Activists Reverend Billy & the Stop Shopping Choir Announce 'The Earth Wants YOU!'
Earth-alujah! Legendary New York City based activist, performer, and author Reverend Billy is joined by the Stop Shopping Choir to present The Earth Wants YOU!, a musical album accompanied by a book of the same title via City Lights Publishers. These are activists who sing. Directed by Savitri D., this radical performance community, sometimes called "The Church of Stop Shopping," serves up its angry defense of the Earth. You can feel their arrest-risking work in the streets in this powerful gospel-tinged album. For the better part of the 21st century, they have spread their message, from Occupy Wall Street to the St. Louis offices of Monsanto (and the police station in nearby Ferguson, Missouri) to the stage at Joe's Pub at the Public Theater in New York, and out into arenas opening for Neil Young. The Earth Wants YOU! - both album and book go public this Earth Day - April 22.
Watch The Earth Wants YOU Book Trailer
Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir will be releasing their single "Fabulous Bad Weather" in advance of the album, premiering on Brooklyn Vegan. Under music director Nehemiah Luckett, this song acts as a call to action, skewering Wall Street response to Hurricane Sandy. The gorgeous vocal turn by Laura Newman, also co-composer of the song, elevates what could simply be viewed at first listen as a quirky protest record into the realm of true art.
That a record filled with anthems of dissent manages to also sound joyous is perhaps The Earth Wants YOU's biggest charm. It succeeds not just as a document of a movement or as a kind of tool for activism, but also as a glorious, sprawling and truly inspired piece of music - fleshed out with a full band, a horn section, and a kaleidoscope of voices, including alto star Gina Figueroa who won a Grammy Award this year for co-writing best R&B song, "Really Love," with D'Angelo.
These "wild anti-consumerist gospel shouters" have been met with an outpouring of donations from their "Holy Rollers". Starting today, fans can continue supporting the good work of the Reverend and the Stop Shopping Choir via crowdfunding platform Patreon. Backers can give a select amount on a monthly basis, allowing the this DIY church to become, in their own words, "more predictably unpredictable."
"Our idea of bringing humor and music and marrying them to a statement of conscience is not a new concept," explains Reverend Billy. "The labor and civil rights and gender rights movements inspired us all with their music...These days it's not enough to be against tragedy and injustice. We need to be for life. We're followers of Life on Earth. Isn't that hilarious? Yes, and it's the only way we'll ever save our ass. Amen!" The Reverend's message is perfectly articulated on the joyful mission statement that is The Earth Wants YOU. The album and the book will both be available on April 22 - just don't expect to see them for sale at your local Starbucks.
Reverend Billy's Book Tour with The Earth Wants YOU Band
Date TBA - Brooklyn, NY - Location TBA (Book and album launch party)
April 20 - San Francisco, CA - City Lights Bookstore *
April 21 - Berkeley, CA - Moe's Books *
April 22 - Oakland, CA - Laurel Books
April 23 - Point Reyes Station, CA - Point Reyes Books *
April 25 - Sebastopol, CA - Many Rivers Books & Tea *
April 26 -Mendocino, CA - Gallery Bookshop *
April 27 - Arcata, CA - Northtown Books *
April 28 - Ashland, OR - Bloomsbury Books *
May 1 - Portland, OR - Powell's City of Books
May 2 - Olympia, WA - Obsidian Café *
May 3 - Tacoma, WA - King's Bookstore *
May 4 - Seattle, WA - Elliott Bay *
May 5 - Bellingham, WA - Village Books *
May 6 - Vancouver, BC - Banyen Books & Sound *
May 17 - Brooklyn, NY - Community Bookstore *
May 18 - Brunswick, ME - Gulf of Maine Bookstore *
May 19 - Brattleboro, VT - Everyone's Bookstore *
May 20 - Manchester, VT - Northshire Bookstore *
May 23 - Philadelphia, PA - Moonstone Arts Center
May 24 - Baltimore, MD - Red Emma's *
May 25 - Washington DC - Busboys and Poets
May 26 - Richmond, VA - Fountain Books
+ more TBA
* = without band