April 10, 2008 / 1:22 AM / 10 years ago

Rocker eyes "holographic touring" to save planet

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Serj Tankian, the frontman for Los Angeles rock band System of a Down, is so dedicated to saving the planet that he wants to launch a virtual concert tour to reduce his carbon footprint.

Serj Tankian from the alternative metal band 'System of a down' poses on the red carpet before the MTV Europe Awards ceremony in Munich November 1, 2007. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

“I’ve had an idea for a long time, which might sound a little crazy, but I really want to look into holographic touring,” Tankian told Billboard.

“I think we could reduce our need to travel if we could project ourselves into meetings and concerts. We have the technology, and we’re not using it right now.”

He suggested that he could broadcast a show in real time from his home studio, and he could interact with fans as if they were in the same room.

“After all, it’s not like the audience can touch me, anyway,” he said with a laugh.

“It would open up a whole new world for touring — shows wouldn’t have to be limited to bars or clubs. There would be no travel costs, so bands with very little money could play shows, and tickets would cost less.”

While many musicians are becoming more active in promoting green issues, Tankian has gone a step further by connecting environmental issues to issues of poverty and war.

He formed the grassroots organization Axis of Justice with Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello to rally musicians and music fans in the quest for peace, human rights and social equity.

“The connections can be drawn because they are present in so many places,” he said. “Even materials that are supposed to be environmentally friendly can be harmful to poor communities. Biodiesel, for example, uses up farmland that could otherwise be used to grow food for starving people.”

Tankian acknowledged there is an inherent hypocrisy in promoting green causes while belonging to a band that has sold more than 10 million CDs, many in plastic containers that had to be shipped to stores.

The band does it best, though, such as paying more for merchandise — like souvenir t-shirts — that were manufactured in accordance with acceptable labor and ecological practices.

Tankian takes his cue from people in New Zealand, where he owns a house, describing the country as “ecologically one of the most progressive places on earth.”

“People down there are unconsciously conscious — they don’t get self-congratulatory when they recycle, they just do it as a way of life. I think we need more education to get us to that place.”

Reuters/Billboard

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