The Dave Matthews Band formed in Charlottesville, Virginia, in early 1991, when vocalist/guitarist Dave Matthews decided to put some songs he had written on tape. Instead of simply recording himself with a guitar, he opted to bring in some instrumental help to give his musical ideas more depth. Dave found assistance in drummer Carter Beauford and saxophonist LeRoi Moore, who were both accomplished jazz musicians in the local Charlottesville music scene. Based on the recommendation of distinguished local jazz guru John D’earth, 16-year-old musical prodigy Stefan Lessard came on board to play bass. Completing the band was keyboard player Peter Griesar, who left the band after a couple of years, as well as the talented and classically trained violinist, Boyd Tinsley.
The first public performance of Dave Matthews Band occurred at the City of Charlottesville’s Earth Day Festival in April 1991. The first official gig for the newly conceived Dave Matthews Band was May 11, 1991, at a private party held on the rooftop of the pink warehouse on South Street in downtown Charlottesville. Local weekly gigs soon followed at Eastern Standard and then Trax nightclub, and within a little time, word of the band’s contagious new sound spread like wildfire throughout the region. Clubs started to fill up, tours began to cover more territory, and the fan base grew at an incredible rate.
On November 9, 1993, DMB released its first album, Remember Two Things, on its Bama Rags label. The album was recorded live at The Muse Music Club on Nantucket Island, in August of 1993. The album debuted on College charts as the highest independent entry, and went on to be certified gold by the RIAA — a significant accomplishment for an independent album. Meanwhile, the band kept touring and its fan base continued to grow. By allowing fans to tape shows for their personal use, DMB created a highly interactive community that continues in spirit today.
During the first part of 1994, Dave Matthews Band recorded its RCA debut, Under The Table and Dreaming. Just before the album’s release on September 27, 1994, Dave Matthews Band hit the road for their first official national tour. The tour lasted well over a year and included sold out theater dates across the country, a trip to Europe, and two summers playing on the main stage of the H.O.R.D.E. Festival. By the fall of 1995, when the band returned to the studio to record its next album, Under The Table and Dreaming had been certified four times platinum by the RIAA.
Crash, Dave Matthews Band’s second RCA studio album, was released on April 30, 1996, and debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart. The band continued with a steady schedule of touring throughout 1997, headlining sold-out amphitheater dates across North America. DMB, though elevated to the level of national pop stardom, continued to do things precisely as it had from day one: organically, with a grass roots mentality.
On October 28, 1997, Bama Rags/RCA label released an official double-disc live Dave Matthews Band album, entitled Live at Red Rocks 8-15-95. Without any marketing or promotion, Live at Red Rocks debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 chart and was instantly certified platinum. The album provided fans with a high quality and reasonably priced alternative to the over-priced, ill produced, and illegal live DMB CDs that were beginning to flood the bootleg black-market. The overwhelming success of Live at Red Rocks, combined with the band’s tremendous touring achievements, proved that Dave Matthews Band had grown from a grass roots phenomenon to one of the hottest bands in America.
On April 28, 1998, RCA released Dave Matthews Band’s third studio album, Before These Crowded Streets. The critically acclaimed recording debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart; it was the band’s strongest debut to date. DMB spent the following year and a half on the road, selling out stadiums, arenas, and amphitheaters across the country.
On January 19, 1999, Bama Rags/RCA released Live at Luther College: An Acoustic Performance by Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds. Tim Reynolds was a guest guitarist on all of the Dave Matthews Band albums, and toured with the band as a guest musician. Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds toured as an acoustic duo during the winters of ’96, ’97, and ’99. The second in a series of live Dave Matthews Band-related releases, Live at Luther College debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart and has since been certified platinum by the RIAA . As with Live at Red Rocks, the success of this second live album was based solely on word-of-mouth buzz.
The third installment in the ongoing live album series, Listener Supported, was released by Bama Rags/RCA on November 23, 1999. The album was recorded live at New Jersey’s Continental Airlines Arena in September 1999, and a video of the performance, also titled “Listener Supported”, was released at the same time. The double-disc album was quickly certified double platinum, and the video has sold over a million copies as well.
The band spent much of 2000 on tour, finishing as the top-grossing touring band in the U.S. In the fall, Dave Matthews joined legendary producer Glen Ballard in Los Angeles to fine-tune song arrangements for a new album, and the pair wound up co-writing 12 new songs in a matter of days. From this explosion of creative chemistry came the band’s fourth studio album, Everyday, released February 27, 2001. Matthews played electric guitar for the first time, and Ballard helped the band focus and tighten their arrangements, resulting in the phenomenal success of Everyday, which has since gone triple platinum.
DMB spent the summer of 2001 touring the country and exposing sold-out audiences to songs from Everyday. On August 21, “Dave Matthews Band, The Videos 1994-2001”, was released on DVD and VHS. For the first time, the entire collection of Dave Matthews Band videos (the first 12) was presented together, along with director commentary and behind the scenes footage.
On October 23, 2001, the band released its fourth live release, Live In Chicago, 12.19.98, featuring guest musicians such as Victor Wooten, Maceo Parker, and a full set with Tim Reynolds.
The band regrouped in January 2002 at the familiar Plant Studios in Sausalito, CA where they had recorded their 3rd RCA release Before These Crowded Streets. The band revisited tracks they had previously written and recorded in 2000 and collaborated on a couple of new tunes that had debuted in recent months. The resultant creation, Busted Stuff, was made available July 16, 2002. Busted Stuff is a landmark record for DMB; for the first time ever, this album is without any musical guests. Included on the album are road-tested fan favorites such as “Bartender”, “Grey Street”, “Where Are You Going”, and “Grace Is Gone”.
Following a successful tour throughout the US in Summer 2002, Dave Matthews Band released Live At Folsom Field, Boulder CO, the band’s 5th live release overall. This double CD / DVD / VHS from the band’s 7/11/01 performance, contains first ever live versions of songs from Everyday and Busted Stuff, such as “When The World Ends,” “So Right,” “What You Are,” “If I Had It All,” “Angel,” “The Space Between,” “Everyday” “Big Eyed Fish,” “Digging A Ditch,” and “Bartender.” The DVD utilizes footage taken from 22 cameras, was recorded in 5.1 surround sound, and presents the finest audio quality of any DMB live release to date. A short tour in several US cities in December of 2002 was highlighted by 2 sold out performances at Madison Square Garden. On 12/21 at MSG, to the surprise and delight of the audience, Dave Matthews Band was joined on stage by James Brown.
The band’s 2003 summer tour culminated with a performance in New York’s Central Park in front of an estimated crowd of in excess of 100,000 fans. The concert helped raise $2 Million for public education and parks in New York City. In November 2003 The Central Park Concert was released on DVD and CD. Captured by 30 cameras in High Definition Widescreen video and recorded in stereo and 5.1 audio, the DVD was directed by Larry Jordan, who worked with the band previously on their Listener Supported.
Summer/Fall 2003 also saw the release of the first solo projects from DMB with the release of Boyd’s True Reflections and Dave’s Some Devil. The first single from Some Devil, entitled “Gravedigger,” earned Dave a Grammy Award for “Best Male Rock Vocal Performance”.
Dave Matthews began a tour in December 2003 to promote his album Some Devil. Dubbed “Dave Matthews and Friends” tour, Dave’s “Friends” included: Trey Anastasio, Brady Blade, Tony Hall, Ray Paczkowski and Tim Reynolds. Emmylou Harris and Spyboy were special guests on the tour. The 12-date tour began in Pennsylvania and ended in California in January 04.
Spring of 2004 found DMB at home in their Virginia studio rehearsing for the summer tour and beginning to mold some new tunes for their forthcoming studio album.
Dave Matthews Band’s 2004 summer tour proved to be another stream of dynamite concert performances. New songs such as “Hello Again”, “Sugar Will” and “Joy Ride” joined older favorites on the setlists. Days after the summer tour ended, DMB played in front of thousands of fans at a “Concert to Benefit Bay Area Charities” in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
In the first few days of October, Dave Matthews Band joined forces with many other musicians on the “Vote for Change” Tour. Presented by MoveOn PAC, all proceeds from the tour benefited American Coming Together (ACT). The “Vote for Change” Tour was a multi-city, multi-artist tour that included 37 shows in 33 cities in 12 states over 11 days and featured artists such as Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, Bonnie Raitt, Pearl Jam, REM and more.
DMB Live Trax, a highly anticipated series of exclusive live releases, made its debut in the early fall. 12.8.98 Centrum, Worcester, MA was the first release and shortly thereafter, 9.12.04 Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA became the second live release in the new series.
Dave Matthews Band returned to the studio in the fall of 2004 and continued to shape their next album. Mark Batson, a well-known producer who met DMB in August after their Los Angeles show, was asked by DMB to come to Virginia and help produce the album.
In early 2005, Dave Matthews Band launched a website devoted to their new studio album. www.dmbnewstudioalbum.com provides fans with video footage and ongoing updates on the album’s progress.
In the spring of 2005, Dave Matthews Band made their first trip “down under”, playing four theater shows in Australia as well as the renowned East Coast Blues & Roots Festival in Byron Bay, Australia. Back in the US, DMB played the 36th Annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival before releasing their acclaimed sixth studio album, Stand Up in May. The release of the album was celebrated by an intimate performance at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC.
Dave Matthews Band headlined the 4th Annual Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, TN and also hosted their own festival at the end of July, the two-day Island Getaway event at New York City’s Randall Island. DMB’s Island Getaway included performances by Black Eyed Peas, Jem, Mike Doughty, Barenaked Ladies, Ray LaMontagne and Robert Randolph & the Family Band.
From the first show of the 2005 summer tour in St. Louis to the four-show tour-ender at Red Rocks, the summer tour was epic and made all the more special by longtime lighting director, Fenton Williams’ new stage set and lighting design. The fourth night at Red Rocks was added immediately after Hurricane Katrina struck. The concert, which featured the Neville Brothers on the bill, was a benefit for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Everyone from the concessionaires to the City of Denver pitched in and every cent related to the show — over a million dollars total — went to relief charities in the Gulf Coast.
DMB, through their Bama Works Village Recovery Fund, partnered with CARE in 2005 to help tsunami-struck communities in eastern Sri Lanka put their lives back together. Monies donated to the Bama Works Village Recovery Fund are going to CARE to help empower local organizations in tsunami-affected areas to lead the economic and social recovery of their communities. All donations made through the DMB and Warehouse websites were matched 100% by Dave Matthews Band.
DMB performed in Philadelphia, PA on July 2nd, a performance that was part of a series of free global concerts called “Live 8”. “Live 8” concerts were held simultaneously in Philadelphia, PA; London, England; Rome, Italy; Paris, France and Berlin, Germany and were part of the ONE countdown to the G8 Summit. The concerts were part of a movement urging President Bush and other leaders of the world’s 8 wealthiest nations to save millions of lives at the G8 Summit in Scotland July 5-8, 2005.
2005 was definitely a year of CD releases. In addition to Stand Up, Live Trax 3, 8.27.2000 Meadows Music Theatre, Hartford, CT and Live Trax 4, 4.30.1996 Classic Amphitheatre, Richmond, VA were released in 2005 and recently, Dave Matthews Band released the Weekend on the Rocks and The Complete Weekend on the Rocks. Weekend on the Rocks features the highlights of all four nights, 9.9.05 – 9.12.05, at Red Rocks Amphitheatre and The Complete Weekend on the Rocks features the four full-length shows. Both releases contain a DVD with video highlights of the Red Rocks performances.
Dave Matthews Band made a trip to New Orleans in late April 2006 for the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Shortly before making the trip to Louisiana, DMB issued a $1.5 million challenge grant to help build the New Orleans Habitat Musicians’ Village. The Village is a Habitat for Humanity project that seeks to build more than 300 homes in the city’s Upper Ninth Ward with musicians and other New Orleans residents who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
The 2006 annual DMB summer tour found rare songs such as “Dreaming Tree” and “Proudest Monkey” being rediscovered and new songs like “The Idea of You”, “Sister” and “Can’t Stop” making their debut. The 2006 summer tour production was definitely one of the best yet with DMB taking the live experience to a new level.
A high point in DMB’s career occurred on July 7-8, 2006 when the band performed back-to-back nights in historic Fenway Park with Sheryl Crow performing as support both evenings. Due to feedback and a high demand from fans, within weeks, the Fenway Park concerts were offered as Live Trax volume 6.
Dave Matthews Band hosted the second annual two-day Island Getaway event at New York City’s Randall Island in August. The 2006 Island Getaway included performances by Gov’t Mule, David Gray, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Slightly Stoopid, Yonder Mountain String Band and Tea Leaf Green.
Other highlights of the summer tour included a return to Chicago with George Clinton performing and a two show tour-closer in DMB’s hometown of Charlottesville, VA, at the new state-of-the-art John Paul Jones Arena.
In October, Dave Matthews Band had the pleasure and honor of touring as special guest of the Rolling Stones for a show at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, TX and the Qwest Center in Seattle, WA.
2006 was another year chock full of releases! In addition to the rush release of the Fenway Park shows, a show from 1995 and 1996 were pulled out of the vaults based on requests from fans to release older shows in the Live Trax series.
Live Trax 5: 8.23.1995 Meadow Brook Music Festival, Rochester Hills, MI_Live Trax 6: 7.7 – 7.8.2006 Fenway Park, Boston, MA_Live Trax 7: 12.31.1996 Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA
In October, DMB released its double CD, Best of What’s Around, Vol. 1, featuring the essential studio songs on one disc and a disc of live songs picked by fans from a survey DMB held earlier in the year.
Dave Matthews Band announced their plan in June to arrange for NativeEnergy and Clean Air-Cool Planet to offset 100% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from their touring activities since 1991. By offsetting the CO2 pollution that touring activities such as transporting gear, powering stages and air travel generate, Dave Matthews Band has taken a proactive role in fighting global warming and helping Native America to restore sustainable homeland economies in balance with the Earth.
With NativeEnergy, the band ensures that its CO2 offsetting actually contributes directly to the construction of new, Native American and Native Alaskan renewable energy generators whose clean electricity will displace energy that would otherwise have to come from polluting coal-fired plants, reducing CO2 and other pollution on behalf of the band. In addition, DMB’s purchase supports financially additional offsets from wind farms in the Great Plains, that displace electricity on one of the most intensely coal-fired grids in the country.
Dave Matthews Band wants to send thanks to those that have supported their tsunami relief efforts. In 2005, DMB, through their Bama Works Village Recovery Fund, partnered with CARE to help tsunami-struck communities in eastern Sri Lanka put their lives back together. The Bama Works Village Recovery Fund monies raised helped CARE to provide the following relief in 2006.