Guster uses Bristol as backdrop

BRISTOL — First, downtown Middlebury was featured for a second or two in a pair of “30 Rock” episodes on TV, and now downtown Bristol has made its own minutes-long debut on the pop culture scene.
In October, the popular alternative rock band Guster released a music video featuring downtown Bristol as its backdrop.
The music video for the song “Do What you Do,” from the album “Easy Wonderful,” was filmed in August in various spots along Bristol’s main drag and in fields outside of Colchester. One doesn’t even have to watch very closely to spot the signs and storefronts of a number of downtown Bristol businesses, including Dan’s Place and Vermont HoneyLights.
Even Holley Hall has a cameo in the four-minute-5-second film.
“It came out OK and the pictures look great,” said Town Manager Bill Bryant, recalling the massive storm drain construction project that tore up North and South streets for much of the summer. “They managed to film and not get any construction in it. There’s no dust, no scaffolding, no unseeded lawn — they did a great job with the film editing.”
The four members of the band did not actually make an appearance in Vermont during filming. The video stars Burlington actor Ben Wiggins, whom the camera follows as he wanders through pristine summer fields and sunny downtown Bristol in a crisp, white suit before being bombarded with paint-filled balloons.
Director Mark Palansky, though, was imported from Hollywood. Palansky is most well known for shooting the 2006 film “Penelope,” starring Christina Ricci.
Since three freshmen at Tufts University formed the band in 1991, Guster has grown to be a household name among indie rock fans, and its songs have made several appearances on Billboardcharts. Their songs, like “Fa Fa” and “Amsterdam,”have also been featured in a number of television shows and movies.
The band has also toured both nationally and internationally, and been featured on MTV and National Public Radio. 
So why Bristol?
The newest band member, as it turns out, is Cornwall native Luke Reynolds, 31. Reynolds officially joined Guster in September for the “Easy Wonderful” tour after former member Joe Pisapia, who had been with the band since 2003, announced he would be leaving. Reynolds has been friends with the band members for years, and began playing with them regularly over the summer.
Reynolds, the son of Steve and Kathy Reynolds of Cornwall, has been playing a dozen different instruments since he was four years old. In the past couple of months, he has learned more than 75 Guster songs in preparation for the band’s tour, while also releasing his own solo album, “Maps.”
Between living in Nashville and New York City, where he’s currently set up camp, Reynolds spent a summer living in Bristol and recording out of a make-shift studio in the basement of a 19th century grain mill. But he said that when the film crew ended up in Bristol, he was just as surprised as everyone else.
As they prepared to release their newest album, the members of Guster had all decided to make a series of low-budget videos for the album, rather than one or two more expensive productions. Through some series of events that Reynolds could not recall, the film crew was offered help from the Vermont Film Commission.
The extra funding made Vermont an extra-feasible set for the video — and Bristol made the cut.  
Though it had  not been his decision or even his suggestion, Reynolds was happy to see his former haunts highlighted in the video, which he hopes the band’s fans will enjoy.
Reynolds is currently busy playing shows on “both coasts” to promote both his own new album and the band’s, but has made time to come home and play a show at Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater on Dec. 29.
“I just played a show in New York City last night,” he said over the phone on Wednesday morning. “And we’re getting ready to get really busy with the tour and stuff like that.”
Tamara Hilmes is at [email protected].

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