Thursday, December 20, 2007

answer: because they actually give a shit

question: why is Radiohead the most important band in the world?

Let's set musical genius completely aside for now. Let's talk about personal awareness and responsibility. The members of Radiohead have long been concerned about the direct impact that their actions have upon the planet. But unlike some grandiose rock stars who moan on about how we must save the world and then jet home in their private planes, Radiohead are actually walking the talk.

The recent mailout of their new In Rainbows discbox, for example, was done by road and sea whenever possible (although that may have resulted in some delayed deliveries, if you believe the recent keyword searches that have been showing on my stat counter the last few days). Radiohead are well known for being very concerned about the ecological impact that touring, specifically overseas touring, has upon the environment.

Take a glance at what Colin Greenwood posted on Dead Air Space yesterday. The members of Radiohead take so seriously the impact that touring has upon the environment that they commissioned Best Foot Forward to do a comparative analysis of the resultant carbon footprints of their two recent tours of North America. Not only does the report take into account the actions of the band and its crew, but also the expected activity of the fans.

Not to worry, Radiohead fans, this does not in fact mean that we North Americans will only be seeing a Radiohead concert via hologram in the future (although that's certainly better than what I have managed to achieve thus far). Instead, it looks as though the 2008 tour will focus upon theatre-type venues in city centres, as opposed to amphitheatre-type festival venues. Naturally, I am hoping that this will translate into more concerts in smaller cities to lessen the carbon impact per individual.

The band is hopeful that focussing concerts in city centres will encourage the use of public transport, and that factors like lack of downtown parking will help to encourage increased car-pooling capacity of concert-goers. The Best Foot Forward report, which is really quite a fascinating read, looks at many aspects of fan behaviour and the impact on the environment. For example, one suggestion is that free water is available at venues, with fans being encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottles.

While the report shows that international travel increases carbon impact by 34-40%, the option of shipping band equipment via sea rather than air will significantly reduce the carbon impact, as will the use of commercial as opposed to charter flights within North America. Better still would be travel by rail. Colin states that the band intends to take these findings into consideration when planning the 2008 North American tour, in order to use the most efficient mode of transportation in terms of reducing CO2 emissions, as well as using the most ecologically sound venue possible.

Personally, I find this degree of responsibility most heartening. It's one thing to give lip service to environmental concerns, it's quite another to take action and personal responsibility. If I didn't already love Radiohead with all my soul, I would fall in love with them right now. They make me strive to be a better earthling.


justacoolcat said...

Dirty Hippies with passe ideas and eco-consumerist propoganda does not the most important band make.

I'm pretty sure the most important band ever was Wings.

Anonymous said...

Hell, I was thrilled with the amount of paper waste that was eliminated by buying their album online - print what you need and not another copy more. And to read about Radiohead doing more city venues to encourage the use of public transportation or walking or what have you... how fabulous. Whatever it takes to reduce our already massive carbon footprints, it's hard not to be chill with that.


Hey Barbara. THANK YOU SO much for the card & letter!!!!! It's hanging on our kitchen door right smack dab next to Jen's. You and Jer & Eva are totally loved by me 'n GOB 'n Ash 'n Mia, you know!

happy upcoming december 25! what's that day supposed to signify, anyway? i forgot.

Anonymous said...

If it weren't for you, I probably not even know that the band existed. Sorry and thank you.
It is one thing to talk the talk but it is quite the other thing to also walk the walk. Hats off to Radiohead.
As a little side note the NHL is even looking at becoming "more green." An article I read, revealed that each hockey player on the Boston Bruins team is responsible for 10 tons of CO2 per year! I'm sure it would be similar for all NHL teams. The league is looking a scheduling more back to back games in the same area instead of flying back and forth across the country every couple of days.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Okay settle down, Cartman, er ... Just A. There's nothing wrong with having your inner dirty hippie awakened every now and then.
Oh yeah, Wings, that's the band I want playing at my funeral. Uh huh, right.

Awwww, I feel honoured being hung next to Jen, Michelle! Lotsa love coming back at you beautiful guys on December 25, National Jewish People Go to the Movies Day.
I am completely thrilled at the effort that Radiohead is making. They be my heroes.

Good! Good to hear about the NHL, Bruno. I want to see a lot more effort going into planning like that, and it really is all about planning. Not that difficult to do, I would think.
Glad to spread the Radioheadlove around, bro.

Anonymous said...

"December 25, National Jewish People Go to the Movies Day"

HAHAHAHA! I went to a High School with a sizeable Jewish population. ALL my Jewish friends went to the movies and then got Chinese take-out on Christmas. Given the dysfunctional nature of xmas with my parents...I figured that my Jewish friends got the better end of the bargain.

My senior year I worked for a Kosher deli run by a lovely old Jewish woman. One Christmas Eve I asked her (half seriously) if she was going to the movies the next evening. She looked at me gravely and said, "On Christmas? Never! Too many Jews."

Peace and Knishes


Allison said...

"via hologram in the future"

In my mind I picture you happily typing away on your keyboard from a comfy chair, and when such a witty line is produced, you cackle, just a wee bit. ;)

Its great to know about all the good actions bands are taking, typically you only hear about the drama.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Don't you just love it when people live up to the cliches assigned them, GOB? Makes me feel that all is right with the world. As do your stories, every time! Knishes back at ya, my friend.

Yes there is no shortage of drama in the music biz, Al, too true.
Considering I was at work when I wrote the post (sssshhh, don't tell anyone), the reality of the comfy chair etc was slightly less cozy. But fear not, that's how all posts shall be written now for the next two weeks.
Are you in Belgium?

Dr. Monkey said...

So, you're a fan of this Radiohead band then? That's the vibe I get from reading this post.

mellowlee said...

They are totally my heros of 2007 Barb!!!

Toccata said...

Wings? Ok, I got a bit distracted for a minute.

Radiohead just continues to grow exponentially in my eyes. Thanks for that by the way. My new found love makes my best things of 2007 list!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Hi Chimpy, welcome! You would almost get that impression, wouldn't you? With the sighing and the heart palpitations and all.

They are acting pretty heroically, aren't they, Mel? Them's my boys.

Yeah, the Wings remark threw me for a loop too, Toccata. I guess I must have at some point mentioned my hatred for them.
I'm so happy for you and that the objects of your affection are proving worthy. How gratifying.

justacoolcat said...

Cartman? Mwahahaha ha!

Have I eaten that much holiday food? Perhaps.

I just think it's still a little to early to give them the label when Paul M and Bono have been at the save the world thing for a long time. Also, you know I can't resist teasing about the Radioheads.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

No no no, my dear Just A, the Cartman reference was for the dirty hippies comment.

But you know, Paul M and Bono were among those whom I was referring to with the grandiose rockstars in their private jets comment. The lads from Oxford are actually trying to live their convictions.

My super Radiohead fan powers allow me to withstand all manner of teasing, so bring it, baby, I'm ready.

phlegmfatale said...

While I don't think I agree 100% with Radiohead's position on a lot of things, the fact that they are not hypocrites gives credence to their views and makes me take them and their opinions much more seriously. Isn't it a tragedy that performers with true integrity are so rare that we're excited when we find them, whether we agree or not? We should celebrate them and hopefully their legacy will be the inspiration of another entire crop of artists who lead by the example of responsible behavior. Yay, Radiohead!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Well put, Phlegmfatale. It's a sad commentary on the state of the world when we find people who live by what they espouse to be exceptional. And kudos to you for your ability to salute sincerity without necessarily buying into the all the beliefs.