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Published: 2009/12/11
by Jarrod Dicker

Guster: Ten Years Lost

Guster has come a long way since playing the Midnight Café coffee house in the Lewis Hall dormitory at Tufts University. Now five albums deep into its career, Guster is now wrapping up a tour that marks the ten year anniversary of the band’s Lost and Gone Forever release. Then it’s off to Nashville to lay down the tracks for an upcoming record.

I arrived early to my scheduled 3PM interview at New York’s Beacon Theatre before Guster’s Friday night sound check. The venue was almost completely silent, save for the efforts of crew members prepping for this evening’s merriments. I ventured behind the stage and rode the service elevator up to the third floor where I soon sat with lead singers Adam Gardner and Ryan Miller.

How’s the current Lost and Gone Forever tour going thus far? Starting to get tired as you near the end I assume?

RM: We had this big long break so I’m just tired from Thanksgiving. I drove from Baltimore last night. It’s just a real hard transition. It’s a lot easier when you’re in the zone playing shows. But now it’s like, “Fuck, we have to play again [haha].”

AG: Yeah, also this hasn’t been a long tour. It’s really a ‘detour’ more than a ‘tour, tour.’ I think we’re at that point where the first few shows are like ‘Oh my god this is so cool to do this!’ Well the first two shows are really like ‘This is really hard, holy shit, how are we going to get through these songs that we haven’t played consecutively for ten years?’ And then we reach the point where it’s like, alright this is really fun, I can just play and enjoy. And this is NEW YORK.

How has the turnout been throughout this tour? How is it being received by the Guster faithful?

RM: Well, we did two weeks and then took a couple weeks off. So those two weeks went really well, much better than I expected, actually. You know there’s something about playing this record and playing two sets. People seemed really psyched and it turned out great.

AG: Definitely, it’s awesome man. Every show has been sold out so you can’t really ask for more than that.

This entire tour has lied on the East Coast and includes a lot of sentimental venues that have been platforms of success throughout Guster’s history. However, why did you pick this specific route, which kick-offs in North Carolina and close out at the Beacon?

RM: I don’t really know. I think, with this tour especially with the Lost and Gone Forever angle, we didn’t want it to be too long. We knew it would sort of lose its specialness if we did a 40 day tour, so we figured that 10 shows would probably be the right amount. So we try to stop before it starts to get really far into the boredom part [haha].

And why only the East Coast?

RM: We just haven’t had our year together, just us. We’ve been doing a lot of last minute stuff because our record has been up in the air. If we had a year in advance to prepare, we probably would have tried to do some West Coast dates and some in the Midwest. But we scrapped together what we could and everything came out really well, so…

And there’s a real special connection between Guster and New York City around Thanksgiving weekend, is there not?

AG: We’ve played here at the Beacon. I’m not positive, it must have been two or three years ago right before they had done all the renovations that they’ve just completed. I think we were one of the last shows before they did all that. I just remember being like this is really cool; we have to come back here. And traditionally, yes, we have done the Thanksgiving thing in New York. We’ve done it a bunch.

Are you seeing a similar fan demographic? Have you found that many original Guster fans have come back for these anniversary shows?

RM: It’s hard to say. I mean, some of the crowd skews a little older than normal just because we are playing a ten year old record. They’re not 13, well some of them are, but it’s always been a Dazed and Confused scene. So it’s a college thing that we tend to cluster around. There are also high school kids and kids out of school, but it usually clusters around the college scene. I don’t really have my fingers on that so much though, so I’m not absolutely certain.

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