A few weeks ago, we had to say goodbye to an unsung hero of the group: a 2004 RAV4 that carried equipment to almost every show we’ve done.
When I moved into the band house I needed a car. In my time in Boston, it was easy to live without one: there was a lot of stuff within walking distance, decent public transport, didn’t have to worry about moving it with snow, cabs and then uber were relatively easy to get and the traffic was so intense, not having one was almost a blessing. You could let someone else deal with all the stress associated with it. RI is completely different: even if you live in a town with “downtown” area (Newport, East Greewich, Wakefield), you need a car to get around. When I started looking, I knew I wanted something that would be practical for getting to gigs. This was before we’d honed in the acoustic stuff, so something with enough room to fit a drum set but wouldn’t kill me on the gas. The Rav seemed like the most practical answer. Toyota’s tend to run forever and the space on the inside was actually pretty big especially if take the seats out. I found an older one (tape deck), bit of wear and tear/rust on the bottom but it seemed to be a good fit. I paid it off all cash, which was tough at the time but lit a fire under my ass to get going on booking and working.
While the car had it’s issues, it was dependable when we needed it. I always kept a pair of drum sticks in the door. Picks were scattered throughout, not systemically, just because they’d slip out of bags and boxes but I always knew I had at least 1 buried in there. I could fit the drums, speakers, amps, guitars, and occasionally an extra passenger. That car endured trips to Boston, The Cape, Connecticut, Westerly, countless trips to Newport, Matunuck, Providence, and more. While these aren’t extreme distances, they were frequent, especially when we forgot shit at the house and needed to go back and forth. Years of carrying abuse started showing, when the interior padding on the door started falling off, the floor mats became worn (from occasional use as a drum mat), and crumbs scattered throughout from late night grubs after finishing a set and swinging by for some garbage fast food at the end of the night. While this wasn’t the typical “band van” that we all traveled in, everyone has spent countless hours/miles in this car going to and from gigs and was probably used to get to and from 90% of our shows.
Snow killed the car, as I was driving home and hit a patch of snow/ice after a snow storm which lead to a collision with a plow. While I was fine, no airbags or broken windows, the beast took a hit that it couldn’t overcome AKA insurance calculated the damage was slightly greater than the value. Needless to say I bought another Rav that will step into the roll. It’s just sad to see a car with some much more mileage left depart in a rather unceremonious way. RIP