Nine Bands Show Off Their Tour Vans

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For touring bands, vans become so much more than just a way to get from venue to venue. As Cursive’s Matt Maginn told us, the vehicle isn’t just a means to get by, “it’s your home and your chariot.” In celebration of the upcoming summer concert season, we’re taking a look at nine different vehicles that will be taking these artists to your town.


1. David Bazan
Van: 2002 Chevy Express 3500
Mileage: 191,796
Tours: Ten coast-to-coast national tours.
Repairs: Too many to list but not enough for me to turn my back on the van.
What makes your van unique?
It has a built-in kitchen pantry, camp stove and cooler in the back where we make most of our meals while on tour. During solo tours it also has a twin bed and a fully functioning project studio for making recordings. The Bazan half of the recent Deerhoof/Bazan split 7” was recorded in the van.

Do you have a memorable story to go with the van?
The van was purchased with money raised by selling about 700 “I Helped Bazan Buy A Van” T-shirts!

If you could change three things about your vehicle, what would they be?
Adding cruise control is about the only thing I can think of.


2. Yellow Ostrich
(Alex Schaaf)
Van: 2001 Ford E350
Mileage: 89,527?
Tours: Five?
Repairs: It had quite a few last year, nothing major but probably three or four notable problems.
What makes your vehicle unique? ?It’s got a lot of character. It used to be really insecure, always breaking down here and there to get our attention. But lately it’s shaped up and got a solid head on its shoulders. And it hasn’t talked back or spit out fluids at all for a while.

Do you have a memorable story to go with the van?
One time I was driving (a rarity) down to Birmingham, Ala., to play at the Bottletree, and the alternator died, so we slowly lost all power as we drove. I noticed the battery meter going down. Then the gas meter going down. Then, one by one, all of the other dials. Soon we were coasting along with no power in the van except enough to keep it going. We got all the way to the club but then it died and we had to get it fixed. 

Another time we were in Canada on a Sunday (a double whammy of van-repair nightmare scenarios), and the windshield wipers stopped working. Which wouldn’t have been a problem except that it was during a really wet snow storm. So Jon reached outside and wiped off the window with a rag while he drove. Terrifying but we survived. Then some kind soul on the internet directed us to a Canadian Tire which was open on a Sunday and they saved the day. Here’s to you, Canadian Tire!

If you could change three things about your vehicle, what would they be??1: Surround sound.  Surround 3-D sound with HD 4-D projection screen on the windows. So we can choose to look out at the world, or watch a movie. 2: I wish the wheels were made of gold so that we’d be rich. 3: I would outfit it as a driver-less vehicle, Google-style, so that we could just lean back and enjoy the ride. And be even more bored by eight-hour drives in the van.


3. Wild Flag
Van: Ford E350
Mileage: Best not to look, but over 100,000

Do you have a memorable story to go with the van?
We read Keith RichardsLife aloud in the van one tour, so now some of my mental images of Keith’s childhood and early Rolling Stones history are interfused with memories of watching the highway through the windshield. We listened to a lot of Rolling Stones in the van that tour. Between Janet [Weiss] and me [Rebecca Cole], we had most of the discography through Tattoo You on our iPods.  I think we were missing Goat’s Head Soup.

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