Beat on the Street

Volume CVIII, No. 4April, 2008

Earth Day is April 22. As a musician, what does environmentalism mean to you?

I bought a hybrid, stopped drinking bottled water, turned down my home temp to 64 degrees in winter and up to 82 in summer, and I charge additional gas fees for gigs.

Ross LeCompte 

It sure is hard to be as environmentally aware on the road than at home. I am constantly staying at hotels with no recycling program. And the theatres are hit and miss: some great, some nothing at all as far as recycling goes.

Mark O’Kain

Click for larger image.

I am about to go over to Germany for my annual music tour with my Hammond organ so I’d like to tell you my way of doing a “green tour” that I have perfected.

In the past, a Hammond B3 organ weighed 425 pounds (without the Leslie speaker) so it was not possible for me to take one to Europe.

In 1991, I got the first really portable model. It was one of the first 10 prototypes of the Hammond-Suzuki XB-2, with multi-voltage for anywhere in the world.

I flew over to Germany with it on Pakistan Airlines.

I found that by using a Kart-A-Bag Super 600 heavy-duty luggage cart with “stair slides” (like what UPS and FedEx uses), I could hoist it up on to any train or bus.

I traveled all over Europe this way, and was pictured doing it eventually in a magazine ad for Kart-A-Bag for quite a while. They had a contest going for a long time where they would give away one “Hammond Super 600 Kart-A-Bag” every month from a drawing.

I jokingly refer to it as my “tour bus.” I see a lot of bands touring with big tour buses and they look real nice and comfy but they also burn a lot of fuel.

With my technique I ride on the high speed trains in Germany, the local trains, up and down in the Metro of Paris and in Prague on the street cars.

Jon Hammond

Obviously the cost of gas has created an impact as far as the profitability of certain gigs. It also affects the cost of commuting to the city, with bus and train fares being increased. The cost of everything keeps going up while our fees seem stagnant. What else is new.

One thing that bothers me a bit is how many times I go to a venue where someone else has played before me and I find various batteries discarded on the stage. I try to get in the habit of taking them home and recycling them but it does surprise me how many musicians seem to be so careless about these dangerous little polluters. You would think as artists we would all be a little more sensitive to such issues.

We can’t all change the world but we can all do our part to change our own little piece of it. 

Chris Delis

I sold my economical Civic and bought a midsize SUV for easier gear cartage. However, I drive slower than before to save on consumption.

I consider fuel costs more than ever when called for a gig. I take the bus to the city much more often.

I was raised in the 70’s and was taught to reuse and recycle bottles and paper. I need to teach these things to my child.

Jon Berger

My husband and I are both musicians. As a family, we have changed as many bad habits as we possibly can.

We live in the suburbs and have two young children, so we are guilty of having two cars. However, whenever possible we all ride together.

We have changed all the light bulbs that were compatible in the house.

We do not have very good recycling service, but we make extra efforts to take our cardboard to a recycling facility ourselves.

Our daughter is seven and very aware of the environment: she knows why we do not send any of her lunch to school in plastic bags but all in reusable containers.

We keep the heat low when we leave the house — same for air conditioning — and turn it low at night as well. We only use air conditioning when it is absolutely necessary.

Those are some of the obvious things we do. Hopefully we can move back to a city and not need a car again! We bought our first cars when we moved here. For 10 years in D.C., we never owned one! We rode the Metro, took a few cabs, and rented when absolutely necessary.

Marie-France Lefebvre

We changed all our bulbs in our house to the environment-friendly fluorescent type. We also use canvas bags (that we’re all deluged with) to go food shopping.

Bruce Revesz 

Playing music is a visceral and cognitive process. It is an emotional experience that can almost go beyond comparison to any other. The preservation of the earth and all of its inhabitants warrants our concern as musicians, teachers, parents, and human beings. We live to play; we play to live.

We, as musicians must accept the responsibility of demonstrating our belief and love in humanity and the goodness we can provide for future generations of not only music students and musicians, but everyone who hears music — and that is all of us!

Michael Pedicine

Earth Day is a symbol of our environment here on this planet. Someone much wiser than I once said, “The environment is the playing board for the game of life we all play. No board: no game.”

Rod Ruth

As a musician married to an environmental scientist, global warming, smart energy choices and recycling are daily concerns. We eat organic, have two “rescued dogs,” take our paper to a recycling plant since our town does not offer this service, and try our best to carpool or to take public transportation when possible

However, we still feel so powerless about the poles melting, wilderness losing their protected status, the poisoning of our seas. It worries us a lot, because that is the reality our children will inherit, and this is the only planet we have.

Elena Rojas Crocker

When I do concerts six hours upstate, I am definitely earning a lot less do to the cost of gas! However, I would really hope that this increase would cause people to be more environmentally friendly by carpooling more and being less wasteful. If the higher gas prices help the earth, I will be grateful for that part of it, even if the higher prices are coming from a corrupt source. Granted — finding a pure, renewable source — which we already have the knowledge of — would be the higher path!

Tara Chambers

I don’t tour very often, but when I do, I fly and rent a car. It uses less gas — and my own energy — than driving across several states. For travel and gas mileage conservation, I dream of owning a hybrid or bio-diesel vehicle. For now, my family switched to a smaller, more fuel-efficient car. 

The next time I manufacture my own recording, I plan to use the newer types of packaging that use recycled materials. No more jewel boxes for me! 

Amy Fix