Radiohead’s Thom Yorke on carbon-heavy touring
Wired this month features an interesting conversation between Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke and musician David Byrne. In it, Yorke, a longtime vegan whose 2006 solo effort focused on global warming, mentions his carbon-related guilt about touring. Here’s the relevant clip:
Yorke: … [At] the moment we make money principally from touring. Which is hard for me to reconcile because I don’t like all the energy consumption, the travel. It’s an ecological disaster, traveling, touring.
Byrne: Well, there are the biodiesel buses and all that.
Yorke: Yeah, it depends where you get your biodiesel from. There are ways to minimize it. We did one of those carbon footprint things recently where they assessed the last period of touring we did and tried to work out where the biggest problems were. And it was obviously everybody traveling to the shows.
Byrne: Oh, you mean the audience.
Yorke: Yeah. Especially in the U.S. Everybody drives. So how the hell are we going to address that? The idea is that we play in municipal places with some transport system alternative to cars. And minimize flying equipment, shipping everything. We can’t be shipped though.
Though Yorke doesn’t offer much in the way of solutions, he does seem educated about the fact that biodiesel buses aren’t necessarily the answer. But it brings up an interesting quandary: What are we supposed to do, as fans? Give up seeing bands entirely (unless they’re local, of course)? Having had the thrill of seeing Radiohead live a few years ago, I wouldn’t want to have to make that call.
On a semi-but-not-really-related note, the issue’s cover story is about the X Prize race to build a 100 mpg car.