Lots of bands pay lip service to the environment -- or, in the best cases, pay for carbon offsets for the fuel used by their tour buses.
Philadelphia's mewithoutyou [cq] doesn't do either. The group walks the walk -- or, in this case, rides the ride -- on a 40-foot 1976 MC8 Charter retooled to runs on vegetable oil.
It's actually the group's second bus to convert a diesel engine to operate using the organic fuel. "The idea was so cool when we first heard about it a few years ago, we just figured out how to do it," says frontman Aaron Weiss. "The first kit we had was installed into our last bus by a professional bus garage. They showed us how to do it."
When that ride broke down for good about three years ago, Weiss says mewithoutyou -- currently on the road promoting its fourth album, "It's All Crazy!..." -- was up to convert another one on its own when the group found a candidate at an Arkansas dealership via an online auction.
"We were in the middle of a tour," recalls Weiss, 30, who's also a practicing freegan -- meaning he dines mostly on discarded foods -- and has returned to the University of Pennsylvania or a possible master's degree in education. "We were gutting the inside, taking out seats, building bunk beds, splicing the vegetable oil tank into the fuel line and the anti-freeze line, install a valve selector...
"We were able to take the kit out of the old bus with relatively little trouble and make all the necessary conversions. It's determination, mostly, but it makes us feel good that we can tour this way."
mewithoutyou, the Dear Hunter and Kay Kay & his Weathered Underground perform Saturday (July 4) at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets are $13. Call (313) 833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.
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