Monthly Archives: June 2013

The year was 1974.


The year was 1974.  Ryan Miller was wearing the same shirt and pants he’d worn the night before at the Greek Theater.

One of those statements is true, anyway.  Thanks to Charlene and April, our fearless string section (that you might recognize from our acoustic tour), for filling in and adding another dimension to our radio interview on KCSN in Los Angeles Monday morning.  Adam and I had already left on jet planes hours earlier.  Seemed like a fun studio gig, but it’s better here on the east coast, where I get to change diapers in 95 degree heat.

Southern California (specifically, the crowds in Santa Barbara and LA) embraced us like never before the last couple of days.  Apparently they were just waiting for us to turn 40 before they decided it was okay to shower us with affection.  Also, because the local string ladies joined us on stage at the Greek, Ryan called us “an LA band” which should be obvious to anyone who saw this Larj post of mine.

And as long as we’re going with a retro theme in the post, here’s an actual vintage Thundergod pic from 1998 that just popped up on my Facebook page.  This is one tag I’m not going to remove.  Enjoy!  I’m holding orange juice!


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June 27, 2013 · 5:41 am

Amarillo TX: Just For Men (Part 2)

Where did we leave off?  Ryan borrowed a truck from a guy named Jesse in Amarillo who answered his tweet.  Jesse will get a care package of GUSTER bumper stickers, road journal books from 2003, irregular t-shirts, and other nice prizes from the “surplus inventory” closet of our office in return.  Then they went to visit some cadillacs in a puddle?  What the hell is going on in these pictures.




Meanwhile I decided to Just For Men the shit out of my beard in the hotel room.  In just five minutes.  First it took me a half hour to capture a BEFORE picture with my iPhone that properly showcased my sparkling salt ‘n pepper.  The lighting was never right.  Maybe I never had any gray in my beard to begin with?  I hadn’t known about the button that flips the direction of the camera until I took 25 pictures of myself in a mirror with a phone blocking my beard:

Here are some proper BEFORE pics:


Then I opened the package and read the little pamphlet.  Nowhere in the directions does it say anything at all about how long the dark brown color lasts in your beard.  Forever?  A day?  I just want to look youthful and dashing for my Red Rocks show.  Fuck the rest of the tour.  I had no choice but to plug this question into the internets and see what my old friend “Yahoo Answers” had to say about it, because Yahoo Answers always gives you the correct answer, especially when you have an important medical question, like I did.

“Up to six weeks” according to user agmp26 .  Also, I might have landed on the Yahoo question to “How Long Do Most Men Last In Bed?”  — and I can only say that my own answer to that question will be very different once I change the color of my beard.

Anyway, there are plastic gloves that come in your Just For Men box:


You are supposed to wear them when you handle the product, which scares the crap out of me, because I am about to schmear this product all over my face.  Also, I may have tasted a little bit of it before I read that you shouldn’t.  You make two lines of the goop:


Then you mix it up with a brush:


Then you schmear it on your face:


Then you wait five minutes and take a shower where you shampoo your beard:

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Then you get out of the shower and you still have white hair in your chin.  So you wait until you are dry and do it again.  And it kind of works.  Right?  I am dashing and young in this AFTER photo, right?  All told, it only took me an hour and a half to brush the gray out of my beard in five minutes:


So now I look like the dude on the Just For Men Dark Brown box and life is sweet — and the best part?  No one has any idea I did anything!


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Amarillo TX: Just For Men (Part 1)

Our first proper day off on this tour and it’s in Amarillo TX, which is the halfway point between Dallas and Denver, and a city I’ve never been to.  I set off to explore on foot this morning but don’t make it very far before I encounter “The Potato Factory,” a restaurant which has actual, physical people inside it, positive Yelp reviews, and harmless baked potatoes as the base of their culinary fare.

I decide this will make a good start to my day and approach the counter, where I am suckered into Today’s Special:  A baked potato stuffed with chicken fried steak, plus a biscuit and a 20 oz beverage for just $7.  Suddenly overcome with As-Long-As-I’m-In-Texas pride, I order it for breakfast and don’t look back.  The Potato Factory Guy tells me “the bacon-cream gravy sauce is what makes it so good” —


I eat the entire thing and wash it down with a giant styrofoam coke (sorry, Adam) (sorry, Mayor Bloomberg).

Weary from my Texas-sized meal, I stumble out of The Potato Factory into the Amarillo heat.  I don’t feel right.  Things definitely aren’t right.  I decide a walk will help and venture off into The Land of No Pedestrians.

The heat is bearing down on me as I walk past sad purple strip clubs, boarded-up Christian book stores, auto dealerships, and gas stations.  This part of Amarillo is pretty down on its luck.  I am sweating.  I don’t know how long I have been walking, but it’s clear I need something.  What do I need?

1)  A salad.  I need a salad so bad.
2)  A mattress.  I once heard that bedbugs hadn’t made it down to Texas yet, and some of the mattresses strewn about the sidewalks and back alleys of deep Amarillo are hard to pass up.  Just a quick little disco nap to get my energy back.  Resist.  Carry on.  I am in a Cormac McCarthy novel.
3)  A bottle of water (sorry, Adam).
4)  A toilet.  Jesus-god, I need a toilet RIGHT FUCKING NOW.  NOW!  RIGHT-NOW!  Oh wait, no, we’re fine.  It’s okay.
5)  “Just For Men” brush-on beard color.  Can you really take the gray out of your beard in just five minutes?

As I walk on down The Road it becomes clear that I won’t encounter a salad until I hit the Colorado border, so option one is out.  The water helps a little, and the toilet at the CVS helps *a lot* — now I am stuck choosing between Just For Men “Dark Brown” and Just For Men “Real Black” — I think I land somewhere in-between the hot white guy on the Dark Brown box and the handsome mixed-race guy on the Real Black box. I have been standing in the Just For Men aisle at CVS for a full 15 minutes.


It had been my unspoken hope that somewhere around minute 14, another box would materialize, called “Really Really Dark Brown” or “Jew-y Brown,” but that didn’t happen.  I go with the Dark Brown and begin the two mile walk back to the hotel, where I can brush the gray out of my beard in just five minutes.

The Texas sun bears down on me again and I feel weak.  I am almost 40 and the younger touring version of myself, with the full black beard and the iron gut and the boundless percussive energy —  he is shaking his youthful head at daddy-Thundergod while the Amarillo vultures circle above.  The little blue dot on my phone inches along so… slowly…. people are looking at me from their cars either because I look Jew-y, or because I am a pedestrian, or maybe because they can see I have the wrong color Just For Men in my bag.  Suddenly a scary guy in a pickup truck pulls up next to me and rolls down his window.  He has a big beard (in need of a little JFM-Red) and a camouflage hat.  He is The Most Frightening Man In Amarillo and he is going to shoot me with a gun.


Oh wait, it’s just Ryan Miller.


I ask Ryan if he really tweeted to our fan base looking for someone to loan him a pickup truck for the day, and he says:  “Yes.”


This road journal is TO BE CONTINUED…


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Grand Rapids Is For Lovers

We just had a nice run of four shows to get ready for the summer, including a giant show with Dispatch in a Chicago arena where our vocals were distorting the whole night and there was nothing we could do about it because we were the opening band with no soundcheck and the problem was coming from the snake.  That’s a fancy way of saying that 8000 Dispatch fans think we sound like The Strokes.


More importantly, Friday night in Grand Rapids, a nice couple decided to get married in the second row of the crowd during “Satellite” — they brought along an officiant and everything.  If you don’t believe me, you can watch them get married on the YouTube.

Congratulations Monica and Derek.  Free sticker to whoever one-ups them and gives birth at a Guster show!





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