H2O front man Toby Morse shares his positive, punk rock message with the next generation.

By Liz Miller


confidence of a newly impassioned teenager. he credits the animal-liberation anthem “Cats and Dogs” by hardcore pioneers gorilla biscuits as the reason he ditched meat products more than 22 years ago, cites the 1982 bad brains song “attitude” as the impetus for his positive mental attitude (PMa) philosophy, and says the Minor Threat classic “straight edge” helped seal his lifetime pledge to clean living. During adolescence, it was this bond with music that prevented Morse from falling into the temptation of substance abuse. “skateboarding and punk rock kept me away from peer pressure. going to shows at a young age helped save me from that,” he says. on november 11, 1988, Morse got the first of his many tattoos: a gorilla wearing army pants and canvas vans with X’s—the universal straight-edge symbol—shaved into his fur. he says the image, which he calls his “Meat is Murder” tattoo, honors his commitment to live a meat-free, straight-edge lifestyle. in addition to the vegetarian education music afforded him, he also describes reading John robbins’ bestselling Diet for a New America as a watershed life experience. “i don’t want to hurt the animals; that’s part of why i went vegetarian—for animal rights,” says Morse.

pressure, discover your own personal ethics, and live with purpose.

Toby Morse is a living, breaThing hardcore punk powerhouse. he doesn’t use drugs, drink alcohol, or eat meat; instead he promotes positive thinking, compassion, and clean living—all while surrounded by committed friends, scads of rock stars, and, of course, vegan pizza. Much like the fiercely kinetic genre he’s dedicated half his life to, Morse is a musician with a message, transmitting his positive philosophy through intensely heartfelt and upbeat energy. as the front man of legendary new york hardcore band h2o, he’s spent more than 15 years inspiring young people with melodic rhythms and motivating lyrics that preach basic punk credos: Reject peer

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in 2008, after taking a seven-year hiatus from recording, h2o released its most acclaimed album to date, Nothing to Prove, filming a video for the title track with a star-studded, who’s-who mélange of the hardcore scene. The album’s last track, “What happened?” features friend and fellow vegan Matt skiba of punk rock band alkaline Trio, who croons about a generation that doesn’t “remember what it feels like to be young.” This is not a problem for the self-proclaimed youngat-heart Morse, who speaks of his lifelong convictions—vegetarianism and straight-edge living—with the same exuberant, unwavering

“If you really, really love animals then don’t eat them. It’s simple [to be vegan] and people think it’s so hard.” When he’s
home in los angeles, he loves eating plant-

Photos by Chris Roque

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