You know something's rotten in D.C. when indie bands like Something Fierce have no choice but to cancel much-anticipated summer tours over mind-numbing gas prices. "Once I ran the numbers it was a 'There was no [expletive] way' kind of moment," the band's 23-year-old singer-guitarist Steven Garcia tells USA Today after pulling into a Houston gas station to fill up the band's Dodge tour van.
The Police announce a contribution to MillionTreesNYC with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Gas prices are making a serious dent in our summer music fun. It's not just the bands that can't pony up the travel fees, it's us fans who're already so tapped out 'cause of pump prices that we're hard pressed to buy live music tix without breaking the bank. As Mike Meyers' cooler than "The Love Guru" alter ego Wayne used to say; "That's mental."
But before we spew, vomit or hurl over our sorry state of the union, let's take the high road and do the glass half full thing. Like opting to spend our hard-won greenbacks on the acts that can afford to tour and who're doing it eco-correctly.
Put on the Green Light
If you missed The Police while they were out on their top-grossing 2007 reunion tour, you can catch their last round of U.S. shows in July and August, with Elvis Costello as the opener.
The August 7 finale is at NYC's Madison Square Garden (with The B-52s opening) because, says the group: "We kicked off our very first American tour at CBGB's in 1978, and this summer, 30 years later, our journey will come full circle as we play our final show here in New York City."
Of course, Sting is no stranger to green efforts -- having established The Rainforest Foundation in 1989 with wife Trudie Styler -- and along with bandmates Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland, will donate $1 million to a NYC program that aims to plant 1 million trees by 2017. "We have a long history here. We wanted to leave a gift with our last performance that would keep on giving year after year, decade after decade -- the gift of trees does do that," said the frontman in looktothestars.org.
Though after this it's Adios, Policia, the group reportedly plans to release a live DVD of concert footage shot in South America.
Jack Johnson on tour.
Get to Know Jack
Want to go on tour with Jack Johnson? The Hawaiian-born eco activist is seeking audience members to work on his All At Once Campaign and tour.
Here's the deal: Volunteers arrive 90 minutes before his show to help set up the All At Once Village Green section. For this, you'll score a T-shirt and green gifts like a tour tote bag and SIGG reusable water.
Interested? Visit jackjohnsonmusic.com.
All We Need Is Radiohead
As Radiohead makes their way back to American soil with an eco-friendly tour this August, we tip our hats to the band's "All I Need" video (below), spotlighting child labor practices. According to Amnesty International, there are 2.5 million men, women and children forced into cheap labor or prostitution.
As frontman Thom Yorke put it: "I think it's important for everyone to understand the consequences of our economic activity. You must be aware of the level of exploitation that's going on," he told looktothestars.com. "It's part of our Western life, and one we should accept responsibility for. There's no such thing as a free lunch or a free ticket to another country."
Musician Thom Yorke of Radiohead.
And while Radiohead is not wont to brag, the band Liars, which toured with them on their first U.S. tour leg, blogged on MySpace that, "In a world full of fear and ripe with insincerity, it's such a relief to have met Radiohead. They are purveyors of truth, beauty and a moral responsibility to the planet."
Liars said, among many carbon footprint reduction efforts on the tour, they were given tour water flasks instead of disposable cups and all the tour buses and trucks ran on biofuel, with no idling allowed. "We're not sure if there's any information made public about the efforts Radiohead go to reduce their environmental impact, but there should be."
Rufus Wainright performing in New York City last summer.
Rufus Wainright's Got It Right
"Turn off your lights and make love," singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright implores to help save the planet. This past March, Wainwright launched his "Blackout Sabbath" campaign with a concert in a NYC synagogue using no electricity at all. Instead, more than 1,000 candlelights illuminated the structure. Reportedly organizers had just as many fire extinguishers on hand.
Wainwright, inspired by the East Coast's 2003 blackout, marked June 21, summer solstice, as the day for the world to turn off their lights, unplug everything and, he added, "go vegan."
"I loved the New York power outage," said the singer in Media Post. "I found it incredibly invigorating, spiritual and practical at the same time. We all had to pay attention to each other. Not to mention that Manhattan in total darkness was oddly enough a beautiful sight to behold."
If he thought that was oddly beautiful, Wainwright should catch the History Channel's thought-provoking Life After People, now out on DVD.
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