Remember when rock and roll was all about getting loaded, wearing leather and trashing hotel rooms? These days, "bad boys" (and girls) have radically changed rock's tune by eating organic, eschewing leather for eco-friendly fibers and masterfully working to clean up the environment.
Take Radiohead's bold move to offer up their latest CD "In Rainbows" as a digital download ... for whatever you want to pay (meaning nada if you so chose). This can only mean good things for Mama Earth --for starters, less packaging waste on the retail level. Mind you, the band will release a "discbox" edition along with eight bonus songs and a hardcover book -- to the tune of $82 -- but most fans will opt for the freebie download. (Word to the takers: Don't be tight, cough up some coinage.)
Radiohead's outspoken frontman Thom Yorke is no stranger to enviro-activism. As part of Friends of the Earth's Big Ask climate campaign, Yorke recently called out new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to remind him to make good on the government's promised CO2 emission cuts. Co-luminaries Jude Law, Razorlight's Johnny Borrell and KT Tunstall join Yorke in the Big Ask efforts.
"Stop completely twatting your planet," Scottish rocker Tunstall barks on the Global Cool website. "We haven't got anywhere else to live." Tunstall, who owns neither a car nor TV, built her home and recording studio using reclaimed wood, sheep's wool for insulation and solar panels for energy. To offset the carbon footprint from the making of her first CD, the 32-year-old planted 6,000 trees in Scotland. What's more, Tunstall claims: "I use biodiesel fuel on my buses and carbon-neutralize the audience's journey to gigs."
Carbon neutralizing is not new to the music world. In 2001, a tree was planted for every "Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd" CD sold, which was organized by the CarbonNeutral Company (a for-profit formerly known as Future Forests). Soon after, Coldplay followed suit with their 2002 release "A Rush of Blood to the Head" and 2005's "X&Y."
This past summer we reported rockin' green tours by Incubus, John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band, Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson -- and now the trend grows even hotter.
Metal band Korn is partnering with MusicMatters' Sustainable Minded Artists Recording and Touring (SMART) program for their upcoming Family Values Tour, and is running all 16 buses on U.S.-produced biofuel. "As a touring band, it's our responsibility to start making a difference," said Korn frontman Jonathan Davis. "We can't save the planet overnight, but this is our way of saying everyone has to start somewhere."
Korn's Jonathan Davis
Like Korn, Linkin Park converted their tour vehicles to run on eco-friendly fuel, a move that bass player Dave "Phoenix" Farrell says will save the equivalent of 400,000 miles worth of driving. Partnering with the organizations Music for Relief, Reverb and American Forests, Farrell says the group's recent Projekt Revolution tour was about tidying up the world and making it a better place for kids to live. Metal makes nice.
Audiences get into the act, too. This past September at Seattle's Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival, concertgoers who rode bikes, carpooled or used public transport to the gig were rewarded with energy bars and water bottles. At Styx shows, the classic supergroup tossed out recyclable shopping bags from the stage. Guitarist Tommy Shaw tells us, "We do all these [eco-friendly] things at home, so bringing it to the workplace seems like a no-brainer."
GREEN THUMBS UP TO...
Rock band Pearl Jam, who called out British Petroleum (BP) for having obtained approval to dump 54% more ammonia into Lake Michigan. According to the Chicago Tribune, Indiana's environmental officials have allowed "BP to dump an average of 1,584 pounds of ammonia and 4,925 pounds of suspended solids into the lake every day." BP defends the move, saying ammonia levels are still at 50% of the federal standards, and that it's the heavier crude oil that's forcing the change in processing. Pearl Jam's not buying it, and even penned a protest ditty that they sang at this year's Lollapalooza: "Don't Go to BP Amoco."
BROWN THUMBS DOWN TO...
The British Royal Family. What's with the U.K. royals and their hankering to hunt? Police are looking into a report that Prince Harry may be involved in the shooting of two hen harriers, a rare breed of birds. Unfortunately, this comes on the heels of last month's widely publicized -- and protested -- hunting outing with Prince Charles, Prince William and his girlfriend Kate Middleton.
Photos via wireimage.
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