A few years ago peta2 caught up with Shawn Harris, vocalist of Epitaph vets The Matches, and now he’s back with a new project for us to become obsessed with. Maniac, comprised of Harris and Jake Grigg (of Australian band Something with Numbers), is a freshly original, and also charmingly retro, pop rock band whose debut album has already impressed critics and fans across the board.
Check out our interview with Harris and enter the contest below for your chance to win an autographed copy of Mania on vinyl!
1. How long have you been vegan and what prompted you to make that decision?
Shawn Harris: I’ve been vegan for about eight years. I can attribute it all to a head chef where I was working on the line at the time, before I was touring full-time. He was vegan, and I didn’t understand how he could cook dishes that he hadn’t ever tried, and gave him ample shit about it, actually. His response was something like, “I don’t care what the rest of you clogged-arteried fat fucks eat.” But he did care, I found out. He scheduled me to come in early and unthaw the steaks and other cuts after the kitchen had been on a two week holiday. It turned out, he had pulled the plug on it, and everything in there had been thawed and turning all sorts of living over the break. I haven’t much thought about eating flesh since, myself …
2. What are some of your favorite vegan foods? Are there any restaurants you love to hit up on tour?
I’m very psyched about the first vegan cheese that fools my non-vegan friends—Daiya. So I’ve been making all kinds of simple quesadillas and grilled cheese sams. My favorite restaurants on tour are the Soul Vegetarian spots in D.C. and Atlanta—and I think there’s a truck in Florida run by the same people—bangin’ greens, wings, and mac ‘n cheese.
3. Of all of the major animal rights issues are there any issues that are particularly close to your heart?
Well, the one that affects the most animals and people is factory farming, and I just feel that when people use the right to eat what they want, they also have the responsibility to know exactly how that food came to them. There is a sorrow and a thankfulness that one must feel to continue their existence at the expense of another being’s, and our farming process has distanced us to the point of cruel detachment.
4. If a fan were to approach you with questions about how to get involved with animal rights, what advice would you give him or her?
The only thing you really, really have the power to change is yourself, and your own actions. It sounds like a small step, or a cop-out, but I believe it is the biggest, most honest thing you can do for the whole. If people like you, and the way they see you living, there’s a good chance they will come to similar realizations you’ve come to, on their own, and that is the only way they can change themselves. I never set out to make any vegans other than myself, and eight years later, without my ever saying a word about it, I’ve noticed my friends, parents, and even my grandma go fully vegan. I don’t take credit for this, but maybe I put it in their field of vision, and it appealed to them. It’s appealing—it doesn’t need to be sold!
5. What’s coming up this summer for Maniac that we can be looking forward to?
Our first full-length, Mania, is out March 15th, sold here on vinyl/CD, and on iTunes. We’re celebrating by trippin’ on down to Austin, TX to play SXSW.
Me and Jake are funding the project by screen printing our own shirts and limited edition releases, which can be found here.
Then we’re shredding our credit cards and heading out to film a show pilot/U.S. tour! Details and all other info on live shows and releases here: http://maniacmania.com and http://www.facebook.com/ManiacMania
For your chance to win a free download of Mania and an autographed vinyl, comment below with your favorite album that’s come out so far this year. Entries must be received by March 14, 2011. One winner will be chosen at random and notified on March 15, 2011. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.
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