Chuck Leavell, keyboardist for The Rolling Stones and cofounder of MNN, sits down with singer-songwriter Will Dailey to chat about Farm Aid and eating good food on the road. (Mike Lindsay/MNN and Nick Scott/MNN)
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Chuck: All right. How did it go?
Will: It was a blast. I mean, the audience was amazing. You know, it’s such a crazy day. How many acts do we have? I mean, you see it backstage. I It’s madness.
Will: And you fly up and by the time it’s over, you’re sort of about ready to get going again. But it was amazing.
Chuck: It was good fun.
Will: Amazing, yeah.
Chuck: And now, this is your second Farm Aid.
Chuck: You were here last year?
Will: Hmm mm.
Chuck: The same band?
Will: Well, I played acoustic last year.
Chuck: Oh, did you?
Will: And so I graduated this year to the full band. And my backup band is called The Rivals -- Will Dailey and The Rivals. So, I brought all them from Boston this time. It’s, you know, that’s where I belong. I don’t like playing by myself too often. So it’s wonderful to have them with me.
Chuck: Well, let’s talk a little bit about what Farm Aid is all about, what it means to you, just you know, this is your second year. You’ve made a commitment to spread the word, as many of the other artists have. Tell me what it means to you.
Will: Well, it means a lot to me. I worry about what I eat. I think about it. And sometimes, I think long and hard about it, and I go to my farmers market every Thursday about two blocks from my apartment and I stock up, and a lot of times it really hits me when I’m on the road and you can’t get anything on the highway to eat that’s good for you. And you need your energy when you’re playing every night. You need your energy when you’re driving your vehicle for 12 hours of the day and then you got to get up on stage. You’re not gonna find that on the side of the road. You’re not gonna find that energy. And that’s, it’s kind of depressing to ride around and see that, to see the grip that industry has in the way it’s choked not only the family farmers, but it’s choked that gift from our lives of good food. It’s taken it from us and that’s sad. And that annoys me when I’m riding around from city to city. I don’t like getting annoyed in between the shows, but I do get annoyed.
Chuck: Well, Will, you’re from Boston. It’s a big city, big metropolitan area, but you know that you can buy products from your farmers market. You have a farmers market there that you must frequent that you know you’re getting local produce and all. And I guess you can at least sometimes carry that with you on tour.
Chuck: But as you say, at some point, that runs out. And then you’re faced with realitym and do you find yourself searching out when you go to different cities, the local farmers markets?
Will: Yeah, we have coolers and it’s like packing a lunch for four days. That is basically what we do. Because the alternative is kind of exhausting, and afterward, you just don’t feel good.
Will: And that’s just wrong, you know?
Chuck: Yeah. It is wrong. I think there is some positive news in as much as that these messages are getting out. I think Farm Aid is helping very much — Willie and all the guys and girls and all the artists involved. It really helps to raise awareness, I think. Don’t you?
Will: When you’re doing something for 24 years, you don’t do it for 24 years if it’s not working well. You know? And it’s really a testament to how strong it is and how effective it is, that for 24 years, it’s been here and here we are in St. Louis and starting, like Caroline [indistinct] said today, we’re starting the 25th year today.
Will: And that’s a huge accomplishment. That’s an amazing thing and at the same time, you got to think, well, we’ve needed this for 24 years, and we’re gonna need more and we need, going into the 25th year, we got to kind of up the ante.