Month: June 2014

Goodbye to (the Insides of) the Machine

Inside of the BoxIt seems fitting that an ambulance would be built with the mumblings of Charles Darwin dancing in the back of the designers’ minds. After all, it takes an incredibly evolved vehicle to be able to sustain life that’s on the brink of death while transporting it. Maybe it’s from the vein of Darwin’s words that Friedrich Nietzsche derived his quote “that which does not kill us makes us stronger.” If not, then perhaps the quote could trace its origins back to the story of the Phoenix.

According to folklore, the Phoenix was a beautiful immortal bird who spent her days happily singing songs until she became old, tired, and weak. The Phoenix didn’t want to continue living this way, so she made the long journey back to her home and rested on top of a palm tree. Shortly after landing, the Phoenix loudly sang a song to the sun asking for it to make her young and strong once more. The sun immediately shone down with all its might directly onto the Phoenix, causing her to burn brightly.

Once the flames died down, all that was left of the Phoenix was a pile of ashes. From those ashes the Phoenix began to form and rise again. This time she rose with renewed grace, strength, and power. The Phoenix had new life and began to sing her beautiful melodies once more. She was brought to the brink of death and emerged stronger.

Pandora’s Box is much like the Phoenix. She’s tired and weak, and yearns to sing a different tune. She returned to an area, just a short drive from where she was originally born, to be born again. She needs to be completely broken down and ripped apart.  We’ll then carefully craft her to make sure she’s strong enough to enjoy her new life delivering melodies to the world.

Can't make this stuff up. That's a nomadic evangelical electrician who sells solar panels from a van.

Can’t make this stuff up. That’s a nomadic evangelical electrician who sells solar panels from a van.

It’s time for her to evolve, but this time she’ll be equipped with the power of the sun — not destroyed by it. Solar panels can be pricy, so the hunt for the perfect panel was not something we would take lightly. A Craigslist ad sent to me by Austin Kelley proved to be a great start. Two weeks later, I found myself buying our panel from a nomadic evangelical electrician who was hocking them from an I-40 truck stop about an hour away from the shop. Sadly, the panel wouldn’t fit in my car.  The guy drove about 45 minutes back towards the shop before he dropped the panel off with me at another I-40 truck stop. I had to wait about half an hour for a ride. It was easy to pass the time though. I made direct eye contact for as long as possible with anyone pumping gas. My goal was to confuse them more than anything. Was I a bum with a solar panel? Was I trying to sell it? Was I looking to kill someone? Was I hitchhiking and expecting someone to let me take my five-foot-tall panel along for the ride? Well, that one was partially true.

Once we got the solar panel, it was time to start focusing on other items. Thanks to your generous support, bunk sheets have arrived, batteries were located, comforters are being hunted down and most of the critical interior components have been ordered or pledged to the cause. I’m keeping the parts list up to date with what we need, so please check back frequently if you’re interested in donating or sponsoring. Every little bit helps!

Next, it was time to turn her into the ashes from which our lovely Pandora will soon rise. Removing the shelving from the rear passenger side was simple. The driver’s side, however, pitted us against Pandora in a Darwinist style battle.

We planned to remove each piece very carefully.

We planned to remove each piece very carefully.

We started with screwdrivers and a plan to repurpose as much of the wood as possible. Once we removed the screws, we upgraded to claw hammers to remove as many of the nails as possible. Then, we learned the 1.5 inch thick plywood boards were glued together, making the shelving components three inches thick. We traded our small hammers for crowbars and sledge hammers. It was only at that point Pandora began to crack.  Sledge hammers made way for saws.  Finally, the testosterone laden youth and rage from our team of three proved to be too much for her.

We knew there was transmission wear when we got her, but Trevor was able to diagnosis the extent of the damage. First gear is basically gone. (We have a video describing the transmission issues. I couldn’t get it to post on YouTube, but if enough people really want to see it, I’ll try to load it again.)

Progress is being made, slowly but surely, one weekend at a time. We are determined to deliver this to J by the summer’s end. To quote Friedrich Nietzsche again, “without muSmashingsic, life would be a mistake.”

As always, thank you for listening.

Bo

 

 

 

 

We cut off a piece to make sure we weren't going to cut into any wires.

We cut off a piece to make sure we weren’t going to cut into any wires.

After we realized what we were up against, we had to be a little more aggressive.

After we realized what we were up against, we had to be a little more aggressive.

What it took to build her, wasn't enough to kill her.

What it takes to build her, wasn’t enough to kill her.

Advertisements

How We End Up… With An Awkward Photo of Kayla Riley and An Extended Visit from Uncle Pervy (Part 2)

Part 2: An Extended Visit from Uncle Pervy

(If you haven’t read part 1 yet, go here.)

Once Kayla left the room to introduce the first band, the conversation shifted back to the van. I learned they lovingly called it, ‘Uncle Pervy’ because it looked like a van your creepy, perverted uncle would drive. They had all kinds of jokes and stories about Uncle Pervy’s misadventures.

Smile's Set

Smile’s Set

During the show, I sent texts to a cousin who lived nearby. I asked her if she had a spot where I could park a large van for a day or two. I didn’t give her any more information than that. She gave me the address for her church. That seemed like a perfectly fitting spot to hide a church van for a few days.

HURT's Set

HURT’s Set

After the show, I grabbed the spare set of keys for Uncle Pervy, gave the guys the address to drop off the van, and made the drive from Nashville to Chattanooga. I was only going to be able to grab an hour of sleep before I needed to be at work, but it was okay. I hadn’t had a significant amount of caffeine in months, so I stopped at a gas station before I got to my hotel and loaded up on energy drinks and Starbucks.

Morning After Pills

Morning After Pills

As soon as I woke up, I was incredibly thirsty.  So I downed everything in the picture within minutes. That proved to be a great move because between a sugar rush, caffeine high, and pure adrenaline, I delivered high energy presentations all day. Since I recruit for a technical college, I was traveling with a PA, folding tables, and several boxes of DVDs and other swag. A few kids helped me tear down my gear when the event was over and load up my car. They thought it would be funny to put a giant fake mustache on the front of my Hyundai. It was perfect. Uncle Pervy’s mustache was found! I put the mustache on him as soon as I got to him, and it was a match made in heaven.

When it came time to bring Uncle Pervy home, I verified with the guys that he was safe to drive, and they assured me he was. When I first opened his old rusty door, I honestly got a little depressed. I couldn’t believe a band that had so much talent, such a large fan base, and could be heard on radio stations from coast to coast was touring out of that van. At that moment, I gained so much more respect for this band that I already loved.

I jumped in, started him up, and began to take Uncle Pervy to my place. We were just outside of Nashville before I realized that he basically tops out at 65 mph. I stopped for gas and as I started to merge back onto the interstate, I was nearly killed trying to get up to speed. The speedometer seemed to lock in place at just over 35 mph and I couldn’t get out of the way of the fast approaching traffic. When I realized he wasn’t going to get any faster I hit the shoulder and stopped. Suddenly all the jokes and comments about J doing 35 on the interstate made sense. I turned the van off, called my wife, explained what was happening, and told her to be ready to come get me if I couldn’t get him up to speed. After about ten minutes, I started him up and this time I had no problems getting up to speed.

My friend Cat housed Pervy for a bit at her place, she referred to him as "Creepy Rape Van"

My friend Cat housed Pervy for a bit at her place, she referred to him as “Creepy Rape Van”

Once I got Uncle Pervy home, I was able to show him a good time. I took him to the mall, the playground, gravel roads, and Midtown Memphis. Each time he drew a lot of attention. He was camera friendly so I took plenty of photos of him to send back to the band so they could see their old pal was having a good time.

After several discussions the band decided it was time to part ways with their much loved family member. I cleaned up Uncle

Blood and Grease from Bringing Uncle Pervy Back to Life!

Blood and Grease from Bringing Uncle Pervy Back to Life!

Pervy and made a few necessary repairs.  I sold him before the tour ended for more than what the band had originally paid! Uncle Pervy was sold to a man who was taking a youth group to church camp. He was finally home again.

When the tour rolled through Memphis, I had a heart-to-heart with the band about their touring conditions. I explained to them that I had access to dealers-only auto auctions and sent students to school to learn how to do custom vehicles. I told them that when they were ready to purchase another vehicle to let me get involved. I had all the necessary connections to provide a much better set up than what they were using. When I got the phone call about the ambulance, it was déjà vu. I still had the connections, I still had the desire to help, and most importantly… I still had the mustache. As soon as the ambulance arrived, the first thing I did was put the mustache on her and sent the guys a picture. She didn’t have a name, so I referred to her as Pervy 2.0 until we came up with her name. She will NOT have the mustache when we are done. I will save it for the next HURT touring vehicle.

THANK YOU FOR LISTENING, I would love to see comments in the thread below sharing YOUR HURT stories. The crazier the better.

Bo

The Tour Schedule Posted Inside of the Van

The Tour Schedule Posted Inside of the Van

Uncle Pervy's Day Off

Uncle Pervy’s Day Off

Junk in Trunk

Bunks

Engine

Driver’s Seat and Engine

Passanger Side Drivers Side Backside

All cleaned up and ready for a new beginning

All cleaned up and ready for a new beginning

How We End Up… With An Awkward Photo of Kayla Riley and An Extended Visit from Uncle Pervy (Part 1)

First off, please join me in going here and wishing Victor a very happy birthday.

Second, I’ve gotten several emails asking me about how I ended up with Pandora’s Box and what is with the mustache on her. I decide to write this very long story to explain how we got to this point. I’m breaking it into two parts and editing out the typical drugs, sex, and rock and roll parts you might expect to find in a story with a title such as this one.

What's with the mustache?

What’s with the mustache?

Part 1: An Awkward Photo of Kayla Riley

Rock 4 Revival

Fourteen months ago HURT was headlining Rock 4 Revival with Smile Empty Soul. The tour was getting ready to roll into Nashville and Kayla Riley was going to host the event. I couldn’t have come up with a better excuse to hang out with HURT before a show if I tried. It was a Tuesday night, I had to be at work in Chattanooga early in the morning, and I wanted to meet Kayla Riley. So the day before the show I sent J a message asking if he’d be interested in bringing Kayla with him for dinner before the show. He took my idea and ran with it, firing back a few quick witted texts about Kayla being engaged, but adding that he’d certainly play his part to introduce us. [Note: I didn’t know what Kayla looked like. There was nothing sexual motivating me.]

Not an awkward photo.

Not an awkward photo. (Photo taken from Kayla’s Facebook page.)

Honestly, his responses freaked me out. I’m introverted, typically pretty shy [and married]. For example, the first time I met J, he sat down beside me at an almost completely empty bar before a show, ordered his food, and then nodded at me as if to say, “Aren’t you going to say something?” I nodded back, then pretty much ignored him as I talked to their tour manager who was sitting a few spots over. J eventually got up and sat with some other group of fans when they arrived. It wasn’t until after the show that night that we had any real conversation at all.

The day of the Nashville show, J sent me a message telling me they were having mechanical issues and he was working on finding a shop. ‘Issues’ didn’t shock me too much. They had been having an electrical problem and he had said they weren’t in the greatest set up. This time it was the transmission. That’s a tour killing type of problem. He told me if I wanted to hang out before the show I’d need to pick him up at a repair shop. So I made my way to the shop. When I got there I walked in, he gave me hug, and introduced me to the lady that worked there. Minutes later a mechanic walked in and delivered the much anticipated, but still feared, bad news. He wasn’t sure what was wrong with the transmission but no matter what it was, there was simply no way to get the parts needed to fix it before the band needed to be in Louisville for the next show. Furthermore, he told us it wasn’t going to make it anywhere pulling their trailer.

Dinner plans were put on the back burner. Now it was time to get back to the band and form a plan. J went around to the garage to get their van and I returned to my car. I made a couple of phone calls to give him about a ten minute head start, because I didn’t think I needed to be there when serious discussions were taking place. When I finally left the shop I got on the interstate and immediately noticed traffic was moving unusually slow. I couldn’t figure out why, but proceeded to weave my way through traffic until I could see the problem. There was a white rusted old church van in the center lane doing about 35 in a 65. Cars were cutting each other off to get around the van, causing a domino effect of heavy braking that was the root of the traffic jam. As I accelerated towards the van I noticed the hand hanging out the driver’s side window and holding a cigarette was tattooed. It was J. I was a bit confused, but ended up passing him and getting to the venue long before him. When I got out at the venue, my plan was to find a bar, eat and have a drink or two, then go to the show. As I round a corner, I ran into the rest of the band as well as the guys from Smile Empty Soul. Rek asks me if I’ve seen J. I told him I passed him on the interstate coming in. The guys cracked a couple of jokes about him doing 35, and again I was puzzled. The guy makes his living as a rock star, certainly he couldn’t drive that slowly all the time. Before I could excuse myself, J came around the same corner and gave everyone the news, then led us all to a bar and grill across the street.

While conversations were mostly light hearted and funny [I’m pretty sure everyone in the band is known amongst their friends as a notoriously bad joke teller] things kept circling back to what their plan was for the van. J was also continuously texting Kayla to get updates on her arrival for dinner. That was making me increasingly nervous for no real reason at all. It didn’t help that he kept mentioning that since I wanted to meet her, he was going to make sure it happened. Seriously, it wasn’t that big of a deal, I had just made one comment about having her join us for dinner. Meanwhile, a rental was lined up but there just wasn’t a viable option for what to do with the van. Once it became apparent that there wasn’t going to be a good alternative, I offered to take it off their hands. Victor’s eyes seemingly turned to lasers as he scanned me from head to toe sizing me up. I understood exactly what he was thinking. We’d hung out a few times before, but you don’t just hand anyone the keys to your house and walk away for a month or two. He asked me what my plan was. I told him I knew a ton of good mechanics between Nashville and Memphis, so if it died on me I’d get it into a shop. If it made it back to Memphis, I’d get the repairs done there and they could pick it back up in two weeks when the tour was playing Memphis. It was really the only option that made sense, so that became the plan.

Moments later, Kayla walked in and sat down with us. She takes pride in taking care of herself so she wasn’t about to eat any of the bar food. We were all done eating at that point anyway so we made our way over to the venue.

As we approached the venue there was a line of people waiting to get in. Coach, the merch guy, told me to “look like a bad ass, walk tall beside J and don’t make direct eye contact with anyone.” I did as I was told, as Coach proceeded to yell instructions for the night to all the fans. They were going to immediately get out of our way, buy merch when they got inside, and then have a great time at the show. I walked in and sat down at the bar. J started to head to the dressing room then turned around and yelled for me to come with them. Once there everyone relaxed and had a few drinks. Michael and Rek began watching movies on their computers. Victor was sitting on a couch across from me talking to Kayla, and J was across the room getting ready for the show. I felt a little out of place at this point, but was stoked to be the only person in the room not part of the show. I grabbed my phone and sent a text to a friend of mine telling him what I was doing. Basically I was just doing it to look like I was occupied since everyone else in the room was doing their own thing. He responded back, “Send me a pic of Kayla, or it didn’t happen.” I mentioned earlier I’m shy and introverted… well, I’m also extremely weird about pictures. I like being in pictures. I don’t mind taking pictures. I just have a taboo about asking people to be in pictures with me. At this point in the night the only thing I’ve said to Kayla is “Hi, I’m Bo” and occasionally I’d jump into her and Victor’s conversation with a random comment.  They were in pretty deep discussion, so rather than interrupt, I figured I’d just be sneaky and take a quick picture without even asking.

And then it happened.

My phone flashed repeatedly for what seemed like two minutes as it struggled to find the right light to capture the picture. I was embarrassed and Kayla immediately said, “Oh, I didn’t know we were doing pictures. I’m sure that one was terrible.” It was indeed an awkward photo. I mustered up a quick apology and then sent my proof to my buddy along with a long message explaining that I just made an ass of myself.

Minutes later Kayla and the band had their phones out taking pictures. While I was in a few, I didn’t ask for another. One awkward photo was plenty for me.

The awkward photo of Kayla Riley.

The awkward photo of Kayla Riley.

As always, THANK YOU FOR LISTENING

-Bo

Part two of this story will be published tomorrow. You can help our cause by going here or here.

The Inner Workings of Pandora’s Box

Just about every day I get a message from someone asking me for details on what we are doing. I’ve given just about everyone pretty detailed information and some insight into our plan. The most notable exceptions to this are J and Victor.

It’s amusing to me to keep these guys slightly on edge and waiting for updates. They’re used to it being the other way around. As they record their albums, people haunt the various HURT sites combing for updates and snippets of what’s to come. I’m sure it’s got to be a rewarding feeling for them to know that so many people care so much about something they put so much of themselves into when they are recording an album. Similarly, we are taking great pride in all the attention our build is getting and hopefully giving J and Victor a slight taste of the curiosity and eager anticipation we go through during the long waits between albums.

So what exactly is the plan anyway?

Honestly, a lot of what we have planned is going to depend on how much we’re able to get donated. So things will probably change over the course of this build depending on our budget and what’s sent to us.

The most critical aspect of this project is making sure this thing runs safely and runs well. Before we spend any of our resources on anything else, all mechanical issues must be resolved.

The good news is that there doesn’t appear to be any major issues with the engine. The bad news is that the transmission is showing signs of wear and, if at all possible, we plan to replace it. The four rear tires must be replaced (one of them is already blown). The heat and air need some work, and the ambulance is full of electrical issues. From what we’ve been able to discern at this point, it appears most of the electrical issues stem from a previous owner ripping out the inverter and trying to direct-wire all electrical systems to the battery. We are going to basically rip out ALL the wiring and start again.  Depending on time and budget we may not hook back up most of the lights and siren because they aren’t needed.

The next phase involves gutting most of the insides. Once it’s gutted and the mechanical issues have been addressed, Pandora’s Box will be taking a 2 ½ hour trip to Hot Wired Car Audio in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Hot Wired has agreed to donate several days worth of shop time and labor to the project. They will be installing the electrical, audio and video equipment that will be used for both entertainment purposes and as a functioning mobile recording studio. J has mentioned AC plug-ins are prized in the band world, so we plan to run AC outlets to each bunk to provide life support for their phones and laptops.

Once the wiring is complete, Pandora’s Box will make the trip back to Jackson to be fitted for bunks. Lorie Haynes did an amazing job on designing them. We plan to install three permanent bunks, one bunk that when folded down will form the back part of a couch, and two bunks on a locking slide system that can be removed for additional head room. Austin Kelly, whom I met through this blog, will be helping us out on this part.

Four Bunk Set up

This is a model of our four bunk set up, with bunks locked in travel mode.

Four Bunk Set Up Extended

Model of how the four bunks on the driver’s side will look when extended.

Pandora’s Box will be equipped with a kitchenette and a separate cooler so the guys aren’t forced to eat fried gas station and bar food.  We plan to install an auxiliary heat and air system that can be used for extended hours without the engine running so the guys can stay comfortable and not burn gas.

Speaking of not burning gas, sustainability for the guys has been a running theme on this blog and sustainable energy is both functional and practical for a project like this. We plan to make the necessary modifications to allow Pandora’s Box to use biodiesel. She’ll be equipped with an on-board filtration system to process used cooking oil and convert it to fuel. Even using this option only occasionally will drastically cut down their fuel cost. In addition, the battery array that will power the recording studio and auxiliary heat and air will be hooked up to roof-mounted solar panels as well as the main engine.

She’ll give them life support, and it never has to end.

As always, Thank You For Listening.

Bo

Meet the House Carpenters: Our Mechanics

“There is a feeling that anything can happen in HURT’s music” –Brett Hickman of Static Multimedia

The same sentiment is easily applied to our team and machines.

These guys aren’t just country boys. They are highly skilled mechanics with a creative edge that most people lack.

It creates power, and a WTF moment when people see it work.

It creates power and a WTF moment when people see it work

They call this the “WTF Machine.” It was built by Trevor and Kyle as teenagers with scraps, but it was built with purpose. They used it to jump start cars until it was sold out of the back of their truck to a stranger in the Lowes parking lot for $150. They called it the “WTF Machine” because everyone that looked at it had a “WTF moment.”

My first run-in with these guys came just after they converted this El Camino to run on hydrogen for their school science fair. By the way, that hydrogen was produced from solar energy. It was a set-up they came up with after learning about making solar panels and hydrogen conversions on the internet.

Powered by hydrogen that was produced by solar power.

Powered by hydrogen that was produced by solar power

These guys were mostly self-taught creative geniuses. My role was to get them formal training and enhanced skill development at the college level.

So off to tech school they went. Their course work included classes like Drivetrain Systems, Advanced Street Rod Building, and Motorsports Chassis Fabrication. These guys were trained to work on all of the mechanical and electrical systems in a wide range of vehicles. Advanced sheet metal shaping, custom body modifications, custom painting, roll cage construction, and structural welding were just part of what rounded out their time in school.

While in school, they were part of a team that built a 1967 Mustang for the Armed Services that is used as a show car at events all over the country.

Rickie, the third mechanic on the team, won his District SkillsUSA competition for High Performance Engine Building.

These guys are the perfect combination of youth, creative minds, and formal training to bring to life Pandora’s Box.

There will be several others helping us out along the way, and I’ll introduce you to them as well in time.

As always, Thank You For Listening

Bo

10172853_10201771807804662_523946530913972474_n

 

To help us with the project fill out the form below or click here.

METAL fan!

Trevor- METAL fan!

Kyle

Kyle

Rickie

Rickie

1797531_676866735684791_1258034584_n

25632_100954513276019_866549_n

 

Pandora’s Box

According to Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman. Blessed with true beauty and traits bestowed by the goddess of love mixed with some craftsmanship from Zeus, mankind’s world would soon be rocked forever. Zeus gave Pandora to Epimetheus as a bride, along with a box.

That box came with a warning label demanding it never be opened. As the story goes, Pandora would eventually succumb to her ever-mounting curiosity and take a peak. At the first glimpse of light, ghostly images raced out and filled the world with all the evils we currently know. However, the story doesn’t end there. Elpis, the spirit of hope, was left hiding in the box and unknowingly Pandora trapped hope in the box once more.

While J Loren has frequently told us “there’s no more beauty, in this world” and more specifically “there’s no more beauty in this, world,” I plan to perhaps give him a different perspective on things by building his next touring vehicle with Elpis still inside.

The life of this ambulance is a great metaphor for what once lurked inside of Pandora’s Box. Ghostly images of illness, death and emotion still haunt its cold insides. However, below all of the negative is a far greater force fighting to push through. Hope. In its prior life, that hope came from the EMTs providing life support, and the patients clinging to a chance to see another day.

Now that hope takes a different form. We, the fans and supporters of this group, are giving this band life support… hope. So many people reading this blog have shared stories with myself and the guys in the band about the hope this music has given them. It’s a self-feeding ecosystem that once set in motion can become a self-sustaining force in this world. The music gives us hope, we give hope to the music. With that hope comes sustainability; life support for all.

With that being said, the title of this blog will be “Life Support,” and the ambulance will be named “Pandora’s Box.”

For those who have hope in the project and would like to see it succeed there’s a number of ways to help.

The tab at the top of this page labeled “Parts” contains a lists of parts we are getting set to buy. Please contact me if you’d like to purchase any of the items on the list, or can provide us a discount to help purchase them.

We will be selling sponsorship space on Pandora’s Box as well as on the band’s trailer and this blog. If you have a business, or a lead for us, click the sponsorship tab for more information, and contact me.

Please follow this blog, and visit this page a couple of times a week. The more visitors this blog gets, the more value sponsors see in it.

Thank you to everyone who took part in naming the blog and the ambulance.

And as always, THANK YOU FOR LISTENING.

Shop Entrance The Driver

Trevor (Standing) Randy (Sitting) Kyle (Working on tire)

Trevor (Standing)
Rickie (Sitting)
Kyle (Working on tire)

Front

An early sketch of how the bunks will look.

An early sketch of how the bunks will look.