The Dave Matthews Band

One good thing about my lack of musical passion over the years is that I’ve never spent any energy on hating popular acts the way some people seem to need to do.  Justin Bieber?  Never heard one of his songs.  Brittney?  Same.  Going further back in time we can look at New Kids on the Block and the parade of hyper-produced boy bands that followed.  At some point a whole category called “college rock” emerged, I think, and, further, I think the category may have been created entirely for The Dave Matthews Band.

For a while there in the late 90s a couple of the Band’s songs were everywhere.  Personally, I like the Dave Matthews Band just fine.  They’ve not been a favorite, per se, but I have very few favorites.  I do think Dave Matthews has a nice, distinctive voice.  The music isn’t the most original or the most complex, the other two characteristics I tend to go in for when picking favorites, but overall I find the music pleasant and I’m happy to listen to it.

Right around the time we moved to Chicago, in 2003, there was an incident with the tour bus the Dave Matthews Band was using as it played and made its way around the city.  If I remember correctly, and I think I do, the bus was all loaded up and heading down Michigan Avenue.  As it crossed the Chicago River, the tour bus operator unloaded the contents of the wastewater container.  It seems to me the driver must have known that Chicago’s downtown bridges are grates through which liquids easily pass; the coincidence of doing it over the river is just too great to imagine otherwise.

The not-so-great coincidence was the boat loaded with tourists that happened to be passing under the bridge at the time.  Indeed, the boat’s passengers and Our – not so- Sparkling River were tainted with the sewer water of the Dave Matthews Band’s tour bus.  Much publicity ensued; many complaints were filed; the EPA became involved.  Dave Matthews was, of course, horrified; apparently he’s an upstanding enough environmentalist and that part of the equation was especially distressing to him.

A few months back and out of the blue I’m on the phone with my mom and she tells me she’s sending me a Dave Matthews Band CD.  She’d been cleaning up after somebody who left some stuff behind, and was trying to find good homes for things.  Now, despite my obvious lack of zeal for this group overall, the Band does have the distinction of being the only non-local band I’ve seen in concert twice – once in the late 90s and once in the early naughts.  I did not seek out attending – in both cases I tagged along with others who organized the excursions.  In fact, that’s been true of every concert I’ve ever attended.  But Mom remembered.

I think my relationship with the Dave Matthews Band epitomizes my approach to music and what happens when you take no conscious action to make your musical world your own.  You end up with lots of “Good enough,” and “Sure, I like them fine.”  And then when a friend introduces you to an act you really love you mostly forget about it because nobody arranges a concert excursion for you, and you never buy an album.  Maybe it’s just me.

Thanks for reading.


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