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Jack Johnson plays the Gorge with G. Love and Special Sauce, and Zee Avi on Saturday, October 2. Tickets are $55.
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Jack Johnson on Burning Carbon, Refilling Water Bottles, and Surfing at Westport

jackjohnsongorge2.jpg
Jack Johnson plays the Gorge with G. Love and Special Sauce, and Zee Avi on Saturday, October 2. Tickets are $55.
Jack Johnson does what many before him have done: play guitar with his toes in the sand. That he does it better than just about anyone else, parlaying it into his status as one of the biggest acts in the country, is lost on--and fuels--his (many) detractors.

Sure, "Better Together" is his "Silly Love Songs," and his is one of the most innocuous voices in the business. But from his classic debut, 2001's Brushfire Fairytales, through this summer's To the Sea, Johnson has packed in enough resilient campfire pop ("Do You Remember?", "Bubble Toes," etc.) to rival any of his contemporaries with more street cred than cash in the bank and fans in the stands.

Here, Bubble Toes talks about sustainable touring, his fan base, and why he's funneling all his tour profits to All At Once, his nonprofit that funds green initiatives and non-profits.

You don't make any money off this tour--it all goes to your nonprofit, All At Once. How Do you swing that when the rest of the industry is clinging to tour profits in the face of declining CD sales?

Touring is one of those things where I love doing it [and] it's a lot of fun to play music live for people, but I started asking myself whether I wanted to go back out on the road, and one of the things that really made it feel worth doing was to make it a fund-raising tool.

It burns a lot of carbon to be on tour. Will there come a time when you stop touring?

We decided to not just lessen the negative impact by having refillable water-bottle stations and recycling and all these things that I feel help to kind of better the industry that we're a part of, but then also to actually expand on the negative impact of a show by raising funds for groups that are doing good things. That was kind of the question in my head, and I feel like it far outweighs [the negatives].

Are you going to be able to offset your way to a greener industry, or will there be a time when you'll have to make some serious changes, whether permanent changes of locations--like playing shows in urban centers, not in the middle of the desert--or the way tours are conducted?

It'd be hard for me to answer that question. I'm one act that gets to tour around. I feel at this point the best thing to do is change those ones that are having concerts every weekend and during the week.

What have been the biggest chances in your life since you broke in 2002?

Three kids, probably. That's definitely the biggest.

Does your wife, Kim, still teach Geometry?

That was right around the time that I stole her and she became our tour manager. And then she started up an environmental education foundation in Hawaii that works to try to move toward having a farm-to-school program in Hawaii, trying to get locally-grown food in the schools.

In the last decade, your audience and that of the Dave Matthews Band have become one and the same. Has your perspective on your audience and what kind of audience you're trying to cultivate changed over the last decade?

We had to learn to adapt to playing to different styles of crowds along the way. Dave's definitely a good friend now. I appreciate anybody who comes to listen to our shows.

Have you surfed along the Washington Coast?

Westport. Back when I was a teenager, for a little surf contest that my dad's friend--he has a surf shop up there--he put it on. I think I did all right. I think I made the finals.

 
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