This Sunday I’m playing some music at the Earth Day festivities in Memphis. Some of you might be asking yourself a lot of questions right now. Let’s field a few real quick:
1) Um, who are you? Who am I? What am I doing here?
Great, good. I’m Chris Milam. I’m a singer/songwriter in Nashville. I’m originally from Memphis. I’m traveling from Nashville to Memphis to play some music at the Earth Day. This is happening on Sunday afternoon. It’ll be funsies.
2) “Where can I learn more about the Earth Day festivities in Memphis?”
Well, you can go HERE for starters.
3) “Milam, since when are you an environmental activist?”
I’m glad you asked. For a long time I was a lot like you (assuming you’re an unrelenting drain on the earth’s resources): throwing huge balls of plastic out the window of my Humvee while coating my head with hairspray. My first album was titled, It’s Getting Hot in Here, Earth and featured the hit single “Charcoal Heart (My Love Is Fossil-Fueled).” Sure, I went through the “hunting eagles” phase that every 12 year-old experiences and I won’t lie to you, I was good. But one day I saw Bono on TV and he was all, “We gotta shift the paradigm, man” and I was all, “yes, yes, a thousand times yes.” Elevation! And what I’m trying to say is this: I now own Birkenstocks.
4) “What one thing has inspired your environmental kick more than anything else?”
Well, there are really two things. First, I watched the Planet Earth series. There were these African wild dogs that are among the most sophisticated pack hunters on the planet. They completely devastated a gazelle. It made my heart swell (Side note: future song lyrics??). Also, Ben and Jerry’s Free Cone Day has brought environmental issues straight through my head, past my heart, and into my intestines in the form of ice-cream-that-I-don’t-have-to-pay-for. Global warming never tasted so sweet!
5) “Chris, I heard you have a working relationship with Al Gore. In what capacity have you worked with him to raise awareness about global warming?”
Funny story. My work with Al Gore really began a few years ago, when he spoke at my college for Earth Day. He spoke to a crowded lecture hall and then walked around shaking hands afterward. This was in the “post-election/full-bearded” phase of his career, when he was palpably sad and at his most likable. Anyway, I went up and shook his hand and thought to myself, “Good grief, this dude’s got some gigantic hands. He’s like a Kodiak bear.” And while I was thinking that, some lady also walked by me. It wasn’t until later that a friend told me that was Tipper Gore, Al’s wife, and that she had stuck out her hand to shake mine, but I had accidentally snubbed her. Also, my family got a Christmas card from the Gore’s once. So, yeah, I’m pretty much “in the inner circle.”
6) “Hey Chris, I’m unfamiliar with your music but I expect to be at Earth Day. What’s your style?”
My style? I’m self-described as “Teaching Assistant-sheik.”
7) “I meant your music, doofus.”
Right, yes. Before my environmental kick (what critics will later call my “Green Period”), I was largely playing electronic drums and yelling into megaphones a lot. That was my genre. But now, my music can only be described as “100% organic.” My band plays original instruments made from the earth itself. Stanton’s on the waterphone, Rich plays the mudhorn. John takes a drumstick to a hollowed-out butternut squash. We sound a lot like Ani DiFranco, but less raucous. You can go HERE to listen.
8) “This all sounds great! Anything else I need to know about you, the earth, the Earth Day, or anything?”
There are festivities all weekend, but Sunday will have a steady stream of music for you to enjoy. I’ll play for a bit, and a bunch of other great artists will as well. The weather’s supposed to be gorgeous. All kinds of activities. Bring the family, do it up Shelby-style.
9) “What’s Shelby-style?”
Not sure. I think it involves bison and a hayride.
10) “Bison! Aren’t they awesome?”
Bison are awesome. All the flavor of beef and nearly half the saturated fat.
You stay classy, Planet Earth,