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The Honey Brothers Make Green Music

Posted Sep 08 2009 10:55pm

The Honey Brothers  -- a five-man “new wave folk” band based in New York City -- has recently kicked off a carbon-free, eco-friendly tour. The bandmates are traveling in a biodiesel Sprinter van, eating locally grown food from farmers’ markets, and lodging at LEED-certified hotels. They'll be playing this weekend in San Francisco before trekking to LA and San Diego. The band has offered the song “ Demonstration ” as a free download on Climate Crossroads.  We got to chat with the band’s drummer, Adrian Grenier (yes, the guy from HBO's Entourage ). 

When did you start playing music? Who were your musical idols?

I started with guitar in high school after I discovered my mom’s old acoustic in the closet and I began reading Beatles’ songbook tablatures. When I finally moved out of my mom’s house, I got a set of drums, because I could do whatever I wanted. So I just started banging away. Bonham [from Led Zeppelin] was my favorite drummer. I always followed the Beatles, of course, and Leonard Cohen.

The Honey Brothers formed in 2001 and you joined the following year. How did that happen?

I like to think that I brought them from obscurity. We recorded the first album in my home studio in Brooklyn during a time when I thought I was getting into engineering. We were having so much fun that we congealed and became a band together.

Where did the band’s idea of a green tour come from?

We had purchased carbon offsets for previous tours, so we already had a consensus on how we do things. But it wasn’t until recently that we decided to make it an official gesture. It’s not an easy thing to do unless you make an absolute commitment.

What’s one eco-friendly thing you’ve done in your daily life apart from the band?

The one thing I’ve been most proud of recently is using my reusable water bottle. I think I’ve used a plastic water bottle maybe three times in the last six months. It was kind of a habit. But now I have a reusable bottle, and I instinctively leave my apartment with it. Some habits are hard, so that's why I’m most proud of that.

What do think of climate-change skeptics?

To me, it comes down to quality of life. I’m a skeptic as well about anything that’s going to happen in the future. We don’t really know for sure what’s going to happen. But one thing we do know is if you live greener, your immediate quality of life improves. I like the analogy of cleaning your room or your home and I think it’s the same for the planet. Something’s happening for sure. Whether we can reverse it is another question. We can try. But green lifestyle choices are what we can do now.

--interview by Brian Foley

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