Featured Artist | Adam Gardner:Guster
Guster released their new album Evermotion on January 13, its highest charting album on the Billboard 200 in the band’s 23 year career, and is currently on a North American and European tour. As part of REVERB’s ongoing environmental efforts in partnership with the band, each tour stop will have a fan engagement Eco Village. Bedell Guitars is proud to be a sponsor and help raise awareness for the Lacey Act. By signing a postcard pledging your support to the Lacey Act and/or taking a photo in the photobooth and posting to social media using #StopIllegalLogging, concert goers will have the opportunity to win one of the Bedell Earthsong Orchestra guitars that Adam Gardner and the band will be playing on tour. “The Bedell Earthsong is a beautiful guitar built of sustainably harvested American woods. From the salvaged Sitka spruce top to the individually cut Western bigleaf maple trees we’ve been able to created an amazing sounding guitar that can be built for generations,” said Sami Mulhern, Artist and External Relations for Bedell Guitars.
REVERB has had a decade-long history of creating awareness and action around a variety of environmental concerns but the legal harvesting of woods is one that is particularly close to REVERB co-founder and guitarist for Guster, Adam Gardner. REVERB’s No More Blood Wood Campaign is bringing together artists to speak out in support of the Lacey Act, including Gardner’s testimony to Congress to keep the law strong. They recently produced a video in partnership with the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) where artists like Jason Mraz, Michael Franti, Maroon 5, Linkin Park and more speak out on the legality of wood.
Adam took some time out of his busy tour schedule to talk with Bedell Guitars.
Bedell: First of all – congrats on the release of Evermotion. You launched it by a number of surprise “pop-up” shows in the streets of Boston on what the Mayor deemed “Guster Day.” You recorded Evermotion in Oregon last year – how does it feel to have it out there now?
Adam Gardner: Thanks! We’ve been excited to have people finally hear this album. We finished way ahead of schedule so we weren’t lined up with a label or release plan…we finished recording it almost a year ago. Having the new songs in the set have added a lot more colors to the palette live and new songs help a lot toward keeping the live thing fresh and fun for us.
Bedell: Is there a stand out song for you?
AG: Right now I’m really enjoying playing “Long Night.” We’ve been opening the show with that, which is a little unusual, as it’s a fairly mellow song, but it sucks people in and then gets larger and larger as the song progresses.
Bedell: You started the non-profit organization, REVERB, with your wife. What inspired starting REVERB?
AG: It was born out of me complaining to my wife (who has been working in the environmental realm as long as I’ve been in music) about what a mess the touring music world is with all of the plastic trash, fuel guzzling busses and trucks, etc. Guster felt badly about the negative impact we were having on the environment and a lot of the bands we were touring with felt the same way. In 2004, my wife and I started REVERB to make it easier for bands to tour more sustainably and engage their fans to take action.
Bedell: Why do you think so many artists sign on and want to be a part of the program?
AG: Most bands want to be more responsible with their touring; they just don’t have the people or knowledge to do it. Everyone out on the road already has more than they can handle on their plates just putting on a show every night. We make it turn-key for bands by placing our staff on their tours just like a guitar tech or sound guy—difference is the REVERB staff’s only job is to make sure the tour is green. They’ll handle all of the efforts backstage with waste management, composting, biodiesel fueling for the busses and trucks, local farm food for catering, etc. Our staff also set up the fan engagement program that takes place in the mobile REVERB Eco-Village with local and national environmental groups, technologies, eco-friendly product sampling, and opportunities to take action that adds up to real measurable change.
Bedell: Part of the shows is an Eco-Village that sets up at each show and talks about specific issues. They have ranged from GMO labeling to water issues and for the Guster tour – the importance of legal wood. Why do you think knowing where your wood comes from is so important?
AG: The issue of legal and sustainable wood is very near and dear, as it directly affects the very instruments through which we express our music. How ironic would it be to do all of these environmental things join the road only to have the guitar you’re playing on stage be made from wood stolen out of a World Heritage site by slave labor? This is blood diamonds all over again and it’s important for consumers— not just musicians — to be aware that they may be supporting organized criminals when they purchase wood products. That’s anything from furniture to flooring to kids toys.
Bedell: On tour you play our Earthsong Orchestra, which is sustainably sourced. Why did that guitar speak to you?
AG: I love what Bedell is doing with their practices and transparency about where the wood is coming from. But none of that would matter of they guitars didn’t sound good. The Earthsong not only sounds good, it sounds GREAT! I love the orchestra for it’s power in the mid-range and the way it feels in my arms. Sounds romantic, doesn’t it?
Bedell: If people want to get involved they can volunteer at a show. Can you tell us some more about that?
AG: REVERB volunteers are a huge part of making what we do possible. We vet and train over 3,500 volunteers a year to come out to shows and engage fans to take action. The peer-to-peer interaction is a powerful and natural way for fans to get involved. The fact that say, Dave Matthews Band fans are talking to their peer fans about how they can make a difference tightens the community and adds this really cool element to the concert experience.
Bedell: What’s the one thing you think people could do to be more aware and make a positive impact on the environment?
AG: There’s no silver bullet. The most important thing is to start somewhere—anywhere. Choose something you think is doable and start there. Maybe it’s using a reusable water bottle and not buying disposable water bottles. Maybe it’s making sure you turn off all the lights when leaving a room. Maybe it’s not leaving the faucet running when brushing your teeth. Simple little things. Once you start thinking about your impact and looking through the lens of sustainability, other things start clicking in your brain and you start to take bigger steps…how much fuel and money would I save if I insulated my home? Why doesn’t my work place recycle? Where does my kid’s school lunch come from?
Want to help? Volunteers are needed at each stop to help educate concert goers on why knowing where your wood comes from is important. Spots are limited but those selected will also receive a ticket to the show. For more info click here.
Deeply rooted within the music and environmental communities, REVERB is a 501 (c) (3) environmental organization dedicated to educating and engaging musicians and their fans to take action toward a more sustainable future. Founded in 2004 by environmentalist Lauren Sullivan and her musician husband, Guster guitarist/vocalist Adam Gardner, REVERB has greened more than 150 major tours including Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson, Maroon 5, fun., Linkin Park and Jason Mraz. www.reverb.org