July 14 2010 12:00 AM

Bella Ruse hits the road — with help from vegetable oil



Life as an independent band can be interesting, to say the least. Artists are forced to manifest their creativity into survival techniques to keep their dream alive in the absence of label funding.

One such band is Minneapolis indie-folk duo Bella Ruse.

For singer and multi-instrumentalist Kay Gillette, that cost-saving creativity extends to the band’s vegetable oil-fuelled tour van.

“Basically we set up the van on diesel and switch it over to vegetable oil,” Gillette said. “We get the same kind of gas mileage as we would on diesel, plus it’s free.

"It’s really great especially when we’re on tour for a month travelling thousands of miles, those gallons really add up.”

It’s this ingenuity combined with Bella Ruse’s hard touring work ethic that has seen Gillette and guitarist Joseph Barker embark on three national tours and record three EPs in the space of only a year.

Two of their singles, "Push On" and "Dark Horse," have received worldwide radio and podcast play.

Thanks to support from fans via www.kickstarter. com, Barker and Gillette are recording their first fulllength album.

Gillette says that their ultimate goal is to make their band a full-time job, with both members holding down teaching jobs during the school year to fund their summer touring.

“I don’t really think about wanting to be famous or having people
recognize me on the street," she said. "I just want to sing. Everything
we do is basically for that.”

Bella Ruse

7 p.m. Friday Bridge Street Studio 219 S Bridge Street Grand Ledge www.bellaruse.com