Great Electric Quest On Vans, SXSW and the Power of Stoner Rock


The Great Electric Quest are one of my favorite bands going in the stoner rock scene right now. With their massive white tour bus, happy-go-lucky attitude and undying dedication to their scene these guys truly understand what the music was meant to be all about. A band who have always understood the otherworldly magic of rock and roll it was a pleasure to get to sit down with them at South By Southwest and talk about the beauty of stoner rock and their shitty fucking van.

They also have a badass Thin Lizzy cover coming out on a cool new compilation featuring a variety of bands entitled Bow To Your Masters Volume 1: Thin Lizzy. Donate to the Kickstarter HERE.

How the hell are you guys?

Buddy (B): Having a blast with the Texas hospitality!

Mucho (M): It’s a good time!

So what’s going on with the van?

Tyler (T): A lot of coolant issues! We’ve taken it to 4 different shops on this tour. I think we’ve spent $130 on coolant on this mission already!

B: It’s a sexy van though! We call it White Lightning because it’s so damn slow.

T: You get it to about 55 it’s chilling, 65 the whole thing is rattling.

M: It feels like the back is going to break off! We got it fixed this morning for the 4th time – 4th times the charm, you know what they say!

T: I slept on the floor at the shop!

M: We didn’t want to miss the bands at the show!

T: They were trying to act like it was all cool since they were doing it for free and it’s like “You replaced the part yesterday!”

I love how it is simultaneously silly and iconic… how did you get it?

B: Off Craigslist, like how I got my singer! There’s a radio station in our town that got that van to shuttle people to their shows and they set it all up. I guess the decided that it was costing too much gas money so they just sold it to another band who did one tour with it and then they sold it to us.

M: That band was called Latex Grenade, their stickers are all over the bus. They would fill up condoms and throw them at people!

Fill up condoms with what?

T: I don’t know. It could be anything! If you’re going for the semen kind of thing that’s a lot of loads, a community effort if you will! That’s how a band stays together.

B: That’s what you get from Craigslist!

Is the van a unifying factor?

B: We got it in May when the last record came out. We’ve been a band for seven years so not really.

M: The cool thing about the van is that the band before us already rigged it to have bunk beds and be ready to go.

T: It does bring us together though. It’s close quarters. There’s a lot of below the belt verbal jabs. Nothing that will ruin the relationship but definitely some funny stuff. On this tour it’s awesome because we have a driver named Chris – he’s my neighbor. He’s been doing really good. So far a lot of the shows have been great because we load up and go to sleep. He sleeps during the shows and drives through the night.

B: That’s definitely a unifying factor because one guy isn’t pissed at the others because he had to stay up all night driving.

T: Any band that is on the road and has that load of driving… it’s usually Buddy or I and there’s usually animosity about it.

B: It’s a full night of sleep you lose.

T: The weather was way more brutal last year. This tour by far has been the best. It’s a blessing.

How has SXSW been for you as a whole?

B: It’s amazing. We played last year. This is our second invasion tour from the west coast. The whole SXSW is kind of lame but the bands that come are awesome.

T: It’s like Psycho Las Vegas, rock and rollers come in and invade by numbers and by spirit.

M: You never know how big this will grow too!

It’s cool to see how much stoner rock has united us over the years…

T: It’s definitely growing, more shows are going on and more people are involved. There’s a lot of lifers but maybe they aren’t playing in bands. Then suddenly they start jamming and playing shows. Everyone comes in.

M: If you want to see a band you’ve been listening to for years like Sabbath or Cooper you have to pay out the ass but shit like this is 10 hours of rock and roll for free. It doesn’t just bring bands together it brings a whole community together.

Why do you think this type of music brings people together?

M: It’s not a specific type of music, any music people enjoy works. They are playing some tribal percussion stuff on the other side of the bar and hose people are having a great time. They are having a great time on their level and on our side we also are having fun and there’s no conflict. It brings people together.

T: I don’t get to explore a lot of other music but the more festivals I go to the more I realize there aren’t a lot of assholes around. Everyone is drinking and no one is fighting.

B: They keep serving ridiculous amounts of alcohol to everybody and nobody gets in a fight and that’s strange. That’s really special.

M: It’s really the people. You go to a nightclub and those people like music but they are assholes and fight. Here everyone is chilling and getting drunk.

T: Texas is the shit!

B: Texas is insane.

What do you love so much about music?

M: How much time do we got?

T: It’s the place where you feel the most at home. It’s identifiable. As a player you get to be a part of the ongoing conversation of rock and roll that has been going on since Chuck Berry. It’s always the same transcendental ideas. Rock and roll isn’t trying to shit on anybody, it’s about being psyched on what you’ve got going and doing it with a bunch of people!

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  • Howard Dean
  • Waynecro

    Great interview! These guys seem like totally awesome dudes.

  • Elegant Gazing Globe

    Does the van have a POWERSTROKE brutha?

  • Looky looky, ToH mentioned on AMG in the same breath as MS today: “Sentient Ignition burst onto the death metal circuit one year ago, dropping a two-track demo that caught the ears of everyone from MetalSucks to Toilet Ov Hell.”

    Sorry, on topic: loving the Jackson V that dude is rocking! My main guitar is a black & white Gibson Flying V but a Jackson V, Randy Rhoads preferably, is still on my want list.

    • Elegant Gazing Globe

      does your V always want to torpedo in to the floor headstock first like mine?

      • It did when I had the strap thingy on the back of the body when I first bought it. I took that one off and installed a locking strap and put it on, like, the side, I guess you’d call it. Totally fixed the equilibrium problem.

  • KJM = MJK

    Sorry for the OT, but Tool has changed the layout of their official website for the 1st time since Bill Clinton was President. Shit must be getting real.

    • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

      I don’t want to spoil the fun, but if the new album is ever coming out, I fear it’s going to be a disappointment.

      • KJM = MJK

        There’s no way it’ll meet the sky high expectations many will have. If it has 2-3 decent songs, I’ll be fine with it. However, I’ll believe it when I see it.

        • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

          I don’t really have any expectations at all. If there won’t be any new album, I’ll be perfectly fine with it as well. I’ll always enjoy their back catalogue. After all, they were probably the first band that opened my eyes on the more creative possibilities of where you can take the metal genre.
          (Yeah, I know some don’t consider them a “metal band”, but personally I always considered them a part of the genre and countless online metal nerd debates on this subject haven’t really been able to change my opinion one bit)

          • KJM = MJK

            I consider Tool to be like Rush in that they’re mostly Prog(especially later on), but not far off from Metal at all. I’m also just fine with the back catalog standing as is.
            Also, I’m gonna be seeing them on the 27th so I’m fairly jacked about it.

          • BobLoblaw

            They still charging insane prices for tickets?

          • KJM = MJK

            I paid $50 for Boston nosebleeds in 2012, and I’m(mostly) paying $90 for Sec 2 next week. It’s not great but I’ve seen much worse.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Always considered Rush a classic progressive rock band first and foremost given their catalogue as a whole, but the early Rush albums (up until 2112) are definitely proto-metal. While I never considered them a metal band as such, I always considered them one of the most important influences on metal.
            I always thought of Tool as a metal band because I always saw them as a part of the alternative metal movement in the 90’s, together with stuff like Alice in Chains, early Melvins, Kyuss… Now I realize there’s a contingent of metal fans that don’t consider alternative metal in general to be “real metal”, but in my opinion the “metal” part of those bands – not necessarily solely in terms of instrumentation, but in terms of atmosphere as well – is important enough to consider them at least a direct derivative of the genre.
            I think the main reason why Tool isn’t included at Encyclopedia Metallum is because the mods over there want to prevent the review sections from turning into a shitstorm of outrageous Tool fanboys and rabid Tool haters: either 100% or 0% are the only scores we’re going to see if that would ever happen. Because in terms of music there are tons of bands (including straight up prog rock and experimental bands) that are a lot less metal than Tool that apparently do make the cut over there. And the “riffing structure has to be 100% metal” argument is a crock as well, seeing as I hear more classic metal influence in many of Tool’s riffs than I hear any classic metal riff influence in many of those drone bands that get accepted.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Oh and great you’re going to catch them live. Hopefully you didn’t get charged a ridiculous amount of money for nosebleeds haha!

          • KJM = MJK

            See below post, never paid anything REALLY outrageous to see them, seen them 10 times since 1998.

  • Sid Vicious Promos

    Yay, a Thin Lizzy tribute compilation!

  • KJM = MJK
  • CONAN Ayatollah of Jack & Cola
    • KJM = MJK

      I’mma go to MS now and toilet paper everything.

      • CONAN Ayatollah of Jack & Cola


      • CONAN Ayatollah of Jack & Cola

        don’t forget to leave a bag of burning shit in the server …….

  • KJM = MJK

    Chris Cornell dead at 52? That’s fucked up.
    I remember seeing Soundgarden & Faith No More opening for Voi Vod in 1990, crazy that both opening bands went on to be much bigger than the headliner.