Guster was formed in 1991 by founding members Adam Gardner, Ryan Miller, and Brian Rosenworcel while they were attending Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Having met during the freshman Wilderness Orientation program that August, they began to practice together and had their first show two months later at the Midnight Cafe coffee house set in the common area of the Lewis Hall dormitory.
1991-1995: Beginnings, Gus and Parachute
The band began to write songs together and had their first show as ‘Gus’ a year after they formed. After three years of writing and performing together, they released their debut album, Parachute, in April 1994. The album was named by The Boston Globe as the best local debut of 1994. They initially released four thousand albums before they were forced to change their name to Guster when another artist signed to a major label under the name ‘Gus’.
1996-1999: Goldfly, Lost and Gone Forever and Woodstock ‘99
Guster released its second album, Goldfly, on March 4, 1997. The album launched the single "Airport Song", which peaked at No. 35 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart. The sound of a ping pong game can be heard at the end of the recording of "Airport Song", which began a tradition for Guster fans to throw ping pong balls on stage when the song is played during a set. The following year, the band signed with Sire Records, with whom they re-released Goldfly.
In September 1999, the band released its third studio album, Lost and Gone Forever. Later named by Paste magazine as the 79th greatest album of the 1990s, the album launched the single "Fa Fa". That summer, Guster performed at Woodstock ‘99 and at the 1999 Stardust Picnic festival at Historic Fort York, Toronto.
2000-2009: Keep It Together, Guster on Ice and Ganging Up on the Sun
After a five-year break, Guster released its fifth studio album, Keep It Together, in June 2003. The album hit number 35 on the Billboard 200 and launched the singles "Careful" and "Amsterdam". It is the first appearance of multi-instrumentalist Joe Pisapia, who had been touring with the band and went on to become a full-time member. The band performed two shows in Portland, Maine in December 2003 and the shows were recorded to be released on the live album/DVD, Guster on Ice.
Preceded by the single "One Man Wrecking Machine", which was released in late-2005, and its follow-up, "Satellite", in March 2006, the band released the album Ganging Up on the Sun on June 20, 2006. It debuted at number 25 on the Billboard 200 and won Album of the Year (Major) at the 2006 Boston Music Awards. "Satellite" went on to be certified gold by the RIAA and "One Man Wrecking Machine" was featured on the soundtrack to the 2007 movie Disturbia. At the same time as the release of Ganging Up on the Sun, the band released a comedy mockumentary on their website called Joe’s Place.
In 2007, the band appeared as guests of Barenaked Ladies on their Ships and Dip cruise. Two years later, they took part in a similar event onboard the Carnival Splendor with musician John Mayer called Mayercraft Carrier 2.
2010-2013: Easy Wonderful and On the Ocean
In April 2010, the band submitted the track "Jonah" to the Download to Donate for Haiti compilation album. That July, they released the song "Bad Bad World" as a free download on their website. Then, on October 5, 2010, the band released its sixth studio album, Easy Wonderful. The album was critically acclaimed and peaked at number 22 on the Billboard 200 as well as reaching number two on the Alternative Albums chart. From August through October 2010, music videos for all of the tracks on the album were posted to Vimeo. Shortly before the album was released, it was announced that Joe Pisipia would be leaving the band to tour with kd Lang and he would be replaced on Guster’s tour by Luke Reynolds.
On the Ocean – a six-track EP of alternate mixes and B-sides from their previous release, Easy Wonderful – was released on August 2, 2011.
2014-present: Evermotion, Look Alive, and new album
Guster’s seventh studio album, produced by The Shins’ keyboard player Richard Swift, was announced in early-2014. That April, they announced that the album was finished and would be released on both Ocho Mule, the band's own label, and Nettwerk Records.
The album, Evermotion, was released on January 13, 2015, and peaked at number 32 on the Billboard 200, reaching number two on the Alternative Albums chart. The band coincided their first show from the album tour with the release of the Greenovate Boston 2014 Climate Action Plan Update with Mayor Martin J. Walsh in support of environmental causes.
During the January 2016 United States Blizzard, the band was forced to stop in Pittsburgh on their way to perform in Philadelphia. They held an impromptu set on the North Side in front of a dumpster, which they Tweeted to encourage fans to come (which they did) and a video of the show was posted to the band's Facebook page. In 2017, the band celebrated its 25th anniversary by performing a series of shows around Boston.
Guster released their eighth studio album, Look Alive, on January 28, 2019. It hit the top spot on the US Independent Albums chart and the top 10 on the Top Alternative Albums and Top Rock Albums charts.
In 2021, the band began working on their next studio album with producer Josh Kaufman.