BEVERLY HILLS, California — The Dave Matthews Band took their frontman's name, but they rarely take his suggestions. Especially when it comes to picking singles.
"I have [the first single for the new album] in mind, but I don't think it matters what I have in mind because I'm not really pushy," Dave Matthews explained recently. "I need to be pushier. [It would be good] if I could be just a little more aggressive about what I want, but I'm a pushover. Spineless, that's the most accurate description of me."
One thing that does appear to be growing more aggressive, however, is the sound of his band. DMB's as-yet-untitled sixth studio album, produced by Mark Batson (Eminem, Maroon 5), explores a new direction full of funky beats.
"There's a little more dancing, a little more space in it, and it's a little funky," Matthews said. "[The band] is all over it. That's the nice thing about it. Everybody has a lot of time in the light. And that's something that I think we have captured on this album maybe even more than ever before."
Last month the Dave Matthews Band launched a Web site that chronicles the evolution of the new album (see "Dave Matthews Band Sharing Studio Sessions — And Fishing Excursions — With Fans"). Fans who visit the site (www.DMBnewstudioalbum.com) are provided with both video and audio clips from the sessions, as well as regular updates from the group.
"We have a lot of fun doing it and I think initially that is what [catches] people's attention," Matthews said. "We do it with a lot of love and with a lot of passion. So that's infectious and I think that's initially what brings people in."
Along with being able to get a glimpse of Matthews in the studio, fans will also have the chance to catch him on the big screen in the upcoming "Because of Winn-Dixie." The singer plays a guitar-strumming pet-store manager with a prison record in the family drama about a young girl and her bond with an orphaned dog (see "Catch Him On Tour, But On Film Dave Matthews Wants To Be Missed").
"It's a family movie and I am a family man," Matthews said of his decision to make "Winn-Dixie," his first movie. "I like the fact that it's a kid's movie but not everybody in it is happy. It's not just silly, silly, silly. There's some loneliness and some sorrow and some real things that I think will warm you a little bit and teach you at the same time."
"Because of Winn-Dixie" opens nationwide on Friday, while the Dave Matthews Band's album is due in May.