Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Responsibility is the new rock ’n’ roll

By MELODY STONE, The Eureka Reporter

Published: Sep 10 2008, 2:28 PM · Updated: Sep 10 2008, 2:30 PM
Category: Arts
Topic: For those prepared to rock...

My last column got me accused of not being rock ’n’ roll, and maybe I’m not in the conventional connotation of the word.

Bands that are popular aren’t the ones constantly checking in and out of rehab. My heart go out to Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse, but I don’t respect them. We don’t want to emulate their lifestyles. We saw what the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle did to Elvis, Brian Wilson, Brian Jones and countless others.

It’s cool to take care of your body and be responsible for your planet. Radiohead made efforts to reduce their carbon footprint while touring by using low-energy LED lights, taking refillable water bottles and offering merchandise made from recycled materials. They’ve also decreased the amount of equipment they have to lug around.

Bands everywhere are encouraging green living. They ask fans to carpool to concerts and they release albums online before manufacturing CDs. They run their equipment with solar power and give away trees at shows, as opposed to destroying their equipment at shows.

Hip-hop group Flobots encouraged masses of sweaty concertgoers to get to know each other and organize community development projects. They’ve set up an organization (www.flobots.org) to help people connect and make change.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Tegan Quinn from Tegan and Sara. They don’t do drugs, they enjoy going to bed early, and encourage fans to wear comfortable shoes and bring a jacket to the shows so they won’t get cold. They also sold an EP at their shows whose proceeds went to charity.

An online study done by Cone Inc. and AMP Insights found 61 percent of 13- to 25-year-olds feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world. Eighty-one percent have volunteered in the past year; 69 percent consider a company’s social and environmental commitment when deciding where to shop. The study suggests that millennials are “the most socially conscious consumers to date.”

A 2005 report by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles suggested feelings of social and civic responsibility are at the highest level in 25 years among incoming college freshmen.

Not all bands or youths tout this sustainable attitude, but that’s what makes it rock ’n’ roll. It’s an alterative to what we’ve known. That’s why I would argue that social responsibility is the new rock ’n’ roll lifestyle.

One thing that’s always rock ’n’ roll is supporting your local music scene. So here are my picks for this next week’s local events:

On Thursday at Jambalaya, there will be a CD release party with local indie rockers Yer Dog. They aren’t releasing a physical album. Pete Ciotti of Yer Dog said the new album is very socially and politically conscious, but “never giving into the idea that the future is already decided.” Ciotti said that because most people don’t have CDs anymore and to cut down on waste, they are going to distribute the album electronically.

(Melody Stone is the entertainment editor for The Eureka Reporter. If you disagree strongly enough with this column, you can contact her at 707-269-7347 or mstone@eurekareporter.com. Opinions expressed in columns are not necessarily those of The Eureka Reporter or its staff.)


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