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artists > dave matthews band

dave matthews

Dave Matthews, Phish is another touring act that has attracted an impossible number of fans who travel relentlessly across North America to see their favourite jam-band. Such is the underlying theme of the Dave Matthews Band rise to stardom and their continued success throughout the past ten years.

DMB initially formed in 1991 in the quiet confines of Charlottesville, Virginia when South African-born vocalist/guitarist Dave Matthews decided to do something with the growing list of songs he had written. He recruited some backup musicians to add depth to his tunes, bringing together Carter Beauford (drums), LeRoi Moore (saxophone), Stefan Lessard (bass), Peter Griesar (keyboards), and Boyd Tinsley (violinist), and thus formed the Dave Matthews Band. Griesar would leave the band after a couple short years, leaving a finalized lineup of five members.

The band played their first gig in 1991 in Charlottesville. Immediately, impressed audience members told others about the quality of the act they had just scene and that debut gig turned into gigs, and then appearances across Virgina. The Dave Matthew Band struck a nerve with fans accustomed to mediocre bands playing mediocre songs. Immediately the band saw a future in their music, and tried to build upon it.

Proof of the band's initial popularity falls in the sales of their self-produced debut release, Remember Two Things. Despite no airplay or promotion, other than the band setting up shop at their numerous concert dates, the album sold at the incredible rate of 10,000 units monthly - an almost unheard number for an independent band. The album sold enough to even be certified gold by the RIAA. The sales of the album were based on the Dave Matthews Band relentless committment to touring, a characteristic that the band has always remained dedicated to.

The sales of Remember Two Things lead to a record deal with RCA, and the band released its major label debut Under The Table and Dreaming in 1994. Produced by Steve Lillywhite (U2, Rolling Stones), the album eventually became certified four times platinum by the RIAA. Despite success, the band remained focus on it's grass-root's dedication to simplistic, melodic sounds and an eclectic live show.

Despite the fact that many still did not hear of the Dave Matthews Band, their second RCA release, Crash, debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart and was eventually nominated for two Grammy Awards. DMB were now certified American icons, and their continued success virtually guaranteed.

Their next release, the quietly released Live at Red Rocks 8-15-95 proved, yet again, of the band's immense popularity. Despite the fact that it was released with no marketing or promotion, the album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 chart and was quickly certified platinum. The Dave Matthews Band quickly followed with 1998's Before These Crowded Streets, which was the band's first number one album and marked the start of an intense, year-and-a-half cross-country tour that became one of the biggest-grossing acts of the '90s

There was a time when every rock 'n' roll movement sprung from the grass roots. And while much has changed over the years, a band working entirely on its own -- outside the parameters of current trends -- can generate the kind of organic electricity that marketers spend a fortune trying to create. Case in point: the Dave Matthews Band.

Since Matthews -- a South African expatriate who settled in Charlottesville, Va., after leaving his homeland as a teenager -- put together the genre-blending combo, the quintet's charged live shows have made them one of the biggest pop-rock draws in North America.

Their self-released debut, 1993's Remember Two Things, sold at a rate of more than 10,000 copies per month -- a remarkable feat, considering the album was distributed exclusively from the band's office. Their major-label debut, Under the Table and Dreaming was produced by Steve Lillywhite (U2, Talking Heads, Rolling Stones) and captures every nuance of the band's live shows.

With singer/guitarist Matthews' vulnerable, expressive voice at the fore, the band (reedman LeRoi Moore, violinist Boyd Tinsley, bassist Stefan Lessard and drummer Carter Beauford) weaves a mesh of sound, that the Raleigh Spectator described as "stunning...as cool, as evil and as furious as rock has ever been."

"The way I look at it, we have five lead voices in this band," Matthews says. "I may be the first thing people notice, since I do the singing, but there are times when LeRoi's sax is the voice, and times when Boyd is at the front. And in Carter and Stefan, we have something that goes far beyond a simple rhythm section. There are very few times when the audience has just one thing to listen to."

The band's third album, 1996's Crash, contained the radio mega-hit "Crash Into Me," which was nominated for two Grammy Awards.

In October 1997, the DMB released a double CD of the group's August 1995 live performance at Red Rocks in Colorado. The following year, they released their first studio album in two years, Before These Crowded Streets, following it up with another tour. Two double-CD live sets followed in 1999: Listener Supported and Live at Luther College, the latter an acoustic duo showcase for Matthews and fellow guitarist Tim Reynolds

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