Our friends with Welcome Home Records wanted us to check out one of their musicians who happens to be vegan and has been in the music scene for a long time with projects like Six Going On Seven. Since we’re always down to work with upcoming artists and expose you guys and gals to new music, we got you this exclusive interview. Joshua English is this artist’s name and writing good tunes is his game. I think some of you into some more mellow tunes will like it. Check out this interview and then take a look at the tour dates listed on Joshua’s MySpace page. There are a bunch of shows all over the East coast and Mid-west.
What’s your name?
How did you get started playing music?
In short, my mom was a music teacher and my uncle was a bass player in all sorts of bands growing up, still is actually! The definition of a working musician. He still plays 5-6 nights a week with various combinations of people, sort of ‘roots rock/americana’ if you had to define it. I looked up to him quite a bit as a kid and he turned me onto all sorts of great stuff in turn. My mom did as well, I suppose, but was more influential in the discipline category. I had to pick an instrument at age 5 (violin) and played it for about 12 yrs…a nice formal education for delving into lowbrow art in my teens.
How did you get into animal rights and/or veganism?
Punk rock and music in general. I love a variety of music, but have always had a soft spot for a bit of message with the tune, ya know?! Story songs are great be it Tom Waits, Minor Threat, The Smiths, Bob Dylan—this list could go on forever. The link would be that the aforementioned people often injected their views into the music…that mattered to me at 13 and it matters to me today.
Do you think there’s a connection between the underground music scene and animal rights beliefs?
I don’t know, maybe. Sadly, I think music has spawned a variety of trends that people have ascribed to for a short time while it’s cool, only to adopt a new persona when the old one isn’t in fashion. I suppose that’s all a part of growing up and finding out who you are though, so I shouldn’t bring the hammer down too hard. For me, I linked the youth culture I was involved in (punk/hardcore) with the message/views that my heroes espoused in their songs. I was influenced by them, and compelled to dig deeper. It quickly became apparent that politics, the environment, society, vegetarianism and veganism are all linked. You send a message, and align yourself with an informed/progressive group by choosing a veggie/vegan diet.
You’re on tour with Chuck Ragan of Hot Water Music and Ben Nichols of Lucero, how did that get set up?
Chuck and I have been friends since our old bands (Hot Water Music/Six Going on Seven) toured together in the late 90’s. We’ve both been playing solo for a bit now and have talked about doing a tour together again. Thankfully, it came together and here we are!
What’s your favorite restaurant to hit up on tour?
I live in Portland, Oregon, where I grew up. As veggie bragging rights go, we’ve got ’em. We even have a vegan ‘mini mall’ with bakery/grocery store/etc. Sometimes it’s hard to leave! That said, I love Buddah’s Delight in Boston, Burritoville in NYC (vegan sour cream/chorizo/soy cheese) and a ton more that I’m forgetting. Ask me again in a few months!
What advice would you have to anyone interested in trying out veganism?
It’s easier than you think. Many foods are already close to/easily made vegan. Tacos, burritos, soups, sandwiches, pizza without cheese, and that’s not even getting into all the great soy, seitan, and tempeh products that companies make these days.
Who are your favorite musicians right now?
I love Prince (no, really). I still love Minor Threat. I suppose in the punk/hardcore vein I dig The Bronx and Gallows and that sort of thing (even though I sound nothing like them). My friend David plays under the name Paleo and is fantastic…lots of good stuff, too much for a short interview!
I’d like to thank Joshua for the interview and wish him luck on tour. If you’re inspired to do more to help animals, check out our Take Charge page and to see more interviews check out the Out There section of peta2.com.