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  • Andy Valeri; Big Beef Productions

Reverend Billy, The Laughing Apocalypse & Change Making Culture

Rev. Billy & The Church of Stop Shopping have long been a cultural source of inspiration, and now seeing them opening the North American tour for Neil Young & Crazy Horse is a truly wondrous thing.

I’ve long argued that there can be no meaningful civic/political change without cultural change, and the amplifying and clarifying force that it provides. And so it’s inspirational to see Rev. Billy outright preach the very same thing this past week, while on tour with Neil Young. I’ve also come to learn that their performances have been a bit ‘polarizing’ among Young’s audiences, but that’s not a first with Neil’s concert presentations, where he often challenges his audiences rather than simply placate them with ‘entertainment.’

The Stop Shopping Choir singing in Atlanta for the Love Earth Tour:

(from left) Ali Dineen, Rev, Eric Johnson, Director Savitri D, with Shilpa Narayan, Leila Adu, Amber Gray, and John Carlin.  Missing in this shot: Francisca Benítez, Vera Love, Gregory Corbino, Sunder Ganglani, Gaylen Hamilton, and Joshua Kawan Nelson

As the Reverend states here… We have argued all our lives that culture can no longer be missing from the Environmental Movement. 

Malachy McCourt and Neil Young are long-time allies of the Earth in its crisis.  And both are fiercely independent artist-activists. 


All social movements that have won human rights have gained force from music and humor:  songwriters and comedians... and scandalous commentators like James Baldwin and Nina Simone for the Civil Rights Movement.  The Environmental Movement needs to discover the power of culture.   The Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense and the World Wildlife Fund have CEO's that make a million bucks, but not a dime from the big NGO's goes to musicians or compelling word-weavers of spells.  At least, not that we know of.  Meanwhile, let me say that we have been honored to work alongside these two long-time artists, Neil Young and Malachy McCourt.  We spoke and sang at Malachy's memorial at Symphony Space. Please check out our idea of cultural power in our performance here.... RevBilly & Singers Open for Neil Young Visit the Rev.Billy & Church of Stop Shopping website

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