“I was in the Navy in 1980, had just came out of jail,” he recounts. “I grew up on the streets of New York that was super violent, with murders everywhere. I was a smuggler in the Navy, smuggling drugs. I went looking to smuggle some weed in Jamaica, and I met up with some Rastas. They don’t call it vegan, hey call it ital. No processed foods or anything, that’s what they eat. A few months later, I met the Bad Brains, and that’s when they were just becoming Rastas. Hanging with them more, that’s how I got into it.”
Sitting at this table, it’s fascinating to see the diversity not only in musical backgrounds, but also in journeys to veganism. Unlike John Joseph, Alissa was raised in a vegetarian household, and has never eaten meat in her life. Doyle was initially turned on to vegan food in the mid ’90s by H20’s Toby Morse – “He was telling me about how he was gonna get some fake bologna. I was like, what the fuck is fake bologna?” Sergio, meanwhile, comes from a Latino family, in which the idea of going plant-based was seen as, in his words, “fey”.
“I learned about veganism through punk rock like Crass and Conflict,” says Sergio. “I always had a desire not to eat the meat, but I didn’t really know I had an option. My family is from Puerto Rico, and my parents would give me a leg to eat, and I would eat it because I thought I had no choice. When I started buying Crass records, I read the pamphlet [that came with them] that just broke everything down, and that’s when I started the vegan diet. Because of that, my mother, as well as a lot of my family, became vegan or vegetarian.”