If you’re curious about why the band owes this much on our van (and why we’re fundraising this exact weird number), here’s a really dumb story with all the details. I don’t blame you or skipping right over it - I’m annoyed all over again just thinking about it. But for anyone who wants the nitty-gritty details because you’re donating to our GoFundMe campaign, you’re welcome to them.
The new van is worth around $31,000 (which is already more than any one “thing” I’ve ever owned), and we owe $44.095.50 on it. The turbo in our old van needed to be replaced. It was a 2016 Ford Transit, which we leased from Maguire Ford in Ithaca, and being that it was so new, we shouldn't have had as much trouble with it as we did. We took it to Maguire who quoted us $3,500 for the repair -gulp- and it was going to take them a month to get to it, which we couldn’t wait for because we had a tour coming up. So we bought the parts from them and brought it to another local mechanic who said they could get it right in. They had it for a few weeks before they finally put it on a lift and decided the van was too tall for their lift and that the job would be too dangerous for the mechanics at their shop to do the work. So I called around again and found another local mechanic who said they could get it right in.
We brought the parts there with the van and left the keys, and then we drove by it every day for three more weeks to see that our semi-crooked park job hadn’t changed. When this garage finally looked at it, (after I called a couple times, a week or so apart, to raise hell), they told us that there were bolts sunken into the engine, and they’d have to either send it to machine shop to get the bolts out (which would cost three times as much), or we could just take it back… So we had it towed back to Maguire to accept the $3,500 repair. Meanwhile we had to cancel the tour because we had no vehicle. (It was a short tour and mostly venues we’ve played before whose bookers were okay with our cancellations, but some venue owners were not happy with us.) And then Maguire discovered we’d need another part, but that one was on national back order with no estimate of when they might be able to get it, and the estimate had gone up to $4,500. -AM I TAKING CRAZY PILLS?- They found this elusive part somehow (more raising hell on the phone) and had it overnighted, so we’re gratefully agreed... but then the repair estimate went up to $5,000. And then some kind soul at the dealership let us know about some fine print in our lease agreement, ending in one year, that I never knew about that would require us to pay a $12,000 balloon payment at the end. (I didn’t sign this lease - van stuff used to be handled by someone else in our organization. DO read the fine print of a “track lease” agreement!) So in one year’s time, we would have paid $17,000 for a four-year-old van in order to give it back to the dealership… or we could have spent more to buy it, and I’m not even sure what the cost was. There were a lot of numbers being thrown around. So, that same kind soul at the dealership made a suggestion: she could roll the balloon payment from the lease into the cost of a brand new van (to buy, not lease), and the $5,000 repair would go away. We also had another tour scheduled in a week, so we needed the damn van. I went for it, signed a million papers, and now we owe CFCU $44,095.50. The payments every month are $678, and where before COVID-19 when we were playing shows all the time, that number felt manageable, now it’s become suffocating.
GoFundMe takes 2.9% + $0.30 for every donation, so I’ve added the 2.9% ($1,278.76) for a grand freaking total of $45,374. If we were able to perform, I never would have divulged any of this saga because it’s dumb and boring and stressful and annoying. But, should you feel compelled to help the band and want the full story, you should have it.
And now, back to our campaign!