Ah, nervousness. It either paralyses you or forces you into some kind of jittery, energetic action. It’s not unusual to be somewhat nervous before an interview – you never know what a person is like or if they can actually be bothered talking to you on that day – but jumping into it head first with lots of prep makes the experience way more tolerable, and a little less daunting.
Being a huge Against Me! fan I naturally had a list of questions for Laura that was as long as my arm. I don’t have heroes per se, just people whose work I really like. Laura Jane Grace falls into that category for me, and Against Me! are a band whose music has resonated more with me as I’ve grown older.
That is to say, I’m a massive fan. So you can imagine what it was like to finally chat to her.
Now here’s the thing, given that Laura Jane Grace had released a memoir and a record in 2016, the sheer volume of press she did must’ve morphed from a mildly irritating, sometimes fun necessity into something more akin to an excruciating gauntlet. With days perhaps becoming like an endless stream of faces and questions, most of them looking the same and asking painfully similar questions.
Then there’s the people who have interviewed her – Marc Maron, The Guardian, The Intendent, Rolling Stone, Grantland, Kerrang!…then me: some little nobody with a tiny podcast in a small city in wee Scotland.
There was absolutely no getting away from the weight of all that, so to say that I went into this with no small degree of trepidation would be a slight understatement.
My approach to this interview was to try to make it slightly different than the others she’d done this year. In the weeks leading up to it, I had no idea it was happening. Then suddenly, a few days before I was told yes, let’s do it. So I read a lot of interviews. Tons. I absorbed as much as I could about Laura Jane Grace the person as opposed to musician whose work I was already more than familiar with.
With her memoir Tranny having just been released, and with most interviews addressing that, I decided that I’d stay away from that topic as much as possible. Not just because it seemed to be a running theme in all of the press she’d done, but also because it was damn near impossible to get a copy of it in Scotland, meaning I hadn’t read it. Instead I focused on the thing that I love about Laura and Against Me! – the music. This is about creativity after all, and I wanted to get as deep an insight into her creative process as possible in the allotted time. In the end, I think it turned out really well.
And I hope you agree. Do let me know. This was a huge deal for me (it’s honestly difficult to express it in words) but I hope you enjoy what you hear.
Intro: David Szesztay – Combat
Music Bed: Podington Bear – Pink Grapefruit
Outro: Blue Dot Sessions – Inessential
I make no claim to the copyright of any of the music in this episode.
Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout is out now, published by Hachette Book Group.
Shape Shift With Me is also available now. It’s great. Go listen to it.
Laura Jane Grace can be found on Twitter.
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