with Shannon Selberg (ex-The Cows)[3] as well as John Fell (ex-China Shop). Aside from the present incarnation of Swans he currently plays in the NYC bands NeVAh (with Vinnie Signorelli & Algis Kizys) and Five Dollar Priest (formerly Size Queens) (with Ron Ward of Speedball Baby & Bob Bert among others).[4] He also appeared (credited as Norman Westburg) in a short film The Right Side of My Brain directed by Richard Kern and starring Lydia Lunch.

On February 25, 2012, Westberg made two limited edition solo releases available at his webstore.[5] Plough is a four-track EP recorded from 2006 to 2009 and features Westberg coupling guitar with banjo and DX drum machine.[6] Limited Edition of 75 features one fifteen-minute-long ambient piece and is packaged in one-of-a-kind imagery—each disk being decorated with a unique MRI from a CD Westberg was given in hospital.[7] Both CD-Rs are packaged in handmade sleeves: Plough with a signed inner and Limited Edition of 75 signed and numbered on the disk itself.

In February 2014 Westberg released a third limited edition solo CD entitled 13, which was then reissued through the ROOM40 record label on November 13, 2015.[8]

In 2014,[9] Westberg joined with Mark Shippy (U.S. Maple), Jim Sykes (Invisible Things), Matthew Wascovich (Scarcity Of Tanks), and Mike Watt (Minutemen) to form the art rock project band Hidden Rifles.[10] Their debut album, Across The Neighborhoods, was released in October 2017.[9]



Year Title
1983 Filth
1984 Cop
1986 Greed
1986 Holy Money
1987 Children of God
1989 The Burning World
1991 White Light from the Mouth of Infinity
1995 The Great Annihilator
2010 My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky
2012 The Seer
2014 To Be Kind
2016 The Glowing Man
2019 Leaving Meaning


Year Title
1998 Delirium Tremens

The Heroine Sheiks[edit]

Year Title
2000 Rape on the Installment Plan
2002 Siamese Pipe


  1. ^ "Norman Westberg Instruments & Performance". Discogs. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  2. ^ Yardumian, Aram. "Beatific Annihilation_Part 2: Swans, My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky, Young God Records, 2010". Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  3. ^ Kennedy, Patrick. "Biography: The Heroine Sheiks". Allmusic. Retrieved June 8, 2010.
  4. ^ "Norman Westberg Personal History". Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  5. ^ "Atmospheric Undertakings by normanwestberg on Etsy". Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  6. ^ "Plough – Music by Norman Westberg". Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  7. ^ "Limited Edition of 75 – CD by Norman Westberg". Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  8. ^ "Swans guitarist Norman Westberg announces solo album 13". Fact. September 18, 2015. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  9. ^ a b "New Hidden Rifles' album out now". Hidden Rifles. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  10. ^ "HIDDEN RIFLES: Across the Neighborhoods: CD". Razorcake. July 25, 2018. Retrieved April 27, 2019.