As the final Vans Warped Tour comes to a close, Trash Boat frontman Tobi Duncan can’t help but let out a laugh when he’s told he’s survived the tour’s final run. “Don’t say that. We still have a few days left,” Duncan says. “We could still emerge in a ball of flames before West Palm Beach.”
Not that it’d be the rockers’ first time dealing with flames during this year’s punk-rock summer camp. Like any act heading out on the road for Warped Tour, the British act knew this summer was going to be a lot of work. But little did they think their time on the road was going to so closely resemble A Series Of Unfortunate Events.
Making it through the first week of tour, the band’s sights were set on Salt Lake City following their epic Vegas show. However, things didn’t totally go as planned.
“We were on our way to Salt Lake City, and in the middle of the night, we thought we had blown a tire. So we pulled over, and I remember trying to fall back asleep. But our driver came running into the bunk area screaming for us to get out because the bus was on fire,” Duncan says.
“It was 1 or 2 a.m., and there were a couple of drivers spraying fire extinguishers in the wheel well because it was burning. The band we were sharing a bus with got a ride with some friends, and we stayed with the bus in the desert and waited for the replacement. But it took a really long time—20 hours or so—for it to arrive. The replacement bus got about four hours into Utah, and then it also broke down.”
And that’s just where the saga begins. The band took to social media to detail their series of Warped mishaps. When bus No. 2 broke down, they were stuck waiting over 30 hours for bus No. 3. That’s when they decided to ditch the bus and trekked from Utah to Kansas in a series of taxis and rental cars.
— Trash Boat (@TrashBoatUK) July 2, 2018
“We were just irritated at that point. We had no real food; we just had a case of water. We stopped at a 7-Eleven and got crappy snacks to survive on, like chips and doughnuts. It was rubbish,” Duncan explains. “When when we finally made it to Kansas, the fourth bus picked us up.”
Thankfully, the band only missed three shows. Things were OK, and the bus worked—mostly. The ceiling leaked, the outlets were faulty and the generator smoked a lot. “The bands used to complain and tell us to turn off our generator, so we didn’t have air conditioning,” Duncan says. “But it still ran.”
That is, until a few days ago. When they were in Georgia, the bus company decided to stop driving the band, forcing them to abandon their bus and round out the tour in rental cars. For lots of people, a Warped run with this many setbacks might have left a bitter taste. But Trash Boat couldn’t imagine a better few months on the road. Nor could they imagine they’d have such an epic story to tell.
From the release of their new album, Crown Shyness, to the Wantagh date spent surrounded by kittens, the band saw massive support from fans and the “family on wheels” that is Vans Warped Tour.
“There have been some incredible shows. The attendance, the energy, the vibe, the family aspect of all the crew and the bands. It’s literally a village on wheels. I’ve never experienced anything like it, but I love it,” Duncan says.
“And the fans have been responding great since the beginning of the tour, but since we released the album, we’ve seen a crazy bump in response. Even the days where we didn’t think we’d have that many people watching us, we’ve had pretty full crowds. It’s been so much fun, and it really is a shame that it’s ending.”
As Trash Boat wrap up their last few sets and ready themselves for Warped Tour’s emotional farewell, they can’t help but think about the fact that they made it. “The next time something goes wrong it’ll pale in comparison. Hopefully,” Duncan says with a laugh. Because when you’re faced with fires, sometimes all you can do is remember that it’s an epic story to tell.
“Everything exceeded our expectations, whether it be good or bad,” Duncan says. “All the stuff that we’ve been through makes for a great story at the end of the day. We could’ve had a very uneventful summer with just some good shows and some good friends, and that would’ve been great too. But I don’t think I would change it, even if I could.”
Trash Boat’s latest Crown Shyness is available now via Hopeless Records. The band will also be hitting the road with As It Is in the fall. Check out the dates below.
11/18 – Antwerp, Belgium @ Trix
11/19 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Melkweg
11/21 – Hamburg, Germany @ LOGO
11/22 – Cologne, Germany @ Luxor
11/23 – Paris, France @ La Boule Noire
11/25 – Bristol, England @ Thekla
11/26 – Edinburgh, England @ Liquid Room
11/28 – Manchester, England @ O2 Ritz Manchester
11/29 – Birminhgam, England @ O2 Institute
12/01 – London, England @ O2 Forum Kentish Town