September 1st, 2006
By Alan Sculley - Special to The Herald
Members of the Dave Matthews Band would seem to have careers that other musicians would envy.
The group is perennially one of the top draws on the concert circuit. The band's CDs invariably sell in the millions. The members of the Dave Matthews Band seem to enjoy the freedom to pursue most any direction their musical inspiration takes them. The group is admired by other musicians, fans and even music critics for its skills as songwriters and musicians.
It's all so seemingly perfect that one has to wonder if perception meets reality. Boyd Tinsley, violinist in the group, says this is one time appearances are not deceiving.
"I think that we are definitely some of the luckiest guys and have some of the best jobs in the world," Tinsley said in a phone interview just prior to the start of the Dave Matthews Band's summer tour. "It's a great group of people. Everybody in the band, I mean, we're friends on stage and off stage. We all love this music. We all love what we do and we all have this great respect for the music and getting out there every night and trying to take it in a new direction."
A couple of years ago, though, Tinsley and his bandmates - singer-guitarist Dave Matthews, saxophonist LeRoi Moore, bassist Stefan Lessard and drummer Carter Beauford - might not have painted quite that rosy a picture. The situation was far from troubled, but going into the group's current CD, "Stand Up," the musicians were looking for ways to reinvigorate the band.
"... We had just sort of come to a crossroads ... wondering where to go musically," Tinsley said. "I think a lot of it had to do with just finding the right producer for us at that time."
The producer the band hired was Mark Batson, best known for his work with such rap and R&B artists as Eminem, 50 Cent and Anthony Hamilton.
The fact that Batson is once again working with the band on a new studio CD that could be in stores by year's end says volumes about the chemistry that was established during the "Stand Up" sessions.Batson on "Stand Up" sought to capture the band's onstage improvisational magic by having band members write songs together in the studio and encouraging them to jam off of each other's ideas. Batson, who frequently played keyboards during the sessions, also had a keen sense of the group's talents.
"I think the cool thing about Mark is he understands, he really gets the band and gets where we're coming from musically," Tinsley said. "He also understands each individual musician and where we come from and sort of what our role is in the band."