Dave Matthews Band and Dave Matthews Biography
Last updated: 02/13/2013 10:56:53 AM
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 official gig for the newly conceived Dave Matthews Band was May 11, 1991, at a private rooftop party in Charlottesville. Its first public show was at the city’s 1991 Earth Day Festival. Local weekly gigs soon followed, 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 HORDE. 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 album for RCA, 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 this 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 new album, Everyday, released February 27, 2001. Matthews plays electric guitar for the first time, and Ballard helped the band focus and tighten their arrangements, resulting in their strongest and most finely-crafted album yet. The band will tour throughout 2001 in support of Everyday.