So, You Still Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star?
Bands participating in the recent F Yeah nationwide tour, hard nosed the highway in a vegetable-oil-and-diesel-powered Blue Bird school bus.
LA Weekly discusses the bio-feuled bus with tour manager Phil Hoelting.
L.A. WEEKLY: What has surprised you most about touring by bus?
Phil Hoelting: How amazing it is to be able to find vegetable oil, the accessibility of it. Everyone that’s been touring now have their eyes trained to search for veggie oil. We get our hands dirty and dive into these oil troughs behind restaurants. When you find a grease trough filled with hundreds of gallons of oil, it’s like a gold rush. You’d never think these emotions exist. Finding good, clean grease and not being able to take it all in the tanks was the worst feeling. I’ll never forget Amarillo, Texas, for that reason.
Just between you and me Phil, there are a lot of reasons why a lot of us won’t ever forget Amarillo and, some of them don’t involve grease.
I’ve wondered how this works. You’re on tour, got to be at the next place at a certain time, the bus is on E, it’s 3:00 AM, do you look for a Denny’s and ask to talk to a manager? Do you wake up the bass player to go diving in the grease trough?
Anyone who gets on this bus realizes that it’s a lot of work. It’s free fuel, but it’s a hard time. When you go prowling for veggie oil, you just have to act like you know what you’re doing, so you don’t attract attention. We’re all definitely prepared to have “the talk” with police if they ever stop us — there are some issues because we’re not paying gas taxes when we run on vegetable oil. But, hopefully, the police will just be cool about it and let us go.
“So you don’t attract attention”, “We’re all definitely prepared to have “the talk” with police if they ever stop us”, Woah! Phil. I don’t think the primary “issue” is gas tax. It sounds like the issue is one of theft. It sounds like you guys are going around stealing used Fryolator grease. How do you know that the guy that owns that Hardees doesn’t have his own bio-diesel rig and he’s not saving that grease up for the big weekend?
That may sound like a ridiculous premise but really, all it takes is a restaurant owner to say, “I don’t want those punks digging around my dumpsters, throw the book at ‘em.”
You know what? If it costs too much to take your dog and pony show on the road without resorting to vagrancy and thievery, just stay home indie rock band.