The Shy Boys' Van Is A Real Kick In The Groin.
Behind every great band is a great van. And when these former church vans, daycare buses and plumber's 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.
Not to be confused with the old man cover band of the same name, Kansas City bedroom pop trio The Shy Boys has been making waves of its own for the last few years with its self-described “landlocked surf” sound, and breaking plenty of hearts across the country in the process.
More recently, with a few tours now under its belt, the trio was asked by its old Kansas City pal Andrew Connor of indie electronica outfit STRFKR to join them on the road for an intriguing trip through the south.
In turn, and in what seems like the very first time, brothers Collin and Kyle Rausch and roommate Konner Ervin are finally getting the attention they deserve, thanks in no small part to the diverse billing of its current tour, which provides Shy Boys an audience of new potential fans, many of which may have never heard the band before. With said tour making a stop at Trees in Deep Ellum last week, we caught up with the Shy Babes themselves to talk a little more about life on the road.
Band Name: Shy Boys.
Van Name: “We don't have name for it. We don't want to get too attached.”
Year/ Make/ Model: 1998 Dodge 3500.
Mileage: 182,635 miles.
You guys are currently on tour with the band STRFKR. Where has this tour taken you?
Collin Rausch (Guitar/Vocals): “We started in Tuscon, Arizona, so we drove from Kansas City to Tucson — like 20 hours straight through the night. Then we've been to El Paso and Austin. This is the fourth night. Five dates in Texas, one in Arizona, and then Louisiana.”
Kyle Rausch (Bass/Drums/Vocals): “Then up to Omaha, which is kinda strange. But it's been great.”
Konner Ervin (Drums/Bass/Vocals): “On this tour, we've kinda been treated like a bigger band because we're just tagging along. I mean, last night, when we got done, somebody put towels in front of each of us to dry off on. So we've just been living large.”
On this tour, you're in a van. Do y'all have name for it?
Konner: “Not really. It's sort of lame that we don't have a name for the van. We just don't have a great relationship with it. I mean, we don't have a lot of love for it. It's a good relationship, it's just not a loving kind of one because we have to put so much money into it. So it's like a cost thing.”
Collin: “So you put a few hundred dollars into it to get it tour-ready and then it still doesn't have air conditioning or a working tape deck or CD player. None of that stuff.”
Kyle: “But it does go.”
Konner: “It's been great for the last two tours. But the two tours before that, it broke down both times. One time, it broke down after we drove it for 26 hours straight, so it's OK. It cost us $700 each time and that's just… I mean, we're already losing money, and then we're down $700.”
Collin: “It's a real kick in the groin.”
How did you acquire this van?
Kyle: “We actually, on our first tour, didn't have a van. Like, literally, we bought this the day we left. We went and looked at it and then we drove it down the highway for a few minutes, and we're like, 'Alright, this works. Either buy it or go rent a different van!'”
Konner: “We were about to rent a van, and we were like, 'This is so stupid. This is gonna cost us like $1,200 or something to rent a van.'”
Kyle: “We bought it from some guy in Kansas that was priding himself on having not listened to secular radio in 32 years. It came with the Awana Clubs sticker.”
Collin: “It's, like, a church youth organization for Baptists and super conservative Christian groups, y'know.”
Kyle: “No cop troubles, though!”
Collin: “Zero cop trouble.”
Kyle: “The Lord provides.”
Collin: “Border patrol checks? Just a bunch of, 'Hi!' and waves on. It's been scary but good.”
Kyle: “We've been successful. Haven't been caught anywhere with weed yet.”
Have you made any modifications to this van — other than the High Dive sticker?
Konner: “We took out a couple bench seats. We use those benches at our house for seating. It's pretty barebones. It's a good van”.
Kyle: “It's real cozy for three people.”
Konner: “The seats are great. I'm always comfortable sitting in them.”
So this van's broken down a few times, right? Let's talk more about that.
Konner: “Well, one was a gas pump and one was a broken controller arm. So nothing very funny there.”
Collin: “We decided, when we were staying in Seattle near the US/ Canada border, it got be like three in the afternoon one day, the day we were gonna leave, and we decided, 'Let's just go all the way to Kansas City in one go!' So we took off, drove through the night and made it to South Dakota, just a couple hours from Sturgis. I can't remember the name of the town, but we were running on empty. We pulled up to this town, put the gas in and the car was so hot that the cold fuel just completely fried everything — like broke the fuel pump and everything. We were stuck in this town for two days. The town was infested with flies and was a million degrees with nothing to do.”
Konner: “One stupid thing that happened there — the reason we got so low on fuel — was, one, we just hit a stretch where there wasn't any gas stations, and, two, there was a huge sign that said 'Gas' right off the highway. So we pull up into this little town to this gas station and it was like a fake gas station. It was like a ghost town with this tourist attraction or something. It was a big facade. I really think that was what did us in.”
Through all the breakdowns and other ups and downs, what keeps you sane on the road?
Konner: “Well, that's tough, because we have to have the windows down, because we don't have A/C. So it's too loud for anything. You can't really talk. Sometimes, we'll listen to a podcast. But under certain conditions we just can't”
Kyle: “We have to run everything through a Bluetooth speaker because our sound system doesn't work. You can't really hear that shit when you're driving super fast down the highway. I'd say weed, and having a space to lay down, keep us sane. Not existing for a few hours while we drive is nice.”
Collin: “It's a put your head down and move forward kinda thing.”
Kyle: “I think, for us, we can all chill pretty easily. Being in a van is not that big a deal for us, I'd say. But when we tell other people about our situation, they're like, 'What the fuck?! I couldn't do that shit!'”
Collin: “It's really silly because we go on tour through the South and Southwest in the hottest parts of the year. And then we'll go north and east when it's in the middle of winter and get caught in snowstorms — ice sheets or like 120-degree sort of desert situations. Poor planning.”
Kyle: “Yeah, we're very much a DIY operation. Not a whole lot of official anything going on. You can definitely make it work without it.”
Collin: “Well, this was our first taste of having somebody else do it for us, and it was wonderful. DIY's great, but air conditioning's pretty rad too.”
Anything else you'd like to tell us about your van?
Kyle: “It's been a good overall sort of thing.”
Collin: “It's kinda smelly, sweaty.”
Konner: “It started smelly. But this time I think we had some food in it. And it's just been sitting front of our house since the last tour a couple months ago.”
Kyle:“It helps us see new shit.”
Konner: “It's kind of utilitarian.”