Monthly Archives: October 2007

10.27.07 – Senioritis

When Jason Varitek came up to bat for the Red Sox during game two of the World Series the other night, a FOX graphic called “GET TO KNOW YOUR TEAM” (or something) popped up on the screen, revealing that the Sox catcher’s favorite bands are the Dave Matthews Band and the Barenaked Ladies. In search of a snarky comment on some blog somewhere on the internet, I googled this strange combination of musicians/athlete and found this:

So, Barenaked Ladies and Dave Matthews Band, huh? Apparently Tek has the same taste in music as a 15 year old girl from 1998.

Nothing wrong with that. It hit close enough to home that I started to have a little daydream about seeing our band up there in that graphic. What if Coco Crisp saw us singing the national anthem at Fenway, went out and bought “Keep It Together” and then gave us a shout-out in his FOX profile? The glory! The free world series tickets! Someone once told me Barry Zito liked Guster. Why can’t he ever be in the world series? How great would it be if one of these players had the vision to be ironic and fuck with the answers they gave the network? I asked Joe what the most ridiculous pair of “favorite bands” could be for a baseball player, and he said without hesitating: “Olivia Newton-John and Foghat.” I swear if I ever make it to the majors I’m going with this as my answer.

We’ve had a serious case of “senioritis” the last couple of weeks on tour, foregoing soundchecks in favor of taking advantage of the extra nice weather. We fielded 7 of us for a basketball game between some Guster crew and Georgia Southern University concert committee the other day, which was going to make for an awkward 4 on 3 half-court game, until one rogue girl in blue jeans approached the court with a sharpie and a piece of paper (recognizing me despite my high-tops, headband, and Allen Iverson elbow cast) in search of a signature. Before she could say a word, I told her “we need one, you wanna run?” And suddenly she was in the middle of a piss-poor basketball game full of musicians who aren’t afraid to deliver a hard foul. Josh, our monitor engineer, even blocked her shot. I’m so sorry, Kate, if you’re reading this.

Anyway, that same day Gordon began to talk about how far he could throw a frisbee. He seemed very content with himself. He pointed to the bus, which was a quarter of a mile away, and said “I bet I could hit the bus from here.” Having played for the Tufts Elephant Men Ultimate Frisbee Team in our day, Ryan and I were skeptical to say the least. “I bet you couldn’t throw it half way to the bus” I said. “I’ll bet you ten dollars you can’t reach the bus” said Ryan. “I’ll bet you ten dollars I can throw it farther than you” said Gordon to Ryan and then it was so on.

We got two frisbees, a few members of the Georgia Southern Ultimate team to judge, plenty of cameras, spectators, and theories about optimal wind direction. The GSU “pep rally” kicked in too, so we had a bunch of tubas playing a marching band version of AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” which provided a lovely soundtrack. It was two out of three though it didn’t need to be. Gordon threw the frisbee really far, but Ryan can throw a frisbee… well, much further than you’d expect Ryan Miller to be able to throw a frisbee. He actually has one of the longest hucks (frisbee terminology) I’ve ever seen. Gordon paid up.

But then some of the young GSU frisbee team guys wanted to get in on the action, and one by one Ryan sent them to humiliating defeat after humiliating defeat. So they called in “Patrick,” a strapping young buck of a frisbee captain here-why-don’t-you-hold-my-clipboard type (see below).

Patrick looked like he might crush the frisbee into little plastic bits with his bare hands rather than throw it. He chucked it further than any of his teammates, but Ryan, who is almost 35, beat him too. I suppose this road journal could also be interpreted as a challenge to anyone out there to try to throw a frisbee further than Ryan. Too bad this is our last show for a good while.

Speaking of which, the road journal now begins a very long, very merciful slumber. Fear not, we’ll be in the studio soon enough (I’d give it six months), and I’ll begin to update the studio journal when that happens. Plus, here’s part two of my “HOW TO PLAY THE DRUMS” essay on the Meinl website.

Ciao!

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10.23.07 – Richmond, VA

This one’s been sitting in my back pocket for a while:

It’s on the pull-out drawer in the back lounge of our bus, where we keep ice and cold beverages (we like cold beverages). Someone at the bus company went to the trouble of printing out a label and sticking it on there, presumably after a musician hurt themselves while grabbing a beer and misjudging the weight of the drawer.

Given how sensitive I am about keeping my fingers bizarro-injury-free, I should be more sensitive than this. Given that there’s a chance that Gerald, our wonderful gentle bus driver, might have been the one who created this label, I should be more sensitive than this.

I guess I’d been hoping to find the perfect opportunity to tie-in the pure-gold “heavey cooler watch fingre” label with a journal entry, and granted, on this tour we’ve encountered a few menus with egregious quotation mark abuse and a couple of college newspaper articles written about our band that make this cooler look like it deserves a Pulitzer, but I never had my camera on me. And so it must stand alone. Rathre than make fun of this label any furthre, I’m readey to move on to the scene in the front lounge of the bus:

Scooter’s mother brought puppies on the bus today. How perfect is that? She wouldn’t let us keep one. Not even the albino one with the evil red laser beam eye with which it stuns its prey. And its dog food. And Scooter’s parents.

One final pathetic bit of puppy pandering and the road journal officially jumps the shark! Miller and his dog Jerry:

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10.15.07 – Ft Lauderdale

we’re in athens georgia now after dipping down into fort lauderdale for a show yesterday. fort lauderdale is where my grandparents used to live and where i used to fish for sheepshead in the canal behind their apartment complex when i was eight years old. the first thing i told my cousin when he picked me up for dinner after soundcheck was that i wanted to go to “pumpernick’s” and i wanted to get there for the early bird special at 5pm. pumpernick’s was amazing though i didn’t fully appreciate it at the time — i remember the bowl of pickles, the basket of glossy onion rolls, the wait staff who would pretend to look the other way when the elderly customers emptied said onion rolls into a purse and asked for more…

“that place has been closed for like 18 years,” said my cousin.

so we drove past a restaurant called the “egg ‘n you diner” which seemed like a solid replacement for pumpernick’s not because it looked like it’d be a haven for old frugal people, but because it was called the “egg ‘n you diner.” it too was closed. note disappointment on my face outside of the egg & you.

we settled for the fort lauderdale ale house, where the wait staff are women wearing miami dolphins jerseys and short shorts, spouting off drink specials and blocking my view of the hi-def TV showing the cowboys-patriots game that was next to the other hi-def TV showing the cowboys-patriots game which was next to… (repeat about 60-70 times for accuracy).

the show itself was fun. it was a small club with an owner who’s all about live music, and building up his own legend with photographs of him ‘n you on his wall. after so many gymnasiums and parking lots on college campuses, it was nice to be in a packed club again, and we decided we’d commence drinking on stage 2/3rds of the way through the show because that’d be a very rock ‘n roll thing to do in florida.

of course, true to guster self-conscious form we announced very formally that the sober part of the show was through, and we were about to begin the drunken, rock ‘n roll, anything-goes part of the show. and then ryan asked the crowd if they thought this was a good idea by a show of applause, etc. — the audience finally reacted when ryan said “l’chaim” and a quick survey revealed we were literally playing to a 90% jewish crowd.

what these people witnessed for the last forty minutes of the set had its highs and lows. manifest destiny, great escape, and c’mon were extra spirited, and by the time the encores came around our lead singer had put down a quarter of a bottle of jameson and was slurring his…. lyrics. at the end of set-closer ‘come downstairs and say hello’ i went into a triggered 808 hip hop beat so ryan would freestyle rap while inebriated. we’d been breaking this out recently in preparation for our show opening for kanye west in nashville, though ironically we ended up doing this at every show except the one with kanye. before we were done i’d sung a song and introduced the band, we’d trudged through a ten minute blues jam with ryan on drums, and apparently we played a version of jesus on the radio with scooter on shaker (i was on the bus at this point, thinking the show was over).

while people in south florida might feel like they witnessed something special last night at the show, it doesn’t even hold a candle to what went down at the 7-11 we stopped at for cheap halloween masks and florida t-shirts a half hour down the road after the show:





the man in the make-shift thong is our sound engineer, gordon reddy…. (awkward segueway coming) (no way to smooth it over)… help a great cause and visit www.ourthreads.com where ryan miller is auctioning off a bunch of old t-shirts (including his trippin balls t-shirt!) as a part of his very own celebrity closet. all proceeds benefit www.dramaticneed.org — hurry up, though! the auction ends this thursday the 18th.

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10.04.07

The road journal is temporarily on hold while Brian Rosenworcel recovers from the historic late season collapse of the New York Mets. In the meantime, he has begun to contribute a series on the finer points of hand-drumming to the blog on the Meinl Percussion website.

Thanks for your patience.

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