A piece of Rock 'N Roll history has been uncovered by History Channel's "American Pickers" in a recent airing of the reality series. While looking for unique pieces in Chesterfield, Massachusetts, about 100 miles from Boston, "Pickers" stars Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe came across Aerosmith's first touring van and had it confirmed by an original member of the band, Ray Tabano.
The van, a 1964 International Harvester Metro, was buried on a property owned by a man only identified as Phil. Not much was known about how the van ended up on his property other than the previous owner had connections with the band, so to confirm, Fritz sent photos over to friend Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. Auerbach, in turn, sent the photos over to Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry who then phoned Tabano.
Tabano was in Stockbridge at that time and drove out to Chesterfield to confirm that the van uncovered was indeed the band's touring van before they had their big break.
"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 in the episode."We’d drive from Boston up to New Hampshire for $125. Then after the gas, the tolls, and the food and back, we’d all make like $3 apiece," he recalled of the band's early gigs while showing Phil, Fritz and Wolfe a photo of him with the van.
As a piece of Rock 'N Roll history, especially being owned by one of the biggest rock bands in music history, Fritz and Wolfe purchased the Harvester Metro from Phil for $25,000.
Tabano, a childhood friend of Aerosmith vocalist Steven Tyler, was a founding member of the group in 1970 when Tabano, Tyler, and drummer Joey Kramer would meet with Joe Perry and bassist Tom Hamilton who were in a band called the Jam Band. Tabano was replaced by Brad Whitford in 1971 though he would work for the band throughout the 1970s until he was fired in 1979 by Aerosmith's managers. Tabano's responsibilities with the band included maintaining their office and recording studio and he created the fan club with merchandise designed by himself while writing the fan club's newsletters.
Aerosmith, of course, signed with Columbia Records in 1972 and began working on their debut self-titled album. They broke out into the mainstream in 1975 and since then, they have become the best-selling American rock band of all time having over 150 million records sold worldwide (albums and singles). Aerosmith has 25 Gold certified albums, 18 Platinum albums and 12 multi-Platinum albums to their name (albums can have multiple certifications). Though the band has had dozens of hit singles on the Hot 100 chart, it took 28 years for Aerosmith to have their first Hot 100 No. 1 song, 1998's "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" written by Diane Warren for the movie "Armaggedon." Not only was it the band's first No. 1, it has the distinct honor of being in the "songs that debuted at No. 1" club.