Confessions of Punk Rick’s most infamous anarchist Sellout
Laura Jane Grace w/ Dan Ozzi
Hachette Books

Do you remember the first time? How was it it for you? Was it life changing? Did you get a feeling that this could be it for you? Doesn’t get any better than this?

I sure remember the first time I saw Against Me. It was in Brighton, a small venue. I had travelled over to see this band as I’d heard their album, reinventing axl rose. The promoter ran a cool record shop called punker bunker and I wanted to bring some books (or maybe fanzines, who knows) over to him. I called into the shop during the day and had a lovely stroll up to the venue. I was excited but after the set my excitement hadn’t abated one bit. It reminded me of seeing Fugazi. This was more than music. This was a band that had passion and sincerity and a will in all their songs and movements. They were at one with the crowd. They could be the soundtrack, I thought.

They came to Dublin, conquered here too and I was blown away once more by them. Sing along sincere punk rock anthems. What’s not to like. Their message was one on non-corporatism. They were on a diy path and were shining the light.

But of course when we all left the gig and returned home to our daily working lives against me moved on to the next town. When their tours were over though they had renal and bills to pay like the rest of us. Their lifestyle wasn’t allowing for that so they decided to change roads. They moved on to bigger venues and started receiving guarantees for their shows and budgets for recording. Some spoke out against them, I left them on that road and continued on my path with the memories. Great memories.

Their singer for them shows was Tom Grabel, she has now transition to Laura Jane Grace and this book is her story. It’s a fascinating insight to many things. A punk rock works I live, love and hate. A lifestyle that I have no interest in. Many artists do have a hedonistic streak, maybe that brings out the best in their art but when it’s written down it inevitably leads to pain and anguish. So the drunken, drug fuelled orgies were ones that would lead to someone getting hurt but the tortured artistry of Against Me’s lead singer is never far away. And then she was a woman trapped in a man’s body. How hard must it be for a public figure to try and find their way through that? Regardless of what we say or feel a singer will receive more attention and questions than us day jobbers. When that singer starts receiving hormone treatment to allow her body feel more like the woman she is then that will come out and be placed under the microscope. So Laura wrote about it here. She has given her side of it, along with Against Me’s career.

Altogether a fascinating expose into the tortured conflicted mind of a punk rocker who deep down cares.

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