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Why Our Bus Wuz Best

by Wayne Krantz

A band is only as good as its bus, and in many ways our Art Crimes '96 tour bus reflected not only the strong sense of comaraderie shared among the band members, but also gave good indication of the respect the band commanded with Management, and ultimately with Donald and Walter.

Touring America with a big-time rock-and-roll outfit typically means long drives, sometimes as much as 16 hours or more between gigs, so comfort becomes a primary concern. Being somewhat new to the game of touring by bus, I was puzzled initially by the six-seat configuration, given that we were seven. My confusion turned to an admiration of logistics and economy when Management explained that the seventh seat would be an unnecessary waste of space, considering that at any given time one of us would be occupying the driver's seat. This round-robin, "musical chairs" driving arrangement served us well, though I didn't have a licence, and Michelle's incessant drinking made for some pretty rough trips over the passes.

Seven people on a bus creates pretty close quarters on the longer trips, and for this reason it made perfect sense not to allow eating or drinking on board at any time; avoiding the inevitable spills and messes that can occur made it that much easier for us to clean and service the bus every other day. The roadside food-stops provided a welcome break in the driving and gave us a chance to go to the bathroom as well.

By the end of the tour I had become an experienced "road-rat", even managing to string together three or four hours of sleep at a time. I rather sheepishly recall my naive questions to Tour Manager Doug Casper early on, regarding how rarely we stayed in hotels. It's to his credit that he took the time with me to explain the meaning of the phrase "industry standard".

But by then the bus had become my home. All in all, my share of the gas only came to a little over $2700, and Donald and Walter both assured us that the seats in the private jet were actually a lot smaller.

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