I’ve been known to procrastinate at times—I’ll admit it. That partly explains why I’ve been hanging onto an interview with friends of mine, and one of my favorite bands, Fireworks, since last July. It all worked out perfectly in the end though because the interview is finally here on the day the band’s new EP is released! It’s all in the timing folks. So check out what bassist Kyle O’Neil and drummer Tymm Rengers had to say about animal rights and what influenced their decisions to go veg.
What was your first introduction to animal rights?
Tymm Rengers: One of the things that jumps out at me getting into animal rights and the whole vegetarian movement is just seeing the people I was involved with. I mean, back then, being vegan was almost like a staple, but as I learned more about it, it became less of a trend to follow or whatever, and it became more of a passion in life. It became something I actually fell for.
Kyle O’Neil: It was a similar thing for me … basically my friends got me involved, and I looked into it and researched it and decided to go with it.
Were there any bands that influenced your animal rights views?
Tymm: Yeah, there was a ton of bands when I was at that age, like, Catharsis and Earth Crisis were two of my favorite bands?it was, like, yeah, they do nothing but sing about politics and animal rights. It’s almost, like, being the impressionable kid I was, I just fucking ate it all up.
How long have you been vegetarian or vegan? What was that transition like?
Tymm: I’ve been vegan for seven and a half years. I was only vegetarian for maybe a week or two. I had gone vegetarian with the intention of being vegan. I should have just done it right away.
Kyle: I’ve been vegetarian for … since 2006, so about three and a half years … it’s going strong.
Do you have any favorite vegan foods or resources?
Tymm: Vegweb.com—finding new recipes and stuff so you don’t have to jump head first into it. And then we started touring in, like, 2006 maybe and then we started exploring and seeing other restaurants in the country.
Kyle: We have our spots in, like, basically every city that we go to.
Tymm: We go to Philly, we go to Denver or New York?we always got a place
Kyle: And I think it’s kind of exciting to find different ways to make different things vegan or vegetarian. It’s kind of a little bit of a challenge, but you know, it pays off, it’s kind of rewarding.
Are there any other animal rights issues that you feel particularly strongly about?
Kyle: The [factory farming] industry’s pretty tainted and pretty cruel and not humane for the most part … those issues kind of bother us and are the main contributing factors to why I wanted to become vegetarian or vegan. And that’s for the rest of the band too.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Kyle: I think just being vegetarian-conscious is a step towards, you know, whatever alternative there is or is good in general just to be open-minded about stuff that relates to vegetarianism and veganism … even if you don’t want to go fully vegetarian?there’s lots of options. And you can be a part and eat vegetarian once a week.
Tymm: And every little bit helps. It’s weird for us, like, people that can’t go a meal without meat—it’s just a very weird thing. It’s, like, maybe doing that a few times a week, it benefits so much for our cause.