Posted at 11:32 AM on April 7, 2009
by Julia Schrenkler
While the Minnesota-based Cloud Cult tours in a biodiesel van, today NPR's Morning Edition reports the band Blind Pilot toured by bicycle. That's right, they pedaled to their shows with instruments in tow for two "bike" tours. Now they're reportedly using a van in good old-fashioned rocker style, but I have to wonder if we won't see more wanderin' minstrels going green due to the economy and a passion for environmental awareness.
I'm looking to News Cut folks to weigh in on this topic. Are these touring styles out of financial necessity or social pressure? Do bands get a nice - and possibly or probably incidental - public relations bump thanks to media attention?
Does the bike tour include the band's stacks of amps and other equipment? if those are traveling via van or bus, driven by a support person, it's a little misleading to say it's a bike tour. And if everything the band carries can fit on a bike, maybe calling it a tour is a misnomer.
That's a good point. From the article:
"Blind Pilot is on another tour now, with six members, and this time they're all traveling by van. It's a far cry from those first bike trips, where they didn't even have a support vehicle to haul gear."
Using biodiesel in tour buses is becoming a pretty common practice for environmentaly-minded musicians of all types and stripes, Bob.
I have worked with Reverb, a nonprofit organization founded by Guster guitarist Adam Gardner and his wife, Lauren Sullivan, on greater awareness of cleaner options for bus travel. There's another local group that has a similar mission of "greening" all aspects of the music business.
I've seen Michael Monroe play outdoors using a solar panel to power his equipment. It's a cool demonstration of what can be done with a little bit of sun power.
My (old) band once took the subway from our accommodations in the Bronx to a gig at CBGB's. We used a local (NY) band's drum kit and amps (they had a van), but carrying our instruments and merch on the subway was both practical and exciting. We did help them schlep their gear to their van and back, BTW.
Now if the US were to have better mass transit, it might not be necessary for a band to embark on a tour using a van at all. (A tour bus? whats that? the only bus a self respecting band needs is located in a studio's patch bay. now don't go and call me pretentious because I think we all know that already).
Jim!!! you mean the acoustic guy, not the glam punk guy, right? *grin* How big was his solar set up?
Hmmm BJ. Wonder if bands would consider a musical whistle-stop tour? Or maybe I should be wondering if it hasn't already been done.