Life On the (greener) Road with Guster
DISCLAIMER—this is my first blog entry ever. I don’t even have a personal Facebook account. So here goes nothing…
It’s been practically 4 years since I’ve been on a “proper” tour with my band Guster that extends into the unknown abyss of time without any definitive end date. In 2013 we had the pleasure of joining my friends and long-time REVERB supporters, Barenaked Ladies on their Last Summer On Earth tour. REVERB also played a large role with an Eco-Village at shows featuring environmental non-profit groups and campaigns and a solar “pop-up” stage with spontaneous performances by members of BNL, Guster and Ben Folds Five. It was a super fun summer camp vibe and lasted just as long as a camp—6 weeks.
Don’t get me wrong, the Guster tour I’m on currently is fun too, but a completely different animal—supporting our new album release, we are planning on being “out there” for a long time including a few trips to Europe to see what life is like for us over there. The album is called “Evermotion” and could be interpreted as a sign that we will be touring indefinitely… We are now 40-year-old fathers touring like we did when we were in our twenties. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to turn back the clock and step into my former life like this—not many 40-year-old dads get to do that. We all feel this way, which makes touring more enjoyable than ever (outside of missing our wee ones and feeling badly for our wives who are taking on parenthood solo while we’re gone).
The difference is we have 20 more years of perspective than we did then, and feel we’re getting pretty good at being on the road. I don’t mean the musical part of touring, I mean everything else—really seeing the country, getting to know the off-the-beaten-path nooks and crannies of the towns and cities we play, tasting the local delicacies, partaking in what each place we stop has to offer. We’ve been dubbing it the “Quality of Life Tour” and so far it’s been a huge success–from taking advantage of the recent legal changes in Colorado and hosting a “Pot Jam” with a few fan winners, to hiking in Zion National Park, to surfing in Florida, to helping prepare Mardi Gras floats before a big sci-fi freak-out “Chewbaccus” parade in New Orleans.
Oh and yeah, the shows have been going well too.
But wait, I haven’t gotten to the “greener” part yet (besides the Colorado mention, which isn’t the type of green I intended in the title of this blog—oh no—do blogs even have titles?). A large part of the Quality of Life Tour for me is knowing that we are doing our best to keep the environmental footprint of the tour at a minimum while engaging our fans at shows to take action for the planet. We couldn’t be doing this without the team here at REVERB, and, well, that’s why REVERB was formed in the first place—to help bands be more green out on the road and do the things they don’t have the capacity or resources to do without us. Between our office staff back home in Maine and Jeff, the REVERBer out on the road with us, we’ve been able to limit our waste (no more disposable water bottles—thanks Liberty Bottleworks!, compostable and reusable catering items, rechargeable batteries and recycling even if it means carrying recyclables to the next tour stop); fuel consumption (we fill our bus with biodiesel whenever we can, keep hotel rooms and flights to a minimum, etc.) and making life a bit less toxic (natural soap upgrades in the bathrooms for fans at each show—thanks SoapBox soap!, eco-friendly bus cleaners—thanks CleanWell!, organic food backstage…).
I also discovered a super earth-friendly guitar that also happens to sound amazing, AND IT’S made from trees that fell down naturally in America. REVERB has been doing a lot of work around legal and sustainable wood products including musical instruments which is how I found out about Bedell Guitars. They are a true leader in manufacturing transparency, tracking where their wood comes from and making sure it’s the whole process is as sustainable as possible. As part of our fan engagement at the shows, we are giving away one of the Bedell guitars I’m playing on stage to a lucky fan who participates in taking action at the show (thanks Bedell!). In our “Guster Good Stuff” booths at the shows, we have an interactive display all about the need for legal and sustainable wood and creating consumer demand for it. This includes the short documentary REVERB produced featuring many of our REVERB friends like Maroon 5, Jason Mraz, Linkin Park and, Michael Franti. If you haven’t seen it, take a few minutes and check it out HERE. We’re super proud of it and the work we’re doing on this issue—we’re calling it the No More Blood Wood Campaign.
Now, I’d like to say Guster is responsible for all the good stuff that’s happening out here, but the reality is it’s the great team at REVERB and the amazing Guster fan volunteers making it all happen. I want to take this opportunity to thank the staff at REVERB (as it must be weird greening the “boss’s” band) for helping truly making this a Quality of Life tour for all those involved. See you back in the office at some point!
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