Greer, James 1961-

views updated

Greer, James 1961-


Born 1961.


Home—Los Angeles, CA.


Writer, musician, director, and screenwriter. Worked as an editor for Spin (magazine); former bass player for rock band Guided by Voices, c. mid-1990s.


R.E.M.: Behind the Mask, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1992.

Guided by Voices: A Brief History; Twenty-one Years of Hunting Accidents in the Forests of Rock and Roll, Black Cat/Grove Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Artificial Light (novel), Akashic Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to Spin, Entertainment Weekly, and Tennis.


(With others) Max Keeble's Big Move, Walt Disney Pictures, 2001.

(With others) Just My Luck, New Regency Pictures, 2006.

(With others) Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, Parallel Pictures, 2006.

(And director) Mimesis, Artificial Light Films, 2006.


Independent-rock aficionado James Greer has made a living as a writer and musician, two creative outlets that have consistently overlapped. A frequent contributor to entertainment magazines, he ventured into book writing with 1993's R.E.M.: Behind the Mask, a narrative of the band's history and influences. He was also a longtime editor for the rock music magazine Spin.

Over the years Greer played with and sang for a number of bands, with the most prominent being the rock group Guided by Voices (GBV). Greer played bass for the band during the mid-1990s, and later recounted GBV's history in Guided by Voices: A Brief History; Twenty-one Years of Hunting Accidents in the Forests of Rock and Roll. The book's central figure is Robert Pollard, GBV's creative force and a prolific songwriter who was also known for his alcohol-fueled onstage antics. Greer begins his book with GBV's early days as a Dayton, Ohio garage band through the 1990s, when they began to earn mainstream acceptance. Writing for MBR Bookwatch, Diane C. Donovan concluded that "no better coverage is available" for those interested in learning more about the group. Indie Workshop contributor Travis Hutzell remarked: "This brief history is a pretty good closing chapter to one of the best stories in rock 'n' roll." Greer's first novel, Artificial Light, incorporates many themes from his diverse career. Set in Dayton, the book in many respects parallels the true story of indie rocker Kurt Cobain, who committed suicide in 1994 after a meteoric rise to fame. In Artificial Light, the story is told by means of a series of notebooks found in a Dayton library. They were written by a young woman chronicling her connection with rock star "Kurt C," who ultimately dies amidst mysterious circumstances. In a review for Booklist, Donna Seaman described the work as an "ambitious and intriguing debut novel," further noting that "strong writing and shrewd perceptions prevail, backed by wry humor." Library Journal reviewer Stephen Morrow commented: "The highly inventive structure, full of eccentricities and rock music factoids, is enough to keep one entertained."

Greer is also an accomplished screenwriter, with cowriting credits, including 2001's Max Keeble's Big Move, and the 2006 features Just My Luck and Larrythe Cable Guy: Health Inspector. Greer wrote and directed the short film Mimesis, which premiered at the Bumbershoot/One Reel Festival in Seattle, Washington, in Septembe,r 2006. The film is based on a story in which one man gets the opportunity to interview God (who is played in the movie by a woman). Greer subsequently began work on the movie's sequel.



Booklist, July 1, 2006, Donna Seaman, review of Artificial Light, p. 30.

Library Journal, February 1, 2006, Stephen Morrow, review of Artificial Light, p. 71.

MBR Bookwatch, January, 2006, Diane C. Donovan, review of Guided by Voices: A Brief History; Twenty-one Years of Hunting Accidents in the Forests of Rock and Roll.

ONLINE, (October 23, 2005), Travis Hutzell, review of Guided by Voices.

San Francisco Bay Guardian Online, (December 19, 2006), Kimberly Chun, review of Artificial Light.