Devilish Dave

June, 2006

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Dave Matthews wasn’t sure about the furry hat. At the photo shoot, he turned to his A&R man Bruce Flohr. “I said, ‘Bruce, if I put this hat on, this is going to be the cover,’” Matthews recalls. “He said, ‘Dave, please don’t put the hat on.’ So I put the hat on.”

The picture was taken on a bitterly cold December morning in Manhattan, and the issue was timed around the release of Matthews’ debut solo album, Some Devil. Photographer Martin Schoeller wanted to shoot outside to catch Matthews with snow cascaded around him – a plan that singer nixed because he felt the onset of the flu. So the photo crew headed to the Village Idiot, a West Village dive bar where scantily clad bartenders offered body shots, bras hung from the rafters and the air was a bouquet of stale beer, smoke and vomit. “When a bar smells nice, there’s something wrong,” Matthews jokes. That morning, before the bar opened, a pretty girl named Stella was pouring whiskey neat for the singer. “The whole shoot was great fun,” he remembers. “I drank whiskey all day – and I got a commemorative Village Idiot T-shirt.”

Two and a half years later, we are sitting on stools at the Blue Light restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia. Matthews is meditating on his decision to make a solo album – a move that sent may DMB fans into a tailspin. Nonetheless, Matthews calls the recording of Some Devil “an epiphany. We become accustomed to familiar things, so there was a frightening element to doing it. ‘What if it’s fucking terrible?’ But I had to get my head out of my ass and realize that it doesn’t matter.” He needn’t have worried: Some Devil debuted near the top of the charts, and fans clamored to see Matthews play live. “I hope it doesn’t interfere with what [DMB] is doing: that’s my home,” says Matthews,” but I’d like to do it again.” Austin Scaggs

 

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