All the way from the Netherlands, we have an awesome Q&A from Dutch punk-rock trio Antillectual for you to check out. We talk to bands here in the States all the time about what it’s like to be vegetarian on tour, and it’s cool to see that it’s not so hard internationally, either! Check out what Riekus from the band has to say!
To me, personally, they go hand in hand. When I decided to go vegetarian 15 years ago, it was mainly because some of the bands that I was listening to introduced me to the subject.
I still think that punk rock is more about a way of thinking and living than only about a musical style, it’s about thinking for yourself, questioning things that many people take for granted and changing things in your life in a way that benefits not only yourself but also the world around you. Vegetarianism is definitely one of those (relatively easy!) choices you can make to make the world a little more just and fair.
On our last album Start from Scratch! we dedicated a song, “Some of My Best Friends Are Meat-Eaters,” to the subject. [It's] a nuanced song about vegan and vegetarian lifestyles. None of the songs on the new EP are exclusively about animal rights. The title song, “Future History” does touch upon it though. The lyrics are about how people tend to think that current affairs (such as immigration, religions, the European Union right now) are the things that our generation will be remembered by. While other, “less important” subjects may very well be the things that future generations will remember about us. Our current treatment of animals is one of those subjects that future generations will look back on and consider barbaric.
Generally, it’s really easy going. Vegetarianism is well-known and accepted among most punk kids, so when we play a show, people will often make delicious veggie food. Sometimes, people who are less familiar with vegetarianism will send us an e-mail, asking what the hell they can cook for us, and we don’t mind giving them some tips. Actually, I recently stumbled upon this Belgian website that focuses on (veggie) recipes to prepare for touring bands—http://www.moshpot.be—how awesome is that!
Even though vegetarianism is rather common among the European (and especially German!) punk scene, we’ve also had experiences where people are less familiar with the subject, like in Russia. When we toured there, we found out pretty soon that it is far less common not to eat meat there, so sometimes we would end up with “veggie” soup with remains of some sort of meat. Still, people really did put an effort into accounting for our needs, and a lot of people were interested in hearing about vegetarianism.
Sort of related, I recently talked about this with a Brazilian friend, because we’re going on tour in Brazil soon, and it seems that over there eating meat is really considered a sign of wealth. So if someone offers you their food, it is considered rude to not accept it. I really hope we won’t piss off any people there because of our diets.
To recycle a popular sports term, “Just do it!”
No, really, it’s not as difficult as you may imagine. Giving up smoking is a lot tougher, believe me. I think that we live in a part of the world that has the luxury of choosing what we eat, and we should use that luxury wisely. There are enough meat replacers out there to ensure that you are eating healthy and tasteful, use them. And, as it goes for most changes that you may be insecure about: team up with a friend (or a bunch of ‘em), so you can exchange experiences and help each other.
Thanks for the excellent insight, Riekus! Catch Antillectual touring the U.S. this month. Check out their tour dates and see if they’re doing a show in your town!