Morrissey left thousands of fans upset and incredulous when he walked off the stage at the Coachella Festival in 2009. Even his most ardent supporters accused the ex-frontman of the Smiths of being unprofessional and having little respect for the audience. And what on earth could have motivated such an extreme gesture? The “unbearable” odor of cooking meet from the barbecues around the festival, which he could smell from the stage. Ok, the crowd may have had a point, but then again, this is the artist whose 1985 album was entitled, Meat is Murder, and who has been a vocal animal activist and vegan for over twenty-five years.
Today, there are many bands who are happy to go public about their vegetarianism or veganism. Some A-list stars who have 100% veggie meals served in their dressing rooms include Alanis Morissette, Andre 3000 of Outkast, Fiona Apple, Sinead O'Connor, Elvis Costello, Thom Yorke, and Prince. Others, like Moby, take the issue a step further and make animal rights and the environment part of their public persona. Richard Melville Hall, the great-grandson of Herman Melville, has written two books on the subject of meatless eating: Teany Book: Stories, Food, Romance, Cartoons and, of Course, Tea, a vegan recipe book, and Gristle: From Factory Farms to Food Safety (Thinking Twice About the Meat We Eat) in which he aims to “demonstrate the dangerous consequences of meat products.” Along with Kelly Tisdale, he founded the vegan Teany Cafe in New York, which serves everything from tisane to a full meal, including dessert.
Jón Þór Birgisson aka Jónsi, the frontman of the Icelandic band Sigùr Ros, maintains a parallel project (that combines music, graphic art and video), Jónsi & Alex, together with his partner Alex Somers. Their albums Riceboy Sleeps and All Animals evoke an ideal, dreamy world of clean, pure waters and untouched land – seeping with love for nature and the environment. And in fact, both Jónsi & Alex are raw food vegans, and they use their website to publish video tutorials of recipes like Green Soup, Pistachio Pate, Arkansas Apple Pie and Raw Vegan Zucchini Lasagna. The entertaining videos, shot in their garden in Reykjavik, all require the use of only a blender: there’s no fire, stove or even an air-drier, which so many raw foodists use to dry vegetables and seeds at temperatures below 40°/45° C. Raw foodists eat only fresh, raw plant foods, which are still full of pure nutrients. Raw food is thought to provide more energy and vitality than cooked food, and J&A’s recipes are actually fast and simple. Visitors to their site can download their free pdf food bookGood Heart, which features 18 recipes and gorgeous photographs.