Pink Fridges & PlayStations: Miranda Lambert, Rixton and 4 Other Music Stars Reveal Their Tour Bus Must-Haves
Miranda Lambert, Ledisi, Keith Urban and other acts
While touring to promote her hit album The Truth, Ledisi, 43, has been racking up highway miles aboard her bus with nary a night off: Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis and Baltimore in one four-date run in March, part of her 23-date tour with support artists Raheem DeVaughn, 39, and Leela James, 31.
Between shows and cities, as with most touring acts, Ledisi’s bus is her refuge.
“I like that I get the chance to really sleep and not have to get up early to get on a plane,” she says. “And I like messing [around on the bus] with my band. That’s the fun, too. My tour manager hates it because he wants to go to bed and hates me staying up. But I like hanging with the band.”
Exclusive Video Premiere: Ledisi’s Acoustic ‘Rock With You’
Tour bus companies — Hemphill Brothers, Pioneer Coach, NiteTrain Coach, Diamond Coach, Star Coach, Celebrity Coaches, Breeze Coach and others — lease the frequently customized rides that not only get artists to the next show but also allow them to live on the road for days, weeks and months at a time.
And Ledisi, like most acts, has made her bus her home away from home. “I always have candles and a stuffed animal,” she says. “I love lavender-scented candles. After all the chaos outside the bus, the scent calms me down.”
For Billboard’s annual spotlight on touring transportation, artists offered a peek aboard their buses, revealing how they make their coaches an escape while on the road.
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Country star Lambert, 31, has a bus with floors made from 100-year-old barn wood and “a pink Big Chill fridge. What more could a girl ask for? The bus is a safe place for me to have quiet time before my shows. The way it’s decorated is very calming, and I think that’s important with the craziness of a tour.”
What he brings: “My dogs! I have at least two of my six rescue dogs on the road at all times.”
The 38-year-old Latin hitmaker likes “being able to share [time on the road] with my staff in a family atmosphere.” Aboard his coach, says Yandel, “they prepared a special bedroom for me, and a private area that we used as a recording studio.”
What he brings: “My PlayStation and a pillow with pictures of my kids.”
Rixton Video Premiere: Watch The ‘Hotel Ceiling’ Director’s Cut
The British pop group Rixton, from Manchester, England, is getting a road’s-eye view of America as a support act for Ed Sheeran and Ariana Grande. Frontman Jake Roche, 22, says the act’s bus offers “the option of being able to get away from the hustle and bustle of the venue.”
What he brings: “Tea bags from home: PG Tips. I’ve struggled to be in America without a nice cup of English tea, so I bring my own now.”
The band — frontman Patterson Hood, 51, and guitarist Mike Cooley, 48 — has built its indie-rock career on the road “more or less 100 to 150 days a year since 1997,” says Hood. Aboard the tour bus, he says, “I’m a back-lounge dweller. I sit back there and play my iPod, read and write.”
What he brings: “Music and books. There’s always beer on ice and tequila in the freezer.”
Keith Urban on His Next Album & the ‘Good Energy’ of ‘American Idol’
What does Urban like best about his bus? “The fact that I have one,” quips the 47-year-old country star, whose latest album, Fuse, topped the Billboard 200 in 2013. “There were many years in a van. I always say a piece-of-crap bus beats a beautiful van any day.”
What he brings: “Once we get onboard, I put photos of the family all around.” Would Urban prefer a chartered jet? “I get to the gig however I get to the gig — it’s all about the gig.”
Reporting by Leila Cobo, Gary Graff, Gail Mitchell and Ray Waddell.
This story originally appeared in the April 4th issue of Billboard.