Plenty of music fans entertain fantasies about their favorite musicians every once in a while. Maybe it would be awesome to blaze with Dave Matthews or bar-hop with Franz Ferdinand. In the haziest of daydreams, even Jack and Meg White may seem like accessible human beings. But the beauty of Guster is that they are just like you. They’re addicted to Sudoku puzzles. They need their personal space. And they love to sleep in their own beds. For more than 10 years Guster has been on college student lists of bands they can’t live without. They’ve never crossed over to become radio whores and refuse to put out an album with one single and a dozen filler tracks. Multi-instrumentalist and newcomer Joe Pisapia insists that more of the same is on the way.

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Stretch, in slow motion.
(Courtesy of Reprise Records)

“Musically, Guster could make choices that other bands who might have a radio hit but don’t have any strong following couldn’t,” he said. Pisapia is the latest addition to Guster’s pre-existing lineup of vocalist Adam Gardener, percussionist Brian Rosenworcel and guitarist Ryan Miller. “(Other bands) don’t have a chance to exercise all these different options over the years. Guster can actually have a career as a band and exist on its own. I think it – kind of can tend to keep you more pure.”

The sonic and philosophic purity that Guster subscribes to has been a major component of their success. So has “grassroots” promotion and ceaseless touring. “Even before my time in Guster – they were always out, whether it was spending years in a van and then switching over to like, years in a bus,” Pisapia said. Describing their tour ethic, he added that the band was “just constantly playing and playing and touring and touring.”

Some bands that have been labeled as grassroots find themselves promptly re-categorized as “hippies” or “potheads” A

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