Check out this essay I wrote to Guitar Center, in the hopes of winning:

– Ford E-150 XL Wagon (the “Van”);  ARV of the Van: $26,445
– $5,000 Cash
– One (1) year of internet access ARV: $1,055
– $500 Gasoline Card, good for purchases of gasoline

The contest is judged purely on the merits of the essay, and not by chance or random drawing. Witness my mad writing skills, and tell me if you think we’ll win.

Badger the Witness, tomorrow at 7pm (one hour later, because I suck and didn’t get the show scheduled in time. Blame me).


Personally, I don’t think our band, Nonetheless, NEEDS a new ride. I’m perfectly happy schlepping down to U-Haul every other weekend, renting a dirty and rusted-out 5’x8′ trailer, attaching it to my 1998 Jeep Cherokee with no air conditioning and bad tires, and dragging our cargo at a speed that exceeds 45 MPH to whatever venue we’re due to play that night. I like nothing more than to attempt backing the trailer into a tight spot, or better yet, disconnecting it altogether and hoping that it’s still there after the gig. I like having to take the $5 insurance just in case someone scratches it up. We don’t need a van.

But if we HAD a van, I suppose we could find a use for it. We could probably put all our equipment in it, and know that it’s secure. We could actually drive the vehicle holding the gear, rather than pull it like a donkey pulls a cart full of wheat. And it would be so handy on tour. So far, we haven’t had extensive touring (unless “across town” counts), but we HAVE gone 6 hours away for a show, and we rented a van just like this one. It was heavenly. It held all our beer – I mean, gear – and made it a lot easier to keep everything together and secure. We didn’t have to deal with potentially losing a trailer in the wilderness of a strange city, and it brought us some major street cred. In our minds. The worst part was when we had to take it back. I wept a little, thinking about going back to U-Haul again and praying that the insurance covers floods, earthquakes, and rabid badger attacks. Hey, you never know.

There are some essentials that would have to be in the van at all times. This is not a comprehensive list, but you limited us to 10 items, so that’s what we’re working with. We don’t even mention the 40” plasma flat screen TV we’d mount in the ceiling, or the Xbox 360, or anything about the DVD player and 400GB hard drive. Mainly because we don’t have any of those things. But here are 10 things we’d HAVE to have, no matter what:

  • Beer (for storage, not for drinking and driving)
  • Guitar picks (500 should be enough for 3 or 4 shows)
  • Maps of Texas (and Germany and maybe Japan)
  • Condoms (just keeping it real)
  • A hairdryer (we’ve got some long-haired band members)
  • 9 volt batteries (for all the pedals, instruments, and portable games)
  • Guitar strings (and bass strings, but bassists rarely admit to breaking strings)
  • Aspirin (for aches, pains, and dealing with club owners)
  • First aid kit (for aches, pains, and dealing with club owners)
  • Oranges (to prevent scurvy)

Ordinarily I’d add more beer to this list, and maybe some Captain Morgan, but I don’t want Guitar Center thinking that we drink and drive, or that we’re a bunch of lushes. Luscious, yes. Lushes, no.

Our five piece group is one of the most dedicated and focused units in our area. Each member works exceedingly hard to make good music that we love, and to give our fans the best show we possibly can. We understand that they don’t have to spend their hard-earned money on us; they choose to. We want to show our respect and appreciation at every show so that they get their money’s worth, and so that they’ll tell their friends all about the fun they had at the Nonetheless show. We constantly think about the people, and we strive to remain grounded and accessible, and to never get that rock star attitude, thinking we’re above the people who come to see us. They’re above us, pulling us to their level. Each of us makes a point to do everything we can to make sure that for our band, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

We don’t need a van. We have U-Haul, and that’s been working out GREAT for us so far. But if Guitar Center awards us a van, they will have given it to a group of people who will treasure it, who will appreciate it, who will show that they deserve it, and who will excel with it.

Peace. (that part is just for the blog. I didn’t put it in the essay.)