Benefit Concert at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlotesville

March 22nd, 2016

Dave Matthews Band will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a special hometown benefit concert at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, VA on Saturday, May 7th. To express its gratitude for the incredible support the community has provided from the beginning, the band will donate all net proceeds from the concert to charitable programs in the Charlottesville area via its Bama Works Fund.

Dave Matthews Band will celebrate its 25th year with a hometown show in Charlottesville at John Paul Jones Arena on May 7th. All net proceeds will benefit charitable programs in the Charlottesville area.#DMB25 Directed by Fenton Williams and Aaron Farrington.

Dave Matthews Talks Bernie Sanders, New Album, His Guitar Hero

September 28th, 2015

Dave Matthews Band recently wrapped up their 24th consecutive U.S. summer tour, but as Matthews told Rolling Stone backstage at Farm Aid 30 earlier this month — before he performed with longtime friend and collaborator, Tim Reynolds — his mind has often been elsewhere. The singer has been following the Presidential race and also working through new material he's written for his band's next album. In a passionate conversation with Rolling Stone, Matthews explained why Bernie Sanders gives him hope and offered an update on the forthcoming DMB LP.

You've long been outspoken politically. After seeing the most recent Republican debate, how do you feel about where our country is headed?

When I listen to the bold-faced, impossible and nonsensical, disconnected claims at the last debate, I'm like, "What the fuck are you all talking about? None of you are remotely connected. None of you have an actual plan!" I can stand up and say, "If I was President, I would make everybody's boobs bigger, and I would make men stronger, and everybody would be happy, and everybody would be fed, and the oceans would be clean, and everyone would have jobs. And that's what I'll do if I'm President." Wait, do you shit money? What are you fucking talking about? There's no way you can do anything but damage our children's future by claiming you can spend more money to make us stronger, make us better, make us happier, make the whole world a better, more peaceful place, and cut taxes and have less government. 'Cause you're just talking about something that's fucking impossible.

Do you support any particular candidate for President in the 2016 election?

When I hear someone speaking in terms of the workers rising up and the working people feeling like they have a voice, when I hear someone like Bernie Sanders talking, I think there's a hope. And I have no party affiliation [laughs]. I'm not saying with his half-a-million donators and supporters that have committed 30 bucks on average to his campaign, he can win without a Super PAC. But that's a guy who is talking about something real and that isn't insulted by being called a liberal. Someone could call me a liberal, and I'd say, "Thank you." Someone could call me a socialist, and I'd say, "I wish I was a socialist." I should get a shirt that says, "Tax me! Tax the fuck out of me!" At least we're hearing more of a voice from him by having him out there and speaking in complete sentences rather than a bunch of slogans that don't mean anything. So I feel like there's hope as long as some people are speaking to the real problem in this country.

"When I hear someone like Bernie Sanders talking, I think there's a hope."
We shouldn't look down on homeless people in this country or the mentally ill or the people who don't have work or migrant workers who want to come here and work hard for their futures, and they're trying to make something. That in the richest and the most powerful country in the world we can't house our own people and we can't take care of people who have fallen through the cracks and that we don't have a safety net to look after each other is fucking astounding.

On a lighter topic, how is work going on a new Dave Matthews Band album? 

You told us earlier this summer you guys had been in the studio.
Yeah, we were in the studio, and we were having a good time. I go on a lot of tangents, so I've been doing some writing, and I certainly could fill the space of several albums with music that I've made. But I haven't yet fallen in love with the whole thing. I'm in love with parts of it. We've been playing parts of the recordings that we've made [on the summer tour].

DMB has long taken the approach of seeing how songs feel on the road before including them on a proper album.

Yeah, and then they change. And then maybe we'll go back in and even re-record some of then. I love [the new song] "Virginia in the Rain." And "Black and Bluebird" is a new song too, which I really like 'cause I sort of tied trite love lines together with frustration and things that make my kids go, "Wow, that's awesome!" Not the song itself, but just the statements. There's a song we haven't really worked on a lot called "Death on the High Seas"; that's a little piano tune. There's a lot more. We're going to Europe soon and bringing more of those out.

And when should fans expect a new album?

We're going to have an album at some point. It's not the Eighties or Nineties or Seventies when it mattered. We've always let people record our music, so probably they'll end up getting some of it anyway if they just tape the shows or we put some live releases out. But at some point, we'll have an album that we'll put out for whatever reason people still do that.

You and your Farm Aid co-performer Tim Reynolds have been playing together for years. Now he's a permanent touring member of the band. What works so well when you two get together?

I'm dying to go on the road with Tim just the two of us again. I love playing with the band, but I love playing with Tim because I think he's the greatest guitar player I've ever met. And people could argue that. But what's the definition of that? He is so constantly spontaneous and really is so connected to what he's doing when he plays that it almost makes no difference what I do. If I fuck up, if I go to a wrong change, he will so fluidly go where I'm going and also make everything have more room for the listener and more musical space. You know, we're kind of a busy band, a lot of things going on. But when Tim plays with us, it's like it rises up and opens out. He mushrooms the sound of the band. Him and [DMB drummer] Carter [Beauford] are so alive together. I love playing alone, because it's a lot of fun. But when I play with Tim, it's sort of like I'm being carried. He's a profound musical talent.

Dave Matthews Band Working on New Studio Album

Rob Cavallo is on board to produce the follow-up to last year's 'Away From the World'


By Patrick Doyle

"I'm doing fine," says Dave Matthews, checking in from his Seattle home before kicking off his first South African tour November 30th. "I was stuck in traffic this morning." After a huge summer tour, the singer has been staying busy hanging out with family and working in the studio on his band's follow-up to last year's Away From the World. Matthews reveals he's teamed with producer Rob Cavallo and engineer Doug McKean, who both worked on 2009's Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King (the band worked with Steve Lillywhite on Away From the World). "I've been in the studio trying to get a couple of things ready for the band to go back in, having fun," Matthews says. "I'm just trying to come up with something that doesn't sound like the past."

He won't give too much away, but fans may already be familiar with some of the upcoming material. "There are some songs the band has been playing for a long time," he teases. "And then whenever I start messing around in the studio, I start writing, so hopefully we can come up with something worth listening to."

Dave Matthews Band will play a milestone show in Johannesburg, South Africa, where Matthews was born, on December 3rd, before heading to South America for a string of dates. After that, their schedule is mostly open aside from an Australian tour in April. "I'm excited about some of it," Matthews says of the songs. "I'm just trying to suck blood from a stone."

Funny the way it is: Stranded Dave Matthews hitches ride with fan to show

By Leslie Bentz and AnneClaire Stapleton, CNN


Emily Kraus was psyched.

She had been a Dave Matthews fan since she was 9. And she was on her way to see him at a show in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

What she didn't count on was finding him stranded by the side of the road with his bicycle.

To say it was the surprise of her life would be understating it.

The Grammy-winning musician had gone out for a pre-show ride Saturday when the back tire of his bike popped.

"I did not have a cell phone on the bicycle. So I thought, 'Sh*t," he recalled that night at his show at Hersheypark Stadium.

"And then a nice lady named Emily rode up in a red car with a bicycle rack on it and gave me a ride on to the gig."

Conversations with a superstar

Kraus said she and her boyfriend were running late to the show. But, as she told CNN affiliate WHP, everything happens for a reason.

They spotted a man stranded on the side of the road who looked very familiar.

They pulled over.

It was Matthews, his bike broken; he without a cell phone.

Lucky for her, her parents had just recently given her their bike rack. And she offered her idol a ride, to his own concert.

Along the way, they chatted about how the tour was going and his daughter's summer camp schedules.

"We didn't know how to make conversation with him," the star-struck fan laughed.

'Cheeks still hurt from smiling'

Matthews, grateful for the gesture, invited the couple for dinner. Then, backstage. And then, to front row seats to the show.

Oh, and during the concert, Matthews recounted the incident, referring to Emily by name.

"My cheeks still hurt from smiling, giggling and laughing all night long ... this will always be remembered," she wrote on the affiliate's Facebook page.

Sunday morning, Kraus said she woke up, wondering if it was all a dream.

But then she noticed the concert tickets. Matthews had signed them, saying "Thanks for the ride."

"OK, yeah, that really happened yesterday," she said. "It was surreal, we couldn't believe it." 

Check out the video here

The Nauts at Shreveport’s Blade Studios


What started out as a fun project for Brady Blade to get some musicians together and jam—such as Dave Matthews, Jakob Dylan, Charlie Sexton and Will Sexton—has turned into a full-fledged band called The Nauts, and this newly formed group has been working on a forthcoming record. Blade, a rock/pop/country drummer, record producer, composer, and Blade Studios partner—along with Scott Crompton (executive producer and CEO) and mix engineer Chris Bell—is also a part of The Nauts, who recorded the new material in the Russ Berger-designed Studio A on a 48-channel SSL Duality SE. Other equipment of note includes Neve 1081 and API 512mic preamps; Universal Audio LA-2A compressors; and Telefunken 251, Mojave 300 and Royer R-122 mics. The Nauts produced the tracks, with Bell serving as engineer.

The upcoming release is being produced by Brady Blade and Bill Pfordresher, with Chris Bell serving as engineer.

Concert Review: DMB keeps Scranton set fresh

By Ryan O'Malley, Weekender Correspondent 


Since making its Scranton debut in the summer of 2005, the Dave Matthews Band has made the mountain a staple on its yearly summer tour. While many changes have occurred over the last eight years – including the loss of a band member – the outfit continues to draw one of the biggest crowds of the season. Last Wednesday, the band returned for what was billed as the “first major show of the summer,” and once again, DMB's rabid fan base had an early summer party.

Beginning the night around 7:15 p.m., veteran jam band favorites moe. brought a funky 45-minute, five-song set which had people up and dancing, serving as the perfect act to start the night's festivities. Going on 25 years, the band veered away from any of its more recognizable numbers and delved into some deeper cuts like “Blue Jeans Pizza,” highlighted by some fine guitar from Al Schnier. Following a quick run through “Buster,” moe. gave a nod to Scranton by performing the theme song – verbatim – to “The Office” before leaving the stage for DMB, whose fans were already packed into their seats.

Kicking off the night around 8:25, the band opened with an energetic take on the crowd favorite “Warehouse” from 1994's “Under the Table and Dreaming,” which showcased some fine brass work from Jeff Coffin and Rashawn Ross. “The Idea of You,” which has never been officially released on a DMB album, was a fitting segue into “Rooftop,” one of the more lively cuts from its latest offering, 2012's “Away from the World.”

The rest of the first half of the show featured an extended take on “One Sweet World,” complete with what seems like a never-ending brass riff, a dip back into the “Crash” album for a tight “#41” with some exquisite guitar work from longtime collaborator Tim Reynolds, and an ode to late member LeRoi Moore with a funky “Why I Am.”

Matthews, who seemed to be in a quirky mood, told a story of being asked by one of his friends how Scranton was as a venue, with Matthews answering about how the pavilion is covered by “a big stretch of plastic or rubber” on the ceiling, much to the delight of the near-capacity crowd. Getting back to the music, the band let loose with “Belly Belly Nice,” a fan favorite from its latest release, following up with “Sleep to Dream Her” from 2001's “Everyday” album, which hasn't been played since September 2010. Another song returning to DMB's fold, the driving “Hunger for the Great Light” from 2005's “Stand Up” album resurfaced for the first time since September 2007.

Something that seems to have become a standard for most shows over the last two years, “Grey Street,” was a welcome treat for the night before leading into another cut from 2002's “Busted Stuff,” a tender “Where Are You Going.” A drawn-out “Squirm,” showcasing some of the fine drumming of Carter Beauford, led into a mellow “You Might Die Trying.”

One of more crowd-friendly selections of the night, “JTR,” blended into a track from its debut album, which Matthews swore the band was “done playing,” a pleasing “Jimi Thing,” including an ending reprise of Prince's “Sexy MF.” Ending the set proper was an upbeat song which seems to have become a staple since its 2009 release, “Shake Me like a Monkey,” leaving the crowd eagerly anticipating the encore.

Keeping the crowd in an upbeat mood, the band managed to knock the energy level down a bit with a very soft and mellow “Sister” before continuing the somber feel of the encore with “Drunken Soldier” from its latest effort and also a staple of nearly every show of the last year. Thankfully, the band picked back up with the final song of the night, a standard run through the longtime crowd favorite “What Would You Say.”

Aside from the encore, the May 29 show provided the perfect kickoff to the 2013 Summer Concert Series and also continued Dave Matthews Band's tradition of never performing the same show twice. Since 2005, the band's Scranton appearances have become a yearly destination for everyone from this area, and if Wednesday's show was any indication, next year can only be better.

Dave Matthews Band's Bama Works Donates $376K to Non-Profits


The Dave Matthews Band is providing thousands of dollars in grants to non-profit groups across Central Virginia.

The band, which formed in Charlottesville, is awarding more than $376,000 to 52 different charitable groups, through the Bama Works Fund.

Those groups include the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Meals On Wheels, and several Central Virginia schools.

Below is a complete listing of organizations:

- Adult Community Education
- Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society
- Albemarle County Public Schools: Club Yancey
- Albemarle Housing Improvement Program
- American Red Cross
- Appalachian Voices
- Camp Holiday Trails
- Chancellor Street Preschool Co-operative
- Charlottesville Symphony Society
- Charlottesville Tomorrow
- Charlottesville Waldorf School
- Church of Our Saviour: Nursing Homes Swing!
- Covenant School
- Crozet Arts
- Elisabeth Aiken Nolting Charitable Foundation
- Elk Hill Farm
- Field School of Charlottesville
- Fluvanna County Public Schools: Families Learning Together
- Fluvanna County: Pleasant Grove Amphitheater & Stage
- Fluvanna Meals on Wheels
- Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville
- Ixtatan Foundation
- Jefferson Area Board for Aging
- Kids Lift Foundation
- Lafayette School
- Louisa County Historical Society
- Louisa County Resource Council
- Louisa Downtown Development Corporation
- Mental Health America of Charlottesville and Albemarle
- Montanova Stables Foundation
- Municipal Band of Charlottesville
- OAR/Jefferson Area Community Corrections
- Park Street Academy
- Piedmont Regional Education Program (PREP): Ivy Creek School
- Reading Window School
- Rivanna Conservation Society
- Rockfish Valley Community Center
- Rockfish Valley Foundation
- Scottsville Volunteer Fire Dept
- Shenandoah Recorder Society
- Tandem Friends School
- The Falcon Club Foundation
- Three Notch'd Road
- University of Virginia Infectious Disease Clinic
- University of Virginia: Men's Leadership Project
- University of Virginia: Virginia Film Festival
- Virginia Consort
- Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy
- Virginia Institute of Autism
- Wild Virginia
- Worksource Enterprises
- Young Audiences of Virginia


Concert Review: Dave Matthews Band leaves fans at Blossom exhausted but happy in marathon show

By Chuck Yarborough, The Plain Dealer 


Eventually, this will be a review of the Dave Matthews Band’s spectacular show at Blossom on Saturday night. But for now, it’s a eulogy.

Friends, we are gathered here to pay our respects to a much loved individual. Now you may have known him longer, but he and I just met Saturday afternoon. Feeling smug, knowing that there was a DMB concert awaiting me and realizing that picking up song titles in a three-hour marathon of a show is an exercise in frustration, I Googled the band for a recent set list.

What we are laying to rest here, brothers and sisters, is the remains of that dear departed – and absolutely USELESS -- set list. The only reliable Dave Matthews Band set list is a dart board with the group’s entire 22-year-old discography.

And that, my friends, is a good thing – for the fans and the band. Each night is a new night, a new beginning for us all. Ashes to ashes, etc.

Like life, which really has no straight roads, a DMB show is a journey down twisting and turning byways. The difference is that there are no speed bumps, no orange barrels, but there ARE plenty of fascinating side roads. A hint came from violinist Boyd Tinsley’s sizzling break during the set-opening 10-minute foray into “Dancing Nancies.’’

Matthews is a prolific and gifted songwriter who produces percussive melodies driven both by his own syncopated acoustic guitar and drummer Carter Beauford’s intricate grooves, and the rest of the band is easily capable of keeping up.

Tinsley’s violin; Stefan Lessard’s bass; Jeff Coffin’s sax, pipe and flute; Rashawn Ross’ Caribbean-influenced trumpet; and electric guitarist Tim Reynolds’ fleet-fingered runs add layers of complexity that perfectly complement the esoteric beauty and intelligence of Matthews’ metaphor-laden lyrics and his unique, jazz-infused vocal style.

For three entire hours, the band wowed the 17,000 faithful who attended the service. You can’t really say for sure how many songs, although my own semi-official list has 23. Matthews & Co. often segue from one tune to another and back, kind of like another one of those side trips.

Besides, no song – not “Crush,’’ not “Belly Belly Nice,’’ not “Captain,’’ not “Say Goodbye,’’ not “Bartender,’’ not “(Kill the Preacher)’’ – goes straight from driveway to destination. Each tune has the possibility – indeed, the PROBABILITY – of turning into a 10-minute jam.

One of the hardest things for musicians new to groups is learning how to listen to their bandmates. A DMB show is a primer on how it’s done. Often during instrumental breaks, Beauford, Lessard and Matthews will establish a roller coaster groove and the rest of the band will take turns in the front car on the ride, like a bluegrass jazz fusion band on mushrooms. Then all seamlessly merge back onto the highway. It’s fascinating to watch and even more fun to hear.

But it’s not for those mired in three-minute radio sameness; 25 minutes into the show, the band had played only two songs – “Nancies’’ and “Warehouse!’’

Matthews himself introduced the opening band, 1950s rockabilly impresario JD McPherson. And when I say 1950s, I’m not kidding. The band led by the Tulsa, Okla.-born McPherson featured a sax, upright bass, guitar and Vitalis ’do, even down to the spit-curl swooping down drummer Alex Hall’s forehead. Their own “Fire Bug’’ and a cover of Bo Diddley’s “Mona’’ made for a perfect appetizer for the feast to come.

And with that, we cast the final shovelful of dirt on our late friend, the set list, with an eye towards another staple of a eulogy: the prospect of resurrection, in the form of another show.

Can I get an amen?


Dave Matthews Band played through the rain at the New Orleans Jazz Fest

By Keith Spera, | The Times-Picayune 

Photo by Kathleen Flynn, / The Times-Picayune

Photo by Kathleen Flynn, / The Times-Picayune

Dave Matthews is the Billy Joel of the 2013 New Orleans Jazz Fest. In 2008, a sopping wet Joel played through a storm at the Fair Grounds. On Saturday, Joel stayed dry, save a copious amount of sweat. But on Sunday, it was Matthews' turn to get drenched.

Early on in the Dave Matthews Band's closing Acura Stage set, the leader's dark shirt was so wet it glistened like the trash bags many in the audience stuffed themselves into in a futile attempt to stay dry.

Something happens when the rains fall at Jazz Fest. At first, it is an inconvenience to work around. But if the rain persists - and especially if it downpours to the absurd degree it did early and late on Sunday - it becomes, for many, part of the experience. Something to endure. Something to celebrate. Something to defy. And something to talk about for years to come, provided the band you've persevered to see rises to the occasion.

Matthews and company did.

After the 2008 death of founding saxophonist LeRoi Moore, Matthews expanded the band. He doubled the size of the horn section to include saxophonist Jeff Coffin and trumpeter Rashawn Ross. Guitarist Tim Reynolds, a longtime friend and frequent collaborator, was promoted to permanent status.

That unit is even tighter than it was at the 2009 Jazz Fest. For the final hour, they played with purpose, passing around solos, locking into grooves. Violinist Boyd Tinsley squared off with Matthews several times. They slipped into funk-soul mode for a refrain of "sexy m---f----, shake that ass!"

Some of the mental circuitry was soggy. Matthews misidentified Ross as a saxophonist. After correcting his mistake, he fell back on his preferred self-mocking humor, and introduced every other member of the band as a saxophonist.

He swapped out his usual acoustic guitar for an electric so he and Reynolds could repeat a tandem five-note figure. It became "Louisiana Bayou," a deep cut from the band's 2005 album "Stand Up." They dug into the tale of bad times on the bayou, the darkening sky providing an appropriately grim backdrop.

At the conclusion of "Louisiana Bayou," the rain returned with a vengeance. Without pause, drummer Carter Beauford commenced striking his snare at regular intervals. After several such strikes, Tinsley chimed in with a fiddle stroke. The pieces started to sound familiar. And then they blossomed into "Ants Marching," the most beloved of the early DMB anthems.

It was exactly the right rallying cry for the drenched audience. A cheer went up; dancing commenced in earnest. In the mud. In the rain. Didn't matter. The dancing was undeterred, unrestrained, unhinged. Audiences in New Orleans know a thing or two about dancing in defiance of the elements.

The band delivered on the promise of "Ants Marching," pushing it even harder than the rain. When it finally ended, thunder cracked and lightning flashed as if on cue.

The message was clear: Time to go home.

Some held out hope for an encore, but the lightning dictated otherwise. Matthews et al returned for a final bow as Jazz Fest producer/director Quint Davis declared this "the bravest band and the bravest audience in America."

They were certainly the soggiest.

Dave Matthews Takes John Denver's Music 'To Tomorrow'


NPR Staff

By the time John Denver died in a plane crash in 1997, he had written and sung a remarkable assortment of cherished music: "Rocky Mountain High," "Take Me Home, Country Roads," "Sunshine on My Shoulders," "Leaving on a Jet Plane" and many more. He was often mocked by edgier musicians for being a kind of musically soft, spongy Wonderbread of a singer-songwriter. But his songs have endured — and influenced more than one generation.

Now, a group of musicians has come together to produce The Music Is You: A Tribute to John Denver. One of the album's contributors, Dave Matthews, plays a slowed-down interpretation of Denver's "Take Me to Tomorrow."

"[Denver] was eager to get a different sound, but I thought maybe he didn't serve the lyrics to that song as well as he could have," Matthews says. "So I tried a different angle. I don't know if I've managed to serve them any better, but I certainly took a different route than he did."

Other contributors to The Music Is You include Josh Ritter, Lucinda Williams, Old Crow Medicine Show, My Morning Jacket, Emmylou Harris and Brandi Carlile. Here, Matthews speaks with NPR's Scott Simon about learning from Denver's songwriting.

By the time John Denver died in a plane crash in 1997, he had written and sung some of the most cherished music ever - "Rocky Mountain High," "Take Me Home, Country Roads," "Sunshine on My Shoulders" and "Leaving on a Jet Plane."
JOHN DENVER: (Singing) All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go. I'm standing here outside your door. I hate to wake you up to say goodbye. But the dawn is breaking, it's early morn, the taxi's waiting, he's blowin' his horn. Already, I'm so lonesome I could die...
SIMON: He was often mocked as being a kind of musical soft, spongy Wonder bread by edgier musicians. But John Denver's songs have endured, and influenced more than one generation of young musicians. Now, a group of artists has come together to produce "The Music is You: A Tribute to John Denver."
MY MORNING JACKET: (Singing) 'Cause I'm leaving on a jet plane. Don't know when I'll be back again. Oh, babe, I hate to go...
SIMON: Of course, that's the same song, performed this time by My Morning Jacket. Other contributors include Josh Ritter, Lucinda Williams, Old Crow Medicine Show, Emmylou Harris and Dave Matthews, who joins us now from the studios of member station KUOW in Seattle. Dave, thanks so much for being with us.
DAVE MATTHEWS: Well, it's great to be here again.
SIMON: I can only imagine how many projects you get to participate in. What made you say yes to this one?
MATTHEWS: I grew up listening to a lot of music, but no small part was taken up by John Denver's music. And I think he was a staple for a lot of people. And like you said, it was - in a way, he was sort of mocked by the industry that he was at the top of, and mocked by what was considered cool. So there was even a time when maybe I was a little embarrassed that I had an affection for him, and maybe hid it when I was trying my best to be cool. But it was such a strong character; and he was such a wholesome character, but it wasn't in a cynical way. You know, I just - I thought it was a great project to be part of; and it took me a while to find a song that I could sing, that didn't sound more cynical with me singing it. So I think I finally found one.
SIMON: Let's listen to the original version of "Take Me To Tomorrow."
DENVER: (Singing) Hey everybody, tell me how do you feel? Are you satisfied with your life? Do you think it's real? Tell me how is your head, what are your dreams. Do you have any plans; do you have any schemes? Do you care about - about anybody? I'd like to know...
MATTHEWS: I was so surprised by the way that one sounded. But then I listened to it, and there's a really beautiful idea that he's singing about. And the chorus, which is "take me to tomorrow, and that's where I want to be 'cause the day after tomorrow is waiting for me," I kind of - I thought that sound - had a really nice hook to it. And so I slowed it down a little bit.
MATTHEWS: (Singing) Take me to tomorrow and take me there today. I've had my fill of sorrow and living this way. Oh, take me to tomorrow, that's where I'd like to be. Oh, the day after tomorrow is waiting for me. Yeah, the day after tomorrow is waiting for me. Yeah, the day after tomorrow is waiting for me. Hey, everybody, what's on your mind? Do you think there's nowhere else to go and nothing left to find? Are you happy where you are? Do you have anything to share? Ooh, do you think you're gonna waste your life spending it here?
SIMON: Well, that is different.
MATTHEWS: But I think it's still his. And in that particular instance, I think he was eager to get a different sound. But I thought maybe he didn't serve the lyrics to that song as well as he could have, so I tried a different angle. I don't know if I've managed to serve them any better, but I certainly took a different route than he did.
SIMON: As you go through John Denver's songs, as you went through them, as you went even through this one, did it kind of sharpen your mind as to what makes a really good song?
MATTHEWS: If there's something in a song that brings everything together, or can sort of make sense of nonsense - in a way, poetry asks the same thing. But with a lot of pop writing - and I don't mean that in a bad way; I mean that in a very positive way, and I struggle with it, when I write - is the idea that - I always come back to the same example, and it's a Dylan example; when Bob Dylan said, come in, she said; (singing) I'll give you shelter from the storm.
And I just always think that that's an example of a hook that comes to mind that in a way, you could sing about climbing trees and - or having a really bad cold or the stomach flu, and then it doesn't matter as long as you have a hook as wonderful as come in, she said; (singing) I'll give you shelter from the storm. It wraps everything up. And I think John Denver did that so beautifully with lines that are so memorable. "Take Me Home, Country Roads" or - which was a song that used to make my dad cry, near the end of his life or - because it makes you feel like it's your own words. Or "I'm leaving on a jet plane," you know - and that sums everything up, and it's sort of all in the space of two and a half minutes. It is funny. I think you could go - 'cause at one point, John Denver was quietly, in his own way, the most known musician on the planet, I would imagine.
SIMON: Yeah, I believe so.
MATTHEWS: And I think you could go to somewhere in the far eastern corner of Siberia and say (singing) almost heaven; and people around you would go (singing) West Virginia. They would know the song, without question.
SIMON: Let's listen - and get you to listen with us - to a bit from another song, one of his best known, surely. This is performed by Train this time - "Sunshine on My Shoulders."
TRAIN: (Singing) Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry. Sunshine on the water looks so lovely...
SIMON: And as you say, you begin with that "sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy" - that just really memorable, lyrical image.
MATTHEWS: Yeah, 'cause it's - everybody knows it. And you can't deny it, even if you're grumpy; even if you go through a couple years in your teen years when you go, man, I hate sunny days. Well, you don't, really; but you're grumpy at the moment.
TRAIN: (Singing) Sunshine almost always...
SIMON: I think we've talked a fair amount about this song, but we'd like to go out with a really, very fine rendition of "Take Me Home, Country Roads." And this is by Brandi Carlile and Emmylou Harris.
BRANDI CARLILE, EMMYLOU HARRIS: (Singing) Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River. Life is old there, older than the trees, younger than the mountains, blowin' like the breeze. Country roads, take me home, to the place, where I belong. West Virginia, mountain mama, take me home, country roads...
SIMON: Boy, that's good, isn't it?
MATTHEWS: Yeah, it's good when they all open up.
SIMON: Dave Matthews, thanks so much for speaking with us.
MATTHEWS: Thank you very much for having me again. It was good to hear you.
SIMON: Dave Matthews, one of the contributors to the new collection, "The Music is You: A Tribute to John Denver."
DENVER: (Singing) roads, take me home to the place I belong, West Virginia...
SIMON: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Good to have you along on our maiden voyage today. I'm Scott Simon.
DENVER: (Singing) ...take me home, country roads. All my memories... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Dave Matthews heads ‘Away From the World’

The Associated Press

Dave Matthews needed a break.

His famously hardworking band took last year off, and Matthews says he’s planning to scale back future summer tours to spend more time with his wife and three children.

Still, Matthews didn’t want to give himself too much free time.

The band reunited early this year with “Crash” and “Before These Crowded Streets” producer Steve Lillywhite, originally planning to record studio versions of older tunes from live performances. Matthews decided instead to write and record all new songs, with lyrics about love, lust, aging and activism laid over his three bandmates’ recognizably comfortable-yet-funky musical bed.

The result, “Away From the World,” follows the critical and commercial success of 2009’s “Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King”: 1.2 million copies sold and an album of the year Grammy nomination.

The latest album, out this week, “has a smaller poignance for me,” the South Africa-born musician said. “It’s not a wave the way the other one was, but it has a more personal quality to it for me.”

Clearly proud of his latest attempt to shake DMB from the casual listener’s “great jam band, but …” label, the 45-year-old singer-songwriter spoke about his children, growing old and God.

How was your break from touring last year? Did it accomplish what you’d hoped?

It was good. It forced me to realign things. There was a momentum that had built up over the years that I sort of didn’t feel I had any say. I wanted to stop. So we did. It wasn’t like I went to Outer Mongolia and stared at the stars, which I sort of fantasized about doing. But I think it was good for very personal reasons.

Who did you spend time with?

I spent most of my time with my family. We traveled a bit. I think I will (take a break) every year because it made a big difference to have time with my kids. I like working. But it seems like there’s a shift and I had to make that shift apparent to myself and everyone around me with my kids. I feel really important around them. Because I like to feel important. I feel like I make a difference, for better or for worse, when I’m around them.

Are they into music?

Yeah. In all different ways. My girls are 11, so they’re fans of music. At the moment I think they like my music. They’ve got their own things they’re into as well (Beyonce, Taylor Swift). I don’t care what they listen to. My son, he’s pretty heartfelt. He’s 5 now. He’s sort of more of a thrasher. He likes Iron Maiden and he likes Black Sabbath. Mainly I think because of ‘Iron Man.’ This year was the first year I took my girls on the road with me with no one else, which was nice. I just hang out with them all the time. Then I also end up seeing the cities I’m in in a much more thorough way. It’s good fun to host a party with my daughters.

You recorded this album much quicker than the last album — a few weeks in the studio versus many months. How were you thinking about following up “Big Whiskey”?

There was so much that happened in the last record. Roi (Moore, DMB’s saxophonist) died in the middle of it, so it had a different focus. The last album incorporated a lot of mourning with the death of our bandmate. I can’t compare the two: apples and oranges. But this album, it was a very refreshing process. And it was interesting to go back with Steve Lillywhite and be old men together.

Were you flashing back to cutting those first records with him?

Yeah, there were some similar methods. Also the relationship is very different. It was nice to see an old friend who we had lost touch with. I wasn’t in a great place when we left each other. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I don’t think being around me was the best part of their lives. But I think I always have a joyful face on. But I was troubled. But then this time I feel pretty good about where I am, I think, when we went into making the record. A little less, fewer layers to get to the chewy center nowadays. It’s not as tasty as it was maybe 10 years ago but can’t do anything about that.

It sounds from the album like you’re thinking quite a bit about growing old.

I’m partly obsessed by aging gracefully. Not that I believe in God. I use God in my songs a lot, but I don’t have a relationship. I don’t know what that means. But my sister said, ‘You age gracefully so you find out what God wanted you to look like when you’re old.’ I kind of like that idea. But I like the wrinkles. I woke up three days ago, and I thought, ‘In 15 years I’m going to be 60.’ … Wow, that’s pretty soon.

Fuse Q&A: Dave Matthews Band Bassist Stefan Lessard on New Album, Tour & More

Lessard opens up about DMB's portable gym and what Dave Matthews and Tool's Maynard James Keenan talk about backstage

by Taylor Berman  /  September 10, 2012

On September 11 the Dave Matthews Band will release their eighth studio album, Away From the World, which marks a return to form of sorts for the group; after 2009’s more rock-heavy Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, DMB is working again with Steve Lillywhite, who produced the band’s first three albums.  We recently caught up with Dave Matthews Band bassist Stefan Lessard, who opened up to us about the new album, how the band stays fit on the road (see their tour dates here!) and what Tool’s Maynard James Keenan has in common with Dave Matthews.

DMB are famous for touring nonstop. How do you kill time on the road? Do you have any sort of pre-show routines?

It varies from guy to guy. Everyone has their own schedule and their own routine. Going into these shows I like to have my mind free and clear, and my body feeling good. So on show days, I’ll let myself sleep in as late as I want, and I’ll try not to do too much during the day.  I usually wake up and start practicing my scales just to tell myself, “Today I’m a bass player.” We get together as a band in the afternoon and rehearse for the show. We have great caterers, and they have good food for us. And we have our own travelling gym. Some of the guys will go work out before the show to warm themselves up. Typically, I wake up and think “Tonight’s the show” to get ready. Because, especially in places with no curfews, we can play for over three hours, so you never know how much energy you’ll need. It’s taken me many years to perfect making sure I feel great on stage, but this last tour I’ve been getting on stage feeling great, ready to play for three and a half hours.

What’s the portable gym like?

It’s a tractor trailer truck. It’s a gym, and everything is tied down. There’s a stair-master, there’s a running machine, and crossbars and weights and a bench. It’s good enough to get a work out in.

So does Dave lift a lot of weights?

[Drummer] Carter [Beauford] and [violinist] Boyd [Tinsley] work out in the gym a lot. Dave and I tend to get on our bikes more. There are lots of biking enthusiasts on this tour. Most days before rehearsal starts, I’ll see Dave take off with a crew member and go for a ride. I usually grab my bike, too. A lot of these places we play are near really great bike trails. They’re near parks or inside state parks and so there’s nice biking. It’s nice to get out when it’s nice out, go for a ride before you start work.

You guys have notoriously loyal fans. Any especially crazy or notable interactions?

What sticks out the most for me is have fans that tell me their moms turned them on [to DMB music] when they were 7 and they’re like 20 now. The generation gaps are pretty small. Our fans love to share our music with their friends and family. There’s a big sharing component.  It started out that way with us, too. Our tapes were sent to different fraternities, and they’d share those tapes with other fraternities. It sort of continued that way. The fans are very connected. But as far as crazy fan interactions, you’re always going to get people who are so passionate that they tend to get so excited when they meet you they’re shaking and crying. You try to reassure them, like "I’m a real person, just like you."

I know it’s been a while since you worked Steve Lillywhite, who produced DMB's first three albums. How was it working with him on Away From the World?


It was great to work with Lillywhite again. There were 10 years or so between our last record with him and now. We didn’t feel like we were finished with him, and I think he felt the same way with us. It was exciting to go back. In the history of this band, this was the first time we came back to a producer. It was a nice reunion. When we recorded with Lilywhite the first few records, it was really a fun time. It was when the band was really bubbling, a lot of inspiration and creativity. So to get back together felt really good. We didn’t have to grease the wheels too much. It just came together. It was a really good time. It’s hard to find any negativity working with Steve. I love his production quality.

What are you listening to these days?

I have my old school favorites: Beastie Boys and Tool and A Tribe Called Quest. But bands that are coming up, too. I’m really into Mumford and Sons. It reminded me of listening to folk music with my friends in Virginia. And from there, I got into Of Monsters and Men. I got in them before they even got on the radio. I’d play them for everyone because I love them.  I listen to Lumineers now. I’m really into this new folk music coming out. The Lumineers are such a cool band and their record was just awesome. And Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes just opened up for us. I really want to dive into more of their stuff. We also had Old Crow Medicine Show open for us. They’re a great band. Growing up in the country, I like hearing that type of music coming back around in a popular venue.

Speaking of opening bands, are any band you’d love to open for? Or any bands with whom you’d love to share a bill?

There are a few. I always thought a Radiohead/DMB show would be a great concert. We’re so different but similar in many ways. I always wanted to play with any band that Maynard (James Keenan of Tool) was a part of, so I always thought a Tool and DMB show would be huge.  We did a festival and Puscifer opened up for us. So that was pretty cool. I never thought Maynard would be opening up for a band I was in. I’m a huge Maynard fan, so that was a lot of fun. We’ve opened for the Rolling Stones a few times.  I’d love to do something with Pink Floyd, but I’d want to do it with Roger Waters. That’s probably it.

Do you think you’d ever work with Maynard in the studio? Maybe a DMB/Tool collaboration?

Dave has some wine stuff going on, he got together with a winemaker. Maynard makes wine. Maynard actually stomps the grapes himself. He’s so involved with the process. He has a vineyard in Arizona. So at this festival, he gave us a bunch of his wine. I don’t think everyone in the band knows who he is, but I’ve definitely talked to Dave about Tool more than anybody. I actually incorporate some of their songs into my solos on stage, I do "Schism." A little crossover.

So Dave and Maynard talked about wine?

Maynard invited us to the dressing room before our show to give us a couple of bottles of wine. So we went in there and we wanted to say, "Hey, great show." But he didn’t want to talk about the show at all, he just wanted to talk about wine. He loves it. He’s really passionate about it right now. So Dave and I, we enjoyed spending some time talking to him about wine. And one little spark could be anything. So maybe in the future, there will be something musically between us.

Dave Matthews talks music, life and guilt

At 45, the leader of the Dave Matthews Band is older, wiser, more thoughtful

Jeff Coffin: Into the Air and Away From the World

Published: 2012/08/31

by Rob Slater

Not many musicians will jump on a 50-show tour with a national act, all the while making yet another solo record, holding educational clinics, and finding time for his Not many musicians will jump on a 50-show tour with a national act, all the while making yet another solo record, holding educational clinics, and finding time for his photography obsession. Then again, not many musicians are Jeff Coffin. The saxophonist (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Dave Matthews Band) is a busy man this year, with his Mu’tet album, Into the Air, due out on September 4th. A week later, his latest project, the Dave Matthews Band, will release their seventh LP, Away From the World, on September 11th. Jeff spoke with us about the Mu’tet, the Dave Matthews Band, his passion for education, and what the future holds for the busiest man in music.

I know the Mu’tet lineup is always evolving, hence the name of the band (Mutate), so who do you have playing on the album this time around?

Well, we’ve got Jeff Sipe on drums, Felix Pastorius on bass, Kofi Burbridge on keyboards and flute, and Bill Fanning on trumpet and what we call “space trumpet”. And of course myself on saxophone and what we’re calling “electrosax” also. I use a lot of different pedals when we play- so that’s where that comes from. We also have a really special guest, a West African guitarist named Lionel Loueke, he plays a lot with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter- guys like that.

I’m glad you brought him up, because he’s an interesting selection for the album. He’s sort of an x-factor on the whole album, I take it?

Not really, he’s only a couple of tracks. It’s awesome to have him on it. I think the whole band is an x-factor to be honest. It’s a really interesting record, it’s the most collaborative record I’ve ever done. I had sketches of tunes I had written out, and then I brought Felix down to Nashville to do some more writing with me. He and I had written in the past and I really enjoy writing with him, so by the time we got to the studio, we all collaborated further on some of the stuff and put it together, so it’s a very uniquely collaborative record.

How’d you get connected with Lionel Loueke initially?

Well, initially, I think we met somewhere on the road with the Flecktones, and then he was doing a clinic in Knoxville that he was going to, because my wife went to school there for her Masters program, so that’s where we met. He ended up being in town when I was there and we were talking and ended up exchanging info. When I first heard his record Caribou, which I believe was his first solo record, I was totally knocked out. I just said, “Wow, this guy has a completely different language than most improvisational jazz records up until this point.” And I was really intrigued by his music and I really liked him personally, and so, some of the music I had written on the record- there’s one on it called “Loueke” that was definitely influenced by hearing his music.

I’ve been listening to African music for 25 years now, so just assimilating those different styles and different sounds, that was really fascinating to me, and then I talked to him about possibly recording on something. It was just a matter about waiting it out timing wise for it to happen. I was completely content to do that. And we brought him down to Nashville, it was September of last year, and he had basically 24 hours. So we went in the studio and had a great hang, Victor Wooten came over to the studio and we were all hanging out because he’s known him for a while also. We did a whole lot in 24 hours. A whole lot of stuff. It was great. It was a really fascinating process for me to take someone like him and playing his approach and to weave it into what we were doing.

I’m familiar with a lot of your work, and the one thing I always appreciate is how many musicians you’ve collaborated with in the studio. You’re clearly not afraid to take someone with a different sound and throw them in there to see what happens.

Yeah, I’m not because we’re all kind of dealing with the same material, and that’s the whole idea of the Mu’tet is that it has to change- it has to be morphing and trying new things to keep it alive. I really appreciate what people bring to it- I want them to bring themselves to it.

What are some of the qualities and characteristics that you look for when recruiting a musician to play with the Mu’tet?

I’m looking for chemistry. I’m looking for people that really work well together, people that when they play they play like composers. Basically, I want a band full of composers, because that in turn allows them to realize the music is a way that really opens it up, you know? That they’re going to think compositionally about how they solo- their parts- all these different things.

That leads us into the songwriting process for the Mu’tet- how did it work this time around?

Well I had most of everything sketched out before I had Felix come down, as far as these ideas for the tunes, so we just went further with it harmonically and even melodically, form-wise, that kind of thing. So basically I brought the ideas in and said, “okay, this is what we have.” I may have had an mp3 demo of it, but basically these are the parts and let’s put it together in a way that makes sense to us and that feels good and let’s try some things and move solos around and basically see what happens with it. It was a very organic, what I would call holistic process. It really worked out well, I’m very happy with it.

It sounds like you’re excited about it, for sure. And you’re releasing it on your own record label?

Yeah, I started it last summer, when we put up the live Mu’tet record last summer. People were clamoring for it and I was like, “Well, okay, let’s just put it out ourselves,” so I just decided to start my own little label and I kept writing down names and ideas and I came up with Ear Up Records. We have a couple things on there, a couple of my original projects, and I’d like to release some other things on there, but I want it to be music that I really believe in. Music that has the integrity that I feel I try to bring to the plate every time I’m up. So, this will be the third official release on that label.It gives you a sense of freedom, I imagine. In a way, it fits along with the theme of the music as well.Definitely. Another thing I try to do also is I try to bring in, I do a lot of photography too, so I try to bring in the artwork for the project as well. Whether it’s a photo I’ve taken- whatever it is. I’m trying to use all my own resources that are at my disposal.

I know you guys are going out on the road in August when you’re on break with DMB, but do you have any future road plans with the Mu’tet?

Well, it all depends on the DMB schedule. For the lineup that’s coming out, I’d really like to do the five people that were on the record at some point this fall if everyone’s available, but obviously you have to work around some schedules.

Can you give me a timetable on the recording process on this Mu’tet record?

I know it’s coming out a week before the new DMB album- was there any overlap? They were done at separate times. I wasn’t even sure when the Dave record was coming out when I picked the date for my release. I’m just glad they’re not on the same day (laughs).

With that we can transition into DMB a bit. Can you compare the recording processes between the two?

I actually can, because with the Mu’tet we had five days in the studio, which is fairly a long time for an instrumental, improvisational record. With Dave we were in the studio for two months. It’s a very different process because you’re dealing with vocals and more traditional song form and that kind of thing. So, it’s a very different process. For us, with the Mu’tet, we would start late morning and go to whenever we could go until. Whenever we couldn’t play anymore. With Dave, we would start early-mid afternoon and go for six hours maybe? And we would do that maybe every two or three days. There’s a luxury of time when you have a big project like that that you don’t usually have with the kind of music that I put out.

Are there any similarities with how you and (DMB trumpet player) Rashawn Ross created for this album compared to how you created for the Mu’tet?

It’s a bit different because the role is different. With the Mu’tet the horns take the lead line- we’re basically the singers. With DMB, what Rashawn and I are playing is more partial to support of the singer, so it’s a different role of course. As far as creating the lines- it’s similar in a sense that they come out of an improvisatory nature. With the Mu’tet, the lines, they aren’t really punctuations- they’re more like the vocal lines where with DMB the lines are more punctuational of what’s going on vocally and around the vocals, and supporting that. It’s hard to compare the two, but the process is similar in a way.

Obviously, Big Whiskey was a bit of an unusual recording session, particularly for you. This time around, you had a full recording process. What was your goal, along with Rashawn, as it pertains to the horns?

Rashawn is a great arranger, and he has really great horn ideas. I tried to defer to him a lot in writing the parts and figuring out certain things. He has this ability to really put things together which is really fantastic, and I have the utmost respect for that and how he plays the trumpet and how he views music. So, I wanted it to be as organic as possible, and I think we both kind of felt it out and I basically tried to stay out of the way as much as I could and if we came up with really great parts we’d work on them and see what made sense to the both of us. Again, I look at it as, he’s coming right from the source. He was under Roi [Late DMB sax player LeRoi Moore] for a number of years, and I would never try to put my foot in front of that, so I think that what he’s coming up with is brilliant, and I learn a lot from him every time we play. He’s also respectful to the things that I come up with too, so it’s a really great working and personal relationship.

I see you guys over on the side of the stage, and it’s like you’re in your own little world sometimes. It feels like anything can be played at any time with you two.

That’s what it feels like to me too, which is really great. We can try some really unorthodox thing and we can both execute it. So it’s really fun, it keeps it challenging and it keeps it interesting, I think.

LeRoi always envisioned a “horn section” with DMB, and that’s what I think we’re seeing right now at it’s best.

I think it’s been really great, and it keeps escalating every night. Honestly, I don’t think the band has peaked yet, I really don’t. I think it’s continuing to grow and continuing to form, and it’s really exciting.

You went into the studio with producer Steve Lillywhite, who has a storied past with Dave Matthews Band. Were you familiar at all with that history?

I was. I had never met Steve, but, I mean obviously he had produced a number of those early records. I heard The Lillywhite Sessions also, so I was familiar with his work with DMB and other groups as well.

What was your overall impression of him coming out of this session?

I loved working with him. Again, you talk about chemistry and familiarity- to me he has both of those. He has this ability to, again, allow people’s personalities to come out through the music, and when he hears something he’s like a little kid. He’s so giddy about it, and he’s so excited, and excitable. If he doesn’t like it- that’s okay too. He’ll just say, “eh, it didn’t work, let’s try something else.” And I just think he has this particular ability and particular virtuosity in the same way we have virtuosity as players and as composers and as arrangers. And it’s interesting, because I don’t feel like he ever told anybody what to do, I think he just advocated doing what they do and bringing it out, and sort of unlocking that creativity in somebody and saying, “hey man that was beautiful, let’s go back and do that again!” Again, rather than telling somebody what to do, when somebody would do something, he would go, “oh, I love that- do that again- take that idea and work it.” He’s like a great encourager.

And I would say that encouragement breeds great results in the end.

Well it does, because everybody wants to feel good, and so when you have someone encouraging and someone lifting you up and being an advocate, then it makes you feel good. That’s a similar approach I take in my education stuff also. I’m not negative at all, and I can always find something good to say. I can always find a way to lift a student up, and I feel like Steve has that similar constitution also in that- I just found him to be very positive and very light, very airy. But focused also. Intensely focused.

That focus that you talk about is what us fans have always heard about Steve- and I think that’s what partially drove them to produce three great albums in a row in the 90’s.

Someone coming in with a different perspective can always help, especially if you respect them. He never tried to take control of it, and he just sort of skewed it and gave directions.

I want to touch on the drummers for a second- you play with two of my favorites in Carter Beauford (DMB) and Jeff Sipe (Mu’tet). They are very different from each other, though. What is your approach and style of play with each, and how do they differ from each other?

Those are two of my favorites too! My approach isn’t very different, quite honestly. The way I play is fairly different, but my approach is to try to get inside what they’re doing. I try to be a very rhythmic player also, so I’m trying to find places where I can jump in between their rhythms and, I wouldn’t say enhance what they’re doing, but sort of feel like it’s an organic natural growth out of what they’re playing. And I try to be as malleable as I can be rhythmically with what they’re doing but really try to get inside where they’re coming from, from a rhythmic standpoint. I can hear elements of that particularly when you first started with DMB in 2008. I think we really got a good glimpse of how you and Carter were going to interact right off the bat, particularly with the way you two push each other during a jam. I think with Carter, we’re both very strong players, and very strong personalities as well and that comes out with how we play, and I think Rashawn and I are getting to get to that also, which is really great. When we’re trading back and forth on certain tunes, I think there’s a real push that’s going on during that and I really enjoy that.

As far as the music creative process goes- what are some of your favorite aspects of creating music with DMB, and what are some of your favorite creative aspects with the Mu’tet?

Hmm, actually, I think I have the same favorite parts with both. I love to rehearse, and I love to hear what people are creating underneath other things. Like, with Dave’s band, I think everybody is a composer, and I think that makes a huge difference. I’ve played with musicians who don’t really have any compositional triumphs, I guess. And it’s difficult, because they’ll listen to the part that’s on the record, and they’ll only play that. And, my thing is- I want to hear you. When I hear Stefan play a good bass line- that’s part of where his virtuosity lies. I think that people’s virtuosity is in a lot of different places other than just a physical, shredding virtuosity. That’s one of the things that I really love. When someone is so uniquely themselves that you hear them when they play- that’s a particular kind of virtuosity also. So, listening to people figuring out a new part or adding something that they haven’t played before- it changes the way everybody else plays. So it comes down to that particular kind of chemistry as well.

I think both projects you’re involved in right now have an incredible amount of chemistry.

I would agree. And why that works, I don’t know, but it does. And I’m very thankful that it holds. Very thankful.

Can you make chemistry work? Or is it just something that happens?

I don’t think you can force it, but I think you can develop it with familiarity, but sometimes you play with people and you go, “oh my God,’ and it just works. For whatever that reason is, I don’t exactly know. When you meet someone, you feel really familiar with all of a sudden, and then you can know someone for ten years and still have a bit of a distance, and why is that? I don’t know. One of the great mysteries of life.

You guys played with Stanley Jordan recently as well, and he’s another guy who has high chemistry and personality on stage.

Oh yeah, he’s a joy to play with.

Stanley played with another band recently that you’re familiar with, and that’s Umphrey’s McGee…

Oh yeah!

I was actually in New Years for St. Louis this past December and saw you sit in with them for two nights.

Yeah, I’ll be with them again this New Year’s in Atlanta as well.

How’d you get together with those guys initially?

We did some stuff with The Flecktones with them a few years ago, as a part of the Acoustic Planet tour, and we just totally hit it off. They asked me to come up for a New Year’s gig one year and we just had a blast. I love those guys.

They’re another group where anything goes.

Absolutely, and I love that about them. No rules whatsoever.

We’ve been talking about drummers a lot, and Kris Myers is right in line with the guys we spoke about earlier. He really drives the boat when it comes to their improv.

Oh, for sure. He’s a great musician, and a level human being also. That’s one of the things I find, you know, I do a lot of music clinics also as a Yamaha artist. A lot of times students will ask about how to get out there and make a living as a musician- like “making it”. I say that with quotations because I think you’re always trying to make it- even at a certain level, you’re still out there pushing. I see Bela out there pushing, and Vic and Roy and Dave and Stefan and Boyd and everybody, you know. I always tell them, I say, ‘the most successful musicians I’ve known have always been the nicest people,’ and I think there’s really something in there. Success is more difficult if you’re a jerk.

I’m going to get a bumper sticker that says that.

There you go (laughs)

You really spread out your creative outlets in a variety of ways- your photography is on that list as well. You say you bring that to the music- how does that tie in?

I got into it about 12 years ago, something like that, and I’m a little obsessive with it. To me, taking pictures and writing music is a lot of the same thing where you’re dealing with composition, phrasing, how to capture a moment. I’m just lucky- I used to write a lot, I used to draw a lot, and then when I discovered photography it sort of took over. I find that I remember almost every picture I’ve ever taken. When I look at it, I know where I was, I remember the moment, and it’s really interesting. I have a photographic memory, no I’m kidding (laughs)

 *No pun intended. No, but I remember some of the shots you put up from the European Tour with DMB a few years ago and they were great.

Yeah, there were some really great spots out there. I just put up some new stuff a couple of weeks ago from the Caravan tour last year and some from this year.

I heard you were out at the Caravans taking pictures quite often.

Yeah, the thing with that is too, I tamper what I put online. I have a lot of really incredible shots that I don’t put up there because I’m trying to respect the privacy of the people I work with. So those are kind of archival for me, but there are certain ones I let out, but I try to be respectful of that because I appreciate the position I’m in. There are certain shots that I’ll get that no one will get, and I’m respectful of that.

You brought up music clinics a few moments ago. You seem very passionate about that- is it something you try to do every year regardless of how busy you are?

Absolutely. I’ve done over 300 clinics in the last three years or so, and it’s something I’m hugely passionate about, and quite honestly I think it’s the most important thing that I do. So, you know it’s college and high schools. We do them at schools we do them at music schools. Being able to expose them to other music is really important, that’s why I love taking the Mu’tet out with me when I do it, but I’m not always able to do that- so I’ll do a solo clinic sometimes. But I’ve also got a number of Big Band charts of my older tunes that I’ve had made up, so I can go into schools and work up enough of my tunes- we’ll do a concert. Getting these young people to improvise for the first time also is cathartic to say the least, and I have a particular report with students. I can’t explain why, but I can reach them really quickly, and I absolutely love it. It’s something I could talk to you for hours about, and it’s a real passion of mine.

I know you get into the music side of it all, but you also touch on the personal side of the music world. What is your overall message during one of these clinics?

A lot of times I’m really trying to get them to believe in themselves. I talk about working on fundamentals and the importance of fundamentals. As much as I’m talking to them, the more I’m listening to them. If we’re listening to music, if we’re talking about music- I want to know what they think, and I want them to know that their thoughts are valid, that their emotional content is valid. I try to get them playing with emotion, what I call “emotional dynamics”, because it brings the music into this really profound place for them that they haven’t experienced before. I talk to them about goosebumps, and ask them how many people have had goosebumps before, and without exception everyone has raised their hand since I’ve been asking that. So I point out that we’ve had this common experience and there’s something really profound in that common experience of goosebumps in music. That we’re there to support each other, how great it is to play in a band together, and the sum is greater than it’s parts. It’s sort of a life lesson. It’s using music as a metaphor, but it’s really more about- once I leave that place, what do they take with them? A sense of community, a sense of support, they know they have to work on their fundamentals no matter what they do in life- whether it’s music or architecture or science. So I want to leave them with a long tale.

Do you still get goosebumps when you play?

I get goosebumps when I listen to the music and when I play the music. I hope it never goes away!

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Dave Matthews Band’s Away from the World : A Preview

Published by Relix 08/27/12

By Dylan Gray

On September 18, 2011, the last night of a three day musical caravan, hosted by The Dave Matthews Band, on Randall’s Island, New York, lead singer Dave Matthews told the crowd the band was going into the studio and he hoped to have some new music to share by 2012. Creating a frenzy among fans for new music after the success of their 2009 album Big Whiskey and The Groo Grux King, there was little news from the band until now. On September 11, the group will release their new album titled, Away from the World, produced by Steve Lillywhite.

The first glimpse of the new album was on April 24th of this year, when Matthews went on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to debut a new song, “Mercy.” The song immediately became a hit among fans, and provided much anticipation for the Lillywhite-produced album. Lillywhite has worked with the band in the past on the albums, producing the celebrated Big Three : Under the Table and Dreaming, Crash, and Before These Crowded Streets. Favorites like “Ants Marching,” “What Would You Say” and “Two Step” all stem from these core albums. Now, according to Steve Lillywhite via Twitter, “the big three will soon become the big four” once this album is released.

But, the anticipation doesn’t end with just the fans. Members of the band were excited at the chance to work with Lillywhite again. Boyd Tinsley, violin player and founding member of the group explains, “Steve is an amazing producer and an amazing person. This is our fourth or fifth, if you count the ‘Lillywhite Sessions,” album with him. He has a way of making everyone comfortable. He has always brought music out of us, that we didn’t even know we possessed. I love working with Steve. He knows how to create magic.” Tinsley goes on to explain that although this album has a certain “classic” Dave Matthews Band feel, each member has grown as a musician and this album is proof of their evolution over time as musicians, adding, “This album just came from a good place and the band is having fun learning the new songs before each show and then getting to go out and play them for the fans.”

Tinsley explained the group was ready to get back into the studio to make more music, stating, “We were ready to get back together and play again after a long break, so there was this fresh excitement to play to be in the studio again. It felt like a new beginning. Everybody reached for, as Roi [LeRoi Moore founding saxophonist who passed away in 2008 following to anATV accident] would always say, the next level. It was one of my favorite sessions.”

Tinsley also acknowledges some surprise at the speed with which it came together. “All the music just seemed to flow out of us. We could not believe how quickly we finished the music and how great it was. Of course, Dave worked long after everyone else left, to write and record the lyrics, but, still, relatively speaking this album just flowed. None of the Lillywhite records took a great deal of time. Sometimes, the best music happens right out of the gate.”

According to guitarist Tim Reynolds, who has guested with the band on several occasions, and has been with them since 2008, “Since it’s Steve Lillywhite, it goes back to the old Dave Matthews Band sound, but it’s much updated. When working with Steve, he would yell out a band that he wanted a song to sound like. For example, for one song he wanted it to sound like a Pink Floyd song so he just would say ‘Pink Floyd’ and I knew exactly what he wanted and it was a great way for us to communicate in the studio.”

Looking back on the sessions, Reynolds explains, “We started off recording with two acoustic guitars (Matthews and Reynolds) and then built the rhythm section on top of that. It is very different from the last album we put out. This album has a lot of heart to it. Not that the other records have not had a lot of heart but something about this record, it just has sweetness to it.”

Part of the fun of making this new album for Reynolds, was the fact, some songs the band recorded, started one way but the finish product is nothing like how it was when the band first started recording, “I really like ‘If Only.’ It sounded a lot like Marvin Gay. You know, it came out one way but back when we were starting to record the album it sounded completely different but then over time, it evolved in the studio.”

The first song debuted off the new album, “Mercy,” was a band favorite, Reynolds says. “It was one of the first songs we had worked on and it was a very pretty song lyrically and the entire band just really loved it.”

Another source close to the band said that when the band first got to the studio, Dave surprised the rest of the band by presenting several demos that he had already written; then it was up to each individual to write their own part. This was the same blueprint the band followed in the early days. To date, the band has played six songs off of the Away From the World album and according to Reynolds, “The best material is still to come!”

One song receiving great praise from band members is “Drunken Solider.” Tinsley shares, “I really love every song on the album and so I have been hesitant to pick a favorite. To me this album is like a story and I like the whole story. There is something about “Drunken Solider” that stands out to me.” Reynolds expresses the same sentiment, stating, “Yeah that is a really epic jam. We recorded each section at different times so that we could stay focused on the song as a whole. It has a lot of dynamic transitions throughout the song.”

Fans have been very receptive towards the new material during this 2012 Summer Tour. Setlists have been a great mix of older “rare” songs, and newer material, creating a great dynamic for those long term fans and the more recent supporters. Since coming back from their 2011 summer hiatus, the band appears to be recharged and excited to be on stage again. Away From the World hits the shelves on September 11, 2012.


On DMB's wild new album, wanting to pop some Adderall and why AC/DC kicks ass

By Patrick Doyle

Dave Matthews Band took most of 2011 off, but their frontman spent more time hanging out than writing new songs. So Matthews considered cobbling together an album from some old unfinished material. "Then I decided I didn't want to do that" says the singer, 45. Instead, this year, DMB hit the studio with Steve Lillywhite - who produced 1994's Under The Table and Dreaming and 1996's Crash - and cut Away From The World (due out September 11th), their strongest album in years. Newly written highlights range from the Al Green-inspired "If Only" to the triply, 10-minute epic "Drunken Soldier." Matthews checks in from Virginia, where he spends summers with his family. "I'm still desperate to try and make something beautiful and not redo what I've done in the past," Matthews says. "It's good work, but it's not easy for me."

Your violin player, Boyd Tinsley, told me this album feels like the old days. Do you agree?

I'm not sure Boyd and I live on the same planet. Nowadays, I have to dig a lot harder when I'm writing. I'm more critical. There's a freedom to being young that is harder to come by as time goes on. I try to justify what we do with our lives, and that question becomes more difficult to answer. And I don't have enough time to be as drug and alcohol soaked as I did 15 years ago.

Do you still do drugs?

Some of the new pharmaceuticals out there would help me focus, but I haven't used any. What's the one, Adderall? Everyone talks about how it gets you so focused. That sounds good. I got too much shit to do. I've had too much coffee, though. I have to stop it. How can I ever go to sleep again?

How do you get your brain working so you can write songs?

I take it too far sometimes. When I listen to my favorite songwriters, they have such simple melodies and chords. I occasionally manage to stop at the right time, but all too often I keep on going until I have way too many notes and words. But that's just what I do.

You talk a lot about future generations on this album. Why is that?

I like the image of a sort of torn-up soul trying to give advice to his kids or whoever. My daughters and I were watching a documentary on Yellowstone, which talked about how the volcano erupted 600,000 years ago and covered a third of North American in ash. My daughter said, "Would that kill us?" I said, "There's a far greater chance human beings won't survive long enough to see the next time it erupts."

What about the future of the band? Where do you see DMB going from here?

I don't know. There are two sides to everything. I feed this beast that I'm part of, and in some way I worry that it loses legitimacy. Then there's the other part of me that says I'm really lucky to be part of something that turns a lot of people on and still turns us on.

One of your fan sites made an app that tracks your set lists in real time. How do you feel about your hardcore fans?

It makes it harder for us to get any new fans. People are lil, "I don't want to be part of that!" There's certainly an obsessed core, and I have to be grateful. But I don't pay any attention. I'm a big of a caveman - I don't go out into the digital space very often. I lie facedown on the grass and count how many bugs I can find.

It's been four years since your saxophonist LeRoi Moore died. Do you still think of him when you're on stage?

He was a great friend of mine, so I don't think I'll ever get over that. I don't think I'm going to stop having his presence in my heart.

You played at the rallies for Obama in 2008. Are you supporting him this time around?               

I think so. I saw a bumper sticker that had his name and a peace sign on it. I was like, "What does that mean?" He's kicked more ass around the world than most presidents I can think of! There's a lot I wish he had done differently. When people accuse him of being a socialist, I'm like, "Who?" I'm a raging, pink-hatted, flailing-arms liberal. I don't necessarily support all of Obama's actions -but he's closer to me than that other fellow is.

What's the last song you want to hear before you leave this Earth?

I don't care what it is as long as it's AC/DC. I fucking love them - you know, Jesus Christ. If I'm about to die I hope I have a needle sticking out of my arm and, like, two powdered doughnuts up my nose and half a bottle of whiskey. Either that, or I'll be really clear and I'll be surrounded by everybody that I love. One of the two."

(This interview originally appear in Rolling Stone magazine; Issue 1164 > August 30th, 2012)

Dave Matthews Band Bust Out Deep Cuts (and Lasers!)

The kings of summer return to the road with new tunes, rarities. Plus: Inside their forthcoming LP

More the 30,000 fans roared as Dave Matthews walked onstage at the Comcast Theatre in Harford, Connecticut, with a ukulele in his hands on the muggy night of May 26th. "You know the feeling when your in too deep," Matthews sang, breaking out "Sweet", a lullaby he wrote last year after teaching his four-year-old son how to swim. "But if you make it out, the taste is so sweet." 

Life is pretty sweet right now for the Dave Matthews Band who kicked off their latest tour on May 18th. After taking most of last year off, aside from staging a handful of their own Caravan festivals, they're back to their usual moster summer schedule ~ lighting up huge outdoor venues like New York's Jones Beach Theater and Wisconsin's Alpine Valley Music Theatre before wrapping September 9th in Mountain View, California. "It's good to be back," says violinist Boyd Tinsley. "It's cool to go out and watch old fans and whole new generation of kids. That's inspiring."

In the Hartford parking lot, the pre-show party was in full swing, as basketball-jersey-wearing dudes chugged beers. Onstage, the band stretched out - 2009's "Funny The Way It Is" became a slow building prog jam complete with a wild laser show, and Matthews got down to guitarist Tim Reynolds' Hendrix-ish riffs on 1996's "Two Step." It all led up to a dramatic encore, when Matthews howled the 1998 rarity "Halloween," followed by a lengthy Carter Beauford drum solo that segued in fan favorite "Tripping Billies." The gig even impressed long time DMB producer Steve Lillywhite, who tweeted, "Home from on of the most incredible gigs I have ever seen. Period."

Fans can expect more deep cuts this summer: The band recently played "Seek Up, " which dates back to its club days in Charlottesville, Virginia. "There are so many songs, some that I've even forgottoen," says Tinsley. "I have a feeling that we're gonna be bringing things back from the past." The group has also been busting out lots of new material, including the delicate ballad "Mercy" and "Gaucho" where Matthews imagines a conversation with his kids about the America he grew up in. "Let me show you a movie/You know, we landed a man on the moon." he sings before the heartfelt chorus: "We gotta do much more than beleive if we really want to change things."

Recording is well underway on DMB's eighth album (due out in the fall), which they began cutting with Lillywhite in Seattle in January. "In a way it feels like the beginning again," says Tinsley. "I don't think that I've ever had as much fun in a studio session as this. It was a creative process where everybody was going for it and opening up. It just sounded like a DMB album from the past -[1994's] Under The Table and Dreaming, or even [1995's] Crush. This was the continuation of that."

Adds the violinist, "People allowed us to be ourselves for years. They still do. We're very grateful."

Con-Fusion Interview with Dave

Con-Fusion Interview with Dave
By Elena Pizzetti

February 22nd, 2010. It's been eight months since the release of Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King and seven since the epic concert in Lucca, immortalized in the Europe 2009 boxset. The Dave Matthews Band is back to Italy, ready to pour its kaleidoscopic river of sounds on the stages of Milano, Roma and Padova. I meet Dave Matthews before the show at the PalaSharp in Milano to talk about the latest record, the death of sax player LeRoi Moore, the renewed sinergy of the band and his variegated interests. His well-known “antistar” attitude is immediately proved: he welcomes me in his dressing room like a neighbour would and he repeats my name three times until he proudly pronounces it with the accent on the right “e”. I give him a copy of February's Buscadero and he points at the cover photo laughing: “I had terrible hair that day!”. I ask him if he's happy to be in Italy again and he answers with an enthusiastic “Yeah!”: with no doubt it’s true. His table is covered with papers filled with song lists, sketches and drawings. His pen will trace countless scribbles throughout the interview. He adds a couple of titles to the setlist, then we start. His answers alternate overflowing streams of consciousness to long, thoughtful breaks in which he stares at the ceiling searching for the words. As background music, the sax of Jeff Coffin, who’s rehearsing in the next room.

Compared to Everyday and Stand Up, Big Whiskey has a sound and groove which recall your first three records. You worked on it in a very tough moment, but you managed to find a fantastic sinergy. Do you think it was a kind of rebirth of the band?

Interview with Dave Matthews in Frankfurt


Von Sascha Knapek

Musicheadquarter had the chance to conduct an interview with Dave Matthews. Prior to the show in Frankfurt Matthews sat down with our editor Sascha Knapek to talk about DMB’s current endeavors in Europe, urban legends and how a Matthews-led supergroup would look like. All photographs by Julian Thesen.

Dave, your current European tour is nearing its end. Tonight is the eleventh show out of 18 and your last one in Germany. Are you satisfied with the audience turnout and how the tour is going so far?

Dave Matthews: Well, it is always nice to play for audiences that are new to us. I feel that in the last few years we have started to make a slow headway in Germany and different parts of Europe, moreso than we have in the past. And I think it’s just timing, it’s sort of the way our career went in the US as well. It’s been a great tour, the biggest crowds we played for here in Europe, that are our own. I am very satisfied, but sorry that this is our last show in Germany. But we played more shows in Germany than we ever have, so that’s a good thing and it’s gone very well. It’s moving into a direction that we wanted to go in Europe and we hope we are giving the audiences a reason to come back when we return.

I can vividly remember that you guys schedueled a tour throughout Germany in 2001, but cancelled because of 9/11. What were the reasons why it took you guys nearly nine years to make another try?

Dave Matthews: Our career grew in the states in a way that was sort of "mouth-to-mouth". Everything was by word of mouth. And though we have now gained a radio career and, to a degree, a television career, it were those things that followed. It was the touring, playing for audiences and introducing ourselves that way, that opened up people to the variety of the music that we play and whatever style it is we play.

We never put that time in here and that’s what we needed to do to be succesful in Europe. And to come back to 2001, it was a hopeful time in a way, but it also was a difficult time in our career, a difficult time for the band. It has taken too long for us to return, but I do feel as if this time the band is in a really strong position. We’re returning to the heart of why we play music, so there is a real desire for us to come and play for audiences that don’t know us. It’s not obligatory like you do well in the states and then you try to expand. For us it’s different, we now all want to go and take the same approach to introduce ourselves to audiences in different parts of the world. I think we’re open to it and I hope the audiences are open to what we’re doing.

Dave Matthews Finds Grammy Nods Sweet Reward After Tragedy


By NEKESA MUMBI MOODY - The Huffinton Post

NEW YORK — Although the Dave Matthews Band's many achievements include a Grammy Award, getting a trophy has never been the focus of the group, which has blazed an independent path from pop's mainstream.

And it's still not.

But this year, even frontman Dave Matthews is feeling emotional over their two nominations for "Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King," including album of the year, perhaps the Recording Academy's most prestigious award.

"I live in my own tree and I'm pretty out of touch with a lot of what's going on – the mechanics that's going on with the Grammys and the industry in general," said Matthews in a phone interview last month.

"But to get that was a real thrill for me ... because of what the album meant to us and because (of) the loss of LeRoi (Moore) and because of the love that we put into making this."

The Grammy nominations underscore how the band, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, has rejuvenated itself after traumas that have led to the dissolution of other groups: First, creative differences almost tore them apart, then founding member LeRoi Moore died after a 2008 ATV accident.

"This band now as it is, is in a very new and very dynamic, very encouraged phase," said Matthews of the group, which had one of North America's most successful tours last year and is going on a European tour next month. "Overall this last tour was one of the best. The emotional connection and the band and the music that we are making ... is good or as better than we've ever sounded."