Somewhere between my first and 175th Dave Matthews Band concert (lest you think I’m exaggerating, rest assured, I have the ticket stubs to prove it), I noticed that frontman Dave Matthews cared deeply about America’s food system. Now he has gone vegan during the coronavirus crisis.

From his longstanding position on the board of Farm Aid, Willie Nelson’s nonprofit to support family farmers and his commitment to sustainability in his vino company, Dreaming Tree Wines to his mid-concert “Davespeak” ramblings about avocados and his band’s catering team sourcing as much local food as possible on tour, it’s clear the man cares about how we approach food—for our health, our environment, and for our farmers’ welfare.

Now, in a recent live stream for Verizon: Pay It Forward Live, a concert series to support small businesses in the wake of the coronavirus, Matthews shares the importance of supporting independently-owned businesses and reveals you can count him among the growing number of vegan celebrities aficionados.

“Any way that you can look after your local businesses I think is a really good thing. Indulge in whatever rules they ask you to indulge them with, like if they ask you to wear a mask, or not to come inside or stand back, please, I urge you to not get too libertarian on them in that situation,” Matthews pleads. He then segues into name-dropping one of his favorite independent restaurants in Seattle (where he and his family resides), Rancho Bravo, before sharing his love for a plant-based eatery and making his veganism known: “When looking for delicious vegan meals, which is a thing that I do as of late, there’s a place that I’ve loved for a long time, for longer than I’ve been a vegan, which is called Heartbeat Organic [Superfoods] Cafe,” he says, adding that they now offer delivery service so you can still support them even during these difficult times. Watch the full concert below or fast forward to the 24:28 mark to hear the above.

During the livestream, Matthews also takes time to touch on more serious topics such as the recent murder of George Floyd and sharing his criticism for certain individuals refusing to wear masks on the grounds that it’s an attack on their civil liberties.

While Matthews is the first to admit he misses the conviviality of everyday social interactions, he concedes there have seen some unexpected upsides: “I do like the peace. I do like the idea that we all have to look after each other, I think it’s very important,” he says. “It’s good that we know what our rights are. It’s also good that we know what our responsibilities are to one another and how we should take care of each other, all of each other,” he continues, referencing some people’s reluctance to wear face masks to do their part to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the belief that being told to do so impinges on their freedom.

On a lighter note, Matthews also takes plenty of time to joke that the camera “adds 10 pounds to [his] forehead” and that without feedback from the audience he has no idea if he’s just talking and singing into an abyss, since for all he knows the entire show could be experiencing technical difficulties. Our key takeaway from the rock star? To riff on a line from “Tripping Billies,” his band’s popular 1997 single (and the bible), eat vegan, drink, and be merry—and wear that darn mask so Matthews and his band can get back to hitting the road sooner rather than later.

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