Guster is an American alternative rock band that is known for its live performances, humor, and cult following. It was formed by Adam Gardner, Ryan Miller, and Brian Rosenworcel in 1991 while attending Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.
The band stayed ?underground? for its first two full-length albums, Parachute (1994) and Goldfly (1997), but broke into the musical mainstream in 1999 with its third studio album Lost and Gone Forever, with the single song "Fa Fa," which made it onto the Adult Top 40. The band has enjoyed moderate success on the charts with Keep It Together, its fourth album, with two singles in the Adult Top 40 ("Careful" and "Amsterdam"). Joe Pisapia joined the official lineup for "Keep It Together," and the second album following his joining, Ganging Up on the Sun, peaked at 25 on the Billboard 200. The band's music has been featured on many television shows and movies, such as Martian Child, which featured their song "Satellite"; Disturbia; Wedding Crashers; Life as a House, which makes several allusions to the band throughout the film, The OC; and one of the band?s songs became the slogan for the Weather Channel.
Guster's tours were originally local, but began to spread as the band gained popularity. In 1999, Guster gave its first performance in Canada, becoming an international act. Guster followed up on its international success with a 2004 tour in Britain that had four shows in London and one in Manchester. Guster maintains a liberal taping policy and has a very dedicated and active taping community. Despite this policy, the band has released several live shows via iTunes.
The band members met during freshman orientation at Tufts University in 1991. A year later, after writing a few songs in their dorm rooms, the band named itself Gus and booked its first gig. The band recorded its first album independently in 1994, titled Parachute. This album established the band as a favorite of the same 1990s scene that became popular through bands such as the Dave Matthews Band, The Disco Biscuits, moe., Phish, and Widespread Panic. The band was still in college when it recorded the album. Shortly after the release of Parachute, another artist calling himself Gus signed a deal with a major record company, forcing the band to rename itself Guster.
In 1996, the band independently recorded their second album, Goldfly, releasing it early the next year. In 1998 the band signed with Sire Records and re-released Goldfly. A year later, the band released the album Lost and Gone Forever, produced by Steve Lillywhite. With the backing of a major label, the band appeared on shows such as The Late Show with David Letterman, and it released their first music video for their song "Fa Fa." The band released its fourth album, Keep It Together, in 2003, with the first single, "Amsterdam," which got significant airplay on the radio. A live album/DVD, Guster on Ice, compiled from two shows in Portland, Maine, in December 2003, was released in 2004. Guster released its fifth full length studio album, Ganging Up on the Sun, on , 2006. The single "Manifest Destiny / Sorority Tears" was released in November 2005 on the Internet.
Alongside Ganging up on the Sun, the band released a documentary comedy series called Joe's Place on its Web site. More recently, the group, along with the Barenaked Ladies, participated in the latter's Ships and Dip cruise. In 2009, Guster will take part in a similar event with musician John Mayer called Mayercraft Carrier 2 aboard the Carnival Splendor
On , 2006, Guster won Album of the Year (Major) at the Boston Music Awards.
Guster plans on releasing their six studio album sometime in late 2009 or early 2010.
Guster is often recognized for its choice of instruments during their earlier years: two members playing acoustic guitars and one member playing and various percussion instruments. Brian Rosenworcel, the band's percussionist (affectionately dubbed the Thundergod by fans), added to Guster's unique sound with a combination of bongos, cymbals, and other drums, playing live shows using only his bare hands. While Miller played rhythm parts, Gardner would often play a bass line on his guitar. Guster's sound is recognized for its vocal harmonies, with both Miller and Gardner singing lead vocals on different songs; in songs such as "What You Wish For" and "Happier," the two members sing different lyrics simultaneously.
While Guster's studio albums included more instrumental variety (e.g. violin, bass, drum kit), its live shows generally retained the same line-up until tours supporting its album Lost and Gone Forever, in which the band diversified by playing different instruments on some songs. At this time, Rosenworcel began introducing a more traditional drum kit into the stage and studio performances in an effort to move away from bare-hand percussion (which can lead to nerve damage). Following the release of Keep it Together, multiinstrumentalist Joe Pisapia, who had been touring with the band, became a full-time member.
Guster's live shows have a style all their own. For encores, the band has sometimes featured drummer Brian Rosenworcel, who is not known for his vocals, moving to the front microphone and singing humorous covers. These have ranged from Temple of the Dog's "Hunger Strike" to 4 Non Blondes' "What's Up?" to the theme song from the TV show "Cheers." Guster has toured with many other artists, such as Ben Folds, Nickel Creek, Tally Hall, Ben Kweller, Pete Yorn, Nada Surf, John Mayer, Rogue Wave, and Rufus Wainwright.
Joe signing an autograph.
Guster attempts to maintain a close relationship with its fans. The band regularly updates studio and road journals on its Web site, guster.com, and signs autographs after their shows.
Guster once maintained a rep (representative) program, through which fans received promotional materials for upcoming concerts and albums to sell. Reps were rewarded with a special, rep-only series of EP's called The Pasty Tapes as well as invitations to rep-only concerts. Early in its career, Guster managed to sell more than 10,000 copies of Parachute and Goldfly through little more than word-of-mouth. Following the release of Ganging up on the Sun, the band formed a new program called the Wrecking Machines, through which fans are able to receive posters for advertising nearby concerts. Guster is a constantly touring band, often playing up to 250 shows a year.
The band's humor is noted by many fans. For laughs, the three members of Guster opened a number of their own shows as the Peace Soldiers, three redneck-looking musicians. With the addition of Joe into the band, it has since opened for itself in costume as a jam band called Trippin' Balls. During a 2001 show in Rochester, NY (which was oddly enough opened by Joe Pisapia's band Joe, Marc's Brother), the band started their show with an empty stage. The music to The Price is Right played over the sound system, and a voice called each of the band members down from where they had hid themselves in the audience. Upon hearing their name, each member played the part of an enthusiastic game show contestant all the way to the stage.
In 2004, Guster guitarist and vocalist Adam Gardner and his wife Lauren Sullivan co-founded Reverb, an organization dedicated to assisting touring artists by making activities more environmentally sound. It operates from within the music industry as well as the environmental world. Reverb greens artists? tours and the music business at large while raising awareness and support for the environment through an interactive eco-village. Since its inception, Reverb has worked with (among others) Jack Johnson, Barenaked Ladies, Bonnie Raitt, John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band, and, of course, Guster. In July 2006, both Gardner and Sullivan were interviewed about Reverb by The Green Room magazine, which would later interview Gardner alone in coverage of a Guster show. Newsweek did a similar profile in its April 16, 2007, issue.
In 2006, Guster named its spring tour the Campus Consciousness Tour. The band toured with the Format, and it powered its buses and trucks with biodiesel and aimed to use the tour to teach audiences about the environment. Participation in early 2007 IZStyle Winter Tour is similarly goaled.
In Fall 2007, Guster headlined the Crocs? Next Step Campus Tour with Brett Dennen as a supporting act. The tour promoted eco-friendly green initiatives while educating attendees on ways to help the environment. The tour stopped at fifteen colleges, including the University of Puget Sound, Gonzaga University, the College of William and Mary, North Carolina State University, Michigan State University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Vermont, the University of Florida, Furman University, Georgia Southern University, Murray State University, Vanderbilt University, Indiana University, and Williams College.
In Spring 2009, the band continued the green initiate touring, performing at colleges including University of New Hampshire, Northeastern University, University of Arkansas, University of Wisconsin, Fordham University, Colby College, Ohio State University, University of Dayton, Albright College, Marquette University, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Guster performing "Jesus on the Radio (unplugged)" at Ohio State University in 2006
Official Guster members
Adam Gardner - lead vocals, guitar, bass, keyboard, banjo, trumpet
Ryan Miller - lead vocals, backing vocals, guitar, bass, piano, banjo, harmonica
Brian Rosenworcel - drums, percussion
Joe Pisapia - backing vocals, guitar, bass, banjo, harmonica, keyboard, lap steel guitar, cow bell, appalachian dulcimer
All Guster lyrics
- Airport Song
- All The Way Up To Heaven
- Barrel Of A Gun
- Bury Me
- Center Of Attention
- Come Down The Stairs And Say Hello
- Come Downstairs And Say Hello
- Dear Valentine
- Donde Esta Santa Claus?
- Either Way
- Empire State
- Fa Fa
- Fall In Two
- G Major
- Getting Even
- Great Escape
- Hang On
- Happy Frappy
- Homecoming King
- Hope Tomorrow Is Like Today
- I Hope Tomorrow Is Like Today
- I Spy
- I'm Through
- Jesus On The Radio
- Jesus On The Radio (Daddy On The Phone)
- Keep It Together
- Lightning Rod
- Long Way Down
- Love For Me
- Manifest Destiny
- Mona Lisa
- One Man Wrecking Machine
- Rainy Day
- Red Oyster Cult
All lyrics are property of their respective owners and are strictly for non-commercial use only.