Childhood friends from Eugene, Oregon, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Soldiers have come a long way since battling their hometown’s music scene, where hippies everywhere grimaced at the Soldiers’ brand of high-energy rock. Strangely enough, these very same folk-loving naysayers have kept quiet as of late, and we have a theory as to why. Granted, this is a shot in the dark, but we’re guessing it may have something to do with a little invitation the Soldiers’ received from Drive Thru to cut a track for the label’s Bob Dylan tribute album, called, oddly enough, Listen to Bob Dylan: A Tribute Album. Anyway, enough about mean hippies and inexplicable album titles. We caught up with vocalist Marty Larson to talk about other things, like the beauty of poetic justice, the romantic benefits of being in a band, and, incidentally, the importance of being kind to animals.
What was it like being in a rock band in Eugene?
Well, actually, since we grew up there, we had a lot of friends who were able to come out and support us. We were like a punk band and pretty bad for a long time. We started the band before we could really play our instruments, so we just sort of strung ourselves together and started playing shows. There are actually a lot of kids in Eugene that are into rock and punk, despite all the hippies in the town. It was really tough for a while, but then we moved to Seattle and came back and were able to get shows. But at first, we really couldn’t get many shows because nobody would let us play. This one bar would let us play, but it was over 21, so we’d play there and then have to leave.
Why did you guys want to start a band if you couldn’t play any instruments?
Um, well, we were in middle school and my friend’s older brother had a band, and all the girls were obsessed with him. We saw that and were like, we need to do that.
So you did it to get girls?
Yeah, pretty much. But then it turned into less about getting girls and more about rockin’.
Are you a vegetarian?
I’m not, but we have two vegetarians in our band. Our drummer, Oliver, is a vegetarian, and Evan, our bassist, is a vegetarian.
When you guys are on tour and on the road, do you eat a lot of vegetarian food?
Yeah, we all do. It’s really tough to find healthy food on the road because you’re always going through fast-food places, so we eat a lot of salads.
A lot of people who visit our site are vegetarian. Do you have any favorite vegetarian foods that you’d recommend?
My favorite vegetarian food that we get at concerts is hummus and chips. That’s probably our favorite right there, and we really like grilled onions. We’re big on tofu too. I’ve had tofu since I was a baby. I’m half Chinese, and it’s used a lot in Chinese cooking, so I’ve had it forever—I can’t even remember the first time.
What does the humane treatment of animals mean to you?
I would say to treat animals as you would treat a person. Love them very much. We’ve all got pets, and so we tend to feel just the same about our animals as we do our family members. We found a dog on the road, so we brought him with us and then found his home and took him back. That was really fun. We wanted to take him with us, but I don’t know if a dog could handle it on the road. It would be rough.
What kinds of companion animals do you have?
I have a dog, and I also have a cat named Calvin, and I spoil him—he’s a huge cat. I let him eat as much as he wants because he loves to eat. And, hey, if I’m eating as much as I want, Calvin can eat as much as he wants. My dog’s name is Mickey, but I call her “Cheese.” Oliver’s got a dog named Cappy, and Evan’s got a couple of dogs. We don’t get to see them much because they’re mostly with our parents since we’re always on the road.
What do you think about girls like Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie who have little lap dogs and carry them with them wherever they go?
That can’t be much fun for the poor little dogs. They’re probably pretty frightened. I don’t think you’ll ever see us carrying around little Chihuahuas to shows or anything like that!
How do you feel about animal shelters versus pet stores?
I’m all for that. I definitely think it’s better to adopt animals from a shelter. That’s what I plan on doing when I get older and have my own place. It’s just bad for animals in shelters because they’ve got no home—and sometimes they’re older, and people tend to want little puppies. But me, I’m going to get the oldest, ugliest dog I can find, because no one wants them, but I’d love them. I adopted my first cat, Tex, off the street. He was a stray cat and, unfortunately, had feline leukemia like so many cats on the street. He died a couple of years ago, but he had a nice life up to that point.
How do you feel about girls who wear fur or fur trim?
I don’t know any girls who wear fur. I’m kind of out of that scene. In Eugene, we’re not all into that Hollywood thing—girls who wear fur and all that ridiculous type of stuff. But, yeah, I definitely don’t agree with it, that’s for sure. I just think it’s kind of gross, and obviously, it’s definitely wrong. I wouldn’t be caught wearing fur, because an animal was killed for it.
Marty is just one of many compassionate musicians who aren’t afraid to voice their opinion. Would you like to see your favorite animal-friendly band on peta2? If so, then log on to peta2’s message boards and spam us with suggestions! You just might see your choice veggie singer gracing the front page.