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 public performance of Dave Matthews Band occurred at the City of Charlottesville's Earth Day Festival in April 1991. The first official gig for the newly conceived Dave Matthews Band was May 11, 1991, at a private party held on the rooftop of the pink warehouse on South Street in downtown Charlottesville. Local weekly gigs soon followed at Eastern Standard and then Trax nightclub, 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 the H. O.R. D.E. Festival. 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 RCA studio album, 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 the 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 fourth studio album, Everyday, released February 27, 2001. Matthews played electric guitar for the first time, and Ballard helped the band focus and tighten their arrangements, resulting in the phenomenal success of Everyday, which has since gone triple platinum.
DMB spent the summer of 2001 touring the country and exposing sold-out audiences to songs from Everyday. On August 21, "Dave Matthews Band, The Videos 1994-2001", was released on DVD and VHS. For the first time, the entire collection of Dave Matthews Band videos (the first 12) was presented together, along with director commentary and behind the scenes footage.
On October 23, 2001, the band released its fourth live release, Live In Chicago, 12.19.98, featuring guest musicians such as Victor Wooten, Maceo Parker, and a full set with Tim Reynolds.
The band regrouped in January 2002 at the familiar Plant Studios in Sausalito, CA where they had recorded their 3rd RCA release Before These Crowded Streets. The band revisited tracks they had previously written and recorded in 2000 and collaborated on a couple of new tunes that had debuted in recent months. The resultant creation, Busted Stuff, was made available July 16, 2002. Busted Stuff is a landmark record for DMB; for the first time ever, this album is without any musical guests. Included on the album are road-tested fan favorites such as "Bartender", "Grey Street", "Where Are You Going", and "Grace Is Gone".
The band's 2003 summer tour culminated with a performance in New York's Central Park in front of an estimated crowd of in excess of 100,000 fans. The concert helped raise $2 Million for public education and parks in New York City. In November 2003 The Central Park Concert was released on DVD and CD. Captured by 30 cameras in High Definition Widescreen video and recorded in stereo and 5.1 audio, the DVD was directed by Larry Jordan, who worked with the band previously on their Listener Supported.
Dave Matthews began a tour in December 2003 to promote his album Some Devil. Dubbed "Dave Matthews and Friends" tour, Dave's "Friends" included: Trey Anastasio, Brady Blade, Tony Hall, Ray Paczkowski and Tim Reynolds. Emmylou Harris and Spyboy were special guests on the tour. The 12-date tour began in Pennsylvania and ended in California in January 04.
Dave Matthews Band returned to the studio in the fall of 2004 and continued to shape their next album. Mark Batson, a well-known producer who met DMB in August after their Los Angeles show, was asked by DMB to come to Virginia and help produce the album.
Dave Matthews Band headlined the 4th Annual Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, TN and also hosted their own festival at the end of July, the two-day Island Getaway event at New York City's Randall Island. DMB's Island Getaway included performances by Black Eyed Peas, Jem, Mike Doughty, Barenaked Ladies, Ray LaMontagne and Robert Randolph & the Family Band.
From the first show of the 2005 summer tour in St. Louis to the four-show tour-ender at Red Rocks, the summer tour was epic and made all the more special by longtime lighting director, Fenton Williams' new stage set and lighting design. The fourth night at Red Rocks was added immediately after Hurricane Katrina struck. The concert, which featured the Neville Brothers on the bill, was a benefit for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Everyone from the concessionaires to the City of Denver pitched in and every cent related to the show -- over a million dollars total -- went to relief charities in the Gulf Coast.
DMB, through their Bama Works Village Recovery Fund, partnered with CARE in 2005 to help tsunami-struck communities in eastern Sri Lanka put their lives back together. Monies donated to the Bama Works Village Recovery Fund are going to CARE to help empower local organizations in tsunami-affected areas to lead the economic and social recovery of their communities. All donations made through the DMB and Warehouse websites were matched 100% by Dave Matthews Band.
2005 was definitely a year of CD releases. In addition to Stand Up, Live Trax 3, 8.27.2000 Meadows Music Theatre, Hartford, CT and Live Trax 4, 4.30.1996 Classic Amphitheatre, Richmond, VA were released in 2005 and recently, Dave Matthews Band released the Weekend on the Rocks and The Complete Weekend on the Rocks. Weekend on the Rocks features the highlights of all four nights, 9.9.05 - 9.12.05, at Red Rocks Amphitheatre and The Complete Weekend on the Rocks features the four full-length shows. Both releases contain a DVD with video highlights of the Red Rocks performances.
In early 2008, Dave Matthews Band began working in the studio with producer Rob Cavallo (Green Day, My Chemical Romance) on its seventh studio album. Guitarist and long time friend Tim Reynolds played on the album, marking his first recording with DMB since 1998′s Before These Crowded Streets.
The group headlined the inaugural Mile High Festival in Colorado in July. Dave Matthews Band – Live At Mile High Music Festival and two other concerts – DMB Blue Note, Columbia, MO 10/22/1994 and DMB Town Point Park, Norfolk, VA 4/26/1994 – were released later that year. Volumes 11, 12 and 13 of the Live Trax series also came out in 2008.
On August 19, 2008, LeRoi Moore passed away from complications stemming from an ATV accident, which occurred just days after the band's June 28 show at Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, VA. The loss of their brother and founding band member was a devastating one for the group. While both mourning the loss of LeRoi and trying to celebrate his life, Dave Matthews Band soldiered on, finishing the last few tour dates.
Finishing up Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King at a New Orleans studio in early 2009, the band was able to incorporate much of the material LeRoi Moore had recorded during its 2008 sessions. "His death catalyzed the latest sea change in the band's music," said The New York Times while Rolling Stone awarded the album four stars.
In 2011, the Dave Matthews Band celebrated its 20th anniversary. The band members decided to shake things up and trying something new. Although the group had previously announced they would be taking the year off from touring, they couldn't resist playing a few shows together. So the Dave Matthews Band Caravan was conceived – a series of three-day festivals featuring a diverse array of musical talent performing during the day and full sets by DMB each evening. The traveling festival hit four cities: Atlantic City, Chicago, New York City and George, WA.
In January of 2012, Dave Matthews Band reunited with producer Steve Lillywhite, who had produced the group's first three studio albums, and began work on a new record. Tim Reynolds, Jeff Coffin and Rashawn Ross joined them in the studio. The group debuted many of the new songs during an extensive summer run – DMB's first tour since 2010. Away From The World was released on September 11, 2012 and the band celebrated with a show at the Hollywood Bowl the following evening. Rolling Stone praised it as the band's "strongest album in years." "Mercy," the first single, was a No. 1 hit at Triple A radio and the video featured contributions from 14,334 fans.