You know what’s fun? Eating ice cream for breakfast. And that’s pretty much what happened yesterday, when Ben + Jerry’s summoned us to the Bowery Ballroom at noon for a secret concert to kick off The Campus Consciousness Tour, a nationwide initiative that brings free music and political activism to American colleges.
After a few scoops of Americone Dream (thank you Stephen Colbert), we settled in for two acoustic sets by Fun., the indie rockers whose recent Saturday Night Live performance might only be eclipsed by their appearance on the Wreck It Ralph soundtrack — because you know you’ve made it when your music plays during a Pixar movie.
Here’s what Fun. had to say about their current tour, their big album, and their endless supply of Cherry Garcia.
Why give your tour a political bent instead of just a big party?
JACK ANTONOFF: We grew up in the ’90s, when it was really cool to care. We had people like Eddie Vedder who had an opinion on politics and issues, and that kind of died at some point when we got into music, when indie rock and apathy took over…we’re trying to make it cool again to care, and not just to get up onstage like, “Oh, we don’t know how we got up here! We were just in a garage one day making music.” We want to own the fact that we have a big audience and own the fact that we can start conversations.
And why did you choose LGBT rights specifically?
JACK: We just feel really strongly about treating people equally. Gay rights is really human rights; it’s not a gay issue, it’s a human issue…
NATE RUESS: When we did our first Campus Consciousness tour, it was all about the environment.
JACK: It was a while ago…because we’re old as dirt.
NATE: And last year, we opened for Janelle Monae. We were like, “Hey, one day, wouldn’t it be cool to headline this tour?” And now we are!
How do your fans fit into all of this?
JACK: I think we realized that our shows are this really cool safe space where anyone can be.
NATE: Yeah, we used to say, “As long as you know the words to our songs, you’re welcome.” But now it’s like, “Whatever, as long as you’re nice and accepting, come on in!”
How’s the ice cream?
JACK: I’m from Vermont, so I’m biased. I’ve always been like, Ben + Jerry’s is awesome!
— Faran Krentcil