Many a rock ‘n roll band owes a debt to U-Haul trailers

I haul, you haul, we all haul with U-Haul.

If that isn’t the official slogan of U-Haul, it probably should be.

Who among us hasn’t thrown various and sundry personal items into a brightly painted orange-striped trailer, truck or van rental and hit the road? I know I have.

And now I read in the paper that our fair city is ranked the 39th top destination in Canada by the U-Haul company, based on their truck arrival statistics. That either means a whole lot of people are moving here, or that a whole bunch of folks around here like renting trucks in an effort to be more “Albertan.”

Back in the day, however, it wasn’t the truck rentals that played a significant role in our vagabond lives, it was the classic 5X8 trailer.

Some bands could get away with the smaller 4X8 trailer, but any group of so-called musicians, with any respectable gear, needed to hook up to the 5X8 in order to drag all their worldly musical possessions to the next gig.

It used to be that the easiest and surest way to join a band was to either own a PA system, or a nice large van.

It didn’t matter if you could play worth a hoot. If you had the gear or the wheels, you were in. And failing those two Rules of Garage Band Joinery, I would add: if your mom and dad’s car had a trailer hitch – do you want to be our lead singer?

Honestly, I think all us rock ’n’ roll wannabes kept the U-Haul trailer rental business alive in those days. If you saw a 5×8 rattling by, hooked to the back of a 1966 Chevy Bel Air, or a ’64 Ford Fairlane, on a Friday or Saturday, chances were excellent that a band was heading for the local dance hall.

It was truly amazing how much rock ’n’ roll equipment you could get into one of those little boxes on wheels.

A typical group of, say, four reprobate rockers might typically require: two massive PA speaker cabinets, each the size (and weight) of a fully stocked Coke machine; enough refrigerator-size guitar cabinets to build a wall that would fill at least half of a community hall or school gymnasium stage; ditto for the bass guitar speakers; a drum set of a half dozen or more large round or rectangular fiberboard Ludwig or Rogers drum cases; several large, beat up cases for Fender or Gibson (or much cheaper) axes; a huge pile of microphone stands and mics; four tons of cables, costumes, cords and crap stuffed into homemade equipment boxes or second-hand vinyl suitcases; and, of course, enough electronic amplification, EQ, pedals, mixers, sound boards and power gizmos to facilitate the launch of a Saturn V rocket.

In fact, when a band would rock ’n’ roll up to, say, Varsity Hall at Sylvan Lake with a U-Haul, and a bunch of long-haired hippy galoots would pile out of the dusty, road-worn four-door sedan, throw open the door of the trailer and start schlepping gear, it was just like those magicians who start pulling stuff out of a small box on a thin black table – it just keeps on coming, and coming – a seemingly endless bounty from a bottomless pit.

The rockin’ U-Haul was like that. Somehow, that little rolling cubicle could hold about four times more band equipment than there was actual physical space in the trailer itself.

And it’s funny, even to this day, every time I see a little U-Haul trailer go by, I wonder: “Who in the hall is playing tonight?”

Harley Hay is a Red Deer writer and filmmaker.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Westerner Park faces financial challenges

City of Red Deer assumes temporary financial oversight

Westerner Park asks City of Red Deer for financial help

Westerner Park says it needs city financial support

Pfizer posts 4Q loss, misses Street views, on lower revenue

Drugmaker Pfizer reported a $337 million loss in its fourth quarter after… Continue reading

UK to allow Huawei equipment in 5G networks but not in ‘core’ parts

LONDON — Britain decided Tuesday to give Huawei limited access to build… Continue reading

Country music fans enjoy free concert at Red Deer mall, ahead of ACMA awards

Fans like to get up close and personal and that’s exactly what… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Feb. 1 A Jump Rope Competition will be held at the Abbey… Continue reading

Virus in China affects sports events, Olympic qualifiers

GENEVA — Amid growing concern at the spread of a new virus… Continue reading

Ottawa 67’s boss Andre Tourigny gets call to coach Canada’s junior team

CALGARY — After serving as an assistant coach this year for Canada’s… Continue reading

Juno Awards nominees to be unveiled for music’s big night in Saskatoon

TORONTO — The 2020 Juno Awards nominees are set to be revealed… Continue reading

Harvey Weinstein NYC sex assault trial picks up pace

NEW YORK — The closely watched #Metoo era rape trial of Harvey… Continue reading

Calgary sport school that grooms Olympic champions threatened with shutdown

CALGARY — The National Sport School in Calgary that produces Olympic and… Continue reading

Quebec to seek consensus on offering medical aid in dying to mentally ill

MONTREAL — Quebec on Monday walked back a plan to offer medical… Continue reading

GOP defends Trump as Bolton book adds pressure for witnesses

WASHINGTON — Senators faced mounting pressure Monday to summon John Bolton to… Continue reading

Most Read