A performance with Vannstein in Martigny, Switzerland got me started, thinking about going to gigs far away, that it had to be possible to do it in a more comfortable way. To be all crammed together in a small van while you have to drive such a long way was absolutely not pleasant. When we later had to play in the south of France, that van was not quite something I was looking forward to.
But this show with Vannstein, The Ultimate Rammstein Tribute in Switzerland was really fun to do. Also getting up the next morning, opening the curtains of the hotel room and having a mountain view you normally see on TV, was amazing. Yes, I hadn’t seen it when we arrived in the dark at night. The phone call from the promoter when we were already on our way home that we were by far the best band (yes, the sound was also mentioned) was very cool to hear.
By the way, Baba Yaga is also starting to look a bit more like how she will be. I will be posting another minor update soon
In the past two weeks, nothing really happened to the bus, but in the background there was quite some activity. Now that the top floor is empty and all seats are on a trailer in the storage, the big “what-is-this-and-where-is-that” quest began. For example, we had been looking for a water tank for the toilet for a lóóóng time (it had to be hidden somewhere in the bus), a new lock for the toilet door and I was mainly looking for a technical manual and a user manual for the bus.
Although some book was included with the bus, a lot of pages were missing and/or torn, it was also completely in Italian. So, I either had to buy a new door lock from a Belgian company that was far from friendly or somewhere in Naples, which made it quite expensive again because on the delivery costs. This week my father-in-law came by and he took the lock with him to come back the next day, after some fiddling, with a fixed lock. This morning I was able to pick up a HUGE book with well over a 1000 pages from a coach company who used to run the same type of bus, with almost all possible parts and technical drawings of the bus. This afternoon I finally found someone who, before I even realized it, suddenly sent me a user manual with more than 300 pages. In German, but that still reads a lot better than Italian.
What about that water tank? Yes, we’ve found that too. While measuring the lounge, we suddenly saw a plastic cover with just one screw in it. So, curious as we are, we removed the cover of that thing and then … the water tank !!! Only the connection to fill it … ??? That will also succeed at some point. We have now started creating the seats in the lounge (pictures will follow later) and the first parts for the beds have been ordered.
Finally! She is finally home, after waiting for almost 9 months. An enormous amount of respect for the people at Wierda Bedrijfswagens B.V. in Heerenveen. For the monster job they did with rewiring the engine management and all the systems needed to run the bus.
But she is now at home, we can finally start renovating to create the coolest bandbus in the Netherlands and beyond. The first day we have been busy cleaning up the mess and cleaning the worst things. Yesterday and today all the seats on the top floor have already been removed, later the hand luggage compartments and perhaps also the air conditioning ducts will be removed.
It has been a while since I returned from Italy. The bus was also neatly delivered to the garage in Heerenveen and everyone has finished the holidays, so … back to work.
The garage a little earlier than me and so I was called last week just before the weekend, while I was still collecting my bags from the baggage belt at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport: “Could you maybe come by Monday to take a walk around the bus? So that we can discuss what, how and whether we are going to do everything?” That’s possible, of course, but in the meantime the courage sank deep into my body: “I will not have bought 16 tonnes of scrap metal? Would they have discovered many more defects?”
So last Monday I went to the garage, but was I very enthusiastic about it … well, not really. Once arrived I was taken straight to the bus and guess what: the exhaust was not properly connected right in front of the muffler, so that all hot air was blown towards the wiring, which melted, shorted and eventually caught fire. Fortunately, I was quick to put it out in Italy, which still makes it a time-consuming job to repair, but at least it can be repaired. If I had driven any longer, it could have turned out very different.
Well, and that was it. Furthermore, they found no crazy things at all, so I really have a bus and not a big pile of scrap metal !!! Despite the fact that it costs a lot of extra money, I cannot say otherwise that I am incredibly relieved that in (hopefully) a few weeks we will FINALLY be able to start converting it into simply the coolest bandbus in the Netherlands and far beyond.
“Sometimes it’s okay, sometimes it’s not” was once a Dutch insurance company’s slogan. Last week it unfortunately also applied to me. In the night from Sunday to Monday I had left to finally, after almost half a year of waiting due to covid-19, pick up my bus in Lucca (Italy). The outward journey went almost perfectly with only half an hour delay for the Gotthard tunnel in Switserland.
Once I arrived, transferring and arranging the export papers were also fixed in no time, even though it was expected in advance that this could take up to two days. So, trailer behind the bus, car on the trailer and I was ready for the return journey. I quickly did some shopping at the supermarket where I parked and off I went. At first I was a bit getting used to the bus, but soon I drove as if it were the most natural thing in the world towards the Netherlands.
I would have had to make a stopover somewhere along the journey because of the driving times law but arriving on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning at home would have been easily attainable. The bus, however, thought different about it after just an hour. A forced stop after a message in the display that the motor was overheated. And there I stood, on the hard shoulder just before another tunnel. A quick look at what was going on and before I knew it I was putting out a fire in the engine compartment with a fire extinguisher. All emergency services on the scene and eventually I got towed to the nearest parking lot.
Unfortunately it was then too late to be able to call garages because most of them were already closed. So I had to wait until the next day before I spent the whole day on the phone to get me out of there. Eventually all factors weighed up and I ordered a tow truck from the Netherlands to pick up the bus.
Unfortunately I had to wait more than a day in that parking lot to finally be “rescued” on Thursday evening. Yes, I still had my own car but to leave the bus there … ??? No way!!!
I arrived home on Friday evening and the bus will be delivered to the garage on Monday. As far as I’ve been able to estimate it on location, it all seems to be okay and it has probably been limited to some cabling that was too close to the outlet, causing it to melt. After the corona and this setback, we will soon continue to create the coolest tour bus in the Netherlands.
Late January I visited Italy to go and watch a bus. Goal was to buy a double decker and use it to tour all over Europe with bands, artists and/or crew. There were still some repairs which had to be completed and a new M.O.T. had to be done as part of the deal.
The planning was made as such that we were expecting it could get into service the upcoming summer … Not expecting the whole world was going to face the consequences of Covid-19. Northern Italy was in a total lockdown and the bus was still in Lucca, right below the closed area but getting there was practically impossible.
At the moment 2020 will be a lost year which is very annoying but on the other side, we do have lots of time to really do a proper job on redesigning the interior of our future tourbus, the way we want it.