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JUNE 19, 2006
Interview: Dave Matthews


Sipping a beer at Heathrow International Airport in London last month, Dave Matthews took some time to chat with me. The front man for one of the most successful touring bands in history was relaxed, mellow and soft-spoken while he discussed this summer's tour, the band's new recording studio in its hometown of Charlottesville, Va., and plans for a new album set for a late '06/early '07 release.

This interview was originally done for the Associated Press in story format, but you can read the entire un-edited back-and-forth below. Or, just stream it and have it on in the background while you're working.


Q&A with Dave Matthews:

SomethingGlorious: How long have you been in England?
Dave Matthews: About a week. We have a new record deal. We got all the territories outside of the U.S. back from BMG. We have a fresh outlook here and I've been coming over and meeting people and talking and introducing myself to promoters and publishers over here. I did a few shows and some recordings. I took advantage of being here and did some small solo acoustic shows.

SG: Why don't you tour England and Europe that often?
DM: It's just more than anything because what has driven our career is touring touring touring. It started with a van. It did focus very much on the U.S. and Canada. Our relationship with the record company came out of that. We've always been off kilter a bit or on a different page with BMG International for obvious reasons. There's always been this strange attempt or methods of trying to get us over here. It's always made us hesitant. Now I think we're all much happier with the way the approach V2 records is dealing with us here in Europe. We're still with Sony/BMG in other areas. Now it's more of a humble approach to let people discover us as opposed to coming in with trumpets blaring. Some music works well that way. Our music, it makes me feel kind of gross. IT didn't work in the states that way so ...

More Q&A after the jump...

SG: How's your fan base over there?
DM: There's a lot more than I expected. We've been here so little there's a lot more eagerness in the shows - just these solo shows - sold very quickly and all over Europe. It was mainly English people and a handful of yanks. I've been doing a lot of press with people all over Europe. It's just a new thing. I'm not expecting the world. But I think I'll be pleasantly surprised.

SG: You're recording a new album - how's that coming?
DM: We're in the studio and we've been writing and playing a lot. We're going out on the road and hopefully play some of the music that we've written - not sure which ones yet - and let it develop in our hands so to speak. We want to drive it around and get used to it. [Our studio] is such a good environment. It's a renovated house. It's our place. There's no pressure. We can show up at the studio and just sit around and eat and talk and not do a thing and not feel that we've wasted an exorbitant amount of money. That, in a strange way, creates an environment ... the lack of pressure creates an environment that is even more creative. We just slide into it.

SG: Do you still have a place in Charlottesville?
DM: We've made a home there and in Seattle. I absolutely love Seattle for so many different reasons. The core of the band - Stefan has a house in California. And Boyd...we still have this as the center.

SG: Why aren't you releasing it this year?
DM: It'll probably come out early next year, late winter, early spring. It'll be the first album in a long time that will be released in Europe simultaneously. That's the album that we're thinking about for the rest of the world. I'm excited about it. We're having a blast. Things seem to be going very well.

SG: Who's producing it?
DM: We're working with Mark [Batson] again. We had a great experience with him in the studio last time. We had a very limited amount of time and so our relationship hasn't paused since then seeing as how much we enjoyed the experience. Now knowing we don't have the time constraints, we have the opportunity to get more of the an aggressive live sound in some circumstances and in other circumstances being able to exploit technology. We've only scratched the surface of what might come with working with mark. There's a back and forth between the band and Mark that I think is probably very surprising and very rich.

SG: Any guests?
DM: No decisions yet. I'm expecting that Rashawn Ross will appear n the record (he plays trumpet) and Butch Taylor who plays keyboards. Aside from that, no enormous plans. Those kinds of things are so often last minute. You never know - we have a whole summer of playing tunes.

SG: I understand that DMB raised $1.5M for a challenge grant for the Habitat Musician's Village in New Orleans. How much of the challenge has been met so far?
DM: [Dave had to ask his manager how much]. It was just announced in the last week but we're very optimistic we'll meet it. From when we put the challenge up we're pretty confident that it will be met that it will be the $3 million we anticipated.

SG: DMB is one of the most active touring bands - do you ever get tired of being on the road?
DM: [We tour] winter and summer and we have the spring and the fall usually off. We love playing music. As long as we can keep it fresh and it's not a labor. We do change the sets and let the music evolve and we do sort of look for spontaneous moments in what we're doing. Maybe I get tired of not being in one place or by your house and not having the same pillows every night, but we live very well on the road. As long as we like playing it sort of makes all the other bullshit more bearable. It's like anyone's life. If you're lucky enough to find something you enjoy you put up with the traffic jams.

SG: Do you foresee ever taking an extended break from touring, like Phish and Widespread Panic did?
DM: There's always time to do other things. There's a month here or there when we're not on the road. There's time to do other things. Obviously I'm not planning on doing this for the rest of my life. At some point I'm expecting it becomes sort of bizarre, but I hope I know when that happens. Having said that, I think one of the qualities of this band in a strange way is that we come together. I feel like last year was really one of the best tours we've ever had. I can't anticipate this year it being any different from that.

SG: What do you do to pamper yourself on the road or on the tour bus?
DM: I think everyone has different things. I travel with my family most of the time, that's a luxury that I really don't think I can do without now. I take a bath. Those are my two things. It's a whole different thing that I can have my wife and twin daughters with me.

SG: What are your plans for the summer tour?
DM: I hope the fans are excited, really, I think it's going to look beautiful. The set designs have some beautiful images. The music will change and the sets will change and the songs will evolve when they do and we'll have different musicians sitting in with us. We'll hopefully have Rashawn Ross out with us for a good portion of the summer. We expect to put on a damn good show. Just judging from how things are going, this summer is going to be a good one. We're talking about bringing old tunes back and playing new tunes. The band is in a very good space.

SG: What old songs?
DM: Certainly "JTR" is one that we haven't played in awhile, The rest I should just keep to myself.

| | Comments (21)


Amanda Long

I would JUst like to point out a few things about this interview that didn't please me as well as i would have hoped. While reading through these questions I came across the question you asked Dave about the challenge grant for the Habitat Musician's Village in New Orleans and I believe by you placing [Dave had to ask his manager how much] it gives the wrong impression. I think you are giving off the image of "Wow this guy doesn't even know what's going on in his own fundraisers." I think its unnecessary and quite frankly incredbily rude from my point of view. What have you done to help New Orleans? What have you done to take the same steps ot of the box that Dave is did/is doing to help these people? Maybe you've done something (if anything at all) but nothing compares to what he does and is doing for not only his community but others as well. Another thing, if you want to catch the listeners attention on the interviews you record, you might want to actually sound like you are interested in what the person who is being interviewed is actually saying. You were monotoned throughout most of the interview and sounded like you were just doing your job instead of doing something you wake up to do every morning and enjoy. Maybe then you will capture listeners and we wont exit out of the box before 2 minutes.

Dave Owens

I don't find his question and him pointing out that he had to ask disrespectful at all. I've organized several benefit concerts (including a few for New Orleans) and sometimes I don't know how much we raised until after it all. We, as musicians, set it up and get it's usually someone else taking in the money and such. Also, with money pouring in for the benefit, it makes sense that he asks his manager b/c I'm sure the amount was different the last time he asked...

I'm excited that DMB is touring Europe! I wish this would have all happened when I was there!

Rick Jones

Hi I agree I guess all the guys want to do is play music and hope they can help along the way. There will have people who tell them what charity events to do so I blame the people who should be keeping them informed to what money they have raised.

I’m also excited to see DMB but when they are in Europe you can not get tickets yet

Richard S

Dave Matthews Rocks

bangkok photo man

Will definitely love to see DMB performing in Asia, especially in Bangkok.

bob gardener

the reporter needs to ask some decent questions

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One thing I love about Dave is his desire to combine his love of music, his fame, and his generous compassion. I believe the purpose of success is to add beauty to the world, and DM does that through his music, his presence, and his contribution. The fact that he doesn't know the exact amount of his fundraising at a particular moment is inconsequential.

bob gardner

love the music anything you aint released yet


I love your music! can i buy your records in germany also?
greetings from

Molut Valunaris

His music bores me to tears, voice sounds phoney.

i think you are doing a great job keep it up

Jeremy Mills

Good Luck In The Future!


he is an insperation to music and hopefully he does really well for himself

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Three phrases should be among the most common in our daily usage. They are: Thank you, I am grateful and I appreciate.


Great Job Dave you are doing this for a great cause man! Just a side note too, I just went to my first DMB concert the other night in Hartford and the passion and love that Dave (and the band!) have for their music is absolutely awesome, it gave me a whole new appreciation for all the live albums. It just pours out of them, I don't know that Carter ever stopped smiling and looked like he was genuinely enjoying what he was doing, a rare feat now a days. Just an awesome show!


Dave Matthews rocks!

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thank you for this wonderful blog it was well worth the read

Vladlena Nyzhnik

Couldn’t agree more! I appreciate your article and agree. Thanks!


beautiful man, musician, father, actor


I adore you website nice job!

c. re n

is he an alcoholic???

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