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Dave Matthews

Matthews at the University of Virginia in 2007
Background information
Birth name David John Matthews
Born January 9, 1967 (1967-01-09) (age 43)
Johannesburg, Gauteng
South Africa
Origin Charlottesville, Virginia
United States
Genres Rock, jazz fusion
Occupations Singer-songwriter, musician, actor
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano
Years active 1989–present
Labels RCA, Sony BMG
Associated acts Tribe of Heaven, Dave Matthews Band, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, Dave Matthews & Friends

David John "Dave" Matthews (born January 9, 1967)[1] is a South African-American musician, and actor.[2] He is best known as the lead vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist for the Dave Matthews Band.


Early life

Matthews was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, the third of four children born to John and Valerie Matthews. At two years old, Matthews' family immigrated to Yorktown Heights in Westchester County, New York, where his father, a physicist, started working for IBM.[3]

In 1974, the family moved to Cambridge, England, for a year before returning to New York, where his father died from lung cancer in 1977. Biographer Nevin Martell argues that Dave's father's death may be an impetus for his "carpe diem" lyrics.[4] At some point while residing in New York, Matthews attended his first concert when his mother took him to a performance by Pete Seeger.[5] The family moved back to Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1977.[6]

Upon Matthews' graduation from St Stithians College high school, he was faced with conscription into the South African military just as civil disobedience to the practice was becoming widespread.[7] A Quaker (and consequently pacifist), Matthews left South Africa to avoid service.[8]

Matthews moved to New York in 1986 where he worked for IBM for a short time,[6] then joined his mother in Charlottesville, Virginia, the same year, a town Matthews' family had lived in before he was born.[6] It was in Charlottesville that he became part of the local music community.[8] Pursuing various interests, Matthews acted in various local productions.[citation needed] Although Matthews had started playing the guitar at the age of 9, it was only in Charlottesville that he started performing publicly.[6] From time to time local star (and future collaborator) Tim Reynolds had Matthews join him on stage, and another friend, Ross Hoffman, persuaded Matthews to record some of his own songs.[6][9] This eventually led to his first professional musical gig at a modern dance performance by the Miki Liszt Dance Company, based at McGuffey Art Center in Charlottesville, singing "Meaningful Love", composed by John D'earth and Dawn Thompson.[10] In 1991 he hatched the idea to form his own band.[6]

In 1994, Matthews' older sister, Anne, who lived in South Africa, was murdered by her husband, who subsequently committed suicide, on or around January 27 of that year.[11] The event had a drastic effect on Matthews' outlook on life.[12] On January 29, 1994, he performed with Tim Reynolds at The Wetlands in New York where he dedicated that performance "to her memory". Dave Matthews Band's Under the Table and Dreaming, released later that year, was dedicated to her.[11] Anne Matthews was survived by her two children who, upon her death, traveled to America, where Dave and his younger sister Jane took responsibility for their upbringing and giving way to one of DMB's lesser known hits "The Song that Jane Likes.". [11]

Formation of Dave Matthews Band

Matthews had originally envisioned someone else singing his songs, but instead decided to use his own vocals.[citation needed] After writing his first few songs, including "I'll Back You Up", "The Song that Jane Likes" and "Recently", he began to consider starting his own band.[citation needed] Matthews formed Dave Matthews Band in early 1991 with Boyd Tinsley, LeRoi Moore, Carter Beauford, Stefan Lessard, and Peter Griesar (who left the band in 1993) while working at Miller's. The band's first show was on April 20, 1991, at the Earth Day Festival in Charlottesville.[13]


Matthews and Tim Reynolds in an acoustic show in Amherst, MA 2007

Matthews focused primarily on his work with Dave Matthews Band from 1990 to 2003. Since that period, he has occasionally ventured outside the band in various solo performances and records. Matthews sang on the track "Sing Along" on Blue Man Group's second album The Complex in 2003.[14] Later that year he released a solo album, "Some Devil", which went platinum; its single, "Gravedigger", won a Grammy Award in 2004.[15] To support the album, Matthews toured with a group of musicians (most of whom performed on "Some Devil") under the name Dave Matthews & Friends.[16]

Matthews is also a close friend of Béla Fleck.[citation needed] Matthews appears as a guest vocalist on Béla Fleck and the Flecktones' 1998 release Left of Cool and both Fleck and Flecktones bassist Victor Wooten have made numerous appearances both live and studio with DMB (e.g. Wooten soloed in the second part of The Maker, and also in #41 on the 1998 live album Live in Chicago). The Flecktones also opened for DMB on several tours.[17] Matthews performed a duet with Emmylou Harris on "My Antonia" on her 2000 album, Red Dirt Girl.[18] They also appeared together on the musical television show CMT Crossroads,[19] where the two performed Matthews' "Gravedigger" and the folk song "Long Black Veil."[citation needed]

Dave performed a cover of Neil Young's "The Needle and the Damage Done" at the 2010 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute honoring recording artist Neil Young on January 29, 2010


Before he was known as a musician, Matthews was an amateur actor, appearing onstage in several productions at Charlottesville's Offstage Theatre and Live Arts theater[citation needed] in the early 1990s; the role for which he is best remembered is as a used car salesman in Offstage Theatre's "Just Say No," directed by John Quinn, co-starring Kylie Sicher [20]. Dave Matthews has also acted in four feature films. He played Will Coleman in the 2003 adaptation of the novel Where the Red Fern Grows.[21] In the 2005 film Because of Winn-Dixie (based on the novel of the same name), Matthews portrayed the character of Otis, a timid pet-shop employee.[22] In 2007, Matthews appeared briefly in the movie I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, where he plays a homosexual salesman.[23] In 2008, he appeared in another Adam Sandler movie, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, as a racist character named James.[24] He also had a significant role in Lake City with Sissy Spacek and Troy Garity, in which he portrays the character "Red."[25] He is currently acting in two movies, The Other Side with Lindsay Lohan, Giovanni Ribisi, and Jason Lee, and In The Woods, starring Debra Winger and Terrence Howard.

In 2007, Matthews guest starred in the Fox drama series House in the episode "Half-Wit." He played a piano-playing musical savant who ended up having half of his brain removed in order to recover from his epilepsy, but at the expense of his musical abilities. Matthews had a piano double for the complex pieces, but played the simpler pieces himself.[26] In the Season One episode of "House" -"Love Hurts"- the song "Some Devil" can be heard playing at the end. In another episode, one of the tracks from Stand Up, "You Might Die Trying" was played ("House M.D", Season Five -"Not Cancer"-) .[27]

The fifth time Matthews appeared as musical guest on Saturday Night Live in November 2009 (which was also the fourth time the Dave Matthews Band appeared on the show), he made an appearance as Ozzy Osbourne in a skit called "The Mellow Show". Interestingly, Bill Hader impersonated Matthews in the same skit.

With 5 official guest appearances on SNL, Matthews is a member of the "Five-Timers Club".


Since 2000, Matthews has been one of the board members of Farm Aid along with Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Neil Young.[28] Matthews owns 1,340 acres (542 ha) of farmland near Scottsville, Virginia named Maple Hill Farm, where he grows organic vegetables, flowers, and herbs through a community-supported agriculture program. The organic farm is called, "Best of What's Around," named after one of the band's songs. [5][29] He also has a 4-acre (1.6 ha) wine-growing operation, Blenheim Vineyards, which utilizes gravity flow and other gentle winemaking techniques.[30]

Matthews is one of the principals of ATO Records, founded in 2000.[31]

Personal life

Matthews married longtime partner Jennifer Ashley Harper in 2000. The couple has twin daughters, Stella Busina and Grace Anne, born on August 15, 2001 and a son, August Oliver, born on June 19, 2007. As of the late 2000s, they reside in Seattle, Washington.[32] In a 2001 interview, Matthews stated that he was agnostic.[33]


Matthews has been active in charity work, both on his own and with his bandmates. He has performed benefit concerts for music education,[34] Hurricane Katrina victims,[35] farmers,[36] and victims of the Virginia Tech shooting.[37] The band's charitable organization, the Bama Works Fund is administered by the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, benefiting charitable programs in the region.[38]

In 2008 he participated in a music album called Songs for Tibet, together with a number of other celebrities as an initiative to support Tibet and Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso.[39] Dave Matthews Band also donated to the Piedmont Park Conservancy, giving a portion of the profits to the park.

Matthews also participated in a special program for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. He performed a duet with Neil Young.

Also, On February 12th, 2010, a short five-track album was released by the Dave Matthews Band entitled The Haiti Relief Project, with all proceeds benefitting the relief funds for the earthquake victims.


Although his music has often explored political and social issues, Matthews refrained from public campaigning for Presidential candidates until 2004. He cast his support strongly with Democratic nominee John F. Kerry, performing at political events including the Vote for Change tour.

Matthews also supported Barack Obama for President in 2008, both in the primaries and in the general election.[40] On April 6, 2008, he and Tim Reynolds played a concert titled "Change Rocks",[41] at Indiana University, to encourage students to register to vote. The tickets were distributed by the Obama campaign.[42] Questions regarding his citizenship were answered by advertisements and videos on YouTube, where he says he is a "real American" and a "real Virginian", stating that "real Virginians get out and vote".[43] Even though he was recently bereaved by the loss of band co-founder and saxophonist, LeRoi Moore on August 19, he and Tim Reynolds played for DNC delegates on Sunday, August 24 at Red Rocks,[44] and again with Tim at the Virginia Commonwealth University, on October 26, 2008,[45] among other places. Matthews has often supported environmental initiatives, such as biofuel availability and the fight against global climate change.[citation needed] On September 21, 2009, Matthews stated that some of President Barack Obama's harsher critics were motivated by his race, and stated that he "sees it [racism] everywhere" in the United States.[46]


On August 25, 2004, Dave Matthews Band was sued by the state of Illinois for dumping raw sewage from the band's tour bus over a bridge into the Chicago River on August 8, 2004, though the band was not on the bus at the time of the incident.[47] The dumping of up to 800 pounds of human waste into the river, in addition to violating water pollution laws, also descended upon more than 100 people in a boat on a tour of Chicago architecture.[48] The band settled the suit by paying $200,000 to an environmental fund. The bus driver, Stefan Wohl, was sentenced to probation and community service, and was fired by the band.[49]

Past and Present Equipment

Past Equipment

Present Equipment (Spring/Summer 2009 DMB Tour)

  • Taylor 914c 6-String Acoustic Guitar w/Venetian Cutaway (standard guitar used for all songs not listed below) [50]
  • Taylor 914c 6-String Acoustic Guitar w/Florentine Cutaway (Don't Drink The Water, Crush, Shake Me Like A Monkey) [50]
  • Taylor GA7 (Stay Or Leave, Lying In The Hands Of God, Beach Ball, You Never Know, Sister)
  • Taylor W65 12-string (Grey Street, Raven, Bartender)
  • Jerry Jones Original Single-cutaway Baritone (Smooth Rider, Louisiana Bayou)
  • Veillette Gryphon (Shotgun, Squirm, Baby Blue)
  • National ResoLectric (Alligator Pie)
  • Fender custom Stratocaster (Why I Am)


Studio albums

Live albums


Year Single Chart positions Album
US Mod US Adult US Pop
2003 "Gravedigger" 35 35 Some Devil
"Save Me" 26
2004 "Oh"
2007 "Eh Hee" 73
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Other charted songs

Year Single US Country Album
2008 "I'm Alive" (with Kenny Chesney) 54 Lucky Old Sun

Guest singles

Year Single Artist Chart positions Album
US Country US CAN Country CAN
2009 "I'm Alive"A Kenny Chesney 6 32 6 73 Greatest Hits II
  • A "I'm Alive" charted as an album cut in 2008 before being released as a single in 2009




ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards

  • Most Performed Song from a Motion Picture – "Where Are You Going" (for Mr. Deeds)

Honorary degrees

  • Dave Matthews was awarded D.M.A. honoris causa by Haverford College on May 15, 2005; see here for his commencement speech.[51]


  • 2002: Orville Gibson Award for Best Acoustic Guitarist

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Tavis Smiley on PBS [1]
  3. ^ Nevin Martell, The Dave Matthews Band: Music for the People (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004), 3-4
  4. ^ Nevin Martell, The Dave Matthews Band: Music for the People (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004), 5
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c d e f New York Times (May 31, 1998)
  7. ^ At Ease, ECC newsletter, May 1986, cited in Jacklyn Cock, Colonels & Cadres - War & Gender in South Africa, Oxford University Press, 1991, pg81
  8. ^ a b Whitefield, Fredricka (2005). "Profiles of U2 and The Dave Matthews Band" (accessed May 3, 2006)
  9. ^ "Driven: Dave Matthews - About the Episode" (accessed May 4, 2006)
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b c [2]Dave Matthews Band: Music for the People - Retrieved on February 8, 2008.
  12. ^ [3]Time Pacific Magazine - "And the band plays on..." Retrieved on September 15, 2007.
  13. ^ "04.20.1991 Meade Park Charlottesville, Virginia (Earth Day Festival)". Retrieved 2007-07-11. 
  14. ^ "Blue Man FAQs". Blue Man Productions. ""Sing Along," a track from The Complex, featuring Dave Matthews on vocals, is Blue Man Group’s first music video." 
  15. ^ "Gold and Platinum". Recording Industry Association of America. 
  16. ^ "Dave Matthews links up with Trey Anastasio, others for winter tour". Live Daily. 2003-10-07. "Joining Matthews on the outing are Trey Anastasio, Brady Blade, Tony Hall, Ray Paczkowski and Tim Reynolds.... Late last month, Matthews released 'Some Devil,' his first solo set. Anastasio, Hall and Blade all appear on the album." 
  17. ^ Nino, Matias and Bokon, Rob. "Béla Fleck and the Flecktones". 
  18. ^ Harris, Emmylou. "Red Dirt Girl". 
  19. ^ "Dave Matthews and Emmylou Harris". Country Music Television, Inc.. 
  20. ^ "The Dave Matthews Band (Book)".,M1. Retrieved November 2008. 
  21. ^ "Where the Red Fern Grows". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  22. ^ "Because of Winn-Dixie". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  23. ^ "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  24. ^ "You Don't Mess with the Zohan". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  25. ^ "Lake City". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  26. ^ "Inside House: Hugh Laurie and Dave Matthews Play Piano". 
  27. ^ ""House M.D." Half-Wit". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  28. ^ "Board and Staff". Farm Aid. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  29. ^ "The wine world's no. 1 rockstar". Food & Wine. October 2005. Retrieved 21 October 2009. 
  30. ^ Welcome to Blenheim Vineyards!
  31. ^ "About Us". ATO Records. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  32. ^ The Official Dave Matthews Band Website :: News
  33. ^ Boston Globe Article 'Dave Matthews Gets Serious - and Playful' by Steve Morse (March 4, 2001)
  34. ^ TimeWarner, Inc. (2003-09-12). "Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg Announces Dave Matthews Band Concert in Central Park to Benefit New York City Public Schools". Press release.,20812,670019,00.html. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  35. ^ "Dave Matthews Band to Perform Hurricane Katrina Benefit". Paste Magazine (Paste Media Group). 2005-09-01. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  36. ^ Danton, Eric (2008-09-22). "Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp, Neil Young Lead Farm Aid’s Northeast Invasion". Rolling Stone. 
  37. ^ [4] A Concert For Virginia Tech. Retrieved on August 1, 2007.
  38. ^ "Charity". Dave Matthews Band website. Dave Matthews Band. 
  39. ^ E-Online (July 22, 2008) Sting, Matthews, Mayer Gamer for Tibet Than Beijing
  40. ^ Bates, Eric (2008-04-17). "Dave Matthews Speaks Out for Barack Obama". RollingStone. Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  41. ^ Matthews, Dave; Reynolds, Tim (April 2, 2008). "Change Rocks: Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds to Perform Special Show in Support of Barack Obama". Presented by Indiana University Union Board. Official Dave Matthews Website. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  42. ^
  43. ^ Dave Matthews for Obama
  44. ^
  45. ^ Matthews, Dave; Reynolds, Tim (October 26, 2008). "Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds at Virginia Commonwealth University". Democratic National Committee. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Gear". Dave Matthews Band. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  51. ^ Haverford College News

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Dave Matthews

David John Matthews (born January 9, 1967, in Johannesburg, South Africa) is the vocalist and guitarist from the Dave Matthews Band.

Song lyrics


  • "Lying under this spell you cast on me/ Each moment/ The more I love you"
  • "Crazy how it feels tonight/ Crazy how you make it all alright love/ You crush me with the things you do/ And I do for you anything too"

#40 - Always

  • "The road to you is long, and I've been on it for a while"

Cry Freedom

  • "The future is no place to place your better days"

Seek Up

  • "If at all God's gaze falls upon us all it's with a mischievous grin, look at him"
  • "I'm not going to change my ways just to please you, or appease you"
  • "You seek up a big monster for him to fight your wars for you"
  • "Every day things change, but basically they stay the same"

Ants Marching

  • "Lights down, you up and die."

Baby Blue

  • "And when you wake, you will fly away, holding tight to the legs of all your angels. Goodbye, my love, into your blue, blue eyes"

Grey Street

  • "She prays to God most every night And though she swears he doesn't listen theres a little hope in her he might."
  • "Take what you can from your dreams, make them as real as anything."


  • "Don't burn the day away"
  • "Look, here are we on this starry night staring into space, and I must say I feel as small as dust lying down here"


  • "I will go in this way Oh and I'll find my own way out"

What You Are

  • "Don't you know when you give life, then you become what you are?"

Two Step

  • "Celebrate we will, because life is short but sweet for certain"
  • "Hey my love do you believe that we might last a thousand years or more if not for this?"

Pantala Naga Pampa

  • "Come and relax now, put your troubles down. No need to bear the weight of your worries, just let them all fall away"

The Stone

  • "I was just wondering if you'd come along,hold up my head when my head won't hold on. I'll do the same if the same is what you want. But if not I'll go... I'll go alone"
  • "I need so.. to be in your arms, see your smile, hold you close"

Lie In Our Graves

  • "And I cant believe that we would lie in our graves dreaming of things that we might have been"

Typical Situation

  • "It all comes down to nothing..."
  • "Leave the big door open, everyone'll come around..."

The Best Of Whats Around

  • "See you and me, have a better time than most can dream. Have it better than the best, so can pull on through. Whatever tears at us... whatever holds us down, and if nothing can be done, well make the best of whats around"
  • "Turns out not where, but who you're with, that really matters."

So Much To Say

  • "I find sometimes it's easy to be myself, sometimes I find it's better to be somebody else."


  • "Without hatred where's the light? Without darkness where's the love?"

Jimi Thing

  • "What I want is what I've not got, but what I need is all around me"

One Sweet World

  • "So let us sleep outside tonight, Lay down in our mother's arms, for here we can rest safely"

Busted Stuff

  • "A rolling stone, that gathers no moss, but leaves a trail of busted stuff"
  • "You know she's gonna leave my broken heart behind her"
  • "Move into kiss those sweet sugar lips, baby looks just like love"


  • There's often a lot of stupid ideas like "you all dress as fruits and pretend you're selling underpants" or "we'll put you on a bed of nails and drive a truck over the top and photograph you" for the cover.
    • Q&A: The Dave Matthews Band, interview by Richard Deitsch on[1]
  • “Being a physicist, my father was a great believer in progress, but he also loved nature. He was a photographer, and outside of taking the occasional family photographs, all he did was photograph nature. He loved birds. That meant a lot to me growing up. Healthy progress also means we have to be concerned for the environment. That may have something to do with what I believe about farming.”
    • "The Craftsman: Dave Matthews," interview by Dave Hoekstra for Farm Aid
  • "That's the magic of this band: shooting from the hip. The lights have to follow our cues, because we're not going to follow their cues. We're not going to stick to a song the way it's supposed to be. Everything is up to us. That's music to me. That's American music. We're an American band." -- Dave Matthews, Rolling Stone interview "The Boys of Summer" (June 16, 2005). Eliscu, Jenny (2005). "The Boys of Summer" Rolling Stone (accessed June 19. 2006)
  • "I'm way more American than George Bush and Dick Cheney." -- Dave Matthews, Rolling Stone interview "The Devil and Dave Matthews" (January 22, 2004)

Concert comments

  • So I watched the Pink Panther last night, and so I'm trying desperately to be funny, and then it's just not working out so good... I wonder if maybe I could've been a comedian or something like that, or maybe I could've been a doctor, then I wouldn't have to make anyone laugh.
  • Oh! We already, we done already done it, done it, dammit! I could you know, like, sing a thing, and then not sing it for a little while, and then sing it again... and people would be like, "Why'd he sing that again?"
    • Before "Halloween", Live at Luther College

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