Grunge rock fans around the world have wet themselves at the news of eBay seller “taddoyal” placing an ad for ex-Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s one time tour van. The legendary van comes complete with hand-drawn murals, former registrations and engravings of band member’s names.
The 1972 Dodge Sportsman Royal, affectionately named “Melvan” has a rich rock pedigree. Before Nirvana was Nirvana, Kurt Cobain played chauffeur to his rock heroes The Melvins. Famous in their own right, they hail from Montesano, Washington and helped create “grunge” rock.
Seller, taddoyal, whose real name is Ben Berg, came into possession of the van in 1992 when he turned 16.
When I turned 16, I got the van from Kay Lukin, who is Matt Lukin’s mother [Matt was the Melvins' original bassist]. It was a gift mainly. You’ve got to understand, I was just this huge Melvins fan. They were like gods to me.
Berg himself is in a band, Weird Beast, and also plays bass. Somehow he caught wind of the fact the van was basically collecting dust and rust and subsequently made it his mission to get his hands on the piece of rock history.
When I found out that their old tour van was parked somewhere on the outskirts of Montesano, it was like a little pilgrimage for me, because I couldn’t drive at the time. To actually go out and sit in this thing was like a wet dream. And Kay could see my enthusiasm and my pure awe over her son’s old band. It had been sitting on their property for a few years. They didn’t know what to do with it, so she made one of my dreams come true. That was my first car, dude!
Initially Berg was unaware that the van had any connection to Nirvana, and only discovered Kurt and other member’s contributions after he already owned.
I had no idea that Kurt was even affiliated with that van until well after it was in my possession. I was told that the Kiss mural was drawn by Kurt Cobain and it was done in Sharpie markers that he shoplifted. I was also told that he used to drive the Melvins around to their shows in the area.”
I think Kurt’s name is carved somewhere in the van, as well. I don’t know the exact location. I know that Krist Novoselic’s name is carved in there. Dale Crover’s name from the Melvins is carved in there.
The van however is not without its faults.
Oh god, [the mileage is] off the chart. When the Melvins had it, they actually used it on their first US tour. They went all the way over to the East Coast in it. Buzz [Osborne] told me one time that somewhere on that tour; they woke up to Lukin trying to put out a fire in the engine. It hasn’t been started for years. It can run – it needs to be totally gone through. It needs a major overhaul. But it can be done.
So, what’s it going to cost you to get your hands on this bad boy?
It’s on eBay reserved at $150,000. If it’s somebody with money right now that wants to contact me, I would let it go for like $135,000.
At the time of writing the latest bid was at $99 855, which is just shy of R760 000, not including postage.
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