Laura Jane Grace’s perfect day went down in Perth, Western Australia. It was Against Me! guitarist James Bowman’s birthday and the band were on tour in the most isolated city on the planet. Stranded there, at the edge of the world, Perth lends itself to surrealism, and a kind of dreaminess filled Laura’s day. After an early morning smoke, the band and crew visited Bon Scott’s grave to hang out with the spirit of the late AC/DC vocalist. Then they walked to the end of the street to go go-karting, had lunch, and rode carnival rides.
“It was like, the best day ever,” says Laura, “and afterwards I felt so guilty because I was so happy and I was like, ‘Yeah! Life rules!’ and then you look around, and the world feels like it’s falling apart. I feel guilty for having a good time, you know?”
It’s a difficult balance, but a crucial one – to be mired in utter despair would be to lose all hope, for anything. So Laura turned the perfect day into the song ‘Apocalypse Now and Later’, the lead single off her upcoming solo album ‘Bought to Rot’. The album comes after a huge couple of years for Against Me!, in which the band put out queer insta-classic ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’, Laura wrote and released a book, and followed it up with another AM album, 2016’s ‘Shape Shift With Me’. As the tour cycle for ‘Shape Shift…’ was wrapping up, Against Me! found themselves at a crossroads.
“We knew we were going to be taking a little bit of a break because we’d been hitting it so hard. So we started talking to labels and everyone we talked to, I was saying ‘Hey I think I want to do a solo record before we do the next Against Me! record, I’ve got these songs I’ve been working on, I’m not sure they’re Against Me! songs and I think I want to do that’,” Laura says. “No one was that enthusiastic about it. People were like, ‘Just do another Against Me! record’ and I was like ‘Oh, okay…’ I got disappointed, but in the back of my head I was like fuck that, I’m gonna do a solo record.”