Art is consumed in so many different ways. You could say people don’t stop to appreciate art. On the other hand, people can consume art more quickly.
For every show that we do, anyone that rides public transit, bikes, or walk, we offer them a $5 voucher at the merch table. It gets people using the infrastructure in the area. Hopefully, the venues where we play will lobby city council and say, we need bike paths, sidewalk repair. That stuff affects so many people’s lives.
The reason I make art is because I get to make a choice about who I am, what I do, and what I put out into the world, the footsteps I leave behind.
I have a lot of intention behind what I put out there. The reason all this stuff I do works together, the environmental and social, collaborating with ballet companies to score a show, the bike tour – all of that stuff comes together through community building with music.
When you have these van tours, you drive six hours with the doors closed and windows rolled up. You pull into the venue, check into the cheap hotel you can afford, eat whatever is there, sleep, wake up, and repeat. You’re not really participating in the community.
I’m interested in questions my son asks me, like, "Why do animals fight? Why do you have to leave us to go on the road?" Everything he asks gets me thinking.
The idea of "making art for art’s sake" makes no sense for me. Each area of my life, all the roles I play, influences the others.
I’m a husband and a dad. Two thirds of my day is spent being that character. It’s a huge part of my identity and why I pursue things I do. I’m interested in questions my son asks me, like, "Why do animals fight? Why do you have to leave us to go on the road?" Everything he asks gets me thinking. If I’m going to do this, sacrifice time with family and friends, sacrifice resources, I need to think carefully about what I going to say and how I’m going to say it.
I felt like I was cheating myself of those communities and cheating the audience because I wasn’t able to know them. That’s what the bikes did, without me having to put any arbitrary philosophy on what it was supposed to be. It enabled human connection.
Cities like Portland, Seattle, and Long Beach, which have made these investments in their infrastructure, are seeing not only health advantages, but also a lot more exchange in the community, which leads to better policy-making and stronger communities.
It’s funny, people often ask me, "Why do you do bike tours where it takes three times the effort and you make one-third of the money?" My answer is that I’m trying to do it ethically. What does that mean, exactly? That conflict is a big part of my art.
But that would put me on a path that would make me totally divergent from who I am. I don’t have to go through the heartache many other people go through, of figuring out what makes them "wealthy." I know what brings me joy.
The reason I make art is because I get to make a choice about who I am, what I do, and what I put out into the world, the footsteps I leave behind. It’s a cliché for a reason – we all kind of work our own paths through the woods. There are not a lot of paths through the woods for someone who sings, plays the cello, and wants to tour on a human scale and create change in the world. I’m on my own path. It’s pretty awesome.
I feel really passionately about safe, comfortable roads, crosswalks, and sidewalks. Everyone of all economic backgrounds should be able to get to school or the grocery store safely and efficiently so they can live better lives.
When we cut off access to certain parts of our cities to people on bikes or in wheelchairs, we’re not only doing economic damage, we’re also doing culture damage. New York is the culture capital of the world because people are running into each other on the street all the time. They are forced to engage in creativity and problem-solving.
Art is consumed in so many different ways. You could say people don’t stop to appreciate art. On the other hand, people can consume art more quickly. Twitter, videos posted online – how do you utilize that? How do you identify yourself as an individual when you’re sitting at this massive dinner table of the world with everyone on, from Kansas to Dubai?
I’m in a position I never imagined I’d be in as a musician. Bob Dylan built an audience through recording and live shows. The opportunities for an artist today are totally different.
What most interests me is human connection, whether it’s on the street, in<br>community, through music, storytelling, and shared experience. People tell me to be a rock cellist, make money, and give up on the activism so I can make more money.
I’m definitely musician and storyteller. But I always like to take an active role in things I care about socially and environmentally.
I’m a husband and a dad. Two thirds of my day is spent being that character. It’s a huge part of my identity and why I pursue things I do.