An Open Letter To Musicians Interested In Raising The Bar On Philanthropy

Dear Rock Stars,

Where have you gone? It seems your breed is dying. We need you.

Music, this "universal language," has the ability to rally a crowd the size of a small city, make a person dance, cry, fall in love or fight. It's an industry that generates billions of dollars annually, and a medium that has more influence on society than the government. While I'm not asking you to be Bono, you do have a responsibility, or at least an opportunity.

So, where to begin? Albert Einstein said: "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it." I believe this speaks to the root of our dilemma entirely. We must realize that to save our civilization from self-destruction, it's not simply about raising money -- humans actually have to evolve. Therefore, the ultimate goal in any cause you're involved with should be to wake people up, to shift consciousness.

Through tragedy comes opportunity, and with the frequency that these cataclysmic events -- earthquakes, oil spills, floods -- are happening, the doors have been blown wide open to create those larger than life moments. I can't help but feel slightly ripped off that the best my generation has seen is "We Are The World Part Two," when even the 1963 March on Washington is only a fraction of what we're capable of today. Perhaps it is my own selfish desire to time warp back to 1969, frolic with hippie chicks on acid and talk about the revolution, but I do have a belief that the good old days are yet to happen, even in music, even in culture.

Haiti merits more than a two-hour telethon, the oil spill crosses over to a much bigger issue than a benefit concert could begin to tackle, and not to mention at some point we've got to get past only reaction-based action. If we want to see real change, we've got to change the status quo. Fortunately, the turbulence of the music industry and the rise of the Internet puts us in a place that's prime for artists to once again lead. What we need are the ones who will serve as an example, take true initiative and make headlines that people can't ignore.

So, where are you now, rock stars? You're supposed to be the ultimate badasses. You know, stickin' it to the man and what not. The walls they've trapped you in don't exist, since when did you let rules get in the way of principle?

Raise the bar. Color outside the lines. Think BIG. Leave a mark. Make history. Wake up! Hurry! We need you to lead the way.

In fact, you've said it yourself...

Below are some promising examples of artists taking initiative:

Brandon Boyd of Incubus:
Sir Richard Branson:
Thrice:
Hanson:
YACHT:
Bassnectar:
Neon Indian:
Tegan and Sara:
Jon Foreman of Switchfoot:
Mike Einziger of Incubus:
India.Arie:
Aaron Gillespie of The Almost:
Mike Hindert from The Bravery:
Adam Gardner of Guster:

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