I don't need to tell you this, but there are certain things that are quintessential to the independent musician experience. At some point in your career trajectory, many of you have no doubt played a gig for drinks. Who can forget the first time a groupie showed up to see you play (other than your mom)? Or that time you traded your guitar tuner for a chicken sandwich outside of San Jose?
Finally, when it comes time to take your show on the road, don't underestimate the importance of choosing the right vehicle. You need a sketchy van.
Embarking on your first tour without a real sketchy cargo vehicle is like Jimi Hendrix going on stage without his can of lighter fluid, or a Phish concert in Salt Lake City- you might as well not bother.
Just because I love you like my own offspring (a little bit on weekdays but you don't exist to me on weekends), I've found three of the best sketchy vans this country has to offer:
Dodge 2500 - Staten Island, NY - $1,395 firm
This sassy little number comes in a "horror movie sky" grey and says to your fans that most of your songs are crafted in the kind of cramped confines that nightmares are made of.
It has 180,000 miles on the odometer so you know if those walls could talk, they'd cry softly and when you confront them about it, say they just have something in their eye.
Plus, dude, check out the back. Can you feel the doom coursing through your capillaries yet?
6x6 Army Truck - Philadelphia, PA - $16,500
When you roll into yet another sleepy suburb there are two main ways you can go: make a first impression, or make a six wheel military utility vehicle dressed in full camouflage impression.
One of these will eek memories out of the bouncer of his days in the Army Reserve, beating off camel spiders with a spade and playing Call of Duty with the one lady soldier on base. You'll want to listen intently and smile, because he guards the door money.
1962 Chevy Corvair - Staten Island, NY - $3,950
What the hell is going on in Staten Island? Have sketchy vans gained sentience and began to breed? I suppose given so many years of spilled booze and dead skin cells, stranger evolutionary mutations have occurred.
What I really love about this van is that it says, "I thought about being an ice cream man once, but dammit if the price of popsicles didn't go up during the Johnson administration."
It also features a four-speed manual transmission so if you ever try to get this thing up a hill, your entire band will perish in a blaze of baby-blue glory, becoming legendary rock and roll'ers in the process.
Listen folks, I'm just one man, I can't spend all day seeking out the perfect sketchy van to meet your needs. So do us all a favor and share your favorite example of despair on wheels down in the comments. May the sketch be with you.
Expert Music Career Advice For DIY Musicians