Uncle Lucius Share a Few Scary Tour Van Moments and How They Are Embracing the Evolution of the Music Industry

June 9, 2015

Tell us about your tour vehicle.

Our current van is a 15-passenger Ford. Her name is Maya Vangelou. She is our third van after The Mothership (conversion van), and Levanathon (a retired prison van with hard plastic seats and metal interior!)  We are on our fourth cargo trailer.

Once while sitting in the front passenger seat riding down a Tennessee highway at 70mph, I witnessed a tire roll past the van! We then realized the tire came off our trailer and passed us! Luckily it rolled into the median and fell over with no major incident, except us sitting on on the side of the road for a few hours. You learn quickly the importance of that second axle on the trailer!

One night we were headed to Kansas City, driving through Oklahoma in the middle of the night. Kevin (lead singer) was driving, and I (Josh Greco, drums) was in the front passenger seat. We were going at least 70 mph when all hell broke loose! A loud crash and huge jolt sent us swerving across interstate 35 to finally come to rest in the middle of the highway with our trailer off the hitch a sitting on its side. We got out and realized something hit us from behind!! Hard enough to total the trailer and knock it off the hitch! We never found out who or what hit us. Luckily during the chaos, during which I was in the front passenger seat letting out a succession of high pitched screams, Kevin was able to gain control and bring us to a stop safely. We were helped out by some friends that live in the area, and still made the gig after renting a trailer. In the end, the only casualties were an accordion that took the brunt of the impact, and any “cool factor” I had after the rest of the band woke up to me screaming like a little girl.

How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?

It’s hard to eat healthy on the road! We tend to stay away from fast food (try to at least). We love tasting the local cuisine wherever we are, and that usually means fresher ingredients and more sit down meals. I was vegetarian for 2 years while touring, and finally gave up on it. I admire someone who can have the planning and discipline to keep up a healthy diet on the road. It is a constant struggle to stay healthy on the road, but it gets better with more experience.

How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?

Guitar strings get changed every 1-2 shows on multiple guitars and drumheads get changed every 5-10 shows. So with over 150 shows a year for over 7 years now, it becomes a hefty sum for sure!

Where do you rehearse?

We’ve been practicing at my house that has a sound proofed studio, but we used to pay hourly for a rehearsal space. And we’ve also spent many hours in a garage without AC in the texas summer!

Describe your first gig.

I grew up playing jazz and orchestra in school. So I played many jazz gigs in high school and college. But while in college in Austin, I started playing rock n roll in a cover band on 6th street. After a few years of playing around Austin 6 or 7 nights a week in many different bands, I met the boys I would tour with for 8 years and counting!

What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?

My last job was waiting tables at a restaurant in Austin, where I met the lead singer of Uncle Lucius. He eventually asked me to come play with them, and shortly after that we were in a van traveling around the country.

How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?

Our years of hard work finally paid off when we were able to leave our day jobs to be full time musicians. It’s been 4 years now of living our dream of making art, and traveling around making people happy and spreading the good vibes. I couldn’t ask or expect much more, so any good fortune that comes our way in the future is icing on the cake. To me, we’ve already “made it”.

What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?

I’ve learned you can’t deny what the music business is. It’s completely different from a few years ago, will change completely in the years to come. You have to embrace the evolution of the industry, and find your own ways to get the art you make into the ears of listeners.

Texas-based, southern rock band Uncle Lucius’ The Light is the statement their fans have waited for, with its songs of seeking and questioning, of reaching out to others, of excavating the hidden strength within.

The Light’s 12 songs share themes of travel, movement, and quests without destinations. Guitarist Mike Carpenter turned images of a two-lane highway in West Texas’s Big Bend into a kind of prayer: “At the end of 118, that’s where I wanna be/Me and you, far from the city beat.” His “Wheel’s in Motion” explores those situations when we concede control over our own actions, when we hide our powers of reason behind the blinders of duty and responsibility. That thread continues in “Don’t Own the Right,” co-written by Galloway and Carpenter, which reminds us not to judge others.

Fortunately, this band has plenty of practice straying from the simpler path. For a decade, Uncle Lucius had built its fan base the hard way, through relentless touring and restless searching. With no other option, they called on their die-hards for help. Hundreds of believers pledged tens of thousands of hard-earned dollars. Both humbled and exhilarated, the band hit the studio, eager to justify their fans’ love with the labor of their hearts and souls.

You can connect with Uncle Lucius online and on the road.