Social Stance Saturday: Raise the Bar as a Musician, Lower the Ecological Footprint
Lucio Menegon, AKA Reverend Screaming Fingers, is a musician from Joshua Tree, CA. His upcoming instrumental rock soundtrack album, Music for Driving and Film, vol iii (the desert years) is the sweet spot where soundscapes meet landscapes, making the outside world feel expansive and untouched, the natural beauty radiating. Lucio takes this admiration for nature beyond the music itself, but in his every day life as a musician. Read his fascinating Social Stance which explores how he combats the challenges of being a touring musician by maintaining a small ecological footprint. The experimental album comes out on November 30, 2018!
Many of us have likely thought about the implication of our energy and ecological footprint as everyday humans and musicians - especially touring musicians. It’s a huge impact economically, environmentally, and philosophically. For 15 years I’ve been proactive in educating myself, and hopefully leading others by example, on making lower impact purchase, transport and living decisions and choices. From learning how to install an off-grid solar powered setup in The Atomic Dream - my vintage 40’ Spartan trailer in Joshua Tree, CA - to cooking more at home and on the road, minimizing plastic in merch and touring/performing decisions.
One early attempted solution was to do like Paul Motian: live in NYC and only play there, using public transit. This worked really great for a couple of years, but I was soon back on
the road. Feeling done with the city, I did a 180 and moved to…the desert. An amazing place, but a BIG problem is all. the. driving. The only option was to offset this in other areas, so I invested in the aforementioned Atomic Dream. With a small off-grid setup, compromise is a necessity, and one becomes very conscious about energy usage. The solar provides electricity for everyday needs and summer cooling (battery power at night), and a sweet little wood stove for the cold months that heats high-quality recycled pallet wood I’ve properly and freely obtained and processed. The only real fossil fuel component is propane for cooking and hot water. Unfortunately, electric heating chews up a lot of power,
requiring a really big and expensive solar/battery setup. Maybe someday.
Since the world runs on oil, no one can avoid playing a part. Staying local, walking, riding a bike, using as much public transit as possible (I truly love trains) are great options, but for most musicians schlepping gear it’s a serious tradeoff, and so is the time factor. Often enough you end up back in the…van (or high mpg car). And then there’s all the flying, which brings me to the next philosophical plateau.
Touring far and wide, playing exotic places to new audiences, the entire world your oyster, not much feels better! But what a first world perk and problem. No one wants to simply stop, but maybe we can make a difference by being more conscious in the decision-making process. Things like: not taking that out-of-the-way show just to fill an open date, keeping gratuitous adventures and shitty shows to a minimum, and in general, raising the bar. The little things add up. I encourage everyone to think about their impact as part of the planning process and take action. You’ll still have fun and might even find the returns are better!
Lucio already painted a vivid picture of his eco-friendly lifestyle, but check out these images below of his vintage 40’ Spartan trailer. How amazing!