Last Sunday, Bob Weir joined Sting, John Legend, the Staple Singers, and Fall Out Boy singer Patrick Stump on Washington, DC's National Mall for the Earth Day Climate Rally. Backed by the Roots, as were all the day's acts, Weir laid down a slinky "Dancing in the Streets" in honor of Earth Day's 40th birthday.
Weir also met the press backstage, where he reiterated his call for immediate action to save the environment through participatory democracy. In the video below, he also address voting, Earth Day, music and activism, dispelling ignorance, social networking, and promises to check out LED stage lighting. "It's your future," he said. "If you're young, you're looking at the rest of your life. And the curtain could come down in your lifetime. Let's do something about it. Let's vote in politicians who take this issue seriously and intend to do something about it."
Since becoming a father in the mid '90s, Weir has been increasingly outspoken about his environmental concerns in recent years. But the Grateful Dead's environmental activism goes back to the '70s. What was radical then, he notes, is mainstream now. "Back when we were supporting Greenpeace and buying fuel for their boats," Weir says, "we were thought of basically as a lunatic fringe. And that's no longer the case."
Can you change the world with a song? "No one wants to get preached at during their entertainment time," he says. "I'm loathe to sit down and write an environment song."