NMR posted an article the other day about improving your views in 2014. One of the tips was: reach out to NMR for free publicity by telling us about your awesome-ass channel. Or something like that. Anyhow, Joshua Weidling of Digital Tour Bus responded, “Give me my free publicity, dammit!” Actually, he was quite nice and polite and I was impressed that he took me up on our offer, so I decided to check out just what the heck his channel, Digital Tour Bus, was doing. It turns out, they’re doing a whole hell of a lot. Their primary YouTube show, called “Bus Invaders,” takes you on the tour buses of some of the coolest names in rock n’ roll (and all music really) for a behind-the-curtain peek at how some of our favorite rock gods travel and live. The degrees of glamour change with the size of the celebrity, but there is no question Weidling has carved out one of the coolest gigs on the planet for his show. And with several other programs to fill out his lineup, Weidling is creating a veritable empire of interesting music-themed content.
I don’t know if being posted on NMR actually gets channels more exposure (I’ve heard it does, but we might just interview a lot of liars), I can guarantee one additional viewer for the Digital Tour Bus channel though: me. And I get the feeling that once you see what Joshua Weidling, “Bus Invaders” and Digital Tour Bus have to offer, you’ll subscribe too. So that’s two of us. Um, maybe also tell a friend?
First off, how easy was it to get coverage from NMR just by reaching out and telling us about your cool-ass channel that we previously didn’t know about?
Joshua Wiedling: It was surprisingly easy. I just sent them an email following the guidelines they have on their website, which are available here. You always got to make sure that you customize submissions for press from outlet to outlet. For NewMediaRockstars, it was easy. Why? Because I read the site daily, so it was simple for me to write a genuinely honest email to them asking to be featured.
How did you get into the gig of touring tour buses a la MTV’s “Cribs”? Where did the idea come from?
Well, I was just starting my freshman year of college at the University of Iowa. At the time, I was developing another website idea with a partner and as with a lot of partnerships, it wasn’t going well. So, when I came up with the idea for Digital Tour Bus, I decided to pursue it with full-force since it was a much better concept and I could do it my way.
As with most teens in high school, I did watch MTV’s “Cribs.” The funny thing is that I wasn’t watching the show when I came up with the idea. Honestly, I had always wondered what bands traveled around in. I went to tons of concerts in high school and I’d always see vans and buses parked outside of the venues. Curiosity got the best of me and I decided to take fans where they’ve never gone before, on the buses of their favorite artists!
Is this the coolest job you’ve ever had? If no, what’s cooler? If yes, what was the worst job you ever had?
I’ve had some pretty cool jobs throughout the years. I know, that sentence probably made me sound older than I am. I’m actually 23. Most of the jobs I’ve had, I created for myself. In high school and beginning of college, I was a concert promoter. For those unfamiliar with what that entails, basically it means that I booked bands at music venues. I mainly booked local bands, but I did get a chance to work with some bands you might recognize, most of them way before they were “big.” Some of them include: Alex Goot (at the time, he just went by Goot), The Ready Set, The White Tie Affair and We Came As Romans.
The worst job I’ve ever had would have to be when I priced and accepted donations for Goodwill Industries. I honestly didn’t hate the job at all though, but it’s definitely the worst out of all my jobs. I learned a lot of valuable lessons while working there that have helped me with running Digital Tour Bus over the years.
My favorite thing in the world are crazy stories — what’s your craziest story from “Bus Invaders”?
What’s funny about this question is that we actually have a series called “Crazy Tour Stories” where we partner up with artists to share some of their wild stories from being on the road.
It’s hard to come up with one particular story, since so many things have happened while doing Digital Tour Bus for the past five years, but I feel like I have a pretty good one to share. This happened during the winter of 2009, December 8 to be exact. It was the week of finals and I had video shoots scheduled with Sick Puppies and Rev Theory in Des Moines, Iowa, which is about two hours away from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where I went to school. My friends warned me that I shouldn’t go because they were predicting a snowstorm for that night. Did I listen? Nope. I was a hot shot 19-year-old who thought he knew everything.
So, I decided to make the trip. On my way to the venue, it started to snow, but it wasn’t that bad yet, so I didn’t think anything of it. By the time I had finished filming both of the band, it was already dark outside and there was about six inches of snow on the ground. Against my better judgment, I decided to try and drive home, even though I had friends’ houses I could have crashed at for the night. About a hour into the drive, the snow was so bad that I was going about 5 mph and could barely see 10 feet in front of me. To make it worse, I couldn’t go more than a minute without see a vehicle in the ditch, including a few semi-trucks. Not too long after, I decided that I needed to get off at the next exit and find a hotel to stay at for the night because, according to the radio, they were cutting off pulling cars out of ditches due to the severity of the storm. So, I pulled off at the next exit and what do I find? The only thing at this particular exit was a Lions Den. If you don’t know what that store is, look it up.
Now that you’ve looked it up and are informed about what that store is, you know that I was left with no choice: I had to get back on the highway and pray I don’t end up in the ditch before the next exit. I finally got to the next exit and grabbed some food at Culver’s before getting a room at the only open hotel, Days Inn.
I was stuck at the hotel for two days. All of the highways were completely shut down and there were no alternative routes for getting back to Iowa City. Because I’m always 100 percent prepared for the worst, I had absolutely nothing with me. I just had the clothes on my back. Didn’t even have the books/notes to study for my finals. The one good thing was that the school was closed and finals were postponed. The next day, I did venture to a grocery store to pick up some food and other things I needed. I lucked out and the owner of the hotel actually only charged me for one night, which is always good. Actually, there was a pretty big metal band, Underoath, stuck in the same small town in Iowa as me. Didn’t get a chance to film with them at that time, but I did the following summer.
That’s about it. I’m now a bit wiser when it comes to this stuff and avoid going out for video shoots when the weather is terrible.