Digital Tour Bus is an innovative and unique website giving fans an all-access pass to go behind the scenes and see how their favorite musicians live while touring around the country. Whether it’s a luxurious tour bus, or makeshift living quarters in a beat up car or passenger van, Digital Tour Bus is there to show you an intimate portrayal of each band’s home on the road.
The site was started in January 2009 by 20-year-old Joshua Weidling. This Bartlett, Illinois native is no stranger to the music industry. Five years ago, while attending Bartlett High School, Weidling began promoting and booking shows for local venues under the moniker Chi-Town Productions. Soon Weidling was booking national acts including The White Tie Affair [Epic], The Fold [Tooth & Nail] and Secret and Whisper [Tooth & Nail]. With a successful promotions company under his belt, Joshua Weidling took it a step further and decided to create his own day-long music festival to showcase emerging talent. The event called Stick it to the Man! Fest takes place each summer in the Chicago-land area. Some bands that have played the Stick it to the Man! stage include: The Color Morale [Rise Records], Just Left [Standby], and Lights Out Dancing.
After graduating from high school and moving on to the University of Iowa in 2008, Weidling shifted to another side of the industry. He worked as a chief news poster at ForTheSound.com and as an editor, contributing writer, and director of marketing and advertising for Chicago’s Crescendo Magazine. Within these positions, he gained experience and found an interest in interviewing several up-and-coming bands.
The culmination of Joshua’s music experience and his desire to personally connect fans with their favorite artist is what fueled him to start Digital Tour Bus, a full-scale project covering the tour buses, mini-buses, RVs, and tour vans of both Indie label, Major label and unsigned acts.
Within a year of its launch, (this past January Digital Tour Bus celebrated its first birthday) the website already has over 220 video tours within its archives covering bands across a wide range of musical genres offering something for everyone.
While you would think that going to school and running your own business would be enough to keep him busy, but not for Joshua; he has added the role of manager to his resume. Currently, he is working with the bands Alumni Club, Backdrop, and Scarlett, as well as Illinois-based photographer, Mikey Kay.
Eat Sleep Breathe Music had the chance to sit down with this high flying, go-getter, Digital Tour Bus CEO/Founder Joshua Weidling to find out what inspired him to start the website, his superb multi-tasking skills, and his plans for the future:
ESBM: How did you come up with the idea of digital tour bus website?
JW: I was reading the “Next Stop” spread in an issue of Alternative Press where a member of a band takes you around their hometown. They talk about their favorite place to eat, favorite venue, favorite attraction, etc. The idea just kinda came into my head and I just decided to go with it.
ESBM: Are there any tour buses that were just too inappropriate to show?
JW: No, all of the bands/artists that I have filmed thus far have been AWESOME! I have been very lucky so far I guess.
ESBM: Who had the nicest tour bus? The most interesting stuff inside?
JW: All tour buses are basically the same, but I would have to say my two favorites to film were Forever The Sickest Kids and Bowling For Soup.
ESBM: Do you find that bands with girls in them have a cleaner tour buses or is it the same?
JW: I haven’t filmed many bands that are in tour buses and have girls in the band too. The only two that come to mind are Sick Puppies and Hey Monday. I also have a screwed perception because most bands do some hardcore cleaning before I film. Haha.
ESBM: Do you find it hard to juggle the Digital Tour Bus along with going to college?
JW: At times it can be hard, but most of the time I don’t have too hard of a time balancing. Lot of late/sleepless nights, but that is to be expected.
ESBM: Do you have contributors who help out?
JW: Since I don’t have the skills to edit video, all of the videos are edited by contributors. My main contributor is Mikey Kay. He edits videos, has a blog on the site and also does some photography. I have a bunch of other editors that contribute videos as well.
ESBM: What is the process for bands to be a part of this tour? Do they sign up or do you request the interview?
JW: If a band tours out of state and has a little bit of internet buzz we are down to film them. Bands who are interested in working with us can email me at email@example.com to set up a video shoot.
ESBM: What if the band just has a van and not a tour bus, do you still do the tour? Are those tours as good?
JW: We film all tour vehicles including: buses, vans, RVs, SUVs, cars, etc. If a band or artist tours in the vehicle we will film it. The tours of vans turn out great. The videos are not only about the vehicle, but about the personalities of the band members themselves and what is inside the vehicle.
ESBM: What was the best tour video thus far?
ESBM: Do you ever get star struck interviewing bands you are a big fan of? Do you ever get nervous?
JW: Honestly, I can’t say I have ever been star struck while filming any of the videos and even if I was, the band’s would never know it. Haha. When I first started I was very nervous. I had to learn how to transfer from acting like a concert promoter to acting like press. It’s two completely different worlds.
ESBM: What kind of phone do you have? Being on the go all the time you must need something to keep you in the loop and up on all the social networking. iPhone/Blackberry/Droid?
JW: I actually have a Motorola Droid. It is literally my life saver. I get to check my 8+ email accounts while on the go and update my Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Foursquare, calandar, Tumblr, and all of the music news I would ever want.
ESBM: Do you ever plan to take the digital tour bus on tour? Meet up with bands on tour in different states?
JW: Could happen eventually, but definitely can’t happen until I graduate college. If we ever start to travel, we will probably travel to other countries to film. So many bands that are big in Europe never make it over to the states. Same thing with Australia and other music markets.
ESBM: What is your favorite music festival?
JW: To be honest, I never really get a chance to go out to any music festivals. If you would call Warped Tour a festival, then I would have to say it is my favorite.
ESBM: Where do you see your site going? What are you plans for the future after you graduate?
JW: Hopefully the site will continue to grow, so that after I graduate college I can run the site for a living. There are a lot of plans coming up on how we are going to improve the site and reach the idea’s full potential. I can’t share anything right now, but we will be revealing some of them very soon!
For more information on Joshua Weidling and Digital Tour Bus check out the site here!