May 1st, 2005
New approach leads to hit disc, eclectic mix
By Mark Kennedy - New York
The morning after a blistering three-hour concert to celebrate the release of their new album, members of the Dave Matthews Band were still jazzed- about the songs no one heard.
Long before fans streamed into the roseland ballroom or cameras began taping, Matthews and the band were just noodling around during sound check when they improvised what he called "two smoking tunes."
"They just came out of the blue," Matthews says. "The room was empty. First came the bass or the drums, and then everyone came in. It just happened. There was nothing and then there was something."
"It was too much fun," says bassist Stefan Lessard, smiling at the memory. But we've never gone into the studio and done that. Ever," matthews says. " We do that at sound check and all of a sudden you see the guys setting the chairs up in the auditorium and they're grooving."
To capture that special, fleeting sound the Dave Matthews Band has reunited, hired a new producer and emerged with the summer time CD 'Stand Up'- their first studio album since 2002's 'Busted Stuff'.
New Dawn "This was like a new day dawning in a way," Matthews says before he and Lessard start a day of doing radio spots to promote the new CD. Matthews still smells vaguely of post-concert Jagermeister as he chugs coffee fortified with four espresso shots.
The band-which also includes drummer Carter Beauford, violinist Boyd Tinsley, and saxophonist LeRio Moore- is basking in the CD's favorable reviews, and it sold 465,000 copies in its first week to debut at No. 1 on the album charts. Some fan had worried the band might be losing its way after selling more than 25 million albums since 1991. Purists were unhappy with 2001's 'Everyday' and two members- Matthews and Tinsley- did solo albums.
Regrouping again last year, the band originally planned to work with multiple producers until they sat down in Los Angelos with Mark Batson whose hip hop heavy resume includes collaborations with Eminem and 50 cent.
"It wasn't much that we felt we needed a chang. It was more just sort of a challenge to see, at the time, what it would be like to work with different producers," Lessard says.