With the alternative rock band Guster performing at the Palestra on Friday, Oct. 5, the Campus Times was given the exciting opportunity to talk to Brian Rosenworcel, a member of the band. Originally from West Hartford, Conn., Brian is Guster’s drummer, known for often playing drums by hand instead of with sticks. He answered questions about visiting Rochester, writing songs and the general experience of being in the band.

Is this your first time in Rochester?

No we play Rochester two to three times a year! It’s been eight or 10 times now. We’ve played the Water Street Music Hall, Rochester Institute of Technology and UR. When we’re here we always visit our friend Joey at WBER. Also, we always go to Dinosaur BBQ. It’s just so good.

Who writes most of your songs?

We write pretty collectively. We all go into a room and a song emerges. Ryan Miller writes all the melodies though, and we’re a pretty melody-centric band. We structure and arrange as a band.

Who are your influences?

We want to sound like the Kinks and Zombies from the ’60s. Ryan’s influences are more from the ’80s but no one would ever call us out on that stuff because we’re acoustic, so it’s packaged in a totally different way.

Do you get nervous before shows? Any pre-show rituals?

Yes. On our web site there was like a five second clip of us playing hackey sack before going onstage, but that’s kind of a joke.

Do you hang out with fans after the show?

We play a lot of colleges. Where you toss the ping pong ball into cups of beer – we’re good at that. We’re in our mid-30s so we don’t like to be the creepy old guys at parties but sometimes we have to. We have a concert in Vermont the next day so we’ll probably leave UR around 3a.m. Plenty of time to play the cup game.

Any groupie experiences?

All of our groupie stories are boring and uninteresting. No one would read them. Really.

That surprises me.

You can’t ask a band about groupie stories!

So tell us how you all met.

We met in college orientation, at Tufts, on a wilderness trip in 1991. We met then and just started writing songs.

What advice do you have for college musicians?

It’s fun to cover other peoples’ songs, but it’s better to develop your own song writing skills. For us, we just couldn’t agree on what songs to cover so we wrote our own.

Do you feel like you’ve “made it?”

For us, our progress has been this real slow, gradual thing. There’s no real point where you could say, “oh this song…” or “this album…” Slowly people caught on and become more aware. Distant cousins coming out of the woodwork wanting tickets and stuff. It was a slow evolution, there was no sudden switch to fame like… Hulk Hogan’s daughter must have had or something.

None of us quite feel like we’ve made it yet. We get closer every time, but what drives us is wanting to leave a legacy. When we start writing songs, that’s where our real passion is.

What has been your greatest extravagance?

Well, whereas we used to buy our bocce sets at Wal-Mart, now we’re gonna splurge for a high end set that maybe won’t break every three weeks. Now that we’ve made it.

What are the biggest conflicts between band members?

They emerge mostly when we’re in the studio. It’s when push comes to shove. You’re trying to paint the canvas and there’s two other people on either side of you dipping into the paint. The biggest challenge for us as a band is to come out with songs. But then, it was that way for the Beatles, too. We find some comfort in that.

Who’s the coolest celebrity you’ve met?

I met Stephen Malkmus, the lead singer of Pavement, at a party once. He was there wearing a Stephen Malkmus t-shirt, which was kind of funny. I talked to him over the chips and salsa, and I was, like, so nervous, but he was cool. Ryan met Bob Dylan and said he was nice, which is supposed to be unusual.

Hass & Tulkoff are members of the class of 2010.



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