This week I was tipped off to an awesome new band called Elway, and all of the members are vegan or vegetarian! Tim Browne, lead singer and guitarist for the band, took a few minutes to chat with us about his veggie lifestyle. Be sure to read all the way to the end, because we have some Elway CDs up for grabs!

Photo credit: Matt Marti

1. What prompted you to become vegetarian? Were there any bands, books, etc. that influenced your decision?

I was 15 years old when I became a vegetarian. I was just starting to be good friends with Brian Van Proyen (who plays guitar in Elway) and he was veg. I had never really given any consideration to animal rights or vegetarianism, and the idea was pretty alien to me. It was records like Propagandhi’s Less Talk, More Rock and The Smiths‘ Meat is Murder that helped establish the system of ethics I’ve lived with ever since. In college, I got really into Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation, and especially Roberta Kalechovsky’s Autobiography of a Revolutionary.

2. What are some of your favorite vegetarian and/or vegan foods?

Man, I could go on about this forever. Seitan, when made correctly, is probably my favorite food of all time! When I make it at home, I use soy sauce, tomato paste, and nutritional yeast.  I think any vegetarian worth their salt would readily admit that burritos are just about the best thing in the world, and I am no exception. A good burrito with black beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, and about a half gallon of Ring of Fire Garden Fresh hot sauce is my go-to. As far as restaurants go, Veggie Heaven on Gaudalupe in Austin, Texas is the best vegetarian food I’ve ever had, though Garrett (the drumer of Elway) contends that Grasshopper in Allston, MA is better. Soul Vegetarian in Atlanta, and Watercourse in Denver ain’t too shabby, either.

3. Of all of the major animal rights issues are there any issues that are particularly close to your heart?

Something interesting about being from Fort Collins, and alumni of Colorado State University, is that we’re associated inextricably with Temple Grandin, and by extension the entire humane slaughter movement. Grandin made headlines, got her own movie, and is a nationally acclaimed thinker, yet her ideas are so horribly backwards. Humane slaughter practices (this essentially means treating livestock like they are more than machines, then leading them down a meandering corral to their death) are still slaughter practices! The entire new-age practice of treating animals with respect and allowing them to live “happier” lives only to use them for the same end is insane! Because of Grandin’s notoriety, Fort Collins is said to be on the very cutting edge of animal compassion, but they’re putting the cart before the horse on this one. The problem is that we even kill animals at all!

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?

Read Harriet Ritvo’s The Animal Estate, watch Meet Your Meat with the incomparably syrupy and bassy narration of Alec Baldwin, listen to Propagandhi’s Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes, and for the love of god, don’t go to McDonald’s! In all seriousness, it’s easy to get involved in even the most cursory way. Stop your consumption of meat, realize that there is a wealth of information in bookstores, on the internet and elsewhere about how to try and live a life less cruel to animals. Nobody’s perfect, but there are things we can do to make a difference.

5. What does Elway have coming up that we can look forward to?

Our new record, Delusions, came out May 10th on Red Scare, we’re going to be touring in Canada and the Northeast in the latter half of May, and we plan on touring more later in the summer!

Thanks, Tim! What advice would YOU give to somebody you know that’s looking to get involved with animal rights? Tell us in the comments below for your chance to win one of two copies of Elway’s new CD, Delusions. The contest ends on May 20, 2011, and 3 winners will be chosen at random and notified by May 27, 2011.

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