Rolling Heavy Magazine interviewed Jeff Murray, drummer for Venice Beach/Los Angeles skate/punk/metal band The Shrine and asked about their band van, some of the fun stories from tour and for a playlist of what they jam in the van to keep it rocking down so many miles.
Interview by Ryan Jones
Click here to start the playlist here and read on…
Rolling Heavy: What is the year, make and model of your band van?
Jeff Murray: Our van is a big white jalopy. Actually a Ford e350 from like 2003.
RH: How many passengers on a typical tour run?
JM: The van, right now, has seven seats. We usually have the 3 of us in the band and 4 or 5 roadies/skate freaks/weirdos. One time we had 8, with only 7 seats, going up through northern, CA. Right before Oregon, we get pulled over and everybody’s grabbing their seat belts, while our one buddy “Dirty Eddie” has no seat so he wraps himself in a loose sleeping bag on the floor in front of the middle door. The cop comes up to the passenger door because were on the highway, and says “how many people are back there?” He proceeds to open the middle door and put his state issued boot into the van right in front of our friend rolled in a blanket on the floor. We all held our breaths thinking Dirty Eddie would be found out for sure (he is prone to farts and belches at any time). But the cop never looked down, he just gave us one ticket (I think for speeding) and left us alone closing the door and wishing us a fine day.
RH: Does your van have a name?
JM: No, not really. Maybe we should call it Eliminator. Our crazy roadie Bobby “Tortilla” Portillo had found a keychain that was The ZZ Top keychain from all the 80’s era “Legs” type videos and put it on our van keys. Eliminator would be a fine name.
RH: Have you made any modifications?
JM: The seats are captain’s chairs, but we modded the middle two seats into a 3 seat bench so we could fit more gear and the same amount of people…or a hot tub.
RH: Got a bitchin’ stereo in there?
JM: Somehow we have a mid- 90’s head unit and stock speakers. One luxury we have is a 3mm auxiliary cable we have to connect our iPods. The port is kinda broken so we got to jiggle the cord every now and then.
RH: How many days per month are you guys typically touring in the van?
JM: When we’re on a west coast excursion we are sometimes in the van for a week or two. Mainly we do a month or month and a half for full U.S. Tours.
RH: Ever broke down?
JM: Not in this van. We did back into a tree in Austin, TX and broke a back window. Not good having all your equipment in a van with a window made out of a garbage bag.
RH: What is the best / worst place you have had van trouble?
JM: The best place was at a biker/van show at this posh party house somewhere in the hills. We pulled up leaking radiator fluid and were like “fuck it, we’ll take care of it later, we gotta play right now anyway.” So by the end of the show we’d forgotten about the van and it overheated. This biker and his wife pulled up beside us and looked at the problem, went to the local auto parts store and bought us the parts, and then fixed the leak. Then they had the nerve to buy some shirts from us (we of course didn’t take their money).
RH: Got any spooky, broke-down-by-the-side-of-the-road stories?
JM: We had trouble with the lights in the van staying on our way home from South By Southwest, and so as it got to be evening we pulled over in bum fuck New Mexico at this closed down gas station with what looked to be an abandoned restaurant/inn type deal. There was actually an old van parked at the top of the entrance that looked like it had been there since the seventies. Some of us were trying to find the fuse to turn off the lights so they wouldn’t be on as we were driving at night. Others of us were looking around and peering into the old restaurant thinking we’d seen people walking around. All off a sudden that old van peels off onto the highway creeping everybody out; just a weird part of the country.
Band: The Shrine
Photographer: Olivia Jaffe
Interview by: Ryan Jones