Monthly Archives: August 2002

08.31.02 – Houston, TX

Houston and Memphis were full of surprises for two cities we don’t visit all that often.

A guy named Opie found us before the Houston show and delivered this painting of the three of us playing our instruments. Not bad, eh? Apparently he priced it at 7 grand in a gallery but no one bought it (silly Opie, the Gusters can’t even draw a fly to a shit party in Houston Texas) so it became a gift. There was plenty of room on the guest list for Opie and his wife, Buffy, because afterall, it was Houston. Ryan and Adam told me they plan to send their portions of the painting to their mothers… so I guess, mom, you should expect a painting of your topless son with tape on his fingers to arrive soon. Put it on the fridge.

Memphis was the last show that the Jon Butler Trio were playing on the tour. So we acquired six empty chicken buckets from KFC and cut holes out for eyes and all the Guster & John Mayer band members ran out and danced like idiots with buckets on our heads during their final drum jam. It was a rush, interrupting their set like that, and a solid send-off. What I didn’t expect was the crowd to go wild when we went out there. But they did. I imagine it’s just an innate human reaction to seeing people with chicken buckets on their heads. Dancing like jackasses. Pasty has it all on digital video but we don’t have the program that would allow us to post it yet — we’ll get it up on the site eventually.

Considering the only other time we played Memphis was a festival gig with Foreigner a few years ago (and all of us reviewed their performance here in the road journal)… the crowd was unreal tonight. Actually physically dancing to our songs. I felt like I was in Maceo Parker’s band — no, I felt like I was Maceo Parker out there tonight. Memphis had their groove on.

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08.26.02 – Dallas, TX

We pulled into the parking lot across the street from our hote in Dallasl this morning and I noticed there was a piece of luggage sitting in the middle of the parking lot. I figured it belonged to someone on one of the other busses. I went into the hotel. Every couple of hours though I’d return to the bus and it’d be sitting there among the cars in the parking lot, unattended.

After dinner, when the busses were the only vehicles left in the parking lot, it was still sitting there. And we all agreed it was time to see what was inside the suitcase. But as soon as I started to drag the luggage out underneath the light, everyone started freaking out and screaming and running because there must have been a thousand of these nasty flying cockroach things all over the suitcase. I ran, waving my arms and kicking my legs high up in the air, until I reached the hotel. I don’t have a picture of me running.

What? They’re just crickets? Sometimes I compose journal entries only because I want the last journal entry to go away.

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08.25.02 – New Mexico

An unfortunate sequence of events occurred in the hours before our show in Santa Fe, New Mexico:

1.) Catering served tacos for dinner.
2.) The plumbing at the entire Paolo Soleri amphitheater went down, rendering the bathrooms useless.

The worst part is that not only the Gusters, but all the John Mayer and John Butler Trio band members are pre-show poopers. You get pretty regular when you’re on a catered tour. With about an hour until set time, here was the situation:

* Paolo Soleri is in the middle of nowhere… dirt roads, etc. (there was nowhere else to shit)
* There were four toilets backstage, but none of them could flush.
* There was the regular civilian bathroom at the top of the amphitheater but those toilets were out of order too.
* There were three port-o-potties in the venue.
* The venue promoter said the plumbing would be restored within an hour.

I have a huge fear of port-o-potties, so my first instinct was to just crap in the backstage toilet and not flush it, leaving the stink there for every subsequent shit-maker to inhale. But I couldn’t do that. It’s wrong. It’s right next to the dressing rooms. Besides, the plumbing was supposed to be fixed momentarily. So I waited. And with twenty-five minutes to showtime, I thought about maybe just holding it and playing the gig weighed down. Then (comment dit-on en englais?) “it became apparent to me that this was no longer a valid option” and I decided I would just face the port-o-potty demons and get it over with. The sun was just beginning to set but I knew it would be dark down in The Hole. The Hole never sees the sun. It is always night in The Hole.

So I went into the crowd and walked up the steps to the back where the three port-o-potties were located and wouldn’t you know that there was a line of about fifty people waiting to get into those things. Of course there was — the bathrooms were out of order. Duh. Now what does one do? Show the kids in the front of your line your laminate and explain that you need to cut because you’re on stage in fifteen minutes? No. You go back to the backstage toilets and do your business and let someone else flush it once the plumbing comes back.

But when I got backstage, all four toilets were already filled with band turds. It smelled horrible. I blame Dave, John’s bass player, who shat in all four toilets. Anyway, now we have a whole new dilemma. Pile shit on top of shit?

You bet. But not before placing a wad of toilet paper on top of the water in the toilet so as to avoid the dreaded “splashback.” And I shat, and I wiped, and I felt light as a feather on stage, and when I got off the stage the plumbing was back, my turds were flushed, and New Mexico lived happily ever after.

Good God, I’ve just lost three quarters of my road journal audience.

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08.21.02 – Mesa, AZ

When Scotty ran on stage before the Arizona show in just a purple speedo and beat my djembe for five minutes while the crowd went wild, it should have represented a climactic end to our ficticious feud. Die-ay-nu! It should have been enough!! But then I received a couple of masterpieces via The Email regarding the situation and I need to share them with you, even if everything escalates as a result.

   The drawing on the left comes from “Holly” while the drawing on the right comes from “Mallory,” but I have some suspicions that both works really stem from one person. Just look at all the aesthetic similarities. Also, check out the similar rhetorical nature of each artist’s text accompaniment, then you tell me if my conspiracy theory still seems far-fetched.

Holly’s email           Mallory’s email

Anyway, given that it was 104 degrees in Arizona and that every time we’ve played Scottsdale we’ve wanted to punch ourselves in the face afterwards, the show in Mesa was a huge success. We played really well, helping to make up for an underwhelming west coast experience, and the crowd was fantastic. If there was an all ages venue in Arizona that held less than 4000 people, we’d come play it.

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08.20.02 – Las Vegas, NV

Vegas was a good place to have a day off. If your name is Pasty. I don’t understand, I hit on a 16 against a 10 just like him. I double down on a soft 14 against a 6 just like he does. Why was I the only one Leaving Las Vegas without a shirt? The crowd at the show was really nice to us, though mostly just passing through town like us. If we don’t return it’s not because we didn’t like playing music in Vegas, it’s because I didn’t like playing blackjack in Vegas. Celebrity spottings at the Hard Rock blackjack & roulette tables: Leo DiCaprio, Chris Katan, John Mayer.

Fortunately, Ryan and Michael (Chaves, guitarist for the Mayers) went down to the strip and rented a little pink buggy with the pink panther’s head on the hood for 35 bucks an hour. It got up to 25 mph, which is really all the power you need to enjoy a good speed bump.

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08.19.02 – Los Angeles, CA

Two things. I have two things to say.

1.) It is incredibly lame for a band to talk about all the celebrities that were at their show in Los Angeles.

2.) Paul Riser, The Olsen Twins, Josh Hartnett, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Justin Timberlake, John Mayer, The Kid from Malcolm in the Middle.

There were a few Guster pods at the Greek Theater in LA giving us some energy — thank you energy-giving Guster pods — but there really is no contest. The Greek Theater in Berkeley wins.

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They hand out John Mayer Summer 2002 “90/10” t-shirts to all the local crewhands who load the trucks at the end of the night. The 90/10 ratio printed on the shirt refers to:

a) The percentage of John Mayer fans versus Guster fans at a show.
b) Cotton to polyester ratio that went into the shirt fabric.
c) The alleged ratio of females to males at the shows this summer.
d) All of the above

The correct answer is (c), the alleged ratio of females to males at our shows this summer, though a cursory glance at the crowd tonight yielded an 82/18 ratio for me, and I DON’T THINK MY NUMBERS ARE OFF. It’s pretty amazing that this demographic detail ended up on the loading crew t-shirts. Another remarkable characteristic of the audiences this summer is their youth. While watching the Jon Butler Trio from the patio by the stage tonight, we heard cheers coming intermittently from the beer tent below us — every five or ten minutes the staff (in red shirts, to the right) erupted in applause when they sold a beer.

I went out and played a conga with the Jon Butlers tonight during the drum jam that closes their set.

   And I was the jackass who kept playing for an extra five seconds after everyone else in the band pulled off a beautiful coordinated stop to finish the jam. I was that guy. Head down. Beatin my conga. Do you see how they’re all staring at me in that picture on the right side? They’re trying to get my attention. They’re trying to communicate “Brian, we’re all going to stop playing our drums right now, maybe you should stop playing your drum when we stop playing our drums” to me. Nice guys, the Jon Butler Trio.

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