It seems that winter is over down here, and the trees and flowers are opening up and spilling pollen out everywhere. I had my last big bonfire of the season, burned the refuse of lost struggles, and now am looking towards some kind of renewal. Our winter tour season was fraught with challenges – health and weather. I am feeling good after 6 months of a mysterious abdominal pain. I had surgery for endometriosis but I am now happily walking around minus one gallbladder and one fallopian tube. After a fall and winter of no caffeine, no Indian, Mexican, or Thai food, I am looking forward to adventures in the ethnic food wonderland of the United States. Even though the tour season had its challenges, the music never let me down. We played with some killer bands, including Daemon artists Cordero and Paul Melancon, as well as Kim Richey and Michelle Malone. The snow tried to stop us sometimes, but we only suffered a couple of canceled shows and, on the positive side, we had some quality time on the bus watching Xena videos, immersed in the funky smells of two days without showers and a trash bin full of the remains of truck stop meals. Our tour brought us first hand news of the peace movement as we moved across the eastern United States. I had the opportunity in January and March to play a few solo shows with The Butchies. The Butchies have a new record coming out this fall. We are working together on new material as well.
The Indigo Girls will be embarking on the Honor The Earth Tour on April 10th. It’s a very hard time for environmental activism, but I trust our audience sees the connections. We have to move away from our dependence on non-renewable energy resources. The current energy paradigm seems to demand a military dominance over the world. It is safe to say, historically speaking, that we have to be imperialists to ensure access to what we need to keep our country running and consuming at this fast pace. First, we pushed aside the Indigenous peoples of this country and dominated the resources – mining, logging, and drilling with abandon. These impatient industries, driven by profit, had no regard for the health of the communities as they tore through what we now know as the United States. And it is still happening, even as we speak, even as we go to war. The laws we have set up to protect the earth and to protect our communities are being gutted by the Bush Administration. And now we must also go elsewhere to insure a continuing supply of oil, cheap labor, and other commodities. Just as we promised a new life of democracy and Christianity to the Native Americans, we are promising a new democracy to the Middle East. I am the first one to say that this analogy can only go so far. After all, Saddam Hussein is no upstanding Native American leader. No, he is a tyrant. But our good intentions certainly do have an agenda and that agenda is oil. I am afraid that we have set a horrible precedent by paying no heed to the United Nations. We have abandoned the world community. As we consume more and more, we will become a big insatiable monster, disguised as a benevolent dictator of the world. Driving big cars, eating big meals, and making big trash. So I am advocating for a change. I am suggesting that we consume less, that we develop our renewable resources and that we let the Indians help us do it. With this Honor the Earth Tour we are supporting Native endeavors in wind power generation. If Indian communities have had to bear the brunt of this mess, then they deserve to reap the benefits of clean energy generation. We are looking towards corporate accountability for the messes that have been made through bad energy policy. We are asking the government and the corporations to start cleaning up. It’s time for each of us to be more mindful of the impact of every bit of power we create and consume. It’s all connected; we have a right to be with this earth and we have a responsibility to protect it.
After the Honor Tour, we will be hitting the recording studio to make our last record for Epic/Sony. It feels good, the whole thing. The songs are coming along and we feel inspired. We will be back with our band – Brady, Clare, and Carol, with Producer Peter Collins at the helm. I expect the record won’t come out until January 2004, but when we are on the road between now and then, we will be testing out some songs. So far, we have arranged four songs. More then ever, we are paying close attention to our harmony arrangements and guitar interplay.
I am wishing you luck out there and hoping you feel up to an engagement with the world. We need you right now.