Launched in early 2013, Luke Heiken's Drone Not Drones project group got a massive shout-out during Low's set at Rock the Garden 2013. As part of the band's 27-minute rendition of "Do You Know How to Waltz?" Alan Sparhawk plucked that expression out of obscurity and unleashed it on the masses. It was a defining moment during a big year for the band.
The movement has formed with help from like-minded musicians and fans who want to help war victims around the world. Here is City Pages' brief conversation with Heiken about his goals and the upcoming 28-hour drone concert.
City Pages: How did you settle on the phrase "Drone Not Drones"?
Luke Heiken: I was playing around with an industrial sticker maker a friend gave me a few years ago. Later that night Alan [Sparhawk] tweeted something about drones, so I sent him "Drone Not Drones," which he dug. The other sticker was "There's no place like drone," so I think I made the right choice.
What did it mean to get Low's support during their Rock the Garden performance?
It made all the difference. Before Rock the Garden I had the thought of turning the phrase into something more to raise money for the innocent victims of the war on terror. After Rock the Garden I started getting texts and tweets from friends telling me that Al had dropped that truth bomb on them. That little bit of attention turned it from something I totally should do into something I was doing.
The response I got afterwards was great. I went through my first batch of shirts right away. A lot of people sent words of encouragement, which meant a lot to me. Funny thing is that because people wanted my opinion on it, Rock the Garden ended up being the show I talked about most this year and I wasn't even there.
What are the details for the live drone event people are talking about?
The live drone will be February 7-8 at the Cedar Cultural Center. It will be one 28-hour drone with musicians, including members of Low, rotating in and out to benefit Doctors Without Borders. I hope to have a live webstream of the concert as well.
How many Drone Not Drones T-shirts have you sold so far, and are there any other items coming?
I've sold about a hundred shirts, with orders coming in from all over the world. I also have some nice stickers now. For the show I hope to have a shirt with a new design and maybe some buttons, etc. After the show there is going to be a double LP Drone Not Drones benefit compilation.
More info at dronenotdrones.com.