Laura Jane Grace on playing first concert to take place at Four Seasons Total Landscaping, that ‘most hallowed of political and mulching grounds’

Laura Jane Grace performs in 2019. (Photo: Jim Bennett / FilmMagic)

Last March, Laura Jane Grace and her venerable punk band Against Me! were only three dates on their U.S. tour when they received news that all shows had been canceled due to coronavirus concerns. It was followed by a surreal 2020 – in which Grace played the Against Me! Songs she had already worked on and recorded the raw solo album Stay Alive with Steve Albini, an experience she found “really cathartic. … I was like, ‘Let’s just go ahead and get the songs out and then I can go on mentally.’ “

The bizarre year was then crowned by a particularly bizarre post-election press conference on November 7th hosted by Donald Trump’s then attorney Rudy Giuliani at the Four Seasons in Philadelphia – no, not the hotel, but the Four Seasons Total Landscaping in an industrial parking lot right next to the Fantasy Island adult bookstore and Delaware Valley Cremation. And now that the live music is resumed, Grace is playing her cathartic first concert in 18 months…. at Four Seasons Total Landscaping. It’s also the very first official show in the infamous location. “I actually count myself to the second show there and that the first ‘show’ was Giuliani,” says Grace with a smile.

“I’m just looking for this joyful release,” Grace told Yahoo Entertainment / SiriusXM Volume of Florida, where she is visiting her family for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. “I really hope to just be surrounded by bodies and let everyone sing in a parking lot under the sun and have that kind of communal liberation after a year and a half of isolation and stress and a lack of live music.”

“Ever since I saw my personal hero Rudy Giuliani humiliate himself at Four Seasons Total Landscaping for the good of the nation, I knew I wanted to go there and follow in his footsteps, then shop at the porn store and finally move away from this mortal at the.” crematorium next door, ”explained Lawrence Arms frontman Brendan Kelly – who is also playing the concert and who had the idea with his booking agent – in the event’s sarcastic press release on August 21. “You don’t come into contact with history very often, but that’s exactly what Laura and I will do on this most sacred political and mulching ground.”

The story goes on

Grace says when Kelly approached her about this one-off gig, she replied without hesitation, “’Hell yeah, I want to play Total Landscaping at Four Seasons!’ I suspect that there has never been a concert there because I believe that no one thought of even asking about it. … And it feels like they have ambitions not to be just a landscaping company. ”(The woman-run small business has been exploring other pop culture opportunities since last November, selling hipster t-shirts, and LV during Super Bowl appeared in a Fiverr commercial.)

Grace says she has little idea what to expect from her Four Seasons show, which the aforementioned press release cheekily dubbed her “most prestigious gig of 2021”. “I can’t imagine that there will be a big, huge stage. I imagine it to be a lot like Giuliani standing on the podium in a parking lot, ”she laughs. She just looks forward to meeting the owners and learning how Four Seasons Total Landscaping became an unusual tourist attraction and now a pop-up punk hangout. “I think if you judge it by the history of origin for a venue, they have a great story to tell about where it all started. I mean, you can see it all in a movie, ”says Grace. (Documentation on Four Seasons Total Landscaping is actually in the works.)

“I really want to see what [Four Seasons Total Landscaping] is like because I find it hard to imagine [the Giuliani press conference] To be such an easy accident for some reason, ”ponders Grace. (Most reporters assumed that it was a major Three’s Company-style misunderstanding and that Giuliani’s terrifying public relations should take place in Philadelphia’s luxury hotel of the same name – although it is possible that the now legendary website was actually chosen deliberately.) ” I feel like there had to be some sort of secret service review process and someone on the way would have said, ‘Um, excuse me sir, this is actually a landscaping company, not the Four Seasons Hotel!’ I really do not know it. I am curious to meet you [employees]because in my head I imagine this woman who mows grass all day, is stressed and distracted and sits at her desk. The phone rings: “Hello, Giuliani? Yeah sure, whatever you want. ‘ And she hangs up. Then she goes to her team lunch a few months later: “Brendan Kelly and Laura Jane Grace? Yeah sure, whatever you want. ‘

“I’m with you,” Grace continues excitedly. “Going there and playing is, in a way, a kind of active healing for me after this surreal event. Because it was as if a layer of reality was completely withdrawn for a second. Regardless of your policies, I feel like you should take a look at this [news conference] and be like, ‘Wait a second. These people are crooks. A scam is happening here. ‘”

The politically-minded punk singer, who is a prominent supporter of organizations such as Metro Trans in St. Louis, Gender Is Over in New York, and various legal trans defense funds, came out as trans in a groundbreaking interview with Rolling Stone in 2012 and continued to talk about the experience voiced in her 2016 autobiography Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infame Anarchist Sellout. Over the past decade, she has built a strong relationship with her fans in the LGBTQ + community, who look up to her – “When someone has questions about anything, I’m pretty available on Twitter; I use it like text messaging “- and she says it” feels great “to have all that support. “It’s always very humiliating. This is always a moment that I definitely stop and cherish because I know how much it meant to me for the people who were Witnesses [my coming-out journey].

“It feels like you’re almost part of a collective subconscious. I think it was 2014 when Laverne Cox was on the cover of Time magazine and it was labeled a “transgender tipping point”. You know, when you grow up as a transgender and closed off, when you see other people visible and coming out, it means so much to you. Because you think, ‘Oh, this is someone like me, even if I can’t pronounce it.’ Be older now [age 40], I understand that the more people do this, the more people you empower. And it’s a cumulative effect. It leads to a turning point. … I think there is still so much room for further progress and so much more room for edification, but it definitely feels better to be here now than it was 20 years ago. “

The fact that these loyal fans helped Grace’s Four Seasons Total Landscaping gig sell out in just 17 minutes, she says she was “blown away” – although she admits with a laugh, “I don’t even know what they’re for Capacity there is this parking lot. How did you rate it? ”And while she insisted in her press release that“ Brendan and I will play in front of a landscaping business for the first and last time, ”she is now“ very strongly ”suggesting that there will be a“ second or third ” There will be a concert due to demand. (Follow her on Twitter for updates.) Grace’s other press release is certainly true, however: that her currently scheduled Four Seasons concert on August 21 “will be better than this MAGA-S *** show”. And for those who couldn’t make it to Philadelphia or couldn’t secure a ticket, there is official concert merch on sale. And Grace even speculates that the Four Seasons Total Landscaping show could lead to a themed concert tour, because 2021 turns out to be as surreal as the year before.

“I’m more forward-thinking, being able to get involved now for any future political laughter or embarrassment, I’m ready to be there and do a show there,” jokes Grace. “Well, maybe now we’ll just start with the list of venues.”

The above interview is from Laura Jane Grace’s appearance on the SiriusXM show “Volume West”. The full audio of this conversation is available through the SiriusXM app.

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