Touring

Thank You For Helping

From Left to Right: Me, Brandon, Lorie, J, Austin, Justin

From Left to Right: Me, Brandon, Lorie, J, Austin, Justin

It doesn’t seem real. None of it. This was such a wild project from start to finish, and now that it’s over, we’ve finished, but wish we could start again. This wasn’t just a build. There was so much love and emotion in this from everyone involved. Our blog has viewers from over 60 countries, and we received donations from all over the place. Everyone that contributed anything helped give the project life support.

I can’t begin to express to you how much doing this meant to me. (So much emotion.) The group I’m about to thank worked tirelessly and without ego. As much stress and pressure as we were under at the end, and as hot as it was, and as late as it was every time we got together, there was never any bickering, infighting, or ego. This is an amazing team, and their heart can’t be matched.

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Brandon Wheeler, owner of HotWired Car Audio in Jonesboro Arkansas, THANK YOU. Your team didn’t just under promise, over deliver… you saved the project. I’m forever indebted to you guys for your hard work. People like you are EXACTLY what the world needs more of. I asked for very little from you at the start, and I asked for something nearly impossible at the end. Each time you didn’t just come through, you exceeded expectations with an unmatched level of quality and professionalism.

Lorie (we took full advantage of Sonic Happy Hour)

Lorie (we took full advantage of Sonic Happy Hour)

Lorie Beth, bunk and interior designer, and all around hard worker. THANK YOU. I recruited you for this because I knew you were a brilliant furniture maker, artist, and loyal fan of the band. I challenged you to do something no one had ever done before and you delivered. You drove countless hours, slept in your car, in the ambulance, and in sleazy motels while working around the clock on numerous occasions to pull this off. You were able to design and build our bunk set up from seven hours away with measurements and photos mostly taken over the phone. Your amazing attitude and work ethic will take you far in life, wherever you decide to go. You’ll always have a special place in my heart because I don’t think another person exists that would make the sacrifices you made to see this through.

Austin and Justin working hard

Austin and Justin working hard

Austin Kelley, diesel mechanic and fabricator, THANK YOU. Several people contacted me about doing the job I asked you to do. I chose you because of your training and I could tell by Facebook stalking you what kind of person you were. You showed up and busted your butt for us. You gelled with our group perfectly, and you had the same passion for this project the rest of us did. At the end, per J’s request for a gauge, you pulled the gauge we needed out of your own car and professionally installed it in minutes. Everything about that sums up what you brought to this project.

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Justin Letson, carpenter, THANK YOU. You finished gutting Pandora’s Box for us, and built any and everything we asked you to. Your attention to detail is why this project looks as good as it does. The trim pieces and other details you added to the fundamental components you built really make her look first class.

Jackie Yee Grau, the legal team, THANK YOU. You’re such a positive and intelligent inspiration and a great friend to everyone. Every challenge we threw at you from local ordinance laws to blog editing you delivered quickly on. Thanks for representing me against the Jackson shop going forward. (And for those reading this, she was secretly included in our group photo by Lorie Beth. Lorie’s is holding a card from Jackie in her left hand in the group shot.)

Anonymous donor from the East Coast- THANK YOU. This project would not have happened without your donation. The transmission alone was more than the budget we had to start with. It’s tough to count on people to do what they say they’re going to do, you certainly did just that.

Anonymous donor from the Northeastern US- THANK YOU. I loved the inspirational stories about HURT you shared with me. You didn’t just deliver on the bedding, you delivered six fold, and got us EXACTLY what we were asking for.

Rickie Lindsey, hardworking support, THANK YOU. I shared with J the video of you and me tearing apart the driver’s side wall. You busted your butt doing the grunt work on this project on numerous occasions, and your work largely went unheralded in blog posts. I promise you, I do NOT group you with the shop in Jackson, and I apologize my frustrations with their management frequently seemed to filter its way back to you. You’re a good guy, and you have the work ethic to go as far in life as you want to go.

Trevor Arnold, lead mechanic to start the project, THANK YOU. Seriously, THANK YOU. This project would have ended up being done at a technical college if you hadn’t agreed to take it on. But since you did, I was able to assemble an amazing team and spend my summer working on such a cool and unique project. You were put in really bad places at the end by your boss, and I apologize you had to be the middle man at times, and deal with the frustration from both sides. You’re a gifted mechanic, and that’s why I chose you for this project. Hone your skills and grow your career.

Rose Haley, graphic design, THANK YOU. You did a great job with your artwork and designs. You drove hours out of your way to work on this, and stuck around to meet me, and never got the chance to. Thanks for your contributions to this project.

Donnie Tipton, hardworking nice guy, THANK YOU. I don’t think I’d ever met you until the last hours of our time with Pandora’s Box, but you showed up with an awesome work ethic and energy. You busted your butt for us when we really needed it. THANK YOU.

Barry Martin and Jessica Yarbro at Sign Design Graphics, graphic design, THANK YOU. I don’t know anyone else who would put vinyl on for free at 3:00 am. Your artwork really helped make the exterior look good.

Josh Fischer, Antoine Nihart, Jessie Henry, James Merritt, and Adam Morris… THANK YOU. You guys supported us in a variety of different ways and rolls. You guys frequently came at crazy hours with no notice, and helped make this happen for us. You guys are all great friends.

Karla Fisher, editor and blog street teamer, THANK YOU. You’ve been a good friend to me for years, and your editing skills and feedback came in handy throughout this project. Thanks for continuously promoting the blog on your Facebook page and in all the other ways you helped me.

Cain LaVelle, Pete Tellez, Brad Covey, Chad Hardin, and anyone else that donated gear and equipment. (IF I’m leaving your name off, please shoot me a quick message and I will edit this.) Thank you! This blog was titled Life Support, and you guys gave us the exact support we needed to help make this possible.

The rest of the HotWired Crew I didn’t name… THANK YOU guys for all your support. We tore your shop up, and you responded by buying us food, letting us use your tools, and be in your way. Thank you.

THANK YOU to every last person that read this blog. You guys kept us on track, and kept everyone motivated. You guys were awesome support.

I hope I’m not leaving anyone off this list. There were so many people that helped in so many ways.

Finally I want to thank J Loren.

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

What it took to build him, wasn’t enough to kill him.

Your music has been an inspiration to countless people from around the world. The trust and faith you put in me to deliver this for you was greatly appreciated. You handled a really negative looking situation at the end beautifully. I hope you’re able to get exactly what you need out of Pandora’s Box, and I hope she truly serves you well. Somehow you find your way into some of the most bizarre moments of my life, and you’ve become a true friend through those experiences. THANK YOU.

 

Thank you to everyone that read this until the end, you were my support… until the rapture should come to meet us.

Bo

Bo

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At War with Summers Lost

Lights InstalledI think of all the days this summer where we could have done something more. There was never a day that went by that she wasn’t on my mind, but now we are rushing to get everything done. I’m smiling though. As the team’s leader, it’s my job to make sure everyone buys into the mission, has clearly defined objectives, and understands when things must be done. All this must be done under budget and it must be built to last.

The flurry of texts messages and late night emails I’m getting from our team members lets me know our group is as focused on our goal as I am. At this point I’d say Pandora’s Box is about 80-85% of the way done. However, the remaining 15-20% is without a doubt some of the most critical parts.

Justin looking fantastic!

Justin looking fantastic!

The bunks are installed and the monitor is in. All the lights work, including remote controlled interior color changing LED’s (click to check out the vid!). She’s had one coat of paint on the interior, and the floors ripped out. She’ll need another coat or two before we install the flooring and trim. She still needs the main AC fixed, auxiliary AC installed, mini-fridge, microwave, safe, locks fixed, cruise control repaired, solar panel installed, and a TRANSMISSION.

J and Victor have been adamant about me field testing her after she gets finished. Trust me, I want to as well. We need to make sure there are no bugs or quirks with her before she sets out to tour the country. Victor sent me a text this week that read, “Have you been driving it around? Getting a feel for the engine? Do you think it will tour well pulling a trailer for long periods of time?”

I guess a loaded set of questions deserves a loaded answer:

Q: Have you been driving it around? A. Well, my last time driving it I took it from Jackson, TN to Jonesboro, AR with no tags, or working lights or signals of any kind, and the torque converter failed a block away from HotWired, leaving it un-drivable since July 4th. At the time I thought it ran out of gas, but it turned out to be much worse.

All the bunks slid back in place.

All the bunks slid back in place.

Q: Are you getting a feel for the engine? A. Trevor Arnold, one of our Jackson TN mechanics, did a pretty thorough inspection of the engine and concluded it’s in great shape. Austin Kelley, who came down from Missouri, looked at it a few weeks ago, and gave me the same report without any knowledge of what Trevor had told me. I don’t know much about diesel engines, but a couple of guys that work on them for a living have given me assurance that everything’s going to be fine.

Q: Do you think it will tour well pulling a trailer for long periods of time? A. We’ll find out very soon. I’ve given Trevor and his crew our budget and specifications. It’s up to them to make it happen, and make it happen quickly. I asked him to do it, because I know he can do it well.

Brandon, Justin, and the HotWired team have spent several late nights and countless hours working on this project now. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I asked these guys to do some simple wiring and help me out with a head unit. So far, they’ve had Pandora’s Box for a month and have feasted on her. Ripping apart her insides, installing new walls, lights, wires, the stereo, speakers, and helping us install the bunks. It’s unbelievable how much work they have done. I’m incredibly thankful for their work, and humbled by the passion and commitment they’ve shown to this project.

Today she started to make the move back to Jackson for the transmission work, but then I guess it was just a twist of fate, or irony, or just plain dumb luck. As I’m posting this, Trevor is stuck on I-40 at the same spot where I broke down with Pandora’s Box and Uncle Pervy. This time they weren’t even driving the ambulance, she was on the back of a truck. God speed Trevor, god speed, and I feel your pain.

Been there... done that... I'll send you a t-shirt.

Been there… done that… I’ll send you a t-shirt.

 

Thank you for listening.

 

Bo

Bunks In

Side door view of the bunks.

Bunks Out

Bunks Out

All the bunks slid back in place.

All the bunks slid back in place.

Fold Up, Down

Couch Mode

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Getting set for her trip to Jackson.

Rear Sound

Your first shot of the rear sound system.

Fold Up, Up

Bunk Mode.

Fold up bunk in down position

Fold up bunk in down position.

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The chair on the left is removable.

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In couch mode.

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With the bottom bunks out.

On the way to get stuck on I 40 near Jackson!

On the way to get stuck on I 40 near Jackson!

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.

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

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

METAL fan!

Trevor- METAL fan!

Kyle

Kyle

Rickie

Rickie

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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.

Falls Apart…

It’s finally here. I can’t call it by its name yet, because we’ve yet to name it. I’ve kicked around several (lame) titles for the project, but ultimately it was decided that naming things was not my strongest attribute.

It got here on life support to say least. Actually, it was put on the back of a truck and hauled through several states to the backwoods of Tennessee. It wasn’t going to make it any further than where it almost killed J Loren. (And I learned my lesson the first time HURT left me the keys to their ride, but that’s for a future post.) He was having to nurse the ambulance because of some tire issues and persistent electrical woes. However, when the cruise control stuck accelerating the vehicle and forced the musician to do his best Ricky Bobby on the interstate in an ambulance, J decided enough was enough.

When I got the phone call and heard what happened my first thought was “man this keeps happening to this guy,” and my second was “it’s not happening again if I have anything to do with it.” I’m not sure if J called just to vent or if he was asking for advice/help. It didn’t matter. The mission was clear; how do we get him a vehicle that can meet all the strenuous demands of the road on a budget that might be stretched far enough to get a good Daewoo?

I’ve spent the last several years recruiting for the automotive industry and I’ve made some connections with the people that supply the talent for several of the automotive shows that air on various channels. I started to pitch J how we could buy him a gutted old bus and get it on one of these shows. The first words out of my mouth were “the first thing we need to do is get a budget.” Immediately J responded with “I have a budget, and I have a vehicle stuck at a dealership.”

‘My plan B’ was instantly pulled out of my ass. [I’m calling it ‘my plan B,’ because I’m not sure how many plans J had before calling me became the best option. I was about 700 miles away from him at that point.] ‘My plan B’ was to get his vehicle to a technical college located about half way between where the vehicle was and where it was going to end up. Just in case that didn’t work, I gave J ‘my plan C’ as well. [A technical college closer to me, but further away from J and the ambulance.] After we ended the conversation I began working the phones like crazy to pull everything off.

Ultimately, after a couple of weeks of phone calls and emails, I ended up going with ‘my plan D,’ none of the above. I had the vehicle towed to a shop outside of Jackson TN. Why Jackson TN you might ask? A little over a year earlier, I met two young guys from there that were doing INSANELY challenging projects. I talk to countless people in the industry every day with years of experience, and these two guys just out of high school were taking on projects that others with way more experience wouldn’t have the knowledge to handle. I quizzed them about these projects to make sure they weren’t exaggerating, and what I found were two guys that where extremely passionate and dedicated to developing their craft at the highest level. (They reminded me of a certain musician I know.) I helped get these guys into one of the best technical colleges in the country to hone their skills. They didn’t disappoint me, and I’ll feature both of them in an upcoming blog post.

After it was decided where the project was going, it was time to create a game plan. Emails of sketches and ideas were bounced back and forth based on the basic things J was asking for. We had a few pictures of the ambulance but no measurements, and no real good grasp of what the interior looked like, or what kind of work was actually needed. But a crew was assembled based on everyone’s skill sets.

In case you’re wondering, that’s my skill set. I have very limited automotive range compared to the countless mechanics I’ve helped get careers for. However, I can network with the best of them. I called seven states before I decided that starting this project just outside of Jackson TN in a small shop about two hours from my home was the best bet.

But back to the ambulance. The driver called me at 7:30 Friday morning trying to figure out how exactly he was going to get his truck with an ambulance on it down the narrowly winding backwoods road to the shop. After I gave him a little positive reinforcement, he was convinced to make the delivery at the proper destination as agreed.

An hour later I received a text message from Trevor, the shop owner that read “This thing is pretty sweet, but it does need a lot of work.”

“Perfect,” I thought while smiling. As soon as I finished my work for the day I made the drive to his place to see exactly what I’ve gotten myself into…

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