'Tortured,' 'shining' Moore remembered by Dave

Bandmate Carter Beauford arrives at the church on Park Street.

As a soft but steady rain– the first in more than a month– fell on his hometown yesterday morning, friends and family of LeRoi Moore filed into Charlottesville's biggest church to remember the late Dave Matthews Band saxophonist, who died August 19 from injuries suffered June 30 in an all-terrain vehicle accident on his farm outside town.

Eulogizing Moore was the Rev. Dr. William Guthrie, the former rector of Moore's family church, Trinity Episcopal. Guthrie revealed that the accident had put Moore into a coma, but that he occsionally awakened to greet well-wishers, both in Charlottesville and in Los Angeles where he had a second home and was to begin a long rehabilitation program.

"In Los Angeles," said Guthrie, "he suffered a fatal embolism that would eventually take his life."

Though nearly 1,000 people turned out to say goodbye to Moore, only the four men seated in the center, together for over 17 years, knew him as they did; and each member of Dave Matthews Band coped with grief in a way oddly metaphorical to his on-stage role.

Drummer Carter Beauford was driving the rest of the band forward with ready smiles and handshakes. Bassist Stefan Lessard was steadily, stoically keeping from succumbing to his emotions. Violinist Boyd Tinsley, whose athleticism and on-stage exuberance have become legendary, was freely expressive, holding onto friends in long embraces.

The only bandmate not wearing the white pallbearer's gloves was the one who voiced their common message for their fallen brother.

"Roi loved people," said Matthews, "but he had the hardest time loving himself, and that was the most difficult thing about being his friend for me, watching him torture himself."

Matthews said the 46-year-old Moore was "a good soul, but he was a tortured soul. But he loved his family and he loved his friends. He was finding himself, finding the light inside himself, and it was shining more than it had for a very long time."

Matthews credited Moore's fiance, Lisa Bean, for his newfound happiness.

"I believe her unwavering love for him," Matthews said, "and her willingness to stand in front of him, as he was reluctant to love himself, and insisted on it, caused him to eventually see the light.

"It was so bright," Matthews continued, "that we could all see it so much all of the time, when he would put that horn in his mouth and make the most astonishingly honest music that could knock you over, and it would sink right to the middle of you."

Matthews– no stranger to performing in stadiums for tens of thousands– appeared slightly nervous addressing the hundreds assembled in First Baptist Church on leafy Park Street. Swaying back and forth, he introduced himself as "Dave Matthews, a friend of Roi's" and reeled off a pack of anecdotes, most of which centered on Moore's propensity to fall asleep anywhere.

"I saw him fall asleep onstage," said Matthews, to much laughter. "He was standing right there, and I'm not sure if I saw him fall asleep, but I definitely saw him wake up. He sort of caught himself, and then he thought he got away with it, but we have a little intercom system, and I said, 'Did you just wake up?'"

Moore's custom of wearing sunglasses, Matthews noted, sometimes made it hard hard to tell.

"He also fell asleep next to me in his old blue Volkswagen station wagon driving down 64 once," recalled Matthews, "and I only realized it when he started snoring."

However, not all of Moore's humor was unintentional. While he was soft-spoken publicly, Matthews said, Moore's ability to tell a joke was such that "he could have done that for a living, though it may not have been as lucrative.

"He told them with an honesty the same way he played," said Matthews. "I would tell him jokes, just so I could hear him tell them after me."

According to the Rev. Guthrie, Moore didn't just save his honesty for his friends in the band.

"LeRoi would engage me in animated conversation whenever I would encounter him at home or at church," Guthrie said. "More often than not, he felt that the music in the Episcopal Church left a lot to be desired."

Some of the men who most informed Moore's early musical sensibilities were on hand to pay tribute with their instruments. Trumpeter and early mentor John D'earth performed along with the Trinity Episcopal choir throughout the service and led a trio in "Goodbye, Sweet King."

Moore's jazz theory teacher Roland Wiggins played a stirring, improvised piano rendition of the spiritual "Keep Me From Sinking Down." Before playing, Wiggins shared his last encounter with Moore in the hospital.

"I stood up to leave, and he said, 'Hang on a sec,'" said Wiggins. "He was in his wheelchair, and he took the better part of three or four minutes to get his wheels locked, and he wouldn't let me leave until he stood up. He stood up and said, 'Thanks for coming.'"

In a way, Moore got to say that to everyone assembled. Following Matthews' remarks, a slide show chronicling Moore's life from a baby to a bona fide star was accompanied by his gentle sax showcase "#34" from DMB's major label debut Under the Table and Dreaming.

Following the service, Jamie Dyer, whose Hogwaller Ramblers were as much a part of the Charlottesville music scene as DMB in the early '90s, said the ceremony was in keeping with how he remembered Moore.

"Like all great musicians, he had great timing and a great ear," said Dyer, "and when you heard that piece from his teacher, you couldn't help but think of that."

According to Secileon Lewis, a family friend of drummer Beauford's, she couldn't help but laugh at Matthews' recollections of a somnabulent Moore.

"When Dave was talking about how he always falls asleep," said Lewis, "I thought, 'He did me the same way!'"

As mourners left the the modern brick sanctuary, they formed an impromptu reception outside under the white-washed concrete loggia, none in a hurry to leave. They were of all ages, all colors, perhaps apropos for a man who touched so many different kinds of people with his personality in the Charlottesville area, and with his horn throughout the world. They were drawn to Moore because of his ability to convey in music and demeanor a fiery passion that Matthews described by quoting a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay:

"I burn my candle at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends–-
It gives a lovely light."



A fund has been created in honor of LeRoi Moore in support of charities that reflect both his spirit and passion. Donations via check referencing the "Charlottesville Area Community Foundation for the LeRoi Moore Memorial Fund" may be mailed to:

Charlottesville Area Community Foundation
PO Box 1767
Charlottesville, VA 22902

I hear his doctors warned him not to get on the plane in his condition. Can't believe he did it anyway.

You HEARD his doctors said what?!

Don't spread rumors. They haven't released any information about what the doctors said, so I don't know why you felt the need to share that on here.

Thank you so much for the article. Although I am only a fan of the Dave Matthews Band, I have seen them perform over 25 times, many times sitting in front of stage left and being hypnotized by LeRoi Moore's amazing and beautiful music and talent. I feel blessed to have been able to witness his gift. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and all that loved and miss him.

The only other thing that I saw medically was that he died from am embolisom which can be somewhat common from staying imobile for long periods of time from poor circulation, other than that it has been quite hush hush. And I would have to think the not flying thing is BS but who knows, I am not in the mood to get into that.....Its been a sad week for all fans of DMB. I have been to countless shows and you never really take for granted what you are seeing, my last show 6/24/08 was great, Dreaming Tree, Proudest Monkey~2 of my favorite songs with great vibes from the horn section. Roi's presence will be all around the band on and offthe stage~~~ R I P to a great man " Whatever tears at us,whatever holds us down if nothing can be done we'll make the best of whats around"

To Lindsay Barnes,
Thank you for this article. As a fan of the Dave Matthews Band for over 10 years, I am deeply saddened by the loss of Leroi Moore. Sad for the band, for his family and his friends. My sadness is only matched by my frustration that his life ended too soon. What you wrote allowed for, as silly as it may sound, closure for a fan who feels a little bit more at peace to hear that Leroi's memorial was full of love, music, passion and peace.
Although I didn't know the man, I stood in front of him at countless shows and watched him wail on his horn. I am thankful for all the times i got to enjoy his gift.
Thank you again.
Sarah McNulty
Northborough, Massachusetts

I couldn't have said it better than the person above me did ...those are my thoughts exactly. Thank you so much for sharing this beautifully written article with us.

This write-up, from all of them I have read, by far best summarizes the services yesterday. I am sitting here listening to #34 from UTTAD right now and remembering Roi the best way possible. LeRoi is the first person, not related to me, I have ever cried for when they passed away. He meant so much to this band and all of us fans. RIP LeRoi. We will always love you and you cannot ever be replaced. EVER. Honor him well all you Gorge-goers. Please?

I am from Western Australia and greatly appreciate the well written article about the funeral, being so far away I am somewhat detached however this for a moment made me feel like I was there. I had the privilege of sharing a drink or two with Roi on a few occassions and I can attest to his humble nature yet with a fantastic sense of humour! His prowess with the horn is frankly, legendary. He is already missed and will always be. Thanks for the music LeRoi!

Thank you for a tasteful glance into what appears to have been a very intimate, touching gathering to remember the life of an extremely talented man. I also turned on #34 while reading this and I'm sitting here at work trying not to burst into tears. That is the power of their music, and their connection to their fans. You are amazing - that is a tense that will never change.

QUOTE: Joe sites August 28th, 2008 | 7:32 pm
"The only other thing that I saw medically was that he died from am embolisom which can be somewhat common from staying imobile for long periods of time from poor circulation, other than that it has been quite hush hush. And I would have to think the not flying thing is BS but who knows, ......"

Hey Joe......Embolism..look it up. It's not a blood clot.

I too attended the ceremony and it was quite nice. We will all miss our friend LeRoi and his great talents. Two gents also played "somewhere over the rainbow," one on sax and the other on trumpet. It was quite remarkable.

During my drive in, I listened to "Where Are You Going," I thought it was quite fitting.

I only found DMB several years ago. I consider myself fortunate to have found them when I did. The music is unlike any other I have ever heard. Being a sax player, I found it easy to connect with LeRoi, and had a great appreciation for what he did.

There is no other band in the world that has brought out the emotions I feel when listening to DMB. Death is inevitable, but it's amazing how much this has bothered me lately.

My sympathy to the band, family, friends and the fans. You had him in your lives much longer than I did, and oh how lucky we truely are to have been so fortunate.


I am happy Roi's brothers and friends got to take a break from touring to honor his life. Having recently experienced the lost of two family members within a year of one another, I know the pain that is felt whenever a sudden loss comes into our lives. Mourn your loss for a long as it takes but I would advise making the shift to a 'place of celebrating' what his life brought to you, the band brothers, friends, and to the world. He lived for 46 years and it took less than two months to end his struggle with illness. His deserves to be honored & celebrated. Let's give him that!

Roi, when you played your instruments, to me it was like hearing a piece of Heaven! Thanks for the penny whistles.

What a smooth musician. Funny that I too played #34 while reading the story. Rest in peace.

He will remain as a great musician.
I'm really sad that i never got to and never will catch him live.
My condolences to the band.

I was utterly shocked, and deeply saddened when the announcment came over the radio of Leroi's passing. I have spent the last 15 years amazed by his performance, and his obvious passion in his music. I am also a woodwind musician, and Leroi was my mentor, in so many ways. He taught me so much about music, and how it is more than just that. It is your heart and soul being bared for all to see. Never before had I seen or heard anything so bright or beautiful. He will be missed, by many I am sure, but that light that he shone for those of us who were willing to see it, will shine bright for eternity. Thank you leRoi, and thank you to the members and family of the Dave Mathews Band.

As a fan,I am saddenned that I never knew Leroi personally. His quiet stage presence always intrigued me. Whenever I listen to DMB the sound of Leroi's horn and instrumentals fills me with passion and hope. In this way perhaps he passed on "the light" to me. His music is in me always. It is music that will connect all people and help us survive. Leroi is with all of us now.

To Gen:
FYI- an embolism can be a blood clot that has traveled in the blood stream (may also be fat, air, amnitotic fluid amongst others).
My suggestion to you is that unless you have MD at the end of your name you refrain from giving medical opinions. You might also take your advice to heart and make sure you "look it up" in more than one resources

As a musician, I have never "fallen in love" with a band, or designated any one group as 'my favorite'. But the DMB is an incredible group of extremely talented musicians who have that "magic" when they come together that fellow music-makers dream about.

I am devastated by this loss, and I too am grieving over a man I never knew personally, but who touched me and so many others in a deeply personal and human way.

My love and thoughts to LeRoi's family, which would, of course, and without exception, include the members of the Dave Matthews Band.

As a huge long DMB fan, I am deeply saddend about the loss of our great friend, Leroi Moore. When watching the band play or listening to the albums, I was so intrigued by the sounds that Leroi created. It was very moving. Leroi will be missed and I send out all my prayers to all his family, friends and fans. We miss you Leroi!

Another Aussie here. Great article! Nice to see how many lives this man has touched, how he imparted a little of himself to all his concert-goers.
I'd like to think of him cranking out tunes with the angels. If DMB is good, imagine him playing now! Playing for "The Maker".

This is the best article I have read thus far in my search of information regarding the death of Leroi. Please thank your English teacher!!

I have been a fan since almost forever it seems.

My first nephew passed away in a fallen helicopter fighting fires on the 5th of August. I was in no way ready for this.

A LeRoi picture memorial hangs on my wall, to remind me of the joy his music brought into my life and how it will *always* be a part of me.

My deepest condolences to his family and DMB.

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children."

As I read this I was listening to the opening of "Bartender" from the Folsom Field Album. It doesn't get any better, ...
Fair winds and following seas Roi, ...

This saddens me deeply. the DMB helped me through many a rough time. I offer my sincerest condolensces to Leroi's family and friends.