Saturday in Buffalo there was someone on the lawn with a GUSTER 3:16 sign that they painted onto a bedsheet or something. Brilliant. Thank you, whoever you were.
Monthly Archives: July 2000
I think the corporate side of Rockfest was beginning to get under our skin when we took the stage at 11:30 this morning. This is the event with Metallica, Kid Rock, Stone Temple Pilots, and Barenaked Ladies — “this summer’s Woodstock” — that took place today at the Chicago Motor Speedway.
The corporate presence was particularly egregious at the event. Between bands there was a giant screen on stage showing Oldsmobile and PlayStation commercials and people dressed as gorillas pumped Oldsmobile t-shirts into the crowd between sets, sending kids into a frenzy clamoring for the free projectile, even though it was just an Oldsmobile t-shirt. When did rock concerts start showing tv commercials? While we play sponsored events sometimes, it seemed exceptional that you had to pay $65 to be treated as a consumer moron and so Ryan got on stage and spoke his mind a bit. He made some sarcastic comments about Oldsmobile and let the crowd know that the concert existed so that sponsors could access their demographic… even the promoters of the event were quoted in the Chicago Tribune as seeing Rockfest as an arena for corporations to advertise first, and a music festival second. Ryan closed the set by screaming “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile!” over and over into the microphone. Metallica’s fans may not have liked our delicate harmonies and wimpy guitars but a lot of people appreciated our message.
And if we were jaded when we took the stage, it’s just plain upsetting now to learn that they refused to pay us today because of what we said up there.
We can live without the five grand. What sucks is feeling that you have to kiss corporate ass to expose your music to people. We could have gone up there and sung a bunch of lyrics about gay-bashing and that would have been fine. That we made fun of Oldsmobile earns us a penalty? Something’s wrong with that. Fortunately incidents like this won’t muzzle us, they only motivate us to stick to our beliefs and to make people aware of what goes on. If you’d like to know just how influential corporations are in this country, you can learn about it at http://www.greenparty.org/ — or for information about the sporty new Oldsmobile Allegra, visit http://www.oldsmobile.com/.
Rockfest. God bless Oldsmobile.
The following was printed in the Chicago Tribune the day before the festival …. “Give them this: the festival organizers are blunt in their aspirations. Rockfest is designed to be ‘a national platform for corporate sponsors to market their products,’ says Brian Murphy, executive producer for New York-based TBA Entertainment Corp., which is promoting the concert with Jam Productions of Chicago.”
We just soundchecked at the Chicago Motor Speedway for tomorrow’s big Rockfest show with Metallica and others. We hung out on stage waiting for Veruca Salt to finish up their soundcheck and then felt like wimps going up there and plucking our little guitars and tapping our bongos after them.
Indiana was good to us last night. It was our first 21+ show in a while and our first Indiana headliner in a long time too. Unlike when we used to play in Bloomington, there were actually people in the club and many of them paid to be there. Ryan sang the lyrics to “Pink Houses” (by Indiana’s own John Cougar Mellencamp) at the end of Bury Me. We played a really long set. I sang “Fire and Rain” (by Indiana’s own James Taylor) for Kathy Yonkman for an encore. It made her cry. Bring on the Speedway — Brian
hello you. ryan miller here reporting for duty from home base, dallas, texas, 74243.
last night, the band formerly known as gus played their first ever show in the western half of the dallas/fort worth metroplex. the day began with the nastiest greasiest scrumditilyumptious cheeseburger this texan has consumed in months. and although pasty was disappointed by an errant piece of chicken fried steak (watery gravy?!? this is texas for crying out loud!! texas=good gravy!!) the culinary treasures that this state has to offer set us off on course with a clear conscience and gastronomical contentedness.
after toying with the idea of purchasing a 5″ diameter “bud light, native texan” gold and diamond studded belt buckle, adam and dan meyers and i set off into the legendary ft. worth stockyards on a quest for the elusive, and often mystical, “stock”. minutes later, we came upon a dozen of these wonderful creatures. seemingly uninterested in our foodstuffs (who knew longhorns were indifferent to twinkies and devil cakes?), we quickly became bored with their incessant doing of nothing. after the snap of family photo (here cattle cattle! look here cattle cattle!) it was off to the rock concert.
for a tuesday night in a brand new city, the turnout was fantastic. our relationship with this state has come a long way since our first shows attended only by my aunt jessie and my seventh grade geometry teacher. everyone in the haus was kind and enthusiastic, as was proven by the audience-wide renditions of “the yellow rose of texas” and “the eyes of texas”. (is there a state song for massachusetts?) we finished the set with a dan meyers-enhanced version of ‘parachute’ and happily went out into the crowd to greet all of our texan friends. who knew we had friends in texas??
we have a day off before tomorrow’s indiana show, and so today will be spent filling myself with snuffer’s cheese fries and uncle julio’s chicken-lime fajitas. i will dip a fry in ranch dressing for you all.
your best friend,
after five consecutive days of playing our instruments, today was a day off in boulder. we played ultimate frisbee and got really winded because of the altitude. enough small talk, let’s get to the artistic photo-collage:
Last night was the hottest show I can ever remember. The club didn’t have any air conditioning or ventilation and crammed 400 people into a narrow space. At one point Ryan noticed how wet everyone was and insisted that everyone in the crowd hug the disgusting sweaty person next to them. I hugged Dan Myers (sax)… later on in the show we gave away the red rubber urine-guard thing that had been in the toilet of our bus for a couple of days. It had been a failed experiment, since it sent pee splashing up against your leg whenever you tinkled, and we thought someone might be able to use it, even if we couldn’t. Not to worry, we put it in a ziplock baggy and sealed it tight before we chucked it into the crowd. We used a paper towel to put it into the baggy too. No one touched urine in the transfer of the item from us to our fans.
Anyway, The Intersection reminded me of old Michigan shows at The Blind Pig with tons of energy. We played 1 hour and 45 minutes, which was about as long as we could play without passing out. It was good to finally headline again.
Angry emails have been coming in from people in Wisconsin who feel slighted that our Summerfest show was neglected in this here diary. Also, lots of emails nowadays from people who claim to be seeing Ryan in a new Taco Bell commercial. I’ll address the Milwaukee gig right now and leave the latter issue to our singer.
Milwaukee crowd was very good to us and deserved a prompt and flattering journal entry, but we took a red-eye flight to Boston after the show so we could play a private gig for Guster Reps on no sleep Sunday afternoon. Liz, who runs our website, took the journal reigns while we hibernated for a few days. So Summerfest is a ten day event in Wisconsin with zillions of bands and fried dough stands. If you weren’t in front of the Guster/Ben Harper stage, you could have been enjoying Ringo Starr’s band or Christina Aguilera, or Sebastian Bach formerly of Skid Row, or four guys in skirts playing “Gimme Three Steps” on accordions (I promise I witnessed this in the afternoon). Never expected such a friendly response for our first time in Milwaukee. Nearly came to fisticuffs with a security guard who wouldn’t let me backstage to see Ben Harper after our set — he got my adrenal glands to secrete epinephrine by saying “Yeah whatever” when I insisted I was not a mere civilian but a legendary conguero, but I chilled when he reminded me that I would “end up flat on my back” if I kept trying to push the issue. He was right. I was a bit sassy. Special thanks to Adam Gardner and drum-tech Sean Lynde for running in and restraining me. I would have gotten my ass kicked.
Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?
Hi, faithful road diary readers. Elizabeth here, the nerd behind the mass of pixels you are currently perusing (otherwise known as guster dot com). Bri asked me to guest on the road diary while the rest of the band enjoys a well-deserved break.
“Rep Rok 2000” went off without a hitch. Thanks to our hostess Vivien “Newcastle” Valenzuela, we were treated to a shady grass-covered backyard opening up to a massive expanse of soccer fields. Such fields would later be conducive to much post-show ass-whooping in Ultimate Frisbee… but I digress. First, there was the “rok” portion of the evening…
Using the old P.A. system from their busking days in Harvard Square, the guys pulled off an intimate acoustic set filled with plenty of “old-skool” favorites. And by acoustic, I mean “stripped.” Bri had nothing but a conga, a tambourine, and some random drum that Viv found in her attic. Timbale? Timpani? Tortellini? I don’t know.
As the set was mostly requests, we were treated to some rarely-played gems, some old covers, and some band-denoted “crowd pleasers.” It was nice to hear songs such as “La Ti Da” and “Pantomime”–even if the audience was required to help out with the words. And as the band closed with the (in)famous Lionel Ritchie Medley, the “rok” portion of the party was complete.
Post-show, we were allowed to frolic in the green Andoverian fields. Volleyball, soccer, and Ultimate were played while others scarfed down food (of which there was MORE than plenty) or lounged around on the grass. The Celebrity Ultimate Frisbee game was an intense forty-minute escapade that left its players (including such big names as “Ryan Miller” and “Michael ‘Pasty’ Corcoran”) sweaty and eaten alive by bugs. Nothing like running around maniacally after a flying disc in tropical humidity. Mmm mmm.
The following are some pictures I took with Bri’s digital camera to document the event. Thanks to the Gusterns and everyone else without whom the shindig would not have been successful.
Elizabeth “Ghost Writer” Weinberg