Laura Jane Grace on Miley Cyrus, Joan Jett and The Replacements
The Against Me! vocalist tells TeamRock about how she got involved with the Happy Hippie Foundation
Earlier this year, Miley Cyrus invited a host of musicians to her Gainesville home to record songs to help spread awareness about the Happy Hippie Foundation – a non-profit organisation she founded to fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBT youth and other vulnerable populations.
Two of their number included Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace and Atom Willard, who performed two songs with her band: True Trans Soul Rebel and a cover of The Replacements' Androgynous, which also featured Joan Jett on vocals.
Laura Jane tells us how this unlikely collaboration came about and how she felt introducing Miley Cyrus' millions of fans to punk rock.
**First of all, tell us about the campaign.
**Laura Jane Grace: "It’s called the Happy Hippie Foundation, and it’s Miley Cyrus’s deal – she started it. I was unaware of it until I was asked to be a part of it in the way that I was a part of it, but it’s amazing. Straight up. I think that it’s fairly new and the original focus was just on helping homeless youth in general, but it seems now she’s definitely putting an emphasis on helping LGBT homeless youth with the organisation, which is rad. But it’s funny because when I went out there and we recorded that stuff, when I was leaving she gave me this packet, and whether or not she realised it what she gave me was basically a zine – it was basically a fucking punk zine. She’d laid out the manifesto of the Happy Hippie Foundation point-by-point, and compared to some of the other political literature that I’ve read by dead Russian anarchists or whatever, it was the most concise list of direct goals of how to feed people and give them shelter and all that stuff. It was really incredible, and really endearing in a really weird way."
Did you have any preconceptions of Miley Cyrus before you met her?
"I was kind of a generation ahead, and it’s not like I grew up watching her TV show so I had no impression of that. And I don’t generally listen to pop radio or anything like that, so I’d never listened to one of her records. So I had no impression of her other than knowing that she was someone that the media talked about and who was famous. I knew of her, and that certain controversial things surrounded her or whatever, but really I went into it with an open mind thinking, ‘OK this is awesome; it’s for a good cause.’ I try to give anybody that I meet a clean slate because I would appreciate the same for myself. And she couldn’t have been more welcoming. She brought us out there and opened up her house to us, and we just jammed."