Larry Bus parked outside of Women in Los Angeles. Photo by John Benson.

Half Handed Cloud playing on Larry Bus at the Berkeley BART station. Photo by John Benson.

The Bus from Ryan Junell on Vimeo.

Waiting for the show to start outside of Ribbons in Brooklyn. Photo by Dalton Blanco.

The Bus

The Bus began in 2006 when John Benson purchased a former AC transit vehicle from a retired police officer. It had been transformed by the Oakland Police Department into a mobile police unit. Now it serves as an all-purpose alternative space for artists and musicians. The Bus has been used primarily as a mobile music venue, flipping the notion of the touring rock band on its head by bringing the venue to the bands.

John Benson spent years touring in bands like A Minor Forest, Hale Zukas and Evil Wikkid Warrior. After driving cross-country dozens of times, he began converting vehicles to run on vegetable oil in the mid-1990s. The Bus is equipped with solar panels that charge a bank of deep cycle batteries used to power live bands. Benson now has two Flyer buses, one in Michigan (The Big White Bus) and one in California (Larry Bus).

Secret Spaces, a documentary on the Bus by Kerry McLaughlin, 2007 (8 minutes)

The Bus, a documentary on the Bus by Ryan Junell, 2008 (21 minutes)

Download a zine (5 MB) about the Bus by James Boyd, 2007.