Van Lust

Do we need a band van? Probably not. Each member of the Castaways has a rig that will transport plenty of gear. Ownership of a five door hatchback was not on the requirements for band membership, yet it’s one that we’ve all met.

And our greatest travel distance to date? That time we overnighted in Leavenworth. It was 120 miles from home, we did the trip with two cars. Not a big deal when it’s just one night away. We don’t show any signs of going on tour; we just play a random away game now and then. We meet at Park and Rides or leave our cars in each other’s driveways and carpool like regular commuters, As nice as it would be to have all five of us in one rig (oh, I know I’m going to be relegated to the middle seat and I’m mostly okay with that) there’s currently no need for it.

Has that stopped us from shopping for the perfect band van? From trawling Craig’s List and Hemmings Motor News and, oh, Pete has a bunch of websites bookmarked and has been know to leave “How much for the van — call me?” notes on random vehicles parked about the greater Seattle area… No. We look anyways.


It’s a specific shared vision, too. Ed, Pete and I seem to have a very clear view of a 60’s Ford Econoline, the one with all the windows, please, so we can watch the highway roll by, bench seats in back, one row or two? A pile of gear stacked in the cargo department at the back, a soda can rolling across the metal floor when we turn right into a low rise motel parking lot, a slight undercurrent of motor oil, a window that won’t close enough to stop that whistling noise. Mark saying, “Can you make whatever is rattling back there stop?” while Jim swaps out the Cheap Trick tape on the cassette player…

AsphaltFriends have started to send photos — “Hey, I found your van!” — emails with phone shot pictures of rusted but sturdy looking rigs with a vaguely abandoned sense about them. A few times a week I’ll open my email to see “What about this beauty?” and there it is, blue, a little mossy about the window gaskets, a photo of the neglected engine compartment so you can see exactly where your money will be set on fire. Or a stunning restoration with gilded lettering offering paving and resurfacing services in Hackensack, New Jersey, nowhere near where we are.

“We’d have to go get it and drive it back.”

It’s all part of the great fiction of rock and roll, isn’t it? Of course we want a band van. Yes, it makes no practical sense at all, we don’t need it, and it’s an expense we’ve got no business absorbing. My point being: We really want a band van.