One of my favorite things about peta2′s involvement with the Vans Warped Tour is getting to go out and make new friends every summer. As we cruised the country this year, we caught up with dance rockers the Beautiful Bodies. Read on to find out how a human rights lawyer in Bolivia made his way into punk shows in Kansas City and what that means for animals:
1. Introduce yourself, and tell us about the Beautiful Bodies.
Alicia: I am Alicia, and I sing for the Beautiful Bodies. Thomas, who is next to me, plays guitar in the band.
When we started playing together, we weren’t necessarily planning on doing the band full time. At the time, Thomas was living in Bolivia, where he was working as a human rights lawyer representing victims of a government-led massacre, and I was in Kansas City doing music with our bass player Luis. Thomas and I started sending songs back and forth. We ended up writing and recording a half a dozen songs via e-mail before we decided that it was way too fun and natural not to make the band a full-time thing. Some of the music we had been demoing slipped its way onto some radio stations, and we started getting rad shows with bands like My Chemical Romance, Smashing Pumpkins, and Jane’s Addiction, which Thomas would fly back for. Eventually it became clear that it was going to be too difficult to do the band from two different continents, so Thomas moved back to the U.S., and we’ve been doing it full time ever since.
I’m not sure how you would characterize our music. We get lots of comparisons to The Runaways, Blondie, and even No Doubt. I like to think we are somewhere between Iggy Pop and Michael Jackson, whatever that means.
2. Why did you want to get involved with peta2 to speak up for animals?
Thomas: Alicia and I have been involved in activism, including animal rights activism, for many years. We live in Kansas City—the mecca of BBQ in the country. Being surrounded by so much meat consumption and so many factory farms, we feel a strong obligation to speak out against animal exploitation. We wanted to get involved with peta2 because the organization has been so principled and incredibly effective in advocating for animals.
3. How long have you been vegetarian? What inspired you to make that change?
Thomas: I have been vegetarian (and off and on vegan) for most of my life—over 15 years now. In grade school, I saw a video of a slaughterhouse and was shocked by how the animals were treated. Even at that young age, I was able to comprehend that the way the animals were brutalized was simply wrong. I did not want to be part of something so abhorrent, so I stopped eating meat.
Alicia: I’ve been vegetarian for 10 years. In second grade, I remember eating a Big Mac and biting down on something hard. I pulled it out of my mouth, and it was a bone. Ever since then I haven’t eaten red meat.
4. What are some of your favorite summertime recipes to cook up? Do you have any favorite vegan spots you frequent at home?
Thomas: I really like making gazpacho soup and Thai coconut rice with mango and banana during the summer. Kansas City has an amazing vegan bakery/coffee shop called Mud Pie that I go to almost daily. I think I’m becoming addicted to their vegan cupcakes. It is becoming a problem.
Alicia: I don’t cook much, but I juice like crazy to survive the heat here! My favorite blend: three apples, two oranges, three large carrots, one lemon, one lime, and one banana. I’m also obsessed with Mud Pie!
5. Aside from factory farming, what other animal rights issues are close to your heart?
Alicia: Thomas has been really involved in the struggle to protect the rainforest and its animals against greedy corporations. He lived in South America for many years and saw the devastating effects of resource extraction in the Amazon, including the eradication of species of animals, displacement of entire communities, and obliteration of virgin forests all so a small number of corporations can make a buck.
I am really moved by the struggle to protect our marine life, particularly dolphins and sharks. If any of you have seen The Cove or Sharkwater, you know how these animals are brutally hunted. They are either forced into captivity or violently slaughtered for their meat. The way they are treated is atrocious and devastating for all ocean life.
6. What do you guys have coming up that fans should be on the lookout for?
Alicia: We just got off an amazing summer tour with Goldfinger and Reel Big Fish. This fall, we head to the studio with John Feldmann, who has produced bands such as The Used, Panic! at the Disco, and Escape the Fate. After we finish the record, we plan on touring, touring, and touring!