Photo By Todd Roeth

Image: Todd Roeth

The Avett Brothers’ cellist talks with us about finishing a very long tour and blogging away hunger in Part I of our interview.

by Bryson Leach

After a very long tour across the country and a few stops in Europe and Australia, The Avetts are ready for a break. Bryson Leach caught up with their cellist Joe Kwon after just getting back from their two-night, Halloween finale at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn.

BL: What’s it like to consistently be on tour since last February and to suddenly stop? What are you doing now?

JK:We started last year in February and consistently toured throughout this November. We started out the year on a big push with a two-week tour in the US, then we went to Europe and Australia. We’d go out and come home for several days at a time. We were away for a total of six weeks at the beginning of the year. It was crazy for sure.

For right now we’ve been laying low and spending time with the family. Getting strength back for the next big push for next year. We’re working on new songs for our new album soon, not sure when that will be but we’ve been working on new material. We’re just trying to do the things normal people do because the things we have been doing aren’t too normal for our girlfriends and wives. Our routine is immediately thrown out the window. Now it’s just time to get into a different routine. It will be nice to relax for a while, but really that feeling will last maybe all of two weeks. Then I’ll be ready to start doing something again.

BL:With some major artists, as the tour winds down, it can be apparent that they are on their last leg and their performance is weak and unappreciated. With you guys, road fatigue is never on the table. Why is that?

JK: It’s the love of being on stage. As much as we’re on the road, the stage feels like the right place to be if we can’t be home. We don’t drink on the road, we have noticed that it affects our performance if we drink, and if we can’t give 110% every night then it’s an injustice to the fans. Any moment we have to rest we take it, and of course, we eat well. No fast food, no junk food, instead we eat lots of salads, you know, it doesn’t weigh you down. Something I preach a lot is eating well and I need to practice what I preach.

Food is something Kwon is passionate about — so much so that he blogs about it. On his website, Kwon blogs about all the different places he likes to eat while on the road. Proceeds from the advertising on his site benefits the World Food Program, an United Nations Program that feeds needy families all over the globe.

JK:The blog was kind of a logical thing for me. When I’m on a road, there’s a lot of down time in the bus and we have to respect the silence there. I said, “You know what, there’s a lot of towns and restaurants that I want to go to and there’s a lot of restaurants out there that deserve attention.” I wanted to tell my fans that these places are worth checking out. I especially love it when places are getting local resources and putting love into food like we put love into our music. It’s great to see restaurants that get good food from local sources that, in turn, benefit themselves and the community they live in.

BL: Can you tell us more about your love for local food?

JK: I’m a big supporter of the farm-to-fork lifestyle. I have friends [in North Carolina] who are farmers on the weekends and I try to get people interested in their produce so they can sustain what they are doing. I think the things the farmers are doing here are so good for local development and the sense of community I live in; it’s all a very positive thing. If enough people do what small farmers can do for local food procurement it can greatly shift how food is grown.

BL: Can you explain what the World Food Program is and what you do to support it?

JK: It’s a program for Blog for Hunger, set up by another blogger, Marc Matsumoto at He had an idea for proceeds from a blog to go to WFP in a program called Blog Away Hunger. I have good friends who work for similar NGOs who also support the WFP. I thought it was a good idea. I especially want to support my friends who are doing awesome things in other countries who need help with food supplies. The program doesn’t get a lot of budgetary support, so any support we can give to WFP is a good thing.

Continue Reading Part 2

Learn more about:
The Avett Brothers
Taste On Tour
The World Food Program
Blog Away Hunger

Photo Credit: Bryson Leach

Top photo by Todd Roeth

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  1. francis "fritz" Whang:

    For Joe, Just caught the Independent interview with you, and now have looked up your recent history w/ your group. Congratulations.

    Hi to Sinae..

    ? Do have an acceptable (to you) Research Triangle Korean restaurant?

    ? When do you next play in CH or Durham? We’re retired to Croasdaile Village in Durham and LUV IT.
    Wonderful place, good quarters, good service, good food (tho’ maybe not for you) and good neighbors and other people.

    All best,

    Fritz Whang

    p.s. I’m sure you know that Brent W is now a Distinguished University Professor!!

    3:20 pm on March 10th, 2011
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