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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08.12.02 – Seattle, WA

Night 2 in Seattle was a better show than Night 1 in Seattle for the Gusters. Some technical issues with Ryan’s guitar threw us off the first night and the crowd sitting down both nights managed to keep the energy low too. I blame the impossibly-comfortable seats at the Paramount Theater. So hard to resist. So soft against the ass. Thanks to the few, the proud, the outnumbered, who made it known they were there for us… we will keep returning to Seattle because we like the city so much, not the other way around. (In Salt Lake, one might suggest the situation is reversed).

Scotty seems to have retaliated in the John Mayer road journal, inventing a new nickname for me — Blundergod — after I insinuated that his “Guster is more like Buster” comment was not pushing the creative envelope all that much. Blundergod however, is genius for obvious reasons. I knew Scotty had it in him. I also enjoy being called “Thunderbird.” Funny, the name Thundergod is borrowed from Def Leppard, whose one-armed drummer, Rick “Thundergod” Allen, earned the nickname from his reverb-coated and inevitably thunderous fills. Well, we just found out that we have a gig with Def Leppard in Boston on Sept 21st. Mixfest will be our last show before we spend 7 more weeks in the studio. I want a picture with The Thundergod and I don’t care what I have to do to get it. So Rick, if you’re reading this…

Seattle was not a complete bust. A girl named Leigh-Anne who read my journal entry about Luby’s Cafeteria brought me a t-shirt. It fits and everything.

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08.10.02 – Salt Lake City, UT

Once again, Utah’s crowd blew us away with their energy. How is that this happens every tour? Mormons in the audience, Jews on stage, etc… I don’t get it. It might have something to do with Andrew Vernon, who had us sign his yearbook after the show — right next to the “Guster & Me” club he started at his high school in Salt Lake City.

After signing it, we asked Drew to email us a picture of it, so we could point out the number of people in the Chess Club versus the number of members in the Guster & Me Society. And so we could unleash our newest slogan:

Guster — More Popular than Chess… in Utah.

Salt Lake City is the new Oxford Ohio.

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08.08.02 – Denver

Our merchandise girl, Allyson, has been snapping shots with the digital camera while we’ve been playing and so we’re due for a photo gallery-themed journal entry. Let’s begin with a picture of Scotty, John Mayer’s merch-boy and road journal author, who wrote about our bus breaking down in Kansas on their website… (pasting in excerpt from JM road journal)August 4, 2002

It’s all Guster’s fault. Gusters more like Busters. Today was going to be a day off until those guys decided to launch Plan Fa Fa Ha Ha and sabotage it all by pretending that their bus had complications. And since bi (more than one bus) caravan, we all hung out on the Kansas interstates all day long.

Note Scotty’s clever use of the word “Busters,” which rhymes with “Gusters,” which is the plural of our band name. Scotty neglected to mention that The Gusters and their crew spent all day driving through 105 degree Kansas with NO AIR CONDITIONING, playing quarter-antie poker in our boxer shorts. And yes, since the two Mayer busses were nice enough to stop and help us every time we broke down, their day off had to be sacrificed too. Oops. Our bad.

Enjoy photos:

1. Adam photos

rock star pose #1 — close up     rock star pose #2 — far away

2. Brian photos

drums — yes, it’s weird      percussion

3. Ryan photos

close up      jumbotron in denver

4. Sofia Sim (Dalton’s daughter) Photos

with headphones

Dalton had his whole family out for the two night stand in Denver. And even though Sofie fell asleep during Either Way, I think the last two nights were our two best performances thus far on the tour. We’ll see how it goes tonight in Utah where we’re more than a mile high. Park City in the summer:

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