The History Channel series American Pickers recently unearthed an awesome piece of rock ephemera. A recent episode found hosts Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe stumbling upon a dilapidated van used by rock legends Aerosmith in their early days.
The 1964 American Harvester Metro van, with some sweet R. Crumb-inspired art painted on the side, was found slowly crumbling away in the woods behind a farm in Chesterfield, Massachusetts, a town located just over a 100 miles west of Aerosmith’s home base of Boston.
Aerosmith formed in 1970, and according to Boston.com, the van’s authenticity was confirmed by Ray Tabano, the band’s original rhythm guitarist who was only in the band for a year. Wolfe reached out to his buddy, Black Keys co-founder Dan Auerbach, who sent photos of the van to Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry. Tabano then apparently got a call from his old bandmate and made his way over to the farm to confirm its legitimacy.
“I’m afraid to say how long it is, but it’s been, like, 40 years since we’ve been in this thing,” Tabano said, adding, “We’d drive from Boston up to New Hampshire for $125 [per gig]. Then after the gas, the tolls, and the food and back, we’d all make like $3 apiece.”
What’s not known is how the van wound up there. The owner of the property where it was located (identified only as Phil) said it was there when he bought the land from someone who was supposedly connected with Aerosmith. For his troubles, the American Pickers hosts paid Phil $25,000 for the van, with Wolfe calling it “one of the biggest and most iconic pieces of rock and roll history.”