lifeblood: listlogs: 2003v06n044-news

ig-news-digest        wednesday, april 9 2003        volume 06 : number 044

today's subjects:
  [ig-news] interview with emily, grist magazine  [catherine <catherineann@m]
  [ig-news] fwd: 4.8.03 starpolish newsletter -- amy ray from the indigo girls!  [marian rowan <msrowan@comcas]
  [ig-news] fwd: a letter from amy ray  ["sherlyn koo" <sherlyn@pixelopolis.]


date: tue, 8 apr 2003 15:02:19 -0600
from: catherine <>
subject: [ig-news] interview with emily, grist magazine

[sherlyn's note: this message was originally sent to the indigo
girls mailing list at]

interesting, given the discussion that's been taking place on this list
lately ...


- ----------------
let it be me
an interview with the indigo girls' emily saliers
08 apr 2003 by kathryn schulz

in the lead-up to earth day on april 22, the folk duo indigo girls will hit
the road with native american activist winona laduke for a two-week honor
the earth tour. beginning april 10, grammy award-winners emily saliers and
amy ray will talk -- and sing -- about the connections between the
environment, energy, native american issues, and u.s. foreign and domestic
policy. proceeds from the tour will go to honor the earth's energy justice
initiative to support wind power and other alternative-energy developments
in native communities. grist magazine spoke to saliers about the origins of
her environmental awareness, the life of an artist-activist, her automotive
inclinations, and more.

grist: the indigo girls have developed a reputation for being outspoken
activists on a range of issues. which issue speaks to you most strongly?

emily saliers: it's hard to separate them. we're right in the midst of
getting ready for this honor the earth tour, which is about shifting the
current energy paradigm to one that is more just, with a focus on
alternative and renewable energy. so i'm reading about these native
communities and about personal lives and ways of life that are being so
negatively impacted. it feels just as personal to me as anything else in my
life. so i think our environmentalism with respect to native activism is
probably our primary focus. and then of course i couldn't not say gay
rights; obviously, being gay, this is highly personal and highly motivating.

grist: it makes intuitive sense that you would be active on gay issues,
since they are so personal. but environmentalism and connecting the dots
between native american issues and energy issues -- are those things you've
felt passionate about for a long time, or did they come about through a
conscious process of educating yourself?

saliers: it was kind of a combination, i think. i would say that amy very
early on had a spiritual connection to traditional native ways of life. when
we met winona laduke at an earth day show in 1991 or so, that really changed
everything for us as far as the direction of our environmental activism, and
gave us a paradigm for grassroots activism. we felt that you couldn't really
be an environmentalist without including the native perspective. when you
look at the horrible history of what's happened to native peoples, and also
currently how many coal and uranium deposits native lands sit on, and you
think about the deforestation, and now the prospect of nuclear waste dumping
on yucca mountain, it's clear that all the issues surrounding energy justice
are tied to native issues.

grist: yet environmentalism has had trouble shedding its reputation as the
domain of straight, middle-class, white people -- even though, as you point
out, environmental issues can't be disentangled from the history of how that
dominant culture has oppressed other cultures.

saliers: absolutely, but there are a lot of people who don't make the same
connections. i mean, this has been a decade-long process of educating
ourselves through mentors and travels and experiences and first-hand visits
to reservations and communities and giving a lot of serious thought and
attention to these issues, so you can't necessarily expect people to make
the connections right away.

there's a lot of people who grasp on to what they might stereotypically
think of as "native ways of thinking;" they sort of idolize the traditional
cultures and take from them what they want. but i think it's so important
and gratifying and educational to really look deep into what traditional
cultures stand for, because american culture is so far removed from our ties
to the land, with genetically modified food and meat-processing and mass
marketing of products and gas-guzzling vehicles. we're so removed from where
it all comes from and where it's going to lead us if we don't change.
traditional native communities provide the answers to those questions, and
they provide direction.

grist: energy is frequently seen as this kind of wonky issue, either the
domain of enron executives or of off-the-grid long-haired california
hippies. do you find that people are receptive to rock stars talking about
energy issues, of all things?

saliers: [laughs.] there's resistance to that. we've had press conferences
where someone will stand up and say, "what right do you have to be talking
about this when you're a white girl from georgia signed to epic records?"
our answer to that is something that ralph nader and other leaders have
taught us, which is that it's important to be a citizen, and in order to be
a citizen you have to educate yourself. just because you're not from
someone's neighborhood or community doesn't mean that you can't empathize
and relate to their issues, make the connections to your own issues, and to
national and international issues, and try to be part of the change. but our
fans obviously know that we're activists, they know that we have this long
history of marrying our music with our activism, so they expect it from us.
they're not going to come to a concert and be angry with us for bringing up
native energy issues.

grist: talk to me about that relationship between your activism and your

saliers: amy and i are a very lyric-focused band, obviously, and if these
issues are going on in our lives or are something we're thinking about, then
we're going to end up writing songs about them. some of the songs are
specifically political, like some of the content on shaming of the sun about
the immigrant situation. some of them are a little more ethereal, like
"everything in its own time." "philosophy of loss" is about gay rights and
the church. so these issues, how the church deals with gays and so on,
they're political but they're also very personal to me, and that comes out
in the song. but you know, other times, i just write love songs.

grist: recently there's been something of a backlash against celebrities and
people with a very public voice taking political stands, such as the dixie
chicks being blacklisted from some radio stations and having their cds
burned or bulldozed after expressing opposition to president bush.

saliers: yeah, that troubled me a lot. first thing i thought was, this is
the mccarthy era all over again. we're never that far from it: blacklisting
and book burnings and witch-hunts and knee-jerk patriotism and the vitriolic
response to peace -- the very dark side of the american character. and also
the terrible ignorance that's been achieved by what the spin doctors have
done to make the connection between al qaeda and iraq, so that people who
are pro-war think that they're getting justice for 9/11 by bombing the hell
out of baghdad. all those things came to mind when i heard about the dixie
chicks incident and i was so proud of [band member] natalie [maines]. you
know, i love those guys anyway, they are a great band and really good
people, and i was horrified to hear that this had happened.

this culture has a weird relationship with pop stars and movie stars and all
that. i mean, everybody wants to know what they think and who they're
sleeping with and all that, but if they say something against the president,
then suddenly it's too public, and all hell breaks loose. you can do it, but
the dixie chicks can't, which shows who some of the people are who are
buying their records.

grist: have you and amy experienced any of that kind of backlash?

saliers: boy, they're burning our cds all over the place! it's horrible!
[laughs.] no, we're not big enough; we're not famous enough. we're barely a
blip on the screen of pop culture. we're able to just plod along and speak
our minds and do exactly what we want to do and people either take us or
leave us.

grist: i've heard a lot of people expressing that they don't feel like the
environment is a priority right now, given the international situation. what
would you say to that?

saliers: you know, this is a war about oil and control of resources and
strategic positioning, so there could not be a more important time for
people to understand the connection between bad energy policy and injustice
and violence. there could not be a clearer connection between what's going
on in the environment and what's going on in the middle east. our energy
paradigm is military-industrial; if we counted less on fossil fuels and
turned to alternative energy, we wouldn't have to fight wars over oil. so
it's the perfect time for people to be re-inspired to work against the
current energy policy.

we're all inundated with emails and messages and commercials and products
and so forth, it's crazy how busy our minds are, and i think sometimes we
get overwhelmed. and then it's easy, sometimes, to just look outside the
window -- right now it's a pretty day in atlanta -- and say, "you know, the
environment is fine. i don't need to be thinking about this right now." but
we're headed down a very dark path, and we have to make changes. that's very
clear to me, and it's clear to the native activist mentors who have guided
us, and i believe in their vision.

grist: do you see any signs of hope? do you think we're starting to turn the
corner toward a new kind of energy system?

saliers: oh, boy. i wouldn't say in a very popular, general-public way. i
think it's more like -- i was going to say, "the people in the trenches,"
but i shouldn't use a war term. it's the people who have always seen it,
plus there's education happening little by little. but we need the support
of the government. the dark thing about this administration is that it's not
supporting the things that are going to make everything better, it's
supporting the opposite. but i have hope. i think we can make the change,
and the honor the earth tour is about that. it's about trying to bring to
light some of those issues and make sometimes-complex connections for people
and then believe in it and implement it in your own life.

grist: how do you implement it in your own life?

saliers: well, amy has a hybrid car. i had an suv and i went to a small
station wagon. i love cars, i have to admit, so i've had to rethink my
feelings, and i'm hoping that fuel-cell cars come about quickly, because for
people who like cars, they'll offer a lot of different options. but in the
meantime, i'm going to try to get a car that gets the best gas mileage
possible. and then of course, in our own lives, there's recycling, setting
your thermostat in an appropriate way, getting your compost going. i own a
restaurant with some other people, and we do everything we can to cut waste
and make it efficient. some of it is just about being mindful. americans are
so loath to make small changes, even ones that don't make their lives
uncomfortable and can make a great difference. i'm not perfect, but i do
what i can. and you know, it's a pleasure to do that much.
- - - - - - - - - -
kathryn schulz is managing editor of grist.

the article can be found online at

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date: tue, 08 apr 2003 16:29:53 -0400
from: marian rowan <>
subject: [ig-news] fwd: 4.8.03 starpolish newsletter -- amy ray from the indigo girls!

[sherlyn's note: i have edited this message to take out some non-ig-relevant

p.s. note my new email add'y: -- thanks!

life is now, plan accordingly....

date: tue, 08 apr 2003 14:20:53 -0400
subject: 4.8.03 starpolish newsletter -- amy ray from the indigo girls!

- --> starpolish interview: amy ray of the indigo girls!

- --> indigo girls/junior mountain stage performance airs starting april



starpolish interview: amy ray
as both one-half of the indigo girls and as a solo artist, amy ray has
stayed true to her musical vision while carving a two-decade-long career
in the music business. she also launched her own record label, daemon
records, to help artists not being served by the major labels. ray
recently spoke to starpolish ceo vivek j. tiwary about a variety of
topics, including her label, her career, the importance of touring, and
the issues related to performing as a gay or bisexual artist.

indigo girls/junior mountain stage performance airs starting april 11th!
speaking of the indigo girls, starpolish management's junior recently
opened up for the girls during their mountain stage performance. the
indigo girls even invited junior to sing harmony with them during an
encore of a bob dylan song! and you can hear the show yourself starting
this friday, april 11th, when mountain stage begins airing the show on
hundreds of radio stations and websites across the u.s. and in 50 foreign
countries. while most stations will air the show this saturday, april 12,
and sunday, april 13, check the mountain stage website at for exact dates, times, and
stations near you. the show also features great opening performances from
richard julian, lucy kaplansky and the kennedys, so check it out!

we'd also like to give props to our friends at wxpn, who continue to be
junior's biggest supporters on u.s. radio. xpn will be streaming the
indigo girls/junior show this saturday april 12 at 6:00pm e.s.t. at xpn is still playing junior's "into the
blue," so we're asking all junior fans to continue calling or emailing
them to request the song. you can reach wxpn's request line 24/7 via phone
at 215.573.wxpn (9976), or online at and if you
haven't heard junior yet, check out some free music at


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date: tue,  8 apr 2003 21:25:06 -0400
from: "sherlyn koo" <>
subject: [ig-news] fwd: a letter from amy ray

hey folks,

here's the latest official mailout...

- -sherlyn

- ---------- original message ----------------------------------
from: "indigo girls" <>
indigogirls <>
date:  tue, 08 apr 2003 21:13:17 -0400

april 2003

hey everyone,

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 q!
uality 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.


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end of ig-news-digest v6 #44

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