Originally published at Ongoing History of Protest Music
Katie Alice Greer, the former lead vocalist of Washington D.C. punk band Priests, recently
released her full-length solo debut “Barbarism.” Greer wrote, produced, and recorded the entire
She previously released music using her initials KAG, but in an NPR interview she mentioned
the reasons for the change.
“It’s two reasons. The first one being I started getting an uptick in people following me, especially on Twitter, who seemed to be into “MAGA” this, Trump that,” Greer shared. “I was kind of scratching my head because I’m pretty vocally opposed to that stuff, but it’s not like I’m some famous person who might be the target of Trump trolls. I finally realized it’s because #KAG, my initials, for them means ‘Keep America Great.'”
Greer continued, “That coupled with the fact that a lot of times I felt bad about taking individual credit for my creative work. There’s just something about that that’s always made me a little uncomfortable.”
“And I’m often drawn to doing things that make me uncomfortable in my creative work, because that’s one of the best ways for me to figure out what’s going on in my head. The idea that putting
it out in my own full name scared me also drew me to wanting to do it,” Greer added.
Greer’s lead single and opening track “FITS/My Love Can’t Be.” The origins of the tune can be traced back to May 2020, at the height of pandemic isolation and Black Lives Matter protests.
“I’d spent something like 70 days mostly alone since the pandemic started. Then one weekend I biked out to Fairfax Avenue and found myself amongst thousands of people. It was jarring,” Greer recalled. “To go from mostly the stillness of a barely-lived-in bedroom to projectile shopping carts, strangers chanting, phalanxes of beige gun toters, and tanks parallel parked outside luxury underwear and
grocery shops on Melrose.”
“Stuff was on fire. I think I listened to Exile On Main Street headed home, because it’s similarly contradictory and complicated mixture of emotions felt resonant. I wanted to try and capture all that I was feeling without so much as re-telling events that inspired the emotions themselves,” Greer said.
A video was made for the song, with Greer playing a correspondent on the “Barbarism News
Network.” “I’m not a journalist, but maybe to underscore the contrast between a reporter and a
storyteller, I wanted to make a ‘Network’ Howard Beale-inspired music video to visually
communicate the cacophony of feeling.”
It worked because the video is a potent example of musical journalism.
Watch/listen to Kate Alice Greer’s “FITS/My Love Can’t Be”: