Cavalier Daily Inteview with Dave Matthews and Boyd Tinsley
December 9th, 1993
The Cavalier Daily newspaper
by Adam Healey
I had an opportunity to talk to fiddler extraordinaire Tinsley.
Q: You just recently released your first CD, Remember Two Things. How
is that doing?
Tinsley: We're selling really well. It's mostly an East Coast thing, but
we're also doing really well in Washington state, Chicago and Colorado.
Q: Is there one word that you use to describe the type of music that
epitomizes the Dave Matthews Band?
Tinsley: I think we just try to take music to a new height. We mesh a
bunch of diverse sounds together, and the outcome seems to fall under the
large umbrella of rock.
Ok, so Boyd wasn't going to tell me what makes the Dave Matthews Band cool.
It looked like I would have to right to the top, and ask Dave himself.
Backstage, he gave me his phone number and suggested that we meet the next
day over coffee to do an interview. The setting was was Kafkafe on
Elliewood, a wonderful coffee shop, in case you haven't visited yet.
Interview with Dave Matthews
Q: I spoke to your manager Coran Capshaw last night, and I found out
something I didn't know. You guys have signed on with RCA already?
Matthews: Yeah, for the next couple of records. Actually, they have an
option for up to seven total. That doesn't include the one that just
came out. We are going to keep that one for ourselves so we can make all
Q: Were you guys happy with the way the record deal came out?
Matthews: Yes, it took a long time. The people from RCA were really into
us, and we were into them being into us. We agreed we wanted to work for
them, and they emphasized that they were willing to let us do what we liked,
you know, make something that we were really happy with.
Q: How did the band decide what songs to put on the new album?
Matthews: The two that I am probably most disappointed about not being on
there were "Pay For What You Get" and "Granny", they've got that hook you
can't forget now matter how hard you try, how desperately you beat your head
against the wall (laughs). I am happy with all the songs we chose, and I
wouldn't have taken any songs away, although I might have put more songs on.
Q: How did you go about approaching the other band members originally, when
you asked them to join on?
Matthews: I was going for my favorite players, that I knew, that I could
meet. I put together a demo of my music, and then I went to Roy (saxophone)
and then Carter (drums) with my demo tape and asked them if they would be
interested in working on what was going to be a studio project. And they
both said yeah, yeah, and we played a little bit live and recorded some
music, played more live, and things got better and better. Steffan (bass)
also joined really early on, within the first couple of weeks that we got
together. He was 15 at the time we approached him. After about six months
we were working on "Tripping Billies" and Roy said we should have a violin
for this song, so we asked Boyd to come and sit in on that song. At that
time, he had been in a band that fell apart, and as time went on, he just
stepped across and started playing.
Q: How did you come into contact with these guys?
Matthews: I had know Roy for five years, he played frequently in the bar
that I worked at [Miller's]. I had seen Carter in Miller's, and Steffan
too. But Roy was the one I knew best, though I had watched Carter for
years in a band called Secrets, and he had performed on BET's jazz show.
Q: What inspires you to write songs? I notice most of your lyrics are
based around living life to its fullest.
Matthews: The people that I admire the most are those who emphasize the
necessity to enjoy life, not necessarily to be frivolous or gluttonous
but to enjoy everything, not just playing or just sex or just food. A
lot of the lyrics are [about] feeling the strength of Africa; if these
people can see the value of life even when life is pretty hopeless, then
certainly in a place like America where most of us have a lot, there
really can be almost no reason to complain.
Q: Where were you born?
Matthews: I was born in Africa, and I went to high school there, in
Johannesburg, and I guess I lived there a total of about nine years.
Probably because I was a teenager when I was there, most of my musical
attitude might have come from South Africa because at that age you are,
of course, very impressionable.
Q: Would you say there was a major influence, a specific artist?
Matthews: The Beatles were my first obsession, and then the Jackson
Five. I also listened to a lot of classical music; my mother made our
whole family learn the piano.
Q: You guys toured a few days this summer with HORDE and played with Blues
Traveler, Widespread Panic, and Aquarium Rescue Unit. How was that?
Matthews: It was very cool because we got to see what it was like to play
for a larger audience, and what fun it was see how organized things could
be, how organized the stage and sound was. With all that power, you can
get so much done in such a short period of time.
Q: What about playing Red Rocks with the Samples?
Matthews: I had never seen anything like that in my life. It was quite
Q: I'm right in thinking that, unfortunately, Virginia students are going
to start seeing a lot less of Dave around here?
Matthews: Yes, we're not going to be around that much. The band will play
as often as we can at Trax, but we just have to cut down our shows because
it's hard to get out to Colorado and the West Coast without doing that.
Q: Do you have a long term goal for the band?
Matthews: My long term goal is just to stay together, and if we can stay
together and endure ego-swelling things coming our way, and not want to
murder each other, as long as we keep moving the music along, we'll be
Q: What do you guys do to unwind?
Matthews: Drink a lot. I tend to get really drunk to unwind from the
Q: Nowadays musicians are huge role models. There is a large movement
recently by bands like Cypress Hill, the Black Crowes, Pearl Jam and
others to promote the legalization of marijuana. Other bands choose
other causes to endorse. What does the Dave Matthews stand for?
Matthews: Well, there is a bottomless pit of people to help. I am not
a great supporter of politicians and governments in general, only because
I think they start off with an idea of assisting people and end up turning
people against each other. I'd say don't drink and drive. There's a
whole list of things. But as far as what we stand for, do anything you
like as long as it doesn't bother anyone else: that sounds pretty average,
Q: Will Charlottesville be the historic origin of the Dave Matthews Band
should you guys move elsewhere?
Matthews: I'm not leaving any time soon. Charlottesville is certainly my
home. It's where my mom is, and the umbilical cord may be stretched, but
it's still there.