Those of you who have the “Guster On Ice” DVD have seen his name but not his face. Dave Yonkman. The man who spent a week documenting life on the road with Guster. The man who spent a month and a half editing the footage from that week. The man who met Guster by emailing the website in 1999 and asking if the band wanted to go tubing on a lake in Indiana on their day off (umm, yes).
And now, years later, as we drive from Milwaukee to Indianapolis, Dave’s mom Cathy Yonkman is on our guest list for the show but Dave is nowhere to be found. Alas, Dave Yonkman is all grows up. On the heels of his groundbreaking documentary work “Dave Yonkman’s Week with Guster,” he’s moved to New York City to work on some new film projects and live in a closet-sized apartment in the Lower East Side.
Dave Yonkman caught up with himself at a cafe recently to discuss, life, love, and Jared from Subway.
(left to right: Jared from Subway, Dave Yonkman)
DAVE YONKMAN: So, first things first. How come you don’t end any of your words in –schizzle, -fizzle, or –izzle?
DAVE YONKMAN: Because I think it’s stupid. Next question.
DAVE YONKMAN: Do you have any tattoos?
DAVE YONKMAN: No, I’m really not that cool. But my twin brother Joe has some Samoan thing on his arm that he’s been hiding from our parents for the last few years. Top of his right arm, I believe.
DAVE YONKMAN: Are you enjoying your time here in the city so far?
DAVE YONKMAN: I fucking love it here! I actually got to see a guy “go postal” in the post office on 14th Street. I mean he went absolutely fucking crazy! Threatening to kill the teller and whatnot. And no one even batted an eye at him, but I was, like, cracking up. It was just so fantastical. That was on my second day here. I hope New York doesn’t ever make me so cold that I can’t laugh at a crazy guy threatening to kill someone at a post office! [laughter]
DAVE YONKMAN: So, the 800lb. gorilla in the room is…what’s up with all those Big Friend-blurred faces in your documentary?
DAVE YONKMAN: There were some release form issues. Some people couldn’t be found or were unknown; others just wouldn’t get back to us.
DAVE YONKMAN: What about the guy who squeals like a pig? That’s the guy from –
DAVE YONKMAN: From the Subway commercials! His name’s Jared Fogle. He’s the one that lost almost seven hundred pounds a few years ago by eating six-inch turkey sandwiches from Subway every day for a whole year. Can you imagine the shits this guy must have been taking? I’ll bet he was pretty regular, though. Anyway, he was a good sport the night we talked to him on camera, but we had trouble getting him to sign a release form. So, somewhere along the way, his face became the Big Friend and his voice became a squealing pig.
DAVE YONKMAN: Why wouldn’t he sign a release?
DAVE YONKMAN: I have no idea. He was actually on my flight home from the New York screening of “Guster on Ice.” He’d been avoiding us until then, but I knew I had him trapped on the plane. So I marched up to first class and gave him a DVD. He sort of played dumb when I told him we had to blur his face and alter his voice. So I told him ‘it’s cool, it’s still really clear who you are and it still totally sounds like you.’ [laughter] I spent the rest of the flight hoping he didn’t have a laptop to watch the DVD on. True story. It was totally bizarre and ironic and weird. I took a picture of the two of us just because I knew no one would believe me.
DAVE YONKMAN: Other than “The Jared Incident,” your experience out on the road with Guster was good?
DAVE YONKMAN: My standard answer to that question is that it was probably as much fun as you think it would be to go out on the road with one of your favorite bands. But it was even better than that. Those were some of the most fun, memorable, and exciting times I’ve ever had. That sounds like sentimental, corny bullshit, but that’s just the only way to say it. The ten people I was on that bus with are ten of the coolest people I know.
DAVE YONKMAN: Any disappointments?
DAVE YONKMAN: Not one.
DAVE YONKMAN: Thanks for sitting down with us.
DAVE YONKMAN: For schizzle.