Top 5: Green Thinking Bands

Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder

Pearl Jam

Whilst self-destruction is at the beating heart of rock n roll, planetary destruction is seemingly off the agenda nowadays, with more and more musicians and bands jumping on the biofuel powered eco-bandwagon, and doing their bit for Mother Earth. Cynics might claim that it’s just another ploy to raise profiles in an increasingly tough business, but whatever the motivation, the message is certainly getting through.

1. Pearl Jam
In terms of putting their money where their collective mouths are, few bands come close to the eco-awareness of Pearl Jam. In gifting $100,000 to various eco projects during a recent world tour, it was more than a donation, it was a call to arms. The activism section on Pearljam.com makes for great reading, and offers an insight into the lengths the band will go to in order to ensure their impact on the planet is kept to a minimum.

2. Radiohead
When Radiohead recently snubbed Glastonbury, it wasn’t because of the mud, the distinct lack of sanitary toilets, or a sudden dislike for Indonesian nose harpists. Nothing so trivial would keep Thom ‘Smiler’ Yorke and his merry band of men away. ‘Glastonbury’s spiritual houseband’, as the 2003 programme called them, disappointed legions of fans for one reason, and one reason alone – the lack of a green transport system to the site. The message was clear – the biggest greenfield festival in the world just isn’t green enough.

3. Green Day
Green Day’s support for the Natural Resources Defence Council in the States has brought immense exposure to the Move America Beyond Oil campaign. More information on the campaign can be found in the Youtube videos that they have launched to support the movement.

4. Jack Johnson
From launching the Kokua Hawaii Foundation to support environmental education in schools, to building a recording studio which runs entirely on solar power, Jack Johnson lives and breathes the green cause. He’s also a devoted supporter of 1% For The Planet, a global movement of companies which donate 1% of their sales to worldwide environmental organisations.

5. Perry Farrell
When Perry Farrell pledged in 2003 to power one stage at his pioneering Lollapalooza festival on biodiesel, it was seen as a bold, and somewhat ambitious move. When he ended up running the whole festival on the stuff, he set the benchmark for green event management. More recently, Farrell has pledged his support to the growing Global Cool movement, an affiliation of musicians, celebrities and activists seeking to increase awareness of environmental issues, who are using the song in their current campaign.
These are just a few of the artists and musicians who are doing their bit to reduce their impact on the planet. If you think we’ve missed any off, or if you’ve spotted any examples of great green practice at gigs or festivals you’ve been to, drop us a line in the comments section below, let’s share the good news.

Those just commencing their musical journey might want to check out perhaps the ultimate in green guitars from Simon Lee.

Eddie Vedder image via Flickr

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  • Marty

    Although they seem to attract their fair share of criticism, Coldplay have to be considered as one of the most eco-friendly bands around; particularly front-man Chris Martin who is passionate about Fair Trade and world justice issues.
    They even collaborated with the makers of the Solio to produce a special edition for release at the same time as their X&Y album.
    The singer isn’t afraid to speak his mind on eco and social issues either, he’s been quoted as saying; “Anyone who criticizes me for talking about fair trade is really a few pebbles short of a beach, because everybody should care about it, just like everyone should care about the environment: because we all live here.”

  • John

    What about Moby! His entire musical career has been all about recycling — reusing other peoples beats and riffs to forge tracks of his own. (On a more serious note – he should be definitely be recognised as he’s known to have considered environmental impact by scaling down touring; off stage he’s cool too – well known vegan and committed human and animal rights activist.)

  • Joanna

    As far as I can tell, anyone with as much cash as these guys have can make large donations to charity without it even making a dent in their bank accounts, and ‘big’ gestures such as refusing to perform at a particular gig is pettiness to achieve publicity as much a any deep-seated desire to save the world. I would like to see all of these bands (and indeed all of the other multi-millionaires out there) start thinking seriously about reducing their carbon footprints. Stop flying needlessly from country to country, stop using enormous amounts of electricity at pretentious and overblown gigs, and start making a real difference.