08.15.11 – Evolution of the Disco Ball Helmet

The other day in Philadelphia, this was the scene onstage during “This Is How It Feels To Have A Broken Heart”:

It’d be a fair question to ask how it came to this. I mean, yeah it’s our disco song, but Ryan looks less like the human mirror ball we intended and more like a transvestite robot that got the shit kicked out of it.

Let’s go on a brief photographic tour through Guster’s onstage prop history, shall we?  It probably all started at Tipitina’s Uptown in New Orleans in 1998, when Ryan got a hold of a fat suit and discovered that while it looked uncomfortable, it actually felt “right” against his skin:

That same year at the Webster Theater in Hartford CT we created a giant styrofoam (sorry Adam) cake in honor of a fan’s birthday.  I was the special surprise inside.  I was wearing a fireman’s hat.  You know, like how strippers sometimes wear those hats to pretend they are just naked firemen.

Then, in 1999, while writing Lost & Gone Forever with his shirt off, out of nowhere came a golden retriever.  It had a lampshade on its head and it seemed to be trying to tell us something.

And we responded.  By invading John Mayer’s stage during “Your Body Is A Wonderland” on the last night of our tour, wearing diapers around our waists and Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets on our heads.

We learned that, like the gypsy golden retriever, you don’t necessarily need to see clearly to have a good time, and to piss off a pop star (sorry John) (end of tour prank).  I realize there’s a massive topless theme going on in this road journal, but I swear that wasn’t the point.  Dismissed as coincidence.

Fast forward to late 2002, and descending from the rafters at the Electric Factory in Philly is a giant paper mache menorah:

It was constructed by Moria-from-our-office’s mother, who was a local art teacher in suburban Philadelphia.  You will want to remember Moria-from-our-office’s mother’s name, because she’s going to return and play an important role later on in this road journal.  Swoop, the Philadelphia Eagles’ mascot, “lights” the menorah with a toilet plunger:

Swoop actually made about five Philadelphia appearances with the band before making a baby and settling down on the west coast, passing the mascot reins to a guy who likes listening to Godsmack and thinks Guster’s a little gay.

High on our own paper mache prowess, we commission that giant matzoh-filled pinatas of Brian, Ryan, and Adam be created and lowered from the ceiling at Hawaiian themed shows that year in Providence, Philly, and DC… yes, I know my chronology is off.  Suck it.

We narrowly avoid a tragedy at the 930 Club in DC when Ryan’s paper mache head fell from the ceiling mid-set, luckily hitting no one, and luckily spewing delicious matzoh all over the front rows.

Here is a picture of my daughter dressed as a bumblebee:

I am clearly losing focus at this point, and I need to bring it all home.  We’ve wanted Ryan to become a disco ball during the instrumental break down of “Broken Heart” for a while, but until recently all we had was a glittery schmata that Ryan wore like a scarf.  Confusing, underwhelming, but good enough as a stand-in for what we were going to one day do.  One day.

That day came a couple weeks ago in rehearsals in Taunton MA.  After Adam sliced anactual disco ball in half, only to realize it weighed twenty pounds, was impossible to fit on a human head, and made Ryan’s neck bleed… we began construction of a styrofoam (sorry Adam) disco ball helmet:

Megan, our awesome and helpful merch lady, glued bits of mirror to it, and Moria’s mom’s art class did the rest, with the umm, oblong body suit…

And voila… instant Spinal Tap.  Thanks for listening.

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