State Radio to bike in Boston with fans

BMS talks with Chad Urmston about the band

, Staff Writer

Everyone is looking for ways to save gas these days, and State Radio is ready to help you out this Saturday as long as you commit to help the environment. How, you ask? Just hop on your bike or take the T to the band’s show at the Bank of America Pavilion and you’ll be entered to win seat upgrades and even a new bike, all part of a joint initiative with Bikes Not Bombs.

Chad Urmston, and by extension State Radio, have long been dedicated to promoting social action both through music and personal action. This Saturday is no different, as the band will be riding along with fans to the show. "There’s a guy biking from Michigan," Urmston says. "I wish there was a way we could publicize some of these awesome stories."

Urmston has been inspiring and experiencing great stories since his days growing up in nearby Sherborn, including many about his work in Africa. "It’s had a huge effect on my music," he explains. "I was 18 and just seeing a third world country and how people lived in the world compared with growing up in Massachusetts and the different attitudes in the world. I was always into protest music and interested in what was going on behind the music, but seeing this stuff first hand really brought it home for me."

Since that time Urmston has had an extremely successful run with his former band Dispatch and is now making quite a name for State Radio. With several EP’s and albums Us Against the Crown, The Barn Sessions, and, the most recent, Year of the Crow, the band has found a following for its mix of rock, reggae, and jam music.

The band has been playing that music all summer at festivals, which Urmston admits are fun but have nothing on the homecoming show that they have coming up this weekend. "We’ve been psyched about it," he says. "It’s the peak of the summer for us."

The show is so important to the band that they’re approaching just a bit differently than they usually do. "We’re trying to figure out the setlist now," Urmston says. "Usually I figure it out just a few minutes before we go on but we’re trying to give it some extra thought. We may have some horn players join us, Apollo Sunshine, who are awesome, may join us for a song or two."

Fans have a good shot of hearing the songs they’re looking for, as Urmston reveals, "If we hear people yelling or chanting a song, we usually play it," although he does admit that it gets harder to play everyone’s favorite song the more material the band releases.

Beyond this weekend there are general plans to start working on some new music, and also a golden opportunity for the band to promote their ideas and causes. "We just really want to make sure that everybody votes in this next election," says Urmston. "We’re hoping that Barack Obama can live up to the things he’s said. We won’t necessarily be supporting him, but we line up with him on most of the issues. We’re planning on holding some signs and asking people to join us outside the State House."

Until then fans will be able to join State Radio on bikes, putting into action the kind of change that their songs call for. A lot of bands talk the talk, but State Radio is actually going for the ride.

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