Rock Artists Get ‘Incredibly’ Involved

 by Andi Hubbell ‘11
Senior Brittany Byroad is the epitome of a devoted music fan. She dons band tees on a nearly daily basis, attends concerts whenever she gets the chance and rarely ventures anywhere without her iPod. Even Byroad’s Facebook statuses, which often include an array of song lyrics, serve as a testament to her passion for music. In short, if anyone knows the realm of music, it’s Byroad.

So, naturally, Byroad took notice when a surge of rock artists, including some of her favorite bands, steadily began to promote a variety of nonprofit organizations.

“I heard of To Write Love on Her Arms because of Forever the Sickest Kids and Paramore, and I heard of Keep-A-Breast and Incredibly Green through All Time Low,” she said.

It wasn’t the idea of artists advocating causes on behalf of nonprofits that struck Byroad as unusual; after all, musicians are certainly known to dabble in infomercials, benefit singles and the like when the opportunity arises. Instead, she was intrigued by the fact that many of the nonprofits these musicians were increasingly joining forces with seemed to rely on the sphere of music as their primary means of reaching young people.

Organizations like To Write Love on Her Arms, Keep-A-Breast and Incredibly Green do not merely recruit rock artists for the occasional TV campaign or poster ad. They are constantly collaborating with musicians, enlisting them to play at their benefit shows, appear at their tour booths, sport their merchandise and make statements on their Web sites. In fact, fusing their causes with the music industry is one of these organizations’ main focuses. They hope that, in doing so, they will be able to instill a proactive spirit in countless young music fans.

Lisa Ruocco, director and co-founder of the recently created eco-initiative Incredibly Green, contends that relying on musicians as a medium through which to promote a cause does in fact foster successful results.

“We [Incredibly Green] are growing every day. Young people see that their favorite band is promoting a green message, so they check us out, then they tell their friends, and their friends tell their friends,” said Ruocco. “Word of mouth works, and it all starts with a spark of interest from someone these kids look up to.”

Since its conception earlier this year, Incredibly Green has embarked on several efforts to combine its message of eco-friendliness with the music industry, including working for Warped Tour’s Eco-Initiative and conducting interviews with numerous bands about their environmental habits for use on its website.

Among the many bands that have taken the opportunity to collaborate with Incredibly Green in recent months is Baltimore-based band Storm the Beaches. Storm the Beaches guitarist Taylor Naussau Young said that he, along with fellow band members Danny Reedy and Josh Yeager, agreed to participate in an interview that would later appear on Incredibly Green’s Web site because “[eco-friendliness] is an issue that deserves attention and if we can help shine a light on it then we’re game.”

Similarly, Towson-based band Worth Our While was eager to partake in an interview on behalf of Incredibly Green because, as vocalist and guitarist Johnny Brennan phrased it, “we thought that the interview would be a good motivator for … the people who read it.”

Both bands indicated that they received an outpour of positive feedback from their fans in regards to their participation in Incredibly Green interviews; Young asserted that Storm the Beaches had in fact “received good feedback from … fans and green supporters both,” while Brennan maintained that “a lot of people who read the interview contacted us and let us know that they agree with us and are trying to go green themselves.”

While most music fans appear to perceive bands’ increasing association with nonprofits as a positive development, Ruocco admitted that she does “occasionally see the haters who say people are only involved because so-and-so said they were green.” However, she does not allow herself to be troubled by comments of this nature.

“Why should we care how or why people get involved in the first place, as long as they are doing their part, making positive changes in their lives, and spreading the message of Incredibly Green?” she said. Furthermore, she reasons that, “even the haters who go to [the Incredibly Green] Web site are retaining some of the information.”

Overall, Ruocco is very pleased with the results of Incredibly Green’s partnership with various bands thus far, and therefore plans to continue working alongside them in the future.

“[Music] is part of us. Music, art, pop culture, hip and trendy things all help to lure people in. All of these things can be green, if we help to make them green,” she said.