This past weekend we had the chance to get an exclusive ride-along with the crew behind the MINI Normal Crashing Tour. For their most recent stunt, MINI recruited Detroit indie-rock duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr to perform out of a cup-up MINI Cooper convertible.
During a typical concert you may walk into a venue, order yourself a the finest frosty glass of PBR, and direct your attention towards the stage. In the case of MINI however, they like to do things a little…abnormally.
With the help of music blog RCRD LBL, MINI has produced a series of shows which take place in “Not Normal” locations throughout the U.S; Kicking off the tour in Chicago, IL with a performance by Twin Shadow inside a run down furniture store in the heart of Wicker Park (the Silverlake of CHicago).
For the final leg of the tour MINI decided to go all out and do something that at least I have never seen done before: have a band play in a moving vehicle. Of course our first thought here at LA CANVAS was, how? especially in a MINI cooper?
I’ve seen bands play out of buses, which usually have a enough space to set up a drum kit and amps, but a MINI? I own a MINI Cooper myself and I can’t imagine having any more than 1-3 other people in the car, and that alone takes up all of the room, but leave it to the auto designers to come up with a wild concept for the Dale Earnhard Jr. Jr. guys.
MINI took their coveted 2013 Cooper S convertible model, got rid of almost all but the driver’s seat, and built a custom set-up just for the band. Of course you had your typical add on’s, you know, the must-haves: bluetooth accessibility leather interior, chrome accents, spots package, the works. Yet, this particular model was rigged with a specially designed keyboard station, complete with synthesizers, a microphone, and a shnazzy leather stool allowing access to a guitar amp that had been built into the car. As well, the car was outfitted with a full set of speakers, creating a sound blast radius that could definitely be heard in any angle around the vehicle (take that bass-bumping low-riders!).
After the show, we had a chance to have a quick chat with Dale Earnhard Jr. Jr.’s own Josh Epstein about the experience:
LAC: How did MINI approach you with the opportunity to play the Normal Crashers Tour? Did they let you know what you were getting yourselves into?
JE: They told us about the idea, and who could refuse riding around in Mini cut up like an El Camino, playing songs on loud speakers?
LAC:Were you able to have any say in how your performance space on the car was to be designed?
JE: We weren’t consulted. Perhaps they had been warned of our overly ambitious design history? We probably would have come up with 100 ideas that would have been rejected anyhow.
LAC: Was there a particular reason behind the choice of your song “Vocal Chords” to be the featured track while playing in the moving car?
JE: That was the song that Mini picked. We would have enjoyed playing any of them, but that one ended up being really fun. Good choice, Mini.
LAC: I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a band playing out of a moving car, how did that feel, and did you have any difficulties while cruising at…let’s say 30 MPH on the US 101?
JE: It felt like being on a ride at Disney World. But there was no line to wait in before hand so it was better.
LAC: With the release of It’s A Corporate World in 2011, what does the band have on the horizon for 2013?
JE: A new EP, a new LP and much touring
LAC: While you guys were in LA, what would you say is your favorite spot that is a “must-visit” before you leave town?
JE: We typically find ourselves at the 101 cafe for apple pie a la mode after we finish a show. I guess that has become a “thing.”
Stay tuned for our exclusive video capturing the performance on LAC TV. Keep an eye out on whats happening in the world of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. right here and keep up with MINI and everything “Not Normal” here.