According to a press statement, Grace hadn’t planned on putting out a solo LP this year. In fact, after returning home from touring in March, Against Me! were supposed to hit the studio to work on songs Grace had been brainstorming for some time. Then the pandemic hit.
“I sat around for a month-and-a-half at a home just being shellshocked being like, ‘What the fuck happened and what the fuck is happening with the world?’ As I started to get my bearings, I just came to the realization that waiting was going to kill the record and kill the songs,” explained Grace.
“I spent two years working on all these songs, and the idea of throwing them away didn’t sit well with me,” continued Grace, who also fronts the Devouring Mothers. “But then I was like, ‘What am I waiting for?’ All I have to do is adjust my scope. I can sit here on my fucking ass and do nothing, or I can work.”
The punk rock icon chose to work. Stay Alive was recorded over the course of a few days this past July at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio studio in Chicago. Very much a product of this strange and unprecedented time, the album’s title works on many levels. In a literal sense, Grace wanted to help lift up the struggling music industry.
“By putting the songs out, that puts the label in work, that puts a photographer in work, that puts a graphic designer in work, that puts a merch company in work, that keeps it alive,” remarked Grace. “You hear on the news every day about people losing their jobs and everything collapsing, and I want to fight against that. The only way I can think to fight against that is to work.”
Of course, the album’s imploring title also serves as a vital reminder for Grace. “I just want to put this out because it makes me feel alive and it’s giving me something better than sitting here losing my mind while the world falls apart,” said Grace. “It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about what you do. Just stay alive.”
Stay Alive is out now and available in various formats and bundles over on the Polyvinyl website. One of those is a series of test pressings that promises a portion of its proceeds will benefit the LGBTQ Freedom Fund, which posts bonds to secure the release and safety of LGBTQ people in jail and immigration detention.
Stay Alive Artwork:
Stay Alive Tracklist:
01. The Swimming Pool Song
02. The Calendar Song
03. Shelter In Place
04. Return To Oz
05. The Mountain Song
06. SuperNatural Possession
07. Hanging Tree
08. Please Leave
09. Why Kant I Be You?
10. Ice Cream Song
11. The Magic Point
12. Blood & Thunder
13. So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Fuck Off
14. Old Friend (Stay Alive)