But that would put me on a path that would make me totally divergent from who I am. I don't have to go through the heartache many other people go through, of figuring out what makes them "wealthy." I know what brings me joy.
Art is consumed in so many different ways. You could say people don't stop to appreciate art. On the other hand, people can consume art more quickly. Twitter, videos posted online - how do you utilize that? How do you identify yourself as an individual when you're sitting at this massive dinner table of the world with everyone on, from Kansas to Dubai?
When we cut off access to certain parts of our cities to people on bikes or in wheelchairs, we're not only doing economic damage, we're also doing culture damage. New York is the culture capital of the world because people are running into each other on the street all the time. They are forced to engage in creativity and problem-solving.
I felt like I was cheating myself of those communities and cheating the audience because I wasn't able to know them. That's what the bikes did, without me having to put any arbitrary philosophy on what it was supposed to be. It enabled human connection.
Cities like Portland, Seattle, and Long Beach, which have made these investments in their infrastructure, are seeing not only health advantages, but also a lot more exchange in the community, which leads to better policy-making and stronger communities.
For every show that we do, anyone that rides public transit, bikes, or walk, we offer them a $5 voucher at the merch table. It gets people using the infrastructure in the area. Hopefully, the venues where we play will lobby city council and say, we need bike paths, sidewalk repair. That stuff affects so many people's lives.
I feel really passionately about safe, comfortable roads, crosswalks, and sidewalks. Everyone of all economic backgrounds should be able to get to school or the grocery store safely and efficiently so they can live better lives.
When you have these van tours, you drive six hours with the doors closed and windows rolled up. You pull into the venue, check into the cheap hotel you can afford, eat whatever is there, sleep, wake up, and repeat. You're not really participating in the community.
The reason I make art is because I get to make a choice about who I am, what I do, and what I put out into the world, the footsteps I leave behind. It's a cliché for a reason - we all kind of work our own paths through the woods. There are not a lot of paths through the woods for someone who sings, plays the cello, and wants to tour on a human scale and create change in the world. I'm on my own path. It's pretty awesome.