Number 3, and counting $-- DMB hits the road
It would be news if the Dave Matthews Band were not planning a summer tour. That story isn't going to happen and no one seems happier than Matthews himself. "I'm always fired up to go out with the band," Matthews told RollingStone.com earlier this month.
"It's a fucking ball. And as long as we have a good time, there's no reason to cease and desist. If it's no longer fun then, Jesus, I hope I go the fuck home. When it's not fun and it's just for the money, then it smells like shit." Indeed.
No one's going home. Set to launch June 17, the 54-date tour begins with a two-night stand in Columbus, Ohio, then hits many of the band's favorite amphitheaters and arenas before ending September 20 in Atlanta. Management hints that the band might visit uncharted territory seem to have evaporated in favor of a double dose of DMB in many markets, including the legendary Gorge Amphitheater near Matthews' Seattle residence.
The tour's only Virginia date is Sunday, September 14, at the Verizon Wireless Virginia Beach Amphitheater. Tickets for the tour go on sale to the general public March 29. As usual, members of The Warehouse, the fan club, have been scooping up seats since March 6.
In the meantime, Matthews began his 12-date "Evening With Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds" Tour March 19 in Connecticut. The intimate tour, with stops mainly in college theaters, is an early treat for Matthews/Reynolds' fans in more ways than one. Guitar virtuoso and sometime DMB sideman Reynolds spilled the beans about a suspected bookend to the duo's Live from Luther College album in a late February interview with a Boulder, Colorado, newspaper.
"I don't want to let the cat out of the bag," Reynolds told The Daily Camera, "but I can tell you, it's gonna kick butt. People will be surprised to hear Dave in a fresh new way." Reynolds is referring not to another live album (although speculation seems to indicate this too is in the works), but a studio album Matthews and Reynolds recorded over one week in Seattle recently.
While the duo's studio debut will fill a neat void in the Matthews canon since the release of DMB's Busted Stuff, the band has never needed an album as an excuse for its exhaustive tours.
Matthews, now 36, is obviously animated about the prospect of taking to the road, as are the money counters at Red Light Management here in Charlottesville. Underscoring Busted Stuff's multi-platinum sales (and recent Grammy nomination) are the facts and figures published in the March 14 edition of Rolling Stone.
Already the world's biggest touring music act earning $54.8 million in 2002 with 1.5 million ticket sales the band is ranked in the magazine behind only the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney as rock's richest performers. Announcing DMB's No. 3 rating on the Wednesday, March 12 "Today Show," anchor and UVA alumna Katie Couric whooped, "From Charlottesville, Virginia you go!"
Rolling Stone based the band's ranking on net earnings of $31.1 million in 2002. DMB might have come closer to the Stones' $44 million payday (especially if that band's earnings did not include a reported $7-million birthday gig for billionaire David Bonderman) if, as Entertainment Tonight's website adds cheekily, DMB had kept its ticket prices closer to the $40 average for the year.
Neither the band nor its fans are shedding any tears. Or as Matthews puts it on the magazine's webiste, "Through the music we became friends, and at least a few people enjoy coming to the party."
At least a few.
Dave Matthews appears on "Sing Along," a track from the new Blue Man Group album, The Complex, scheduled for an April 22 release... Meanwhile, bassist Stefan Lessard joins friends of DMB on Dar Williams' latest, The Beauty Of The Rain, released February 18. Lessard appears on three tracks, which also feature Blues Traveler John Popper and banjo master Bela Fleck... Blossoming commercial actor Boyd "Twix" Tinsley joins the Dixie Chicks and Mary J. Blige starring in a new American Express ad promoting the credit card titan's support of VH-1's "Save the Music" campaign.
For fans who purchased (and hailed) 2001's Breathe: The Bluegrass Tribute to the Songs of Dave Matthews, it's time to "breathe" again. While the first tribute cherry-picked DMB classics and wowed fans by remaining faithful to both the songs and bluegrass roots, Breathe 2 updates the collection with a handful of older tracks interspersed with new DMB "classics" as well as an original composition, "Dave's Not Here."
While some balked at the skimpy length of the first CD (the album clocked in at 37 minutes surely a first in covering 11 DMB songs), Breathe 2's collection of the band's more recent radio-friendly output "The Space Between," "Everyday," "Where Are You Going?" should serve, as one reviewer noted, as a quick introduction to the band and bluegrass without fear of overindulgence in either. Sample tracks are available on amazon.com.
Dave as Dr. Doolittle
Noted war-protestor (see below) and friend of numerous environmental and humanitarian causes, Dave Matthews recently lent his celebrity to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (PETA) campaign to convince King Mswati III of Swaziland to prohibit the capture of 11 elephants in that nation for transport to zoos in San Diego and Tampa. PETA claims captivity is prematurely killing the wild animals, citing 79 deaths in North American facilities since 1990.
Matthews: More on war
"I'm very scared at this point in our history," Matthews recently commented on RollingStone.com. "There's this idea going on in our administration that one plus one equals ten. Or five times two equals one. I have no idea how they've come up with the concept that if we get into a conflict with Iraq, any of the results that they're anticipating will come to pass."