Ahead of launching Zac Brown Band‘s Out in the Middle tour, the group’s lead singer Zac Brown discussed politics, COVID-19 and touring in an interview with Rolling Stone, published Thursday (April 21).
Brown called out politicians and news media, saying, “When you look at people’s agendas and how they’re going to manipulate people into accomplishing their agenda, it’s very obvious and it’s hard to find the truth. When you hear about something and instead of going, ‘Wow, that’s happening,’ the news is no longer a report about what’s happening. It’s about how can we get people to side with us or hate this person or do these things. I think a lot of the stuff in the media is very divisive, and that’s not the America that I know.”
Brown also likened consuming news media to sipping on “poison.”
“You can pick a channel over here and you’re pissed off about one thing and your cortisol goes up and you watch this one and you’re pissed off about this. We’re tribal people, the same way we were 200,000 years ago. The technology is advanced so far and so much that we hear so many people’s opinions about things that we forget what’s right in front of us,” he added. “So you just sip on this poison and being stimulated by all these things that are around all the time. We weren’t really supposed to hear people’s voices that we can’t hear beyond earshot. That’s the way we were made and created. [It’s like] the Wild West with everything that we’re in right now and what that’s doing to our — disconnected with nature, disconnected with the Earth, disconnected with things that are there.”
Zac Brown Band will welcome the Robert Randolph Band in a support role for their run of stadium and amphitheater shows this year, in support of their recent album, The Comeback. Brown noted the unifying impact of having the ability to travel, experience other cultures and get to know people of all kinds of backgrounds.
“Mark Twain had a quote about travel being lethal to ignorance and racism. After you’ve been out and seen a lot of other things, you realize we’re all the same,” he explained. “We all have that same human condition — we fall in love, we have heartbreak, we have hard times, we have adversity. Music is one of those powerful things that unifies those through the stories.”
Now, 14 years after the release of their first major label album, The Foundation, Brown also says he and his bandmates have learned to approach touring and live shows in a healthier way than they did in their earlier years.
“I look at it as a professional sports team like, this is a competitive thing and we take it seriously [in] the way we practice, the way we rehearse, the way we perform. Nobody’s allowed to drink or smoke or do any drugs or anything during the show. Whatever they do after the show, they have a small window before we get on the buses and roll again. But I think what we do better now is take care of ourselves … This is our life and our business, and we’ve got to take it seriously.”