Motor City Rides 

Getting Detroit’s whiskey-sodden roots-rockers the Deadstring Brothers on the road ain’t easy. First, there are six of ’em, three of whom are Brits. Second, the band tours with a Hammond M3 Organ and its Leslie 145 cabinet — your basic hernia-inducing space hogs.

Fortunately, the Deadstring’s 1999 Ford E150 — which it has owned two years and has already logged 70,000 miles on — is about as big and comfy a van as you can get (one can actually stand up in it!). It came with a DVD/VHS player and a sweet stereo, which had bone-crushing subterranean bass that Deadstring leader Kurt Marschke decided he could live without. He saved about a grand by ditching the monstrous sound system and opened up more passenger space in the process. (The band hauls its gear in a 5-foot-by-8-foot trailer.) “You gotta trade off on these things,” Marschke chuckles. “You either have a kicker system or someone gets to sleep in the back.” And everyone within a half-mile radius of the van can sleep too.

More by Doug Coombe

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