Saturday, July 15, 2017

An Open Letter to Laura Jane Grace

Dear Laura –

You probably get a million notes a day saying how important your music is to people, but I wanted to let you know that since I saw Against Me! open for Green Day back in March of this year in Champaign I have immersed myself in your music.  I am a 48-year old man, grew up on many different kinds of music, even was in a punk rock band and released several records/CDs on our own label.

Over the years, I have drifted away from punk rock and into more alternative country type of stuff, but your music and your story has reeled me back in. Your music also fits the political climate, and I am a believer that sometimes the situation influences how you feel about music.

I really enjoy how the guitars interact and how there is almost a Clash or even Irish style of jangle to some of your songs.  I shouldn’t be surprised that a kid from Florida found those influences, but I still am.  I lived in Germany for a while as a kid, and much like you, it was due to my father working for the army. He was a Civilian, a GS, but the US Gov was his employer. That is where I found punk rock and started exploring music.

I moved to Pensacola in 1996 and found This Bike is a Pipe Bomb’s first EP with “Pensacola Board of Tourism Song” and “Murder Murder Murder Murder Murder” on it.  Maybe 15 years later I rediscovered that 7” and thought it was amazing.  I was wondering if maybe that band also influenced you, as it seems you refined and perfected that folk-punk sound.

I have worked in industry as a Health and Safety professional since I graduated college at Iowa State in 1993, and working in industry is no picnic. I don’t know if you realize this, but your lyrics are meaningful in that setting as well.  The two that come to mind are “Rice and Bread” and “Turn Those Clapping Hands into Angry Balled Fists.” You don’t even know how both of those songs have helped refine my focus in my work over the past six months. I had been kind of floating along, but those songs have helped me to redefine my focus.  Thank you.

So anyway, sorry for the gushing fan-boy letter.  I recently saw an interview you did last year where you stated you dealt with depression.  I know Chris Cornell suffered with that as well, and I don’t believe you’re suicidal, but really, the main thing I wanted you to know is that you help so many people with your lyrics and music, and you should know people support you.  A few years back, I was talking with my friend, Shanda, who plays for Luna Sol, and I told her how proud of her I was that she stayed true to playing in bands, meanwhile she was telling me that she was surprised I got married and had kids, and that she was happy that I went down that path.  She said, “You know this rock and roll lifestyle is full of heartbreak.” And I never really looked at it that way until she said it. So again, thank you for doing what you do.

No comments: