Published on October 15th, 2019 | by Alicia Silverstone
I hung out with Tony this past spring when I held an event for Loraine Lundquist, Los Angeles City Council candidate (earth activist and vegan!). Tony is a talented Grammy Award-winning musician who plays bass in No Doubt and DREAMCAR. He is also an intelligent and passionate activist! He supports a wide range of powerful nonprofits and is a co-founder of the Circle V vegan music festival. If you scroll through Tony’s social media, you’ll see him marching at animal rights protests with his family, loving up on animals at various sanctuaries, and rocking out on stage. Tony – you are stellar! Thank you for all that you do and letting me interview you!
How long have you been vegan?
I celebrated my seven year vegan anniversary on May the 4th, 2019.
Why did you make the change?
My final move from vegetarianism to veganism came when my wife and I had our first child and my eyes were finally opened to the cruelty of the dairy industry. One glaring fact that I had somehow made myself oblivious to for so much of my life was that for a cow to produce milk she has to be pregnant. So, we forcibly impregnate these moms against their will. Then, after they have gestated for the same amount of time as my wife did for our kids, we steal their baby away so we can consume the lactating fluid that was intended for their babies. Not only do these mothers have to bear the physical pain of being physically exploited for their entire lives but they also have to endure the emotional heartbreak of losing their children over and over. This cycle continues for five years or so before they are unceremoniously killed. I cannot fathom the pain of someone taking my child away. In turn I no longer wanted to contribute to an industry that does that very thing innumerable times a day.
Following the shift, did you notice impacts it immediately had on you?
The biggest impact that going vegan had on me was that I was no longer living in a gray area in which I was still contributing to the exploitation of some animals. Now my actions are aligned with my values. And of course I can take comfort in the fact that living vegan is our best bet for fighting climate change, taking care of our own bodies, working towards the elimination of global hunger, just to name a few benefits.
How has your family, friends, and co-workers responded to your diet and health changes?
At the time of going vegan, most of my close family and friends were supportive and even took steps towards becoming vegan or went vegan themselves. In the seven plus years since then, some of those that maybe weren’t open to the idea have come around, especially in light of the exponential growth, convenience and availability of vegan options in everyday life, as well as the long overdue coverage by many media outlets on how animal agriculture is a massive contributor to our climate crisis.
When your diet comes up in conversation with non-veggie friends, do you have a favored elevator pitch to encourage them to eat more plants? If so, what is it?
I’m vegan for the animals so that is where my passion comes from when I speak about veganism. Animals deserve to live free from harm, domination and oppression just as we do. Their lives mean as much to them as our lives mean to us. Veganism is a way to stand against injustice and violence and to promote love, compassion and empathy.
What is a typical?
Breakfast: avocado toast and coffee
Lunch: burrito or veggie burger
Dinner: tacos or sushi or a protein bowl
Snack: cheese & crackers, chips and dip
What are some of your favorite spots to dine at (in whichever city you spend the most time)?
Crossroads Kitchen in West Hollywood has been my hangout since it opened back in 2013. I could eat there every night. We also love going to Little Pine in Silver Lake, the food is great. Other favorites are Shojin and Au Lac, both in Downtown Los Angeles, and Veggie Grill in Hollywood. A new go-to is Plant Power in Long Beach.
Do you have a favorite book or film that you like to share with friends who are vegan-curious?
What non-profit organizations are you energized and inspired by?