Great Electric Quest On Vans, SXSW and the Power of Stoner Rock
The Great Electric Quest are one of my favorite bands going in the stoner rock scene right now. With their massive white tour bus, happy-go-lucky attitude and undying dedication to their scene these guys truly understand what the music was meant to be all about. A band who have always understood the otherworldly magic of rock and roll it was a pleasure to get to sit down with them at South By Southwest and talk about the beauty of stoner rock and their shitty fucking van.
They also have a badass Thin Lizzy cover coming out on a cool new compilation featuring a variety of bands entitled Bow To Your Masters Volume 1: Thin Lizzy. Donate to the Kickstarter HERE.
How the hell are you guys?
Buddy (B): Having a blast with the Texas hospitality!
Mucho (M): It’s a good time!
So what’s going on with the van?
Tyler (T): A lot of coolant issues! We’ve taken it to 4 different shops on this tour. I think we’ve spent $130 on coolant on this mission already!
B: It’s a sexy van though! We call it White Lightning because it’s so damn slow.
T: You get it to about 55 it’s chilling, 65 the whole thing is rattling.
M: It feels like the back is going to break off! We got it fixed this morning for the 4th time – 4th times the charm, you know what they say!
T: I slept on the floor at the shop!
M: We didn’t want to miss the bands at the show!
T: They were trying to act like it was all cool since they were doing it for free and it’s like “You replaced the part yesterday!”
I love how it is simultaneously silly and iconic… how did you get it?
B: Off Craigslist, like how I got my singer! There’s a radio station in our town that got that van to shuttle people to their shows and they set it all up. I guess the decided that it was costing too much gas money so they just sold it to another band who did one tour with it and then they sold it to us.
M: That band was called Latex Grenade, their stickers are all over the bus. They would fill up condoms and throw them at people!
Fill up condoms with what?
T: I don’t know. It could be anything! If you’re going for the semen kind of thing that’s a lot of loads, a community effort if you will! That’s how a band stays together.
B: That’s what you get from Craigslist!
Is the van a unifying factor?
B: We got it in May when the last record came out. We’ve been a band for seven years so not really.
M: The cool thing about the van is that the band before us already rigged it to have bunk beds and be ready to go.
T: It does bring us together though. It’s close quarters. There’s a lot of below the belt verbal jabs. Nothing that will ruin the relationship but definitely some funny stuff. On this tour it’s awesome because we have a driver named Chris – he’s my neighbor. He’s been doing really good. So far a lot of the shows have been great because we load up and go to sleep. He sleeps during the shows and drives through the night.
B: That’s definitely a unifying factor because one guy isn’t pissed at the others because he had to stay up all night driving.
T: Any band that is on the road and has that load of driving… it’s usually Buddy or I and there’s usually animosity about it.
B: It’s a full night of sleep you lose.
T: The weather was way more brutal last year. This tour by far has been the best. It’s a blessing.
How has SXSW been for you as a whole?
B: It’s amazing. We played last year. This is our second invasion tour from the west coast. The whole SXSW is kind of lame but the bands that come are awesome.
T: It’s like Psycho Las Vegas, rock and rollers come in and invade by numbers and by spirit.
M: You never know how big this will grow too!
It’s cool to see how much stoner rock has united us over the years…
T: It’s definitely growing, more shows are going on and more people are involved. There’s a lot of lifers but maybe they aren’t playing in bands. Then suddenly they start jamming and playing shows. Everyone comes in.
M: If you want to see a band you’ve been listening to for years like Sabbath or Cooper you have to pay out the ass but shit like this is 10 hours of rock and roll for free. It doesn’t just bring bands together it brings a whole community together.
Why do you think this type of music brings people together?
M: It’s not a specific type of music, any music people enjoy works. They are playing some tribal percussion stuff on the other side of the bar and hose people are having a great time. They are having a great time on their level and on our side we also are having fun and there’s no conflict. It brings people together.
T: I don’t get to explore a lot of other music but the more festivals I go to the more I realize there aren’t a lot of assholes around. Everyone is drinking and no one is fighting.
B: They keep serving ridiculous amounts of alcohol to everybody and nobody gets in a fight and that’s strange. That’s really special.
M: It’s really the people. You go to a nightclub and those people like music but they are assholes and fight. Here everyone is chilling and getting drunk.
T: Texas is the shit!
B: Texas is insane.
What do you love so much about music?
M: How much time do we got?
T: It’s the place where you feel the most at home. It’s identifiable. As a player you get to be a part of the ongoing conversation of rock and roll that has been going on since Chuck Berry. It’s always the same transcendental ideas. Rock and roll isn’t trying to shit on anybody, it’s about being psyched on what you’ve got going and doing it with a bunch of people!
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