State Radio performing their new megahit "Recycle or Die" at Rothbury
I had a chance to talk to State Radio briefly at Rothbury about their upcoming bike-friendly show in Boston, the Story of Benjamin Darling, and their upcoming new megahit, Recycle or Die. To cap it off, I ran into Julie from Earphoria, who has been collecting fantastic acoustic sets backstage with musicians for the past couple of years. She got a few songs from State Radio at Langerado and was kind enough to lend me one to wrap up this post. Enjoy!
Jason Turgeon: Since we only have about 10 minutes, let's jump right in and talk about the bike thing. That was kind of out of left field for us in the Boston scene. You're known for being political but not necessarily known for being environmentally leaning. How did the whole bike thing happen?
Chad Urmston: I guess usually the political and the environment sort of go hand in hand. So we're always trying to figure out...we offset our tours and try to get our carbon footprint as minimal as possible. But Bikes Not Bombs was a way to...we know bands like Radiohead did an impact study, and the greatest footprint was from fans coming to the shows and all the carbon emissions from the vehicles, so one of the things to try to combat that was to think about different ways of transportation. Obviously, Bikes Not Bombs is a great organization and one that we felt we could team up with to try to swing the pendulum, especially as gas prices get higher and higher.
JT: Did you know those guys already, or did you approach them for this?
CU: We approached them for this. We didn't really know them. But there's going to be a bunch of things at that show, a bunch of different foundations, both politically aware and environmentally aware.
JT: Is this something you're going to try to repeat at different shows?
CU: We'll see how it goes. I think we'd like to...we just got off the justice tour with Tom Morello, and he did something where we did a service day, and then the next day we would do a show. So it's cool to have the message in the music and to have things at the merch table, but it's even cooler to actually do something.
JT: How was the venue to work with? Were they cool about it or were they resistant to it?
CU: They were totally cool.
JT: Is this the kind of thing you think they might do again after you leave?
CU: It depends. It's logistically sort of a nightmare. It's like, it's 11:00 or 11:30, and people are on their bikes and where are they going, and do people have their helmets, and do they have reflectors...I'm not sure, we'll see how it goes.
JT: I was [at Montreal Jazz Fest] and they just had bike storage all around the perimeters, gated off with big floodlights.
CU: I think the international community is way more bike aligned than we are, especially when we've been to Europe.
Mike "Mad Dog" Najarian: Wrigley Field in Chicago has got a nice bike storage center. They're pretty bike friendly there.
JT: When you do your tours, do you think "I don't want to play Tweeter because the only way for everybody to get there is to sit in traffic?" Do you look for venues that are closer to public transportation?
CU: Yeah, that's the idea. I don't think we have in the past because we haven't been big enough. We haven't had the luxury of being choosers, but as we move forward, we're trying to be as green as we can. We're traveling around now in a van, and we're getting a biodiesel fill up this afternoon. We feel like we're doing OK but we could always do better.
JT: How about [Rothbury]. Was the green side of this festival a draw for you or was it just another gig?
MD: Yeah, definitely.
JT: Are the other artists that you're talking to into this?
MD: Franti was doing a Think Tank today.
CU: He's signing his book, too.
JT: Are the fans OK with this? They obviously like hearing the political side. Do they respond to you guys when you do green stuff?
Chuck Fay: We'll see in Boston. See how many people ride their BMX down.
CU: We just found out that Ed Vedder is doing a solo show down the street, so he might ride with us.
JT: I'll put it in the blog. We're calling Eddie out!
MD: Ride with us, Eddie!
JT: Anything else that you want to talk about?
MD: I got my solar backpack (holds up bag). So I'm off the grid.
JT: So we'll switch to just music. Is there going to be a story of Benjamin Darling, Part 2? I want to find out what happens.
CU: It's not so uplifting. But it's interesting. I felt like Part 1 is pretty uplifting, it's a nice story. But generations later, it gets worse.
JT: Do you have plans to write any environmentally-themed stuff?
CU: We have one song called "As With Gladness," we'll be playing it today. It sort of personifies the earth, sort of Mother Nature giving herself over to mankind, and how mankind sort of betrays her gift. The message is a little subtle.
CF: Which is cool, we don't want to get out there and be you know...trees!
MD: [singing} Recycle...or die!
CU: That sounded pretty good. Whoa, whoa! Is this recording?
CF: Send that over, JamBase!
CU: [singing] Recycle...or die!
JT: I'll put a little clip of that up there. The new hit from State Radio, Recycle or Die.
CU: The new megahit.
CF: ROD, as we like to call it.
That's it--thanks again to State Radio for taking the time to talk to me, and to Julie and the Earphoria.net crew for letting us share! Look for more great acoustic stuff from Earphoria as I do more interviews. Meanwhile, enjoy the music below, and first one to get me a picture of Eddie Vedder on his bike gets a free prize...