Rolling Stone: Q&A with Dave Matthews
July 28th, 2007
Rolling Stone – Issue 1032 – August 9th, 2007
The DMB Leader on partying with Dabney Coleman and Jane Goodall
By Austin Scaggs
Summer means two things in America: It’s hot, and the Dave Matthews Band is on tour. After temporarily aborting work on their next album – “Let’s not try and take a shit when we haven’t got any crap inside us,” is Matthews charming explination – DMB will strike on August 1st for two full months of amphitheater gigs across the country. Meanwhile, Matthews is prepping the CD and DVD release of Live at Radio City (culled from an April 22nd date he played with guitarist Tim Reynolds) and has joined a crusade to ensure returning GIs get their due medical benefits. And on June 19th, the Matthews family welcomed a baby boy, August Oliver. “I call him Louie,” says Matthews from his home in Seattle. “We had our baby at home, which was nice, because I knew where the beer was.”
So you’ve moved from Virginia to Seattle full time.
I will, no doubt, continue to have great times in Virginia, but I like it here. Good music, a little art scene, good schools. It’s not a long way from rivers, mountains, desert and another country. It’s an open minded city, and I feel like-minded. Lots of bumper stickers, and they don’t say, “My kid is an honor student at Wienerschnitzel High.” They’re like, “If fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in a flag, holding the cross.”
How’s the band getting along?
We’re having a good time. We’re laughing really hard together, and we also raise our voices and curse at each other. It’s healthier that way, at least for us, because all of us can get tired of avoiding confrontation. With the new album, we have so many ideas, but they haven’t found a comfort zone. None of it’s bad, just that nothing grabs us yet.
What Live Earth moment will you remember forever?
Even though my guitar exploded on the first song, it was overshadowed by the fact that I met (chimpanzee researcher) Jane Goodall. I’ll never forget that as long as I live. When I think of people that have changed the world – Gandhi, Mandela, Einstein, Mother Teresa – she’s in there.
You wrote the song “The Fly” for the new thriller “Joshua”
No one asked me to write the song. I was asked if I knew anyone who could do it. So I said, “Let me try.” It’s a sweet song, a slightly demented confession, sung by the kid in the movie to his uncle. So I had to watch the film of this kid and his uncle play the piano and sing, so when they leaned in, I’d have to jab the piano. When I got done, it felt like solving a really difficult math problem. That feeling of “ah!” What do you say then?
Yeah! Eureka! I was so happy.
Who played on it?
Yeah, but with the technology today, I think I used a pencil on my knee. Although I did record a song where I made a drum loop, actually playing the drums. It’s called “Eh Hee: - I don’t know what the hell that means. It sounds like it could have come out of the swamps of Louisiana, with a chant that’s not quite African, Native American or European but a mix of those things. We rented a warehouse, got a camera, found a modern dance troupe and made a video. I’m gonna leak it on MySpace.
You turned forty on January 9th. Was that weird?
Ashley (Matthews’ wife) organized an amazing party for me at a little restaurant in Los Angeles. The masterpiece was when Dabney Coleman walked in. I did a kids movie with him a long time ago that never really saw the light of day, and he’s an awesome, hard-ass dude. But as far as forty goes, I mean, I wouldn’t jump off quite as tall a precipice as I may have in my younger years, but that’s just the knees talking.