Some good news and some bad news comes this morning from San Antonio, where Mesa punk band Authority Zero got robbed of their transportation and gear earlier this week.
Police have recovered the stolen van and trailer from an apartment complex parking lot some 45 minutes away from where the band parked, guitarist Brandon Landelius says. The van and the trailer are still functioning, but the gear and merch are gone.
"We have to start [the van] with a screwdriver now," Landelius tells New Times.
"It works, so we’ve got that. We’re not on foot."
Still, it's far from ideal. For now, the band will borrow the gear of tour mates Counterpunch until a more permanent solution arrives.
Before the band arrived in San Antonio, it played a show in El Paso. The unfortunate irony is that the only reason Authority Zero was in San Antonio was because they'd heard El Paso was a little "sketchy," so they drove to San Antonio and arrived at night. The Authority Zero members parked and got some food across the street. Singer Jason Devore, drummer Sean Sellars, and bassist Mike Spero went to grab a nightcap with the guys from Counterpunch, while Landelius grabbed one of his two guitars from the trailer and retired to the hotel.
"We were actually in a really nice part of town — some of the locals were shocked that this happened," Landelius says. "I went to sleep and the rest of the guys went out with Counterpunch. ... When they came back [the van] was gone."
If there's a silver lining to this, it's that the band's supporters rushed to help. When the band shared news of the robbery on Facebook yesterday morning, fans of the band sprung into action. One man, Rob Rover Rushing, started a GoFundMe campaign
to help the band replace the equipment. As of today, less than a day later, the campaign has raised more than $12,500.
"We were getting a little teary-eyed looking at it," say Landelius of the campaign. "We really believe that we have the absolute best fans in the world. The support that we’ve gotten ... we had to charge our phones three or four times yesterday because of text messages, phone calls — 'What can we do to help? Can we drive?' The outpour was just absolutely amazing."
The tour will continue as planned. Had the van not been drivable, Authority Zero manager Bryan Sandell was en route with a new vehicle. The band also had insurance, thankfully, and Landelius is hopeful that the band won't get raked over the coals too hard.
"If the money comes through from the insurance company, I’d like to see the money go back to the people who donated," Landelius says.
In the meantime, the band is focusing on the tour and letting their manager sort through the details. Spirits are still high — it helps getting more support from friends and fans than they ever dreamed.
"We laugh about it now, because we have to," Landelius says. "You have to stay positive. You have to keep moving forward. That's life."
At this point, Landelius is straightforward about how fans can help: Come hang out with them at a show. The band next plays locally on Saturday, September 19, at Marquee Theatre in Tempe.