Behind the Wheel: The Life of a Band Driver

We've all had that thought: It must really suck driving everywhere. Sure life on the road is a dream for many, but it's not glamorous, especially when you first start out.

During their US tour last year, Abandoned By Bears had to catch rides with bands in their tour package; a difficult task when other bands had to worry about hauling their own members and gear.

Fast forward to the present day: Abandoned By Bears are on the 'Charm Cities Tour' with Bad Case (formerly known as Bad Case of Big Mouth), and Carousel Kings, who are promoting their new album Charm City. Abandoned By Bears now has their own van AND their driver, a friendly, energetic guy named Dakoda. We met Dakoda at the Charm Cities Tour stop in Manchester, NH and the idea hit us. We always interview bands here at Crowdsurf, but never those behind the scene; those that make the concerts we attend possible. We talked with Dakoda, a former truck driver, about life on the road with Abandoned By Bears and how he ended up as their driver.

Crowdsurf Central: Tell us about yourself.
Well I was born and raised in Texas I had one brother and a father I was close to. I love my mother too but she drives us all nuts. I too play music and have a band back home, but we are currently having all of our personal issues so we'll be back to our old selves as soon as we get everything solved out. For the most part outside of being a musician and a amateur sound tech; I was a normal Texas kid growing up, played football and baseball, didn't exactly like school because of the people around me, but I dealt with it like everyone else does. Went to college a little bit but have yet to finish with a degree. But now I'm here and I've never been happier. 

Crowdsurf Central: You said you were a truck driver prior to this. When did you start, and how long did you do that for?
I spent the better part of 2016 being a truck driver. The driving didn't bother me in fact I enjoyed it as well as the sights I saw. I was fired in January of 2017 because of personal issues I had. But I was miserable doing it, not because of the job itself, but the process I had to deal with. Most days to get a trailer to make money I'd spend 30 minutes to 2 hours on hold trying to get work. It drove me insane.

Crowdsurf Central: How did you end up driving for ABB?
Well one their managers at Word Is Bond Inc. made a post about ABB needing a driver and I offered my help. And I kept in constant contact with them, making sure of updates. And they got their visas cleared and I rode the bus to Oklahoma City to pick up a van that didn't work out due to its serious issues. Then rode the bus again up to Philly and flew back to Indianapolis to pick up the van we are in now. Then drove it to pick up the bears in NYC. 

Crowdsurf Central: What's it been like so far?
So far they have been a delight to drive around, and we crack up and laugh pretty much constantly. And all the locals I've seen open up for the tour have been amazing.

Crowdsurf Central: I know it's only been a few days, but what's been your favorite show of the tour?
So far hands down even it being freezing cold and a 21+ show, the Portland, Maine date has been my favorite. Friday Night Lites is a band I've been dying to see for a long time and they killed it.

Crowdsurf Central: What's it like driving four Swedish dudes around the country? Give us all the details, no matter how ugly.
Well they've honestly been great, they're probably the most grateful dudes I've ever met. And we all keep a good line of communication so there's no mishaps that could be trouble later. I honestly feel like I annoy them more than I feel like they've annoyed me. Which hasn't happened yet but 5 more weeks in van with them will tell the story.

Crowdsurf Central: Do you normally sleep in the van or have you been able to find places to stay?
So far we've been able to have places to stay every night. But I know once we get to the west coast we may have to sleep in the van a few nights.

Crowdsurf Central: Music of choice while driving?
Music really depends on who's DJ, so far Frederick rides shotgun and plays a good variety of things from pop-punk to hip hop/Rap. But today Max got a hold of the aux and played the most diverse things and even went on a Swedish music Marathon.

Crowdsurf Central: Favorite place to stop while on the road?
So far when there's cheap food, that's my favorite cause ya know. Food is life.

Crowdsurf Central: How do you stay awake? I just don't get it. 
 I mostly live on coffee and keeping my mind busy. Helps me stay up on the late night drives.

Crowdsurf Central: Favorite & least favorite driving conditions. 
 I drive in anything, but it's not the conditions that bother me it's really just where we are. As a truck driver I hate driving in California but I have found a new hatred in driving in NYC.

Crowdsurf Central: Longest you've driven without sleeping?
As truck driver, I've driven my full 11 hour clock DOT legally allows me to drive on multiple occasions. And the farthest distance is 710 miles in one day.

Crowdsurf Central: Favorite highway?
As boy from Texas I-30 and I-20 are smooth sailing.

Crowdsurf Central: Favorite part of the country?
Definitely the northwest when it comes to sight seeing. But food wise, the south will always be my home.

Have any questions you think we missed? Let us know! Dakoda and Abandoned By Bears are on tour until April 13th and will be all over the US. Check out the dates below!