Monthly Archives: November 2005

11.18.05 – October 31st, 1993

Look. Someone carved their pumpkin to look like The Big Friend, the doll on the cover of our first record, Parachute.

Speaking of Halloween, we were visited by a ghost from the Gus era the other night in New Hampshire. Our old friends Bob & Lynne, who booked us to play a Halloween party at their house in Chelmsford MA in 1993. They must have seen us busking on the street in Harvard Square. And they must have offered us like $150 plus beer to play the gig, because we wouldn’t have done it for just a hundred bucks, and we definitely weren’t old enough to drink in public.

I have distant, probably-supressed memories of the show. Loading all our instruments and an entire PA system into my Chevy Nova… driving out to their house from Tufts… their friends calling us “adorable”… playing “Cocoon” like four times… playing that “500 Miles” song by The Proclaimers like nine times… wearing those pants, and that jester hat. We saw Bob & Lynne at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom in New Hampshire last weekend, for the first time in twelve years. Their four year old daughter likes us now too. Why am I writing about this, on the day of a big show in New York City? Mostly because I want to show you guys the picture they brought with them for us to sign. I made them scan it and email it to me. Enjoy…

when i wake up, well you know i’m gonna be, i’m gonna be the man that’s wakin’ up … next… to you? or something

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11.11.05 – Fairfield, CT

Flipping through the Fairfield University school paper before our big college gymnasium show last night, we discovered this peculiar article on page 2:

And for the first time, everyone in Guster felt like they’d finally made it. We had our own real true-to-life stalker, escorted off campus by the town police and everything! Although he wasn’t really stalking us, he was probably just being a little creepy, wearing a bowler hat, and refusing to tell people what sort of work they’d be doing if they joined his production company. Did you read that line in the article? If not, I’ll print it one more time for good measure:

He also was offering students $450 for four hours of work with his production company, but refused to elaborate as to what this work would entail.

Just a note to those of you out there walking the fine line between creepy and criminal… if you’re going to stand on the sidewalk offering random students $450 for four hours of work with your production company, you might want to be prepared to discuss job responsibilities, opportunities to advance within the organization, and dental plans. Or end up in jail.

Other than the fact that there were Fairfield students crowdsurfing during, like, the beginning of Come Downstairy & Say Hello, it was a good show. People almost never crowdsurf at our shows, but whenever they do Ryan tries to kabosh it right away by taking a vote… nothing’s less fun than trying to enjoy a concert while also trying not to be responsible for someone else’s head injury. So Ryan asked the crowd “how many of you like the crowdsurfing?” There was moderate applause. Then he got all fiery, pumped his fist, and said “AND HOW MANY OF YOU WISH IT WOULD STOP!!??” Like, three people clapped. I think most of what Ryan said inbetween songs got lost in the rafters of that gym last night.

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11.08.05 – Ithaca, NY

While Sean’s farewell road journal was lingering online last week we were busy playing show after show in the midwest, and getting to know my new drum tech “Scooter” a bit better, especially in regard to his bizarro Texas Hold ‘Em bluffing style. (Did Scooter really just look at his cards, yell “Woo!”, clap his hands together, and raise the pot five dollars? Did that really just happen!?)

Here are a couple of highlights from the midwest that I failed to document last week…

1. Columbia, Missouri

We spent our day off pillaging the world famous Perche Creek Driving Range / Go Kart / Batting Cages / Paintball facility (located conveniently near exit 121 off I-70 in Columbia), where I was pelted repeatedly with lump-inducing vegetable-based paint pellets from the barrel of Scooter’s gun. I would have posted pictures of the nasty welts on my arms, legs, and neck, all courtesy of my new drum tech, but you the readers of the Guster road journal are surely tired of my masochistic entries at this point (booooring!), and besides, here’s a picture of Ryan playing “Jesus on the Radio” in a chicken suit at the Blue Note the next night.

I promise that I’m standing next to him dressed as a shark swallowing a human, you just can’t see me.

2. Ann Arbor, Michigan

After what I hope is our last non-general-admission theater show ever, we ended up at a bar down the street called “Scorekeeper’s,” where there was a really loud blues band, 436 screens of NBA highlights, and a growing feeling that it was only a matter of time before we ended up on stage, playing really bad blues music.

And wouldn’t you know I was right. About an hour into the evening me and Joe and (guitar-tech) Anderson Heath Bracht Jr and (monitor guy) Josh Cohen took over for the very competent blues band with our own… blues-like… music. And when I turned the sticks over to Scooter the sound went from bad blues to a strange kind-of-Brazilian jazzy blues, to some MMW groove with a trumpet guy, to a riff from a Rush song, and back into the Brazilian thing… and as if the whole scene wasn’t weird enough, this guy starts dancing flamboyantly in front of the “band,” where he was captured mid-bridge:

That move is called “The Bridge” isn’t it?

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11.02.05 – Farewell Sean

He’s not dead, he’s just moving on to a more domestic life, one where he doesn’t have to wipe blood off of a conga drum every night. Sean’s been an integral part of the last five years on the road, and like Pasty, the thought of touring without him was once unfathomable, yet here we are sending him off in style with a farewell road journal. It would be impossible for me to even attempt to convey what Sean’s meant, as a drum tech, mentor, and my best friend on the road. So I asked Sean to write the road journal and say whatever he wanted to you people, and to us people. Beware, it’s a tearjerker.

What follows is Sean’s road journal, his “resignation letter” if you will. You can keep up with Sean and his exploding graphic design career at http://www.lynde.net …..
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Hello Guster Community,

Sean Lynde here. Some of you call me “Chunk”. Others call me “Font”. Some of you, when you wanted my attention, simply would yell, “Hey roadie!” (and I would ignore you). I have been Brian’s drum technician for almost six years, but I now, with deep sadness, must inform you all that I am leaving Guster and road life.

I have had a great time being part of Team Guster, and the experience has allowed me to grow tremendously. I have learned extremely important lessons about life and I have learned to live with many people in close quarters. When I made the decision to move to Manhattan, Francine (my girl) told me that I would need to be prepared for living in a small place. I responded, “Are you kidding? I have been living with ten people on a bus for the past several years!” I am very thankful for the opportunity, going back to day one.

Oh, and what a first day it was—my first show took place at Canes in San Diego, January of the year 2000. It was the first time I saw the sun set over the water and the first time I saw Brian upset. The story goes like this: Guster starts playing the song “All the Way up to Heaven”, which required a looped drum beat from an electronic sampler; Eric Casimiro, Guster’s monitor guy at the time (and dear friend of mine, whom I am greatly indebted to for recommending me for the position of Guster drum tech) accidentally kicked out the electricity box that supplied power to the monitor board (which allowed the band to hear each other and the sampled drum beat); the band continues to play the song, despite not being able to hear each other or the sampled drum beat; the song falls apart, the band stops playing and Brian, upset at the course of events, throws the drum stick he is holding and I think he even kicked a bottle of spring water (maybe it was artesian). With my heart trying to exit my body through my esophagus, all I could think to myself was “What am I getting myself into?”

Lots of time has passed since then and the band has progressed, opening for such acts as Barenaked Ladies, Dave Matthews and even opening for Sting (who ran to meet Brian after seeing his performance). They have added better equipment and a more experienced crew. Joe not only brought musical knowledge to the table, but helped raise the confidence level when he came into the picture. Every new album became their best work. And playing this past summer with the Boston Pops Orchestra at Symphony Hall, well, that just shows how much respect people have for them as musicians and songwriters.

There has been so many good times (and some not so good), though to keep from getting too wordy (and because the water in my eyes keeps stalling the progress of this letter), I have compiled bulleted lists of things that I will miss and not miss from my experience (though with six years of touring, I am sure that I have missed a few things that deserve mention).

Here is a list of some things I will not miss about touring:
• Aberfoyle water (tastes like burning)
• Whooping cough—several of us got this many years back; you would cough and gasp for air, sometimes for several minutes until you burped and then could breathe again. So weird…
• That horrible stomach bug that went around on John Mayer tour 2002—I pissed out my ass for 10 days. I was so traumatized from shitting myself while sleeping the first night that I was scared to fall asleep during the many nights that followed. Freddy Krueger, you are nothing!
• Grumpy, local crew guys who stare at teenage girls and make tasteless comments; so creepy.
• Going into the mucky, man-made pond to retrieve a frisbee (which landed right in the middle of the quagmire). My feet sank in about 6-8 inches. Why did I think I could clear the water hazard in one throw?
• Cleaning Brian’s blood off of the drums (he returned the favor once when I bled).
• Breathing truck diesel at 8am.
• Festivals, and all of the crappy bands that play them.

Here is a list of some things I will miss very much about touring:
• Bus chocolates
• Bocce
• Frisbee and chess with Brian
• The endless supply of baked goods from Guster fans—though I never put on the “Guster 15”, many a crew member went home after tour thinking about how to lose the extra pounds.
• Sega Tennis
• Smash or trash (if you offer a copy of your band’s cd to the Guster bus, understand that it will be judged by a harsh panel of listeners with an appetite for destruction)
• Joking about cleaning Brian’s blood off of the drums.
• Guster family dinners
• Sitting in the captain’s chair on the bus, traveling our beautiful country.
• Playing on stage with Guster (especially with Guster and Ben Folds on “All the Way up to Heaven”).
• Hearing Lionel Ritchie’s “Easy” at the end of a show.
• Nights on the bus with great music, great tv and great laughs.

But I will especially miss my Guster family: Dalton and everyone in the office; the great people from the industry who have put so many resources into the band; my fellow crew members, past and present—together we overcame very challenging situations and rocked it; the fans whose loyalty and energy has been such an integral part of the experience; and much love to Adam, Brian, Joe and Ryan, who I have happily served for many years and who have provided me with an environment full of learning and positive stimulation. I can honestly say this has been the most enriching experience of my life, and though I am going to miss all of you and the road experience very much, I am looking forward to joining the masses of Guster fans so that I can enjoy your excellent music from the perspective in which it is meant to be enjoyed.

My best to you all, together and individually. To the band: I am very proud of you guys. You created an entire community from scratch, provided jobs for many people and gave fans music that they will keep close with them for a long time. Your creativity and perseverance as a band is an inspiration. To Brian: I will miss working with you and I can’t thank you enough for taking a chance on the goofy kid with no road experience. It has been an honor to be your tech and your friendship is irreplaceable. I have enjoyed getting to know you in all of your complexity over the years. I will miss being on the road with you terribly, though I look forward to continuing our friendship at home.

Good luck and be well, all of you. See you at Nokia!

Love,
Sean

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Andrew “Scooter” Laubacher: The Future

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