Micah Merz and Jared Rodabaugh of Jean Claude BandVANS.
Dear bands: Have you ever booked a tour and missed more shows than you made it to? Have you broken down daily on a tour and had to live in Wal-Mart parking lots? Have you put more than you initially paid into your band’s vehicle? If you answered yes to any of those questions, or if you’re just looking for a band vehicle to help you join the ranks of smelly, starving fuckers treking back and forth over this great continent, look no further. In late 2008, Jared Rodabaugh and Micah Merz started a company just for you, Jean Claude BANDVans (JCBV). JCBV is a company that wants to help bands get into a trustworthy vehicle to start touring in.
SLUG: Before we talk about Jean Claude BANDVans, let’s get to the heart of the matter. Have you seen the Jean-Claude Van Damme movie and what is your favorite super action movie?
JCBV: From my understanding, JCVD is about Jean-Claude Van Damme’s relationship (or lack thereof) with his estranged son who is emo now because Jean-Claude was too busy entering underground fighting competitions and fucking shit up. So his kid is a pretentious ‘wrist cutter’ and that in turn made Jean-Claude emo. I can’t see him like that. If that kid doesn’t get why his dad is cool then he’s a bitch. Point Break, hands down. You cover all the essential bases–you have your surfers, sex, bank robberies, car chases, foot pursuits, sky diving, shoot-outs, murder, beach fights, Anthony Kiedis getting shot in the foot, Johnny Utah (801 represent), great one-liners, etc. Right when you think you can’t handle all of the awesomeness, they throw in Gary Busey just to mind fuck your senses into oblivion.
SLUG: Now with the important stuff out of the way, tell us about BANDVans, and where you got the idea to start this business?
JCBV: Both of our first band-van-buying experiences involved us getting raped by some suit wanting to take advantage of us due to our lack of van knowledge. He didn’t care if we were musicians, a family of 10, or terrorists, he just wanted our money. The end result was us getting a shit van for a shit price and being upside down in something worthless, making reselling it near impossible. If some badass like JCBV was around to protect band’s asses and assets, bands could spend their time doing something better than getting screwed by some suit. So we started Jean Claude BANDVans to help bands, because we are also band dudes.
SLUG: You have set up a program that bases financing on touring? Do bands that tour a lot get better deals?
JCBV: There are four different programs that bands have available to them through us, which one just depends on where your band is at in the music world and your experience level. Everything needs to make sense for both parties. We aren’t going to try to finance a brand new band that has been on one two-week tour a $13,000 van and trailer combo because we want your money (besides, when the time comes you can always upgrade). Things go into the equation: are you signed, are you DIY, do you get tour support, where have you toured, for how long, with whom, etc. Once we’ve figured out what’s best for you, we at Jean Claude BANDVans actually put our nuts on the chopping block and basically co-sign for your band.
SLUG: Are all the vans new? Where do you get the vans and how much do they typically go for?
JCBV: Our vans can come new or used. Manufactures recommend to not pull anything before your van has hit 5k miles because the transmission needs to break in. Since most bands pull a trailer, it seems to be a smart idea to avoid brand new vans with under 5k miles. Most of our vans come from auctions all over the nation. As far as price, we will go as high as you are prepared to go, but we won’t typically sell something under $2,500. We like to be thorough when inspecting our vans and like to make the necessary alterations it takes in order to make sure they are “tour ready.”
SLUG: It is a well-known fact that band folk are some the most ungodly, self-serving, horrible people alive. What made you want to deal with them any more than you may have already?
JCBV: Well it takes one to know one. We can smell our own I guess. It seems like if you are in a band, people come crawling out of the woodwork to exploit you, so we band folk can come off as abrasive. But when JCBV helps your band out, it comes from a good place and we really do end up saving bands lots of money. I guess we hit that band’s hard to find soft spot instead of hitting them in the sack.
SLUG: What bands are JCBV employees in?
JCBV: Jared Rodabaugh is currently in the Dallas, TX band Bring Forth The Fallen. Micah Merz plays in Orem, Utah post-hardcore band Seize the Day.
To get in contact e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit jeanclaudebandvans.com, coming later this month. Their shop is located in Orem at 1135 North State St. Anyone who sends a band their direction and they end up buying, gets $200 courtesy of JCBV.