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Carter Beauford in Modern Drummer July 2013


The July 2013 Issue of Modern Drummer magazine features Carter Beauford on the cover for the first time since September 1998 and previously in October 1996. Fifteen years later Modern Drummer caught up with Carter to discuss his continued success with Dave Matthews Band.

At has happened in a 15 year time frame, but a lot has stayed the same as well.

I made a statement the other day on twitter that “Other bands should really take a page out DMB’s notebook.” That statement might seem somewhat vague, but really this interview with Carter among other past interviews with band members summarize very well why they remain one of the biggest live rock bands to date.

Modern Drummer covers many topics with Carter, but most notably is that Dave Matthews Band is listening to fans on the stage. Just as much as the fans can feel a vibe from the band, the band feels a vibe coming from the fans and it’s not uncommon for the band to call an “audible” and change the set list during the show. Carter says, “We’re having a conversation with each other and the audience. That conversation has to change…”

On the latest album “Away From the World” Carter explains that the style of drumming was a conscious effort to step away from the busyness of his normal style of playing. A simpler, more mature Carter Beauford. Even with a less complex approach, Carter still packs a big punch with his unique style, especially as these new songs translate and develop on stage.

As fans well know each album has its own sound and much of that has to do with the producer that is working on that album. “Away From the World” brought Steve Lillywhite back into the mix whom produced their first three and arguably their best albums. Carter talks about his drumming with different producers and some irritation it gave him. Carter says laughing “Don’t mess with my sound!”, yet accepting it for what it was, with the known fact that there was always potential for it turning to something great. One clear point MD (Modern Drummer) made about Big Whiskey is that it had a natural sound which Carter replied “Rob Cavallo knows how to do drums right!”

Carter also discusses in one word what the band does to keep songs fresh: “Improvisation” Again going back to that page in the notebook. There is so much that DMB does and has done for years that may not be always seen, but should be appreciated, because there are many bands who do not know what that word means let alone know how to alter a set list.

What is clear through the entire interview is that there are no signs of stopping Cater Beauford or Dave Matthews Band, and that should put a smile on fan’s faces. No need to read into anything, just like when MD asked “Where does the band go from here?” Carter’s reply: “We are just riding this wave.” What a wave we are on right now. The 2013 summer tour has been on a start of epic proportions.

As far as Carter Beauford is concerned:

“I want to play forever. There’s no stopping for me. A lot of drummers play into their late years – Elvin Jones, Max Roach – and they were still killing it. I want to do that. I want to go as far as I can possibly go, and then some.”