Artist Spotlight: Getaway Van

The new band is cranking out hard-hitting garage rock at breakneck speed

(From left to right): Devon Sutherland, Zach Fox, Charlie Cole, and Derek Lionas are the members of Getaway Van. (Alyssa Laube)

A band that only came together last October has successfully gigged, released a record, and made touring plans for the summer in a mad dash to create a name for themselves in the local music scene.

Getaway Van—a four piece with members Charlie Cole, Devon Sutherland, Derek Lionas, and Zach Fox—put out a live-off-the-floor three-song EP in January and have been performing garage rock around the city since then. While the record, Burnouts, feels relatively cohesive to listen to, it was recorded in only one day and mixed less than 24 hours before it was made public.

Style wise, a “heavy, groovy, bluesy, pure rock and roll kinda sound that hasn’t been really big since the 90s” is what Getaway Van is all about, according to Fox, the band’s bassist. Each of the three tracks on their debut was cherry-picked by the members as the most well-rounded and strongest work they had together in January. Lyrically, the record explores concepts like dealing with the monotony of everyday life, striving for sobriety, and struggling to navigate personal relationships.

“That’s kind of the theme of the EP Burnouts, because we’re just doing stuff so quickly,” says Lionas, who sings and plays guitar. “A little bit too fast in some situations … We were coming out of the gates hot and really forcing that because no one’s going to do it for you. You’ve just got to get it done.”

“But I feel like you capture a lot of the emotion, too—the energy when you’re recording live off the floor,” adds vocalist and guitarist Cole. “It’s harder to get the real precise quality but that’s not necessarily what’s always most important.”

Getaway Van is, in part, a reincarnation of an older project. Lionas and Cole were previously in a local hard rock group called Destructive Interference, which Cole says often felt stagnant. This is part of the reason why the new band, with Sutherland and Fox on board, is frantic to make progress.

Although Getaway Van and Destructive Interference have different styles and line-ups, Lionas and Cole have written for both. As the band grows, the other two members of Getaway Van are likely to contribute more to the songwriting process, and whoever writes the song gets to sing it onstage and in the studio.

The band says that the reception to their music has so far surpassed all expectations. This is an especially pleasant surprise for them as a largely self-made group.

“What’s so cool now is that back in the day you would have to have some kind of label to get you heard,” says Sutherland, Getaway Van’s drummer. “Now you can do it all yourself, put your music out there and make the posters, make the pages … and your success is going to have a direct relationship with how much effort you’re putting in.”

The band is currently writing a full length album that they’re hoping to release in June. In the meantime, they will also be playing on March 24 at Red Room and on April 14 at SBC.

If you decide to go see the band live, prepare to be hit with a wall of sound—between the three guitarists, there are five fuzz pedals on stage and plenty of roaring riffs that are the backbone of their songs. Still, Cole describes their current setlist as a “very eclectic collection.”

“Everyone should do themselves a huge favor and get in the Van,” Sutherland says, about what he’s hoping for from the future. “We’ve got so much more than just free candy.”