When three freshman from Tufts University first formed the band Guster, nobody predicted that, 23 years later, the mayor of Boston would declare an official "Guster Day."
But it happened, and that day is Thursday. To mark Guster Day, the band has been busking around the city all day and they joined us in the studio to talk about their new album, "Evermotion."
Guster will be performing Thursday night at the Artists for Humanity EpiCenter in South Boston.
Adam Gardner, guitar.
Brian Rosenworcel, percussion.
Luke Reynolds, bass.
On the pop-up shows for "Guster Day":
Ryan Miller: "We had an option to...do something really big. We had played a free Hatch Shell before, we had played a City Hall and we thought it would sort of be funnier to kind of do these pop-ups over the course of the day, that would just sort of be able to reach more people in a more intimate way...It was an early morning. I hadn't really sung in public or private at 8 a.m. in a long time, and it was super cold, but it was fun. It's just sort of a ridiculous thing to do, which, at this point in our career, we're sort of embracing anything that's unconventional or keeps us one our toes."
On Guster's green practices:
Adam Gardner: "My wife and I started this nonprofit called Reverb that helps bands be more sustainable on tour. And, of course, it started, really, from the way I just lamented the fact that Guster — and every tour that's out there — has such a negative impact on the environment. It's supposed to be about this positive thing, yet everything in the industry is so disposable. So, Reverb was started to help bands be less damaging to the planet when we go out on the road. So, for Guster, it's everything from putting biodiesel in our buses and trucks to limiting our waste and making sure everything is reusable and working with venues on their energy and water use and really just looking at as many things as we can...We started it 10 years ago, and since then, it's been over 150 major tours. Most artists are actually larger than our own band, so it's Jack Johnson and Dave Matthews Band and Maroon 5 and Sheryl Crow and a bunch of others."
On their new album, "Evermotion":
Brian Rosenworcel: "It definitely feels like we broke through a wall, a little bit, sonically. We put the guitars in the background and added a lot of textures with keyboards with the help of our producer out in Oregon, Richard Swift, who was really well-versed with pads and keyboard textures. Listening back to it, it definitely doesn't sound like the early Guster that a lot of people know, and we couldn't be happier about that because, 20 plus years in the same band, you have to evolve to be invested in it and that's where we are."
On Richard Swift, the producer of 'Evermotion':
RM: "He's a quick study. He's very much a first thought, first take kind of guy, and I don't think we ever approached a record that way before...It was very uncomfortable, but we gave ourselves over to the process wholeheartedly...We mean what we say...we want to try new things, we want to explore. We really love the way that Richard's records sounded and we had a lot of friends in common and it felt like, it's kind of where we were headed. We have a tendency to over-think, and we didn't want to spend a year on a record...When we got in there and started it, it was felt like something magical was happening...Aesthetically and artistically it was a good decision, but practically we were also kind of into the idea."
On how the band has stayed together for over 23 years:
RM: "At least on the last two records, after we had kind of gone through the record cycle and toured and felt like we had kind of gone everywhere we needed to go, there was a moment...where everything just kind of stopped for a minute, and we kind of had to take a hard look to see if we had anything else to say. And I think momentum sort of carried us through those places where we were like, 'Let's just write and work on a record.' But it always kind of took us a while to figure out, 'Does anybody care? Do we care? Does it feel like these songs are good enough to present?' I mean, this is our seventh album, but it's our seventh album in 20 plus years...I think it's sort of part of the reason that we're still a band is because we don't sort of poop out records every year...It's the idea that these records come with a lot of thought and are sort of meticulously crafted, at least in the construction process...We've gone out and people are there and people care, you know, I think this has been a pretty long break for us and we had no idea if when we decided to put tickets up for sale or we were going to busk around town, that people were going to even pay attention. But we were even just talking about it the other day, we were like, 'Oh, we're kind of out-selling where we were three years ago.' So, I think we've been buoyed by the enthusiasm of our fans, [that's] a huge component of why we're still a band."
- "Guster, the alternative band born out of Tufts University, is embracing their new honorary day in Boston by busking throughout the city. If you're a Guster fan, we suggest you keep an eye on their Twitter feed."
This article was originally published on January 15, 2015.
This segment aired on January 15, 2015.