In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the indie pop band, Magic City Hippies, shares one of their stories from being on the road. You can check out the story, after the break.
One time while driving in the dead of winter in Montana, us Miami boys ran into some van trouble. We were driving from Bozeman to Missoula, and our transmission started slipping and then eventually gave out completely on us. So imagine seven dudes who live in 90-degree weather ten months out of the year, and we’re going through the snow-covered Rockies (in January), keeping the RPM to a minimum so the engine wouldn’t die, and we wouldn’t have to Donner Party ourselves.
Miraculously, we made it to our gig at the Top Hat, but we still had to figure out a new van situation to get to our two sold-out shows in Seattle and Portland the next two nights. Pat, our drummer, got put through the ringer trying to make something happen, on the phone with every rental company in town right up to the downbeat of our set, and then setting off immediately after we finished playing, scrambling to nail the last rental at the airport. But, he gets there, and it’s closed, and we’re out of options.
Meanwhile, in typical Robby fashion, he finds himself whisked away to the bar across the street from the venue, while John and the rest of the guys are packing up and Pat is on a fifty-minute Uber ride back from the airport. Robby at some point strikes up a conversation with a stranger, and the topic winds its way to our particular vehicular issues. After hearing him out, this chatty barfly, Jordan, casually responded, “I have a 15 passenger van with a tow hitch. I just got it fixed recently, and it’s ready for the road.”
Robby immediately calls a (very understandably) incredulous John to tell him that all of our problems had been solved, but when Robby showed back up to the now-empty venue with a relatively sober and very congenial stranger, it became quickly clear that we might’ve found the solution.
Jordan ended up being a saint. He knew the road life from his own group Letter B Band, and not only did he have a beautiful mid 90’s navy blue Dodge Ram for us to borrow, but he offered to drive our broken down van once it was fixed to meet us in Portland.
Despite some AirBnB entry code problems that forced us to sleep in our new road boat out in the snow that night, we woke up at the crack of dawn and headed west, back into the mountains. That Ram, as old as our keyboard player Ferny, got us up and through the infamously icey Lookout Pass, and into the relatively flat, and much less dangerous, hills of eastern Washington State, and then all the way to Seattle. Those two sold-out Pacific Northwest shows were tour highlights, and after being debriefed on the situation, our rowdy crowd gave Jordan a roaring round of applause at the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland. He’d made the drive with our now fixed van, and was definitely the hero of the night/week/tour.
I guess the moral of the story is sometimes it’s actually a good thing for the lead singer to head to the bar and skip packing up the gear.