Pure Bathing Culture's Van Is Our Cup Of Tea.
Behind every great band is a great van. And when these former church vans, daycare buses and plumbers' work vehicles have racked up enough miles on the road, they eventually start being thought of by the band as another member of the team. Hey, we get it: It's hard to spend so many hours with bandmates (both human and machine) without a few things getting broken, a few good fights taking place and lots of great memories being made. We hope that, by exploring these stories, we might get to know some bands from both North Texas and beyond on a more personal level. Check out this feature's archives here.
Last week, the members of Pure Bathing Culture made just their second ever trip to Dallas — and their first since some of its members performed at the Granada Theater back in 2010 as members of the band Vetiver.
And though, as we wrote following last week's performance, the band faced some pretty hefty competition from a couple of other nearby venues on the night of their show, they easily won over the 100 or so folks that showed up to catch the band's Three Links set.
Hell, we were pretty taken with them ourselves.
In that review, we made mention of the band's propensity for simultaneously bringing to mind every '80s pop ballad you've ever heard. After taking a peek inside the band's tour van, we totally get it: These guys have a pretty gnarly easy-listening CD collection kicking around.
And, really, that's just a small taste of what we learned about this band after checking out their sweet-smelling ride.
Band Name: Pure Bathing Culture.
Van Name: “It's full name is Hope For The Future, and it's nickname is Hopi-Man.”
Year/Make/Model: 2005 Chevrolet Express van 3500.
Where did your van come from? How did you acquire it?
Daniel Hindman (guitars): “It started its life as a member of a Starbucks fleet in Portland, Oregon, at the Tazo Tea factory. When the Tazo Tea factory left its location, they had to liquidate a lot assets, and we were able to buy the van from them at a really amazing price.”
What was its job there?
Daniel: “Its job there was to transport big barrels of essential oils that were used to make tea. So, when we got it, it smelled heavily like bergamot. It smelled amazing.”
Sarah Versprille (vocals, keys): “It doesn't smell that good anymore.”
Daniel: “[Bergamot] is what they put in Earl Grey, so people would always get in the van and say, 'It smells amazing in here.'”
Sarah: “It's taken about a year for that smell to dissipate, but we crushed it.”
What makes your van special? What are its best and worst features?
Daniel: “There are so many things that make it special to us.”
Sarah: “I don't think it has a lot of special features, per se, but it's special to us because it's our first van that we've owned as Pure Bathing Culture, and it felt amazing to be able to buy it and to start touring. So it's special to us in that way. It's a very utilitarian vehicle. It's been very, very good to us and very reliable — knock on wood. So that's pretty special.”
Daniel: “It's actually pretty devoid of special features. It's just a white van. It's special because it's from 2005; it doesn't even have an auxiliary input, so we can't even plug an MP3 player into it. We have to listen to CDs. If there was any special feature, it might be the environment that that creates for us on the road. We're always on the lookout for CDs. It kind of helps us to listen to things that we otherwise wouldn't have listened to.”
Have you picked up some interesting things from truck stops? I remember one time that I found a Ronald Reagan “stand-up comedy” CD at a truck stop…
Daniel: “We've kind of been listening to a lot of New Age, Windham Hill, adult contemporary, easy-listening stuff.”
Sarah: “We have three Enya CDs.”
Daniel: “We almost have Enya's entire catalog. But, yeah, we've kind of gotten into stuff like that.”
Who usually does the driving?
Daniel: “All of us, all four of us.”
I know you said it was reliable earlier, but do you have any good breakdown stories?
Sarah: “It's never broken down, but when we were coming down out of the mountains from California and going into Arizona, the brakes did start doing something funny while I was driving. But then it went away, so we're hoping for the best.”
What are your best memories from being in the van?
Sarah: “We just get a lot of good jokes going between the four of us, and good music listening times.”
Daniel: “Sometimes, on the road, the clubs are really bad and really dirty and really dingy, and sometimes there's no green room or anything and the van kind of becomes the last resort. It's funny to load into a venue and soundcheck and then kind of mill around and then eventually everyone kind of ends up back in the van, not doing anything just because there's nowhere else to go. There's no safe zone. We're all just back in the van, sitting there with our stuff.”
What are the best modifications you've made to the van, decorative or otherwise?
Daniel: “We've just added a compass recently.”
Sarah: “And a couple of stickers.”
Anything else we you'd like to tell us about your van?
Daniel: “Brian, our drummer, has a tent cot.”
What's a tent cot?
Sarah: “It's a cot with a tent over it.”
And this is something he sneaks into hotels?
Sarah: “Yeah, he just sets it up.”
Daniel: “Speaking of the van: There always has to be a place in the van for the tent cot — and it's called 'The Tent Cot Slot.' The tent cot is actually kind of big. He just lugs it into the hotel room. Actually, last night, we were going to the hotel room in Austin, and when the guy was giving us our key, he saw all of our stuff and was like, 'Where have you guys been camping?' We were just like, 'In hotels.'”
Sarah: “We've been camping in hotel rooms.”
Pure Bathing Culture released its debut LP, Moon Tides, on August 20, 2013. For more information on the band, head here.