If the Dave Matthews Band is a family, Stefan Lessard is the baby brother. Joining the group at age 16 on the recommendation of his mentor John D'earth, the bassist literally grew up with his band mates. Music has clearly been a life-long passion for Lessard, perhaps helped by the fact that he was born to musician parents. Now, at age 35, Stefan has transformed into a full-blown adult, without losing any of his boyish charm or enthusiasm. In fact, it may be thanks to his persistent spirit, that fans could be treated to some fantastic surprises this summer.
In recent twitter posts, Stefan discussed his efforts at reviving some of his favorite songs when he said, “It's been years since we've played some. I've campaigned hard for their return, still trying!!” A few of the old treasures Lessard would like to see resurface include: “Joyride,” “Drive in Drive Out,” “Help Myself,” “Crazy Easy,” “Sweet Up and Down,” “Hello Again,” and “Good Good Time.” In my opinion, any of these would make a set list sparkle. And luckily, it seems that the group does value Stefan's input on major decisions. After the release of “Big Whiskey,” Dave mentioned repeatedly that “Why I Am” might have been discarded were it not for Stefan's purposeful reminders that this was LeRoi's best-loved track. As fans, we are truly privileged to have Lessard rallying for the rebirth of these classic works, especially since he is arguably the most accessible band member, using internet connections like Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook to communicate with enthusiasts. He even allows followers to be actual friends (as opposed to fans) on Facebook, which gives supporters more advanced interactive features, like the ability to post pictures and videos on his wall.
While we can't be certain that Stefan's picks will make it onto the stage this year, it's comforting to know that someone behind the scenes is pulling for these crowd pleasers. Already, 2009 has been a year of stunners with tunes like “Raven,” “Pig,” “Granny,” “Halloween,” “Blue Water,” “The Stone,” “Smooth Rider,” and most recently “You Never Know,” being brought back into circulation. With so many great numbers to choose from, I often wonder how these selections are made. Is it random? Or is there a method to be deciphered? Does sending twitter requests and chanting at shows really work? I guess we may never know for sure, but perhaps that's part of the allure. Too much information would convert the mysterious into the mundane. Like watching for a shooting star, the draw lies in the uncertainty.
And still, I hope Stefan's wishes are granted!
Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.
Author of Serendipity and the Search for True Self