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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.

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.

4. Maps & Atlases
Van: 2003 Ford Econoline E350XL Van, White.?
Mileage: 203,000?
Tours: Five years worth, so…10-15??
Repairs: Surprisingly, very few repairs. The first time we brought her home, the starter broke. We’ve had flat tires, dead batteries, broken ball joints (like riding in a mobile trampoline) and plenty of mysterious nicks and scratches, but we always got to where we were going.

What makes your vehicle unique?
Her name is Wishdragon, and as long as you absolutely never think about them, she will make all your dreams come true.

Do you have a memorable story to go with the van?
Lots of great times happened over the course of 203,000 miles in her, but the most memorable will sadly be that she was stolen just a few weeks ago.  We never even got to say goodbye.

If you could change three things about your vehicle, what would they be?
Headrests on the benches, better gas mileage and not a thing else.

5. Cursive
Van: Ford Econoline E-350 Extended
Mileage: 90,000?
Tours: Eight
Repairs: Just the usual maintenance. We have it serviced before and after every tour. Can’t take any chances with your van. It’s your home and your chariot.

If you could change three things about your vehicle, what would they be?
I would make it longer, wider and more fuel efficient.  

6. The Lumineers
Van: 2001 Ford Windstar 
Mileage: 189,689
Tours: 11
Repairs: Zero. I’m serious.
What makes your van unique? Most vans have room in them. Ours doesn’t.

Do you have a memorable story to go with the van?
Room was always so limited in the van. To combat that, we would try to make ourselves believe that there was more room. We had an electronics drawer (passenger side door compartment), a library with a fiction section (driver side back of seats) and a reference section loaded with maps (passenger side back of seats). Not to mention “the nook” where Neyla could sleep, write love letters and do tons more.

If you could change three things about your vehicle, what would they be?
More space. More room. Better soundsystem.

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.

7. Tiny Victories
Van: Bessy is a drop-dead gorgeous 1997 Nissan quest minivan. She is a warrior princess.
Mileage: 185,000
Tours: Four solid, long-ass tours and a bunch of mini-trips.
Repairs: She’s had a few nips and tucks, strictly for cosmetic purposes. We’re saving up for a rad, fire-breathing dragon decal.
What makes your van unique?
Bessy is the Millenium Falcon of tour vans. She’s equipped with a Play Station 2, night-vision capabilities, bullet-proof windows and a driver’s-side ball-massager. 

Do you have a memorable story to go with the van?
We once trashed Ava Luna’s weak-ass excuse for a tour van in a drag race at Burning Man in 2010. 

If you could change three things about your vehicle, what would they be?
Speeding tickets in Texas, Louisiana and Georgia.

8. Lera Lynn
Van: Chevy Express
Mileage: 90,000?
Tours: It’s new to us. Only three so far. ?
Repairs: Only one, which was covered under the initial warranty I purchased. Can’t nobody pull one on me!

What makes your van unique?
She’s needy. She doesn’t have power locks so we have to grope her doors all the time. 

Do you have a memorable story to go with the van?
Uh, we have an entire blog based on our trips in the van.

If you could change three things about your vehicle, what would they be?
I’d add power locks, cruise control and 25 more feet.

9. Andrea Gibson
Vehicle: 2010 Toyota Yaris  
Mileage: 43,000?
Tours: Three, I think.   ?
Repairs: Aside from the garage dents I ran into someone in a Whole Foods parking lot. Whole Foods parking lots are the devil. I was going 4 MPH and I am currently getting sued for serious injuries to three people in the car.

What makes your vehicle unique?
It collects dog hair like dog hair is going out of style. It is covered in dents from running into the side of my garage on a weekly basis because i am terrible at parking. It smells like pizza.    

Do you have a memorable story to go with the vehicle?
?The time I ran into the liars at Whole Foods.   

If you could change three things about your vehicle, what would they be?
It would have bunk beds. It would run on bio-diesel. And it would not smell like pizza.

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