Get Out of the Van!
December 15, 2010 3:41 PM   Subscribe

Better Than the Van - free places to stay for bands on tour. Sorta like Couchsurfing, but for travelling musicians.
posted by dobbs (16 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Book your own fuckin' life, indeed.
posted by josher71 at 3:44 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

This will be SO useful for groupies.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:13 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

I used to be on several music committees in college, did radio, etc. and I've had several musicians stay over over the years. Some made dinner, some did private concerts for friends, and some I bought shoes (ok my roommate did). This is a cool idea. Clicking on entries shows some are not very detailed.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:14 PM on December 15, 2010

defenestration of televisions not guaranteed.
posted by triceryclops at 4:15 PM on December 15, 2010

I venture to say that it will also be useful for touring bands. I know a few folks who tour--it's brutal business even for those who've reached some amount of indie notoriety. I've met some very nice people by giving them a place to do laundry, a place to sleep, a road meal, or whatever.
posted by msconduct at 4:20 PM on December 15, 2010

Four years ago, my wife had an apartment across the street from a city-outskirts bar that featured a pretty wide array of bands Th->Sat. Often she or one of her friends would strike up a conversation with the band members and, sure enough, they'd come back for an after hours get together at the apartment. At first, we had a lot of fun, and met some pretty cool people, but there were a lot of them that'd realize around 3:30 that they weren't staying the night. Obviously, there were awkward situations.

On occasion, we'd offer the living room during the winter months, but we stopped after one weekend a drunk guitarist who couldn't have been more than 5'2" took our courtesy as an opportunity to later upgrade to sleeping in her bed... with her in it. Guess he forgot I was staying there, too.

I gave him an A for effort, but I think he over estimated his abilities. On stage, he may have been a flurry, but off stage, he forgot the screen was closed when he went out to get his "custom made Takamine" from the van [even though we told him we were turning in and we'd rather he didn't], and it took him a little too long to realize we weren't "busting on him" when the door became locked while he was gone.

For no reason whatsoever, here's another photo of him.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 4:21 PM on December 15, 2010

ThePinkSuperhero: I speak from experience when I tell you that musicians in need of this service have no groupies to worry about.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 4:22 PM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

Perhaps not.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 4:23 PM on December 15, 2010

We have hosted several bands (one band several times) as CS hosts. Groupie hosts may be better than the van, but I can't tell you how relieved touring kids are to have a night where they didn't have to be "on" for fans, and where they got to eat a home-cooked meal and do nothing more exciting than play jenga.
posted by headnsouth at 4:25 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

When Guster was getting their career going, they would organize their entire tours based on where they could get lodging with fans and stuff. They stuck with it and seem to have a pretty decent career as a band at this point. I think this is a great idea, and is MUCH easier than it was 15 years ago.
posted by hippybear at 4:28 PM on December 15, 2010

...but I can't tell you how relieved touring kids are to have a night where they didn't have to be "on" for fans, and where they got to eat a home-cooked meal and do nothing more exciting than play jenga.

When you're stoned, jenga is pretty fucking exciting.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 4:31 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

In my on-and-off career as a spoken word artist, I stayed with a lot of interesting people. At least in the kinds of scenes where I was playing, a bed/couch, a meal, and (in my case) a ride from the Greyhound station were all sort of considered part of the deal. For most promoters, this meant I was staying with them. For some who were older or had spouses and kids and all of that stuff, they had designated hosts who were regularly putting poets up.

My favorite thing was when the hosts had gatherings at their homes after readings with small groups of local writers. I had lots of good conversations with folks. Sometimes they had huge parties or took me to noisy bars after the show; those times, I'd often stick around long enough to be polite and then use my tiredness from the tour as an excuse to go to bed. Only a couple of them ever asked me ahead of time what kind of thing I'd like to do after the show. That was awesome.

I think I was a good guest, but occasionally I'd get little hints - jokes about how other poets act when they get drunk or about the sturdiness of the guest bed - that made me think I must have been boring compared to what they were used to.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:36 PM on December 15, 2010

The Mentors... Seems like a nice group of fellows to let stay in my guest bedroom.
posted by wcfields at 5:02 PM on December 15, 2010

This site might have prevented an incident that happened on the last tour I went on.

We played a show to a handful of people (and the local band) in Providence, RI. Since we didn't have a place to stay for the night, a friend of the other band invited us to stay at her house.

She lead us across the border into Mass. and then to her house. Everyone else in the band followed her inside, while I planned on sleeping in the van with the gear.

I just start to settle in when everyone else runs out and hops back in the van. It turns out that the friend lived with her parents and they weren't happy with a bunch of dudes' spending the night.

We ended up parking in a hotel parking lot with everyone sleeping in the van (five people in a 9 seater).
posted by drezdn at 6:56 PM on December 15, 2010

Danny Barnes addressed a few points about this in his blog recently: "should you take it upon yourself to offer your place to a traveling musician, please hit the place with a mop and duster once beforehand. yikes. there should be a clear distinction between your living quarters and the garbage dumpster"
posted by zaelic at 11:46 PM on December 15, 2010

I don't know, the person IS giving up their place for the person to stay for free.
posted by josher71 at 2:25 PM on December 16, 2010

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