Times - October 12, 2001
raise their voices for the cause
Seattle Times staff reporter
Ament, Pearl Jam
a band, Pearl Jam is no stranger to raising money and awareness
for worthy causes; front man Eddie Vedder recently participated in the celebrity
fund-raiser telethon "America: A Tribute to Heroes," benefiting
disaster-relief efforts related to the World Trade Center attacks.
memories of the band's lauded uphill struggle against Ticketmaster must have
haunted the band's bass player, Jeff Ament, who admitted an initial shock at the
$50 ticket prices for Groundwork 2001.
was a little bit taken aback," he said.
he found out that a lot of the projects Groundwork sponsors cost only $5,000 or
$6,000. So, "If a person buys a few tickets with their friends, they're
contributing a fifth or a tenth of a water pump that'll help a village drink
water that's clean and free of fecal matter or bacteria," he said.
"And then I started to get excited about it."
went on to express his appreciation for the Food and Agriculture Organization's
directness with the money Groundwork 2001 will raise. "The question I ask
is, who are the charities that get the most out of a dollar? There's only so
much money to kind of give away. ... You want it to get in the mouths of people
who are hungry, or to the kids who need an education as opposed to going into
paperwork and overhead."
Pearl Jam and ourselves, I think our fans are pretty interested in
the outside world," said Peter Buck, R.E.M.'s outspoken guitarist. True,
the band's followers tend to be more politically aware than the average rock fan,
something R.E.M. cultivated over the years. Its involvement in Groundwork 2001,
then, comes as little surprise.
the upcoming Seattle benefit, however, the group also finds itself in the midst
of trying to make a meaningful contribution to the New York and Washington
disaster-relief effort. But Buck refuses to let work on that project impede his
efforts in spreading the word on TeleFood.
because there's one big tragic event in our lives doesn't mean we should stop
paying attention to all the others that are ongoing," he said.
the nation's recent mass awakening to world politics and our place in it change
our view, and respect, for other cultures in need? Buck's hopeful, but not an
idealist. "You can't expect everyone to change or to pay attention. I
suspect a lot of people are going to (Groundwork) to have a good party. But the
only way you'll change things is one person at a time.
hope that people look at the literature and think about it a little bit,"
he added, "whether it's considering doing volunteer work in their
neighborhood or just writing a check once a year."
activism is an integral part of country rocker Emmylou Harris' life and career.
She's a spokeswoman for the Campaign for a Landmine Free World, a supporter of
the Humane Association and performs annually in Nashville to benefit Second
Harvest Food Bank. Participation in Groundwork 2001 was a natural fit.
wants to do more than entertain her audience this weekend. She's hoping that
Groundwork and its coincidental timing with America's action in Afghanistan will
begin a new era of consciousness.
going to make us more aware of the terrible gulf between the haves and the
have-nots in this world," she said. "This terrible thing has happened
because of the seeds being planted of people not having anything at all. We have
to realize that if and when we do put the lid on terrorism, more energy needs to
be put into more aggressive help for the people of the world, to make everyone's
right to live a decent life a top priority not just in our country but around
believe in the basic goodness of the American people," she added, "and
I think they really want to help but just don't know how."