The Band Of Heathens' Van Can Take A Pounding.
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.
Although countless bands have been hailed as the “Next Big Thing out of Austin,” Band of Heathens has been busting its collective ass to see that title come to fruition over the years.
They've primarily approached this task by becoming road warriors, accruing tens of thousands of miles under the belts while playing 250-plus gigs a year for each of the past three years, and becoming mainstays on the festival circuit with past performances at Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits, just to name a few. And this is a trend they'll continue next month, when the band performs as part of this year's Homegrown Music and Arts Festival at Main Street Garden Park.
So, when the band was in town for a gig a few weeks back at the Granada Theater, we caught up with the band's Ed Jurdi, who told us plenty of tales of his van, including some attempted break-ins at various tour stops that have left the ride with several permanently scars..
Band Name: Band of Heathens.
Van Name: The Honky.
Year/Make/Mode: 1952 Falcon Talon, more commonly referred to as a 2009 Ford Econoline 350.
Where did your van come from? How did you acquire it?
Ed (vocals, guitar): We bought it from a church group. They took nice care of it. They were from Dallas, actually.
What makes your van special? What are its best and worst features?
Ed: We have a custom seating arrangement, which allows everyone — all seven of us — to have their own space. That also means it's more crowded. So, basically, its best feature makes it its worst feature.
Who usually does the driving?
Ed: Everyone but the bassist.
Do you have any good breakdown stories?
Ed: We blew our van and trailer axles going through New York City last time we were there, so we had to rent a U-Haul and off-load all of the gear to make it to the next show. The good news is, if we ever wanted to start a moving company, I think we'd kick ass.
What are your best memories from being in the van?
Ed: Wouldn't you like to know. I'd tell you if I could remember them, but the van has caused me to lose portions of my brain which will not regenerate.
What are the best modifications you've made to the van, decorative or otherwise?
Ed: We put an extra power strip in there so we can all plug our phones and laptops in. It helps pass the time.
Anything else we you'd like to tell us about your van?
Ed: This is more a piece of advice to all bands out there: White van, white trailer. Keep it simple. For all everyone on the road knows, we could be a plumber or a landscaping crew or the Jamaican Bobsled team. Point is, stay under the radar.
Band of Heathens performs May 11 at Main Street Garden Park as part of this year's Homegrown Music and Arts Festival.