Do You Love Me?
September 30, 2010 4:33 PM   Subscribe

Guster's video "Do You Love Me [also YouTube]", with bonus footage: treatment proposal, abandoned concept, working on a frame 168, in the studio. "Do You Love Me" has been chosen as this week's iTunes free video download [iTunes Music Store link].

"Do You Love Me" is only one of 12 videos Guster will release for their upcoming album Easy Wonderful. The other videos released so far are "Stay With Me Jesus" [YouTube], "What You Call Love [YouTube]", and "Hercules". They're holding a fan-sourced contest for the final video for the track "Bad Bad World." The entire album Easy Wonderful is currently streaming from the Wall Street Journal (scroll below article for stream links).


Guster began in 1991 when three freshmen at Tufts University met during freshmen orientation, and began talking about music. Adam Gardner, Ryan Miller, and Brian Rosenworcel soon began writing original material and performing as a street band, busking around Boston locations such as Harvard Square. Naming themselves Gus, they soon had enough original material, and by 1994 had recorded an album, Parachute.
Parachute: Fall In Two, Mona Lisa, Love For Me, Window, Eden, Scars & Stiches, The Prize, Dissolve, Cocoon, Happy Frappy, Parachute [no official videos released for this album]
After selling some 4,000 copies of their CD out of their guitar cases on the street, they found their band name was being challenged by Gus, (now known as Gus Black), and they changed their name to Guster. They went back into the studio and recorded a second album, 1998's Goldfly, which helped them earn the attention of Sire Records who re-released the album.
Goldfly: Great Escape, Demons, Perfect, Airport Song, Medicine, X-Ray Eyes, Grin, Getting Even, Bury Me, Rocketship, Melanie (hidden track) [again, no official video releases]
Within a year, Guster was back in the studio, this time with Steve Lillywhite producing, and in 1999, Lost And Gone Forever was released, this time with major label support.
Lost And Gone Forever: What You Wish For, Barrel Of A Gun [official video], Either Way, Fa Fa [official video], I Spy, Center Of Attention, All The Way Up To Heaven, Happier, So Long, Two Points For Honesty, Rainy Day
Guster appeared at Woodstock 1999, playing an early performance on Saturday at the West Stage: Airport Song (Woodstock 99).

When 2003's Keep It Together was released, long-time fans were shocked to hear that Brian "Thundergod" Rosenworcel had moved from playing strictly hand percussion (conga drums, etc) to playing a traditional drum kit. Still, the band continued to grow in popularity, with their single "Amsterdam" gaining a good amount of radio airplay, thanks again to major label support, including television commercials. Guster also contributed ¿Donde Esta Santa Claus? to the holiday album Maybe This Christmas Too?
Keep It Together: Diane, Careful [official video], Amsterdam [official video], Backyard, Homecoming King, Ramona, Jesus On The Radio, Keep It Together, Come Downstairs And Say Hello, Red Oyster Cult, Long Way Down, I Hope Tomorrow Is Like Today, Silence, Two At A Time (hidden track) [fewer tracks available, presumably due to aggressive copyright protection by the label]
After receiving much help from Joe Pisipia in the studio during the Keep It Together sessions, Guster welcomed him as their official fourth member. After recording a live album and DVD (Guster On Ice), they returned to the studio to work on their fifth album, Ganging Up On The Sun, which was released in 2006. The album was startling compared to earlier Guster releases, with hints of psychedelic rock and stark moody shading formerly unheard from a band which started as a three-piece acoustic group.
Ganging Up On The Sun: Lightning Rod [live from KCRW], Satellite [official video], Manifest Destiny, One Man Wrecking Machine [official video], The Captain [live from KCRW], The New Underground, Ruby Falls, C'mon [official video], Empire State, Dear Valentine, The Beginning Of The End, Hang On
In response to the Haiti earthquake, Guster contributed Jonah to Music For Relief.

As they prepare for the release of their sixth studio album, the question remains, just who am Guster, anyway? If their short film Guster's Last Waltz doesn't answer your questions...

Ryan Miller (bass, guitars, vocals) exhibits his sense of humor frequently during interviews: Mile High Music Festival 2009, backstage at Q101's Twisted Thirteen.

Brian "Thundergod" Rosenworcel is less comfortable in live interviews, but really rocks the drums: Rothbury 2009, demonstrating his hand drumming technique, on his favorite drummers.

Adam Gardner (guitars, vocals) has decided to "green up" the rock touring industry. He founded Reverb with his wife, an organization which works to help touring musicians lessen their impact on the planet's resources. He testified before Congress about the importance of green touring and biofuels. He's worked thoughtfully to help make all Guster tours as carbon neutral as possible.

Since 2006, Guster has helped create and participate in the Campus Consciousness Tour, which brings eco-action and rock music together to motivate students to change their lifestyles.
posted by hippybear (26 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, yay! I've loved Guster for almost 10 years now. I really like the new video, but I'm not impressed with the new songs I've heard... Oh well, their other 5 albums are fantastic.
posted by hopeless romantique at 4:40 PM on September 30, 2010

Also, this post is amazingly crafted.
posted by hopeless romantique at 4:40 PM on September 30, 2010

So glad to see this post. Been leaning towards spending the $30 to see them later this month but don't know their work. I think I'll get tickets soon :)
posted by bread-eater at 4:55 PM on September 30, 2010

So I lived next door to these guys just over ten years ago in Somerville. When they moved out of that house, they decided to get rid of a couch by dropping it from a balcony onto the sidewalk, and posted an amusing video of it, which I am sadly unable to dig up. Seemed like nice, quiet fellows overall. I bought Goldfly to give them my support and found that I actually really liked it. "Getting Even" has some pretty dark lyrics but a really excellent slide guitar solo (I can't find a good quality video of it though), and Rocketship is pretty good too. I haven't bought any of their music lately but I'm enjoying the pop songs I hear from them.
posted by A dead Quaker at 4:57 PM on September 30, 2010

wow . . . i only come onto metafilter sporadically, i was so excited to see this when i decided to check it out tonight!!! i LOVE guster. i started being a 'guster rep' in high school after hearing Airport song- and would sell their cd's to kids in my french class for ten bucks each. and they sent me a guster rep name badge on a sailor moon card. and a newsletter with a pop-out folding Gus Bus. they are awesome. i even attended the first ships and dip (barenaked ladies and guster cruise, back when steven page was still a member of BNL.) those were the days . . .

but yeah Guster is amazing and I cant wait for the new album :-)
posted by lblair at 5:12 PM on September 30, 2010

In the best artist-engineered prank on internet file sharers ever, Guster leaked their own album Keep It Together onto file sharing sites a few weeks before release, but replaced the vocals with them meowing the vocal melody. The "meow mix." Every so often this will creep into a truly random iTunes mix and amuse the crap out of my wife.
posted by uaudio at 5:17 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

And I also was a rep in college and still love Guster; great post!
posted by uaudio at 5:21 PM on September 30, 2010

I was a freshman at Tufts in 94.
I hated these guys. They were blatantly violating campus postering policy, covering up our legitimate event posters with their ads. God damn gus, I ripped my fair share of their posters off the walls at the library steps, I tell you.

posted by jozxyqk at 5:49 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

This is an excellently crafted post! (Said the longtime Guster fan.) I'm really excited for the new album next week; it's the first one in a long time where I've genuinely enjoyed the songs right off the bat. Normally I initially dislike whatever new sound they have on a new album, but then over time the songs break me in and they become some of my favorite songs ever. Even though I would be perfectly content with album after album of Lost & Gone Forever-esque sound, they keep gently encouraging me to follow them in the new directions they take.

It's worth noting that a minor controversy simmered about whether "Stay With Me Jesus" was a Christian song. It's definitely not, but the subtlety was missed by a lot of the Facebook fans after the video was released and most people were either elated or none too happy that Guster had started writing worship songs. It's always been one of the great oddities of Guster that a couple Jewish guys would write so many songs about Christianity: "All the Way Up to Heaven," "Jesus on the Radio," "Two at a Time," "Jonah," and now "Stay With Me Jesus."
posted by lilac girl at 5:53 PM on September 30, 2010

Considering that all three members of Guster are Jewish, I'd be very surprised to hear that they're a Christian band. (But apparently this isn't a new question.)
posted by hippybear at 6:25 PM on September 30, 2010

Hey, awesome. A friend of mine in college knew the bandmembers and got Guster to come down to UVA a couple of times to play shows in support of Parachute, in '95, and then Goldfly, a couple of years later. After the Goldfly show the band ended up crashing on the couch and the floor in my apartment, which they said was typical for them, since their tours were still pretty low-budget affairs at that point. Really nice guys. I've still got my copy of Parachute with their "Live Well, Drink Schlitz" life advice scrawled on it, and have followed their careers since then with some interest. They had a pretty unique sound, and I was sad to see the bongo drums go by the wayside in '03.
posted by killdevil at 6:36 PM on September 30, 2010

Jewish songwriters writing songs about Jesus? What would Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan have to say about that?
posted by jeffen at 6:55 PM on September 30, 2010

Wait, was everyone that lived in Somerville in the 1990's also in a band? Someone check the census.
posted by not_on_display at 7:49 PM on September 30, 2010

Huge Guster fan as well. I've seen them in concert 4 times, the first as an opening act for Barenaked Ladies. Just such lovely, well crafted melodies, and I love me some hand drumming. I was telling my 10 year old son about that just the other day.
posted by shinynewnick at 8:01 PM on September 30, 2010

Wait, was everyone that lived in Somerville in the 1990's also in a band?

An ex of mine went to Tufts in '95 and wasn't in a band.
So that's one.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:43 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

I was just thinking about Guster and their reaction to the Hard Rock Cafe Rockfest Presented By Oldsmobile Alero. I love this:

"We can live without the five grand," Rosenworcel explains. "What's unacceptable is feeling that you have to kiss corporate ass to expose your music to people. We could have gone up there and sung a bunch of lyrics about gay-bashing and that would have been fine. That we made fun of Oldsmobile earns us a penalty? Something's wrong with that."

I lost track of Guster after Keep it Together and while I loved the music when I loved it, I don't really feel the need to go back to it. Still, it makes me happy to know this band is still out there, doing its thing and being as charming as ever.
posted by darksong at 8:51 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, I have a Guster story, too. Sometime around '98-'99, heavy boot wearing Ryan Miller stepped on my foot at Mama Kin's. I was wearing clear plastic jelly sandals, and somehow, in the dark club, he thought I wasn't wearing shoes at all. So he spent the next five minutes apologizing profusely for stepping on my bare foot.

Ok, it's not much of a story, but it's not often that Guster comes up in conversation and I get to tell it.
posted by Ruki at 9:09 PM on September 30, 2010

darksong: the band must have been on a roll around that point in their careers. I saw them play in a venue in the Phoenix metroplex around that same era which was the worst venue I've ever been to for a rock show. It was designed to look like a mexican street / plaza, with "storefronts" being where you went to the bar, patio furniture (indoors) for seating, paintings all over the walls to try to convince you that you were sitting outdoors even while you were indoors... and a 2nd floor balcony room with a small rail-guarded balcony which is where they'd shunted all the under-21 concert goers in order to enact alcohol control.

Well, the balcony area was PACKED, and the floor in front of the band was only about 1/3 full and pretty lackluster with the crowd enthusiasm. And I don't blame them -- the sound was terrible. Smooth walls with nothing in the way to absorb sound = loud echoey space. The band started openly mocking the venues' segregation of the younger members of the crowd (who were having a GREAT time at the show); pretty much every song break, they'd say something disparaging about how all the kids were locked away "behind bars" trying desperately to hear the music while the floor was full of old fogies (me) sitting at tables. They obviously wanted the energy of youth at the foot of their stage... who wouldn't?

The sound was so terrible I actually left after half the show. That was only the second time I'd seen Guster (the first was performing on the streets of Boston someplace -- I have one of the 4,000 copies of "Gus - Parachute" purchased from their guitar case). It would be nearly another 10 years before I'd see them again. They seemed to be happier at the most recent show of theirs I saw -- I hope it continues to go well for them.
posted by hippybear at 9:19 PM on September 30, 2010

Guster and their reaction to the Hard Rock Cafe Rockfest Presented By Oldsmobile Alero

Well, they don't make the Alero anymore.

Or the platform they were made on.

They tore the factory they were made in down.

The Oldsmobile brand has been eliminated.

GM (one of the biggest companies in the world) went bankrupt.

So, I guess the motto is:

Don't fuck with Guster.
posted by theclaw at 9:28 PM on September 30, 2010

My only comment is an answer to your question, hippybear:

Yes, yes I do.
posted by yiftach at 10:38 PM on September 30, 2010

Wait, was everyone that lived in Somerville in the 1990's also in a band? Someone check the census.

Some of them went into politics.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 5:15 AM on October 1, 2010

So I lived next door to these guys just over ten years ago in Somerville....

Whereabouts, if you don't mind saying? Just curious... I recently moved out of Ball Square (Rogers Ave) and I'd be amused if it was anywhere near there

posted by Riptor at 5:51 AM on October 1, 2010

Whoops, too much italics. Sorry!
posted by Riptor at 5:51 AM on October 1, 2010

Two at a Time is about Noah so it's not really about Christianity. Good song but it's either creepy or ironic, I'm not sure which. "I can see the rains a coming to wash away the filth and vermin. Hand in hand we'll watch them running..."
posted by Manjusri at 8:10 AM on October 1, 2010

Riptor, they lived near the corner of Cedar and Highland. When they moved out of their house, they had a yard sale, inviting their fan mailing list to attend, and I was surprised to learn they lived within 2 houses of several friends of mine.
posted by foldedfish at 8:17 AM on October 1, 2010

Excellent, excellent post, especially for those of us who [heart] Guster.
posted by robstercraw at 8:48 AM on October 1, 2010

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