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Hitting The Road In The Band Van

Granger Smith: “My first van was named Blackhawk and the one after that was Phoenix.  Blackhawk was retired after 350,000 miles and 3 transmissions.  The final trip with her ended with a boiling gas tank.  Yes, despite what you’re thinking…apparently gas does and can boil…”  He even sent a video to prove it!


Steve Helms: “In the mid 90’s, Sonny Burgess and myself where sponsored by Forrest Chevrolet in Cleburne, TX.  They supplied us with Vans and or a Suburban. We had one Van (Un-named) that caught fire in San Angelo at 3am on Highway 67.  Before everyone had a cell phone.  So a stranger stops to ask us if we need help.  Sonny gets in his vehicle, they drive alway, and we don’t see him or hear from him for 5 hours.  Needless to say no one was injured or murdered, but at the time we weren’t sure!!!  So every time I now go to San Angelo, I always tell that story and my band reminds me of how many times they’ve heard it.  There’s a ton more Van road stories but I can’t tell ya those!!!!”


Kevin Fowler: “It was called the Pligga.  Not even sure what that means.  My first manager, Jay Lamb, named it.  It was a 1970’s Winnebago.  It broke down daily.  One night, the driver’s side rear wheel came off while driving on the expressway in Houston.  I saw our rear wheel pass us and I knew this was bad.  Lots of crazy memories of that old jalopy.  It was a rolling frat house.  Awwwww!!  Those were fun days!!”


Adam Hood: “I never named a vehicle. I use and abuse them so badly that I don’t think it’s fair.  You know how they say that you shouldn’t name a beef cow?  Sorta like that.

Back when we played as a 2 piece band (me and Patrick) we traveled in a Buick minivan.  The same van my daughter got when she turned 16 and is STILL driving!!  Anyway, we ran out of gas in Missouri.  So I walked a half mile to the nearest gas station and borrowed a gallon gas can, filled it, and walked back.  Well, it takes at least 5 gallons to restart a fuel injected vehicle… Something, I’m sure, everybody knows and NOW I do, too.  So we took turns walking it and when I got home I signed up for AAA.”
Cody Braun, Reckless Kelly: “Our first van was a 1976 suburban that I purchased in Bend, OR for $1,500.00.  It had 120,000 miles on it when I bought it and we put another 200,000 + on it in 1996-1998.  It was brown and we called it ‘The Burb.’  No AC, vice grips for window rollers, bench seats and it ran like a top!
One day in Idaho we met an artist who painted cool flame job guitars for ZZ Top so we asked him to paint “The Burb” on the back tailgate of our old reliable rig in the parking lot.  He went out there and did it and then came inside and told us to come check it out!  We all shuffled out to the parking lot to admire his work.  It was awesome!  Nice bright rock n roll letters in the corner of the tailgate that said:
We told him it looks great!!!  But you painted the wrong car!  Our old farmer friend, Rod Thomas happened to stop by that morning and also had an old brown suburban that was parked a few cars down from ours.  The artist just went to the first brown suburban he saw and started painting!  Somebody went inside to break the news to Rod while we rolled around in the parking lot laughing ourselves to tears.  Rod was a great sport about it and the artist painted a #2 on Rod’s burb and then painted the real Burb.  We retired The Burb from the road in 98-99 and it served as a guest room at our after hours bar “The Shed” for a few years.  That’s a whole different story!  RIP – Rod Thomas and The Burb’s”

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