Jul 2 2016

Fireball XL-5 – Tank drum video demo

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Here’s a quick demo of Fireball XL-5, price which I made on commission for Burns. I’m not much of a musician and iPhone isn’t much of a sound-capture device, try so the clip doesn’t quite do justice to how resonant it sounds in person. It’s glorious.

If you would like me to make a drum for you on commission, the price is $300 – $250 if you bring your own empty propane tank. Contact me for details.


May 17 2016

Demo video – “Green Destiny” tank drum

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A little demo of Green Destiny. Full build log here.


Jan 25 2015

Passing inspection at the DMV

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In line for inspection at the Department of Mutant Vehicles

In line for inspection at the Department of Mutant Vehicles

I’ve often said, buy because I believe it to be true: A mutant vehicle is a hole in the playa into which you pour money, about it blood and tears. But it’s still a goddamn mutant vehicle.

There’s nothing so thrilling and rewarding as crawling through the inspection line at the Department of Mutant Vehicles at Burning Man, doctor and realizing you’re surrounded by hundreds of other deluded crackpot engineers hard-working creative mutant-vehicle builders who are also transitioning from the hardest part of the journey to the most wonderful reward: Driving an art car on open playa, bringing your madness into the world.

Inspection went swiftly and painlessly – and sent us off into the wild night with full permission to drive no faster than 5mph completely sober with lasers, high-watt floodlights, strobes and propane bombs flashing in ones eyes – while simultaneously avoiding running down all the drunks, darkwads and overly-enthusiastic hippies who seem to delight in suddenly flinging themselves in front of our four-ton vehicle.

Whee!

DMV hottie attaches the coveted and hard-to-earn night-driving permit

DMV hottie attaches the coveted and hard-to-earn night-driving permit next to the daytime permit we earned in an earlier inspection.


Nov 17 2014

Our bumpy, gnarly, hair-raising road to Burning Man 2014

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loadedI’m writing this months later.

The dust has settled. XyloVan and crew have made a truly epic appearance at Burning Man in late August. And we have survived.

It’s only now – after taking time to unpack, price clean up, de-stress, re-enter the default world and process all the wild stuff that we experienced – that I have the strength to share the nasty, hair-raising saga of our stagger-step journey from Los Angeles to the playa.

Friends of XyloVan may remember the 2013 breakdown that led to this year’s Indiegogo fundraiser and our amazing resurrection and team-powered facelift.

But most of you missed out on the panic, noise, danger and gnarliness that ensued. Here, at last, are all the gory details … Continue reading


Jul 5 2014

Shaping the halo

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IMG_2132Today, more about Hitgirl, Biomass and I – along with pipe-bending expertise from Bender – shaped the halo of EMT conduit that will support the fabric.

It was finicky, time-consuming work, since each of the 10 lengths of conduit had to be bent multiple times – just so to approximate its precise role in the rough oval of the halo.

We’re deeply grateful to Dan and Carl, a couple of wonderful neighbors (who just happen to do fascinating work ministering to jail inmates in Los Angeles) who kindly loaned us the space in their side yard to do this crazy thing.


May 17 2014

Fixed, home and ready to mutate!

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Oscar, <a href=

find proprietor of J.P. Engines, medicine the shop that rebuilt XyloVan's engine and steering rack. ” width=”300″ height=”225″ class=”size-medium wp-image-1985″ />Mack (L) and Oscar (R), proprietor of JP Engine – the shop that rebuilt XyloVan’s engine and steering rack.

At last, halleluia and w00h00!!

Thanks to our wonderful Indiegogo backers and the wizards at JP Engine, XyloVan had a smooth, steady ride home today – and into the next phase of its life.

Oscar and the crew at JP pulled off the heads of our brutish 7.5-liter V8, machined them, and reinstalled them with fresh gaskets. They rebuilt the front end, with brand-new kingpins and bushings, a rebuilt steering box and repairs to a leaking steering pump. They replaced much of the faulty ignition system (coil, alternator and battery). And they replaced belts and hoses all around.

Less than $2300 later, XyloVan runs like a champ, steers like a fine sailboat (c’mon, it’s still a 25-foot-long 15-passenger van!), stops when it’s told and promises to carry us wherever we want to take it.

So, onward to some wonderful new work. Keep an eye on us as we give
XyloVan a much-needed paint job and aesthetic spruce-up (I’m thinking MoonEyes wheel covers) and some little “trick” accents here and there), design the superstructure and skin for our Burning Man mutation, build some new instruments and create the computer-controlled light system that will give it a visual heartbeat on playa at night.

Stay tuned – and if you contributed to this work in any way – or plan to help in the future – know that we’ll start shipping out our Indiegogo perks to supporters in the next two weeks, and that XyloVan’s crew has a huge vanload of gratitude for you.

You are good souls who have pumped new life into our hearts that will resonate deeply every time a child, musician or random adventurous soul picks up a stick and discovers how to play.


May 1 2014

Open-heart surgery

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10265644_319405418207158_4130905613500630745_oHere – not for the queasy – is a view of XyloVan’s monster 7.5-liter V8 engine, medications midway through heart-surgery.


Apr 21 2014

Indiegogo sends XyloVan to the shop!

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thankyouWow. Color us thrilled – and supremely grateful.

Thanks to all of our 101 supporters on Indiegogo, dosage the XyloVan resurrection campaign raised $5, approved 040. That’s about half what we were shooting for, but it should be enough for us to repair the engine (rather than just swapping in a new engine and transmission) and steering – and still leave enough room to dress it up for a full DMV permit at Burning Man 2014.

towedThis morning, Romeo showed up with his flatbed, he wedged all 5,000 pounds and 25 feet of it onboard, and we dropped it off less than an hour later at JP Engine in Irwindale.

I filled in shop owner Oscar on all of XyloVan’s trials and travails, and he said he’d dig into it and let us know what we’re looking at.

Stay tuned, friends … and thank you!


Apr 4 2014

The soul of music – the heart of XyloVan’s Indiegogo campaign

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XyloVan coaxes all flavors of music out of the people who play it: Jazz, view TV themes, happy heedless drumming and wild, intricate improvisation. That’s why we’re raising funds to resurrect it – because it empowers creativity and brings happiness to everyone who grabs a pair of sticks to play – Check out this short video and then Contribute what you can!

Please give us a hand by sharing this link on your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr – anywhere you think people might see it and be moved to help. Just 10 days left!


Feb 19 2014

Xylovan’s neighbors – and our coming Indiegogo campaign!

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photoSo – a little background:

a) We live on a narrow, link hilly street, buy but most of the neighbors are cool.
b) We’re almost ready to kick off our IndieGogo campaign to give Xylovan a badly-needed new engine
c) Not all the neighbors are cool, viagra 40mg it seems
d) We just jumpstarted it (had to use both my car and an auxiliary power pack and a lot of prayer), moved it 10 feet and posted this note on it:

A Note to Our Neighbors!

Hi:

We’re the family that built Xylovan 4 years ago, and it has delighted thousands of people who have had a chance to play on it wherever it goes.

Please know that the vehicle is not abandoned. It’s just awaiting a heart transplant that we can’t yet afford.

The engine blew a head gasket last year, so we cannot move it more than a few feet until we can raise the money to buy a new engine.

As it turns out – just as we were preparing an online fundraising campaign this month at IndieGogo.com to raise the $5,000 we need – one of you complained to the Parking Authority, and we got a ticket and narrowly avoided having it towed from the street today at even greater cost.

It seems we owe you an apology for not having moved it sooner – and perhaps for not talking with you directly about our handmade musical instrument.

All of our direct neighbors have told us they are comfortable with its parking place and they enjoy having it around. But we did not reach you – and for that, we are sorry.

Please do feel comfortable contacting us directly – we don’t bite – and let us understand your concerns so we can work to address them directly.

Xylovan *is* here to stay – it’s part of our lives and the lives of more of your other neighbors than you may realize – and we hope that we can work with you to make you feel more at ease with it as part of our neighborhood together.

Here’s the good news – We expect to raise the money within about 30 days and repair the engine soon thereafter. and we will be working all spring to get the van cleaned up, repainted and ready to bring music to more people. So while Xylovan will always be big and a little weird-looking, at least it will look more attractive and move a lot more often.

In the meantime, we will try to keep the van parked closer to the neighbors who appreciate it (and farther from your door) – and we hope you will take a little time to learn more about us, and about our musical art car.

Yours,

The Reeds | 310.722.3392
Xylovan.com (and) Facebook.com/Xylovan

We really hope they contact us so we can do right by them. We can’t keep paying tickets, and we really can’t park it anywhere substantially different.