He lives in Los Los Angeles Greer was Senior Editor and Senior Writer at Spin magazine in New York City in the early 90s. He then moved to Dayton, Ohio, where in 1994 he joined the influential Indie rock band Guided By Voices, contributing bass guitar and vocals to the albums Alien Lanes (Matador, 1995) and Under the Bushes Under the Stars (Matador, 1996) and touring extensively across the United States. and in Europe.
Greer wrote and recorded the song "Trendspotter Acrobat" for the Guided By Voices European Parliament Sunfish Holy Breakfast, released by Matador Records on November 19, 1996.
He was engaged to Kim Deal of the Pixies/Breeders from 1991 until their break-up in 1996. Greer started a new band in March 2012 with Guylaine Vivarat called Détective after the Jean-Luc Godard film of that name.
Guided By Voices played shows in September 2012 with Détective as the opening band. In 2013 the band underwent a slight name change to DTCV and has continued to record and tour actively.
Greer has published two novels, Artificial Light (Little House on the Bowery/Akashic, 2006) and The Failure (Akashic, 2010).
Noted American novelist Dennis Cooper has written about Greer"s latest novel that "James Greer, one of the nimblest and most multilayered American fiction writers, has, with his latest novel The Failure, pulled off a sublime and shivery-smooth literary hat-trick-cum-emotional-gotcha. This is one stunning piece of work."
Greer also wrote a biography of Guided By Voices, Guided By Voices: A Brief History (Black Cat/Grove Press, 2005). In 2013 Greer released his first book of short fiction, titled Everything Flows, via Curbside Splendor.
Publisher Weekly said of the book "Halfway between the mind of God and a vivid dream, Everything Flows is proof that there remain new places to go, both on paper and in the known universe."
Greer has written or co-written several movies, including Max Keeble"s Big Move (Disney, 2001), Just My Luck (20th Century Fox, 2006) starring Lindsay Lohan, the Jackie Chan vehicle The Spy Next Door (Lion"s Gate, 2010) and the forthcoming Cleo (2012), a rock musical directed by Steven Soderbergh starring Catherine Zeta-Jones.
In March 2013, Steven Soderbergh announced he was working on a 12-hour version of John Barth"s The Sot-Weed Factor. The book was adapted for Soderbergh by Greer.