Illustration: Erendira Mancias (FMG)

With a few exceptions (I’m looking at you A-Team van), the van tends to be just an unremarkable, utilitarian vehicle. Each day the vans of the world drive the city streets and highways while coupes and pickups, SUVs and roadsters, muscle cars and luxury vehicles pass them by, getting most of the attention. To most, a van is, well, just a van. But to a touring musician, a van is so much more.

It’s their transportation, their bedroom, their hangout, their friend, their enemy. It’s where their gear lives, it’s where THEY live. It’s usually always uncomfortable. But it’s also where the good stuff happens. And also the strange stuff.

As a musician, I spent more than 10 years touring at various times. So when I think of being in a band, I generally think about two things: guitars, and vans. And since guitars aren’t really a thing we cover so much here on Jalopnik (though I’ll be happy to talk gear in the comments), you can guess what this episode of Tempest is about: the magic of the tour van.

This week, I speak with four musicians about what it’s like to go on tour. Instead of the stories about the concerts and afterparties, these are the van stories. And they’re told by none other than Aaron Beam of Red Fang, Syd Butler of Les Savy Fav (the house band for Late Night with Seth Myers), Matt Reber of New Bomb Turks, and Gordon Koch of Call of the Void.

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You’ll hear what I mean when you listen.

Tempest is available wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, GooglePlay, iHeart Radio and every week here on Jalopnik, too. And hit us up at tempest@jalopnik.com if you want to learn more.

Tempest is written, hosted, and produced by David Obuchowski. Mandana Mofidi is the Fusion Media Group Executive Director of Audio. Editorial oversight provided by Patrick George and Kristen Lee.