Tinsley: DMB strives for "next level" music on the menu
June 28th, 2006
By Alan K. Stout MUSIC ON THE MENU
On Wednesday, July 5, the Dave Matthews Band will perform at the Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain. In a recent interview with The Weekender, DMB’s charismatic violinist Boyd Tinsley talked about the group’s summer tour and its incredible success over the past dozen years, during which it has sold more than 30 million albums. He also offered his thoughts on why the band consistently remains one of rock’s top concert attractions.
W: You’ll be back at Montage for the second consecutive year on July 5. Were you guys aware that last year, you were the first act to ever completely sell out the venue?
BT: I did hear that, and we were blown away by that, especially being the first time we ever played there.
W: Even though you just released ‘Stand Up’ last year, I’ve heard you’re already starting to drop a few new songs into the set.?
BT: We’re working on a new album right now, and we’ve been songwriting in the studio throughout the spring. The ones that we’ve been taking out and playing have really been turning out nice, Everybody’s having a great time with it, and it’s always nice to come out on the road and play something fresh, for us, and for the fans.
W: A lot of bands don’t do that, but that seems like something you’ve enjoyed doing over the years. Some bands want to unveil their new stuff on the record, or they write when they’re off the road, or they write in the studio, but it seems like DMB has been known for years for sticking some new songs out there during a tour.?
BT: It’s a natural way for us, for how we operate. We never try to play a song just one way, and just play it that way every gig. We’re always trying to see how far we can let the song evolve naturally and become what it is. A lot of times when we do go into the studio and record something that we haven’t played live, we’ll get it out on stage, and it turns into a whole different song. We wanted to give these songs the opportunity to evolve during the shows, turn into what they’re going to turn into, and then go into the studio and record them at their peak later on this fall.
W: One of the things I’ve noticed when I’ve seen you perform, and I always thought it was pretty cool, is when the band is jamming, and there’s going to be a piece where you’re not going to play, you stay on stage. You stand there, fold your arms, and you just kind of take it all in, whereas I think some guys would go off stage and get a drink … or whatever, but I’ve noticed you like to stay on stage. Is that a conscious thing that you’ve decided to do??
BT: There was a brief period when I would go off stage and maybe sit on the side when I wasn’t playing, but I like to ‘stay in it.’ We’re up there for two and a half or almost three hours straight, and I just want to make sure that I’m always in it. No matter whether I’m playing or not, I still want to be connected with the band and connected with what’s going on out there. Plus, I just want to see what’s going to happen. I want to hear the music. Every night, songs change and new stuff happens. I just want to be there to check it out. I get off - and I think we all get off - on each other and listening to each other each night.
W: What about this new thing you’ve got coming up with ESPN? Wimbledon is coming up, and I know you did the score, or you’ve composed the theme music for ESPN2’s coverage of Wimbledon? ?
BT: “It’s the most incredible experience. I’ve always been a huge fan of tennis, ever since the mid-80s, watching McEnroe, Borg and Becker … and I’ve gotten into playing over the past four or five years. EPSN knew of my love for tennis and my interest, and knew that I had done songwriting and composing, and they came to me and asked me. It was absolutely surreal, and months later, it’s still surreal. It’s more of a classical piece – very evocative of the tradition and the heroic nature of the championships, and the royal nature of the championships. I’m so excited about it.”
W: Let’s talk about the impact of the Dave Matthews Band. It’s been about 10 years since ‘Crash’ took off, and I saw you on that tour at Broome County Arena in Binghamton, N.Y., which is about a 7,000-seat venue. Within a year, you guys weren’t playing places that size anymore, and pretty much never have again. You guys were actually playing football stadiums five years after you put out your first record, and pretty much have stayed there. What is it about the band, in your opinion, that appeals to such a wide audience, and why is that audience so willing to return and see you guys, summer after summer? ?
BT: Every night that we get up on stage, everybody puts everything that they’ve got and more into the music. Everybody has such great respect for the music. Our goal is not to sit there and go through the motions, and just play the songs the easiest way possible. Our challenge is to try and take the music to the next level, to jam the audience, to rock the audience, and play from our hearts. We play every night like it’s our last gig, and I think the audience appreciates that.