Attend SXSW from Your Laptop
Can't make it to Austin this year? Host your own music fest with these talented veg musicians.
The music biz's most important yearly get-together, South by Southwest (SXSW), kicked off last Wednesday when more than 1,800 bands descended upon Austin, Texas, for an event like no other. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to spare the $750 required for SXSW entry badges, let alone the airfare. Luckily, cruelty-free fun doesn't have to break the bank. If you can't go to a real music festival, why not bust out your iPod and rock out to a playlist of the most awesome veg musicians?
All hail, Joan Jett! The woman who put the grrr in grrrl exploded onto the music scene in the late ‘70s, throwing down "I Love Rock ‘n' Roll" and "Bad Reputation," now staples in the rock ‘n' roll cannon. Vegetarian for more than 20 years, not to mention one rebellious, ribald lady, this renegade songstress paved the road for chicks with big ideas and big voices. Put another dime in the jukebox, baby.
Known for her signature turbans, Erykah Badu wears many hats, including high-art intellectual, political chanteuse, and "Queen of Neo-Soul." She navigates jazz, hip hop, and R&B effortlessly; inspires masses with her eccentric brand of cool; and continues to rack up Grammys (to date, she's won four). Badu exposes admirers to animal-welfare, peace and conflict, class, and race issues. In 2008, the Dallas-based artist talked to VegNews about living with intention: "Vegan food is soul food in its purest form."
Cedric Bixler-Zavala, former frontman of prog-rock hardcore band At the Drive-In and frontman of The Mars Volta, explores uncharted sonicscapes, challenging listeners' ears with complex, razor-sharp sounds. The dreamy, green-eyed Mexican-American from El Paso, Texas, rocks audiences with his explosive vocals and high-energy stage presence (we're talking scaling walls and flipping out in front of thousands of screaming fans). And it's Bixler-Zavala's plant-packed diet that lends a powerful punch to his performance repertoire.
Hip-hop artist Saul Williams is as much a poet as a social-justice activist. The title of his latest album, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust!, a radical David Bowie Ziggy Stardust tribute, is a case-in-point. His music is cerebral and literary, and he has collaborated and toured with fellow vegans Erykah Badu and Cedric Bixler-Zavala. Williams is a cultural critic, powerful lyricist, talented writer (penning articles for the New York Times, Esquire, and African Voices), and a proud vegan.
The list of conscientious music greats goes on and on: Leona Lewis (solo soul singer), Ted Leo (Ted Leo & the Pharmacists), Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), Nellie McKay (singer/songwriter), Morrissey (The Smiths), and Moby (solo artist) all make the grade. And if you're going for something a little out of the ordinary, bop your head to the beat of funnyman Weird Al Yankovic. Who cares if he's a little crazy? He's vegan!
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