Dave Matthews Interview
May 8th, 2005
Dave Matthews sat down with Times-Dispatch pop music critic Melissa Ruggieri for a chat early last week in Charlottesville, before the band embarked on its promotional duties this week for the "Stand Up" album, in stores Tuesday.
Q. Did you have any fallout from the comments you've made in other media speaking out against Clear Channel?
A. I don't think so. I don't hate anyone in Clear Channel. You can't blame an individual for the natural greed of corporations. There's no morality in the corporate world, it's impossible to impose it on it now. Maybe if at the birth of the corporate model, someone said, "You know, just in case things get really out of hand one day, maybe we can somehow instill an ethical method, an ethical list of laws inside corporate behavior that will prevent its inherent greed." Nothing else drives it. That's my complaint. It's not a concern for music, or for quality of cars or the health of the environment .¤.¤. so when I complain about Clear Channel, I'm complaining about the whole model. But the people that I know at Clear Channel I like. We still have the same relationship we had with them. When we can work with other groups we will. In the markets where it's all Clear Channel, that's where we work with them, and they understand that. There's no point for them getting in a fight with us, and they don't really care if the little schmo [meaning himself] over here starts jumping up and down. I'm not a speck of pepper on the [rear end] of a potato with Clear Channel.
Q. While recording this album, you guys had cameras in the studio documenting everything for the Web site you set up for fans to see what you were doing. How did that affect your process?
A. The family that we have which extends deep into the crew, really it's unique in that way in that the [guys] filming everything are also the guys who are on stage with us. Roi's [Leroi Moore] solution was to just turn the lights off when he was in the booth. He loves to take pictures but doesn't like to be in them. But as soon as we forgot about [the cameras], they did become sort of like a vase, sitting over there. I'm sure there's lots of footage of me with my thumb in my nose. As long as they don't show that particular shot .¤.¤.
Q. Last summer you played a couple of great new songs in concert, "Joyride" and "Sugar Will," but they're not on the album. What happened? [They are, however, on the bonus disc]
A. We've got so many more tunes, we could release another album. When we were putting [the album] all together, 'Hello Again,' no question it fit, but 'Sugar Will,' one of the ones we played this summer, had this funny, minimal feel. It reminded me of an old Philip Glass kind of thing, kind of like 'Satellite.' I was really sad that didn't make it on the record, either. There's lots of great songs that are probably never going to be on a record, and that almost makes them better. With this band, the more extra songs we have, thank God. We wrote so many tunes on this record, admittedly not all of them good, but some of them, it was like, 'Aw, that's not gonna make it?' Next time we'll put out a double record.
Q. You made your commercial acting debut this year ["Because of Winn-Dixie"]. Did you enjoy it? Is this something you think you'll continue?
A. I did a little [acting] attempt earlier with 'Where the Red Fern Grows.' There were so many great people in the cast, but money was a problem so the whole production team had one eye on the movie and one eye looking around. There was a lot of faith in the Lord that it would get done, but the Lord doesn't always come through on the cash, unless you're actually collecting in his name, so that was a difficult experience for me.
I wanted to do 'Winn-Dixie' because Wayne Wang was directing, if for no other reason than to meet him.
Q. And in the movie, you play a musician, albeit not a "rock" musician.
A. I always said I would never play a musician; I'm not playing a rock star anytime soon. Someone should shoot me if I ever play a rock star.
But as far as continuing, I don't like to be bored. I can't get a job doing anything else, so any opportunity I can get to increase my resume, I take. And it's fun. It's challenging and scary and the likelihood that people will say "you suck" is pretty good. So? It's old hat to me.