A 15-Passenger Van of Memories: An Interview with RIVALS

Photo courtesy of Matt Bender
Kalie Wolfe and her band, RIVALS, spent the majority of their summer on the road with Red Jumpsuit Apparatus where they got to experience their first real cross-country tour. For most of its members, RIVALS has been their first touring band in general. For Wolfe, RIVALS is the first band she’s ever been in.

She remembers when the band first starting touring out of a “super crappy 2001 Dodge”, having bought the 12-passenger van with their tax return money and hoping that all the miles already on it weren’t going to cause too many issues. The tours weren’t very long; a week tops. But they were touring none the less.

She remembers getting ready for a California run – Fresno, Bakersfield, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Pomona – and after that booking a longer run only to have Wolfe’s job tell her that she couldn’t take the time off. She definitely remembers quitting that job after throwing her hat at her manager and telling him to go fuck himself.

She remembers nights in the 12-passenger van where she and six other people had to find a way to sleep for two and a half weeks.

She remembers upgrading to a 15-passenger van and feeling relieved that it meant four rows of seating for now only four people. A night of sleeping came much easier after that.

She remembers a tour with pop band Uh Huh Baby Yeah where one of her favorite stories occurred. After a show one night the band was staying at someone’s house, but as they were driving up a windy road they were convinced that nothing good would come out of it. Instead, they were met with a beautiful, giant brass gate and an equally giant house behind the gate. They spent the night outside, petting horses and goats and trying fresh beef burgers made right on the property. They even got to take some with them, which they immediately stored in their cooler.

She remembers the van breaking down the next day and leaving it in the shop while they finished the tour. When they returned to it, the smell of old burger meat permeated everything in the van.

She remembers accidentally leaving their former guitar player at a gas station while he cleaned out the cooler. It’s a story she still laughs at when sharing it.

She’s going to remember this tour with Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, where fans now wait in line to meet her and her bandmates. She’s going to remember playing every night for an audience that she hadn’t been able to reach until that very moment. It’s Wolfe’s tour memories with RIVALS that are going to leave a permanent mark on everything she continues to do in music, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.