Early this morning, one of Miley Cyrus’ tour buses crashed in rural Virginia. The vehicle was carrying several members of Cyrus’ production crew but not the singer herself. The driver of the bus is dead and one of the crew members was sent to the hospital.
There are all sorts of tragedies that are inherently tied to rock music (overdoses, car crashes, production accidents and the like), but there have been far too many incidents involving tour buses. It shouldn’t be shocking, as they are unruly mammoths forced to push forward (usually in the middle of the night) over all manner of terrain for hours and hours at a time. They’re difficult to handle and difficult for other drivers to deal with.
Last week, Canadian singer/songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk updated her MySpace blog to let fans know that her tour bus had run off the road (she blamed the incident on her driver falling asleep). Just a few months ago, Bret Michaels’ tour bus was struck by another car (though no injuries were reported on either side). In August, Canadian rockers MercyMe were involved in a crash that killed two people in Indiana. Last fall, Roots’ drummer Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson sent a Twitter message from an ambulance after their bus crashed outside of Paris, France. That’s five major accidents in just a year, and the list goes on and on.
Of course, the most notorious (and tragic) bus accident in rock history came in September of 1986, when original Metallica bassist Cliff Burton died when the band’s bus skidded off the road and crashed in Sweden (there’s even a memorial stone by the crash site). The driver was awake and alert but undone by black ice in the middle of the night.
The tour bus is typically the best and most cost-effective way for most bands to cross the country (or the continent), but there’s clearly a safety issue here. Are there any solutions? It’s hard to tell, but something needs to be done.