Adam Gardner, best known as a singer-guitarist of the Tufts-spawned band Guster, also is running Reverb, an organization that is educating touring musicians and their fans on environmental causes. We spoke Friday afternoon with Gardner from his home in Portland, Maine.
Q. What got you in this?
A. For me, it was being in a band myself. We're in this tour bus, going all over. We know it's a gas guzzler. We named it the Earth Eater. We lamented this. My wife, Lauren Sullivan, always has been into environmental stuff. We'd do all this eco-friendly stuff at home, but we'd go on tour and it was a whole different story.
Q. If a band is so serious about things, why don't they schedule big concerts in the Garden, or someplace with decent public transportation?
A. It's a much larger issue that venues. If it's the Garden, you're air-conditioning a whole space, rather than an outdoor setting. With urban sprawl, fans come from everywhere.
Q. Isn't there greenwashing in the tour business?
A. We don't get bands greenwashing. We get bands saying, "What can we do?'' They're coming to us all the time. "How do we educate our fans?'' We set up eco-villages at concerts. The Dave Matthews Band linked up PickupPal.com, which allows people to arrange carpools. We have a custom website for Dave Matthews fans, and offer prizes and merchandise for people who save miles. We have a fan carbon-offset program, with fan contributions going to building wind farms. This year, on the Dave Matthews summer tour alone, fans already have neutralized close to a million miles, and we're only a few weeks into the tour.
Q. What else are you doing?
A. We're exploring social networking at Changents.com/reverb, with people reporting back from the tours, video clips, tips. Folks can respond, looking for volunteers to the eco-village and help out, for example. We're also setting up sites for Dave Matthews, Maroon 5, Counting Crows, John Mayer.
Q. What about that gas-guzzling Earth Eater tour bus? What do you do about that?
A. We coordinate biodiesel fueling for tour buses and trucks. The entire fleets will run on the most sustainable biodiesel available. We don't use fuels that are imported from countries tearing down rainforests for palm oil. There's more about this on reverbrock.org.
Q. What have you done personally?
A. We live in a condo, and I was actually able to get the whole condo to compost. We spread it on all the shrubs out back, and we're saving. In Portland, we have to pay for removal of lawn waste, and there's less to remove now.
Q. Your best latest eco-tip?
A. With a new baby, we saw all the packaging involved. We try to use enviro-friendly diapers. With all this extra laundry, we try not to use the heat on the washer, and don't use it during peak hours. We clothes-line dry as much as we can.
Q. Best enviro song ever?
A. "The 3 R's,'' by Jack Johnson, maybe (lyrics here)? In Guster, we did a B-side called "G Major'' that got into some of these issues.
Click here for lyrics of "G Major,'' here's a sampling:
Everyone here's a bubble
Merrily floating on
Manicured suburban lawns and patriotic country songs
Pledge allegiance, sing along
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