8 Reasons Why Dave Matthews Band Rules

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25 Years of DMB

Dave Matthews Band

“What Would You Say” if we told you roots-y rockers Dave Matthews Band were embarking on their 25th summer concert tour? It’s true— Virginia’s finest have been crisscrossing the nation for a quarter of a century. Catch them in 2016 because “We will take a break from touring in 2017,” according to their official website.

How have DMB endured all these years and remained at the top of their game? We’ve got eight reasons for you:

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Eight Gold and Platinum Studio Albums

Dave Matthews Band - Crash

Dave Matthews Band’s resume is an impressive one. All of their proper studio albums have sold at least 500,000 copies. Furthermore, they’ve had six straight albums go to number one on the Billboard charts. That ties the Eagles’ record for the most number-one LPs for an American band, according to Yahoo! Music. Their biggest cash cow, 1996’s Crash, has sold more than 7 million copies.

As for a 2016 release? Their singer told Rolling Stone in September 2015: “Yeah, we were in the studio, and we were having a good time. I go on a lot of tangents, so I've been doing some writing, and I certainly could fill the space of several albums with music that I've made. But I haven't yet fallen in love with the whole thing. I'm in love with parts of it.”

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Their Distinct Sound

Dave Matthews Band 2016
Danny Clinch

When you hear those vocals – jovial, manic and moving – you know it’s DMB. Front man Matthews has a flavor that mixes his South African heritage, his English and New York upbringing and his Virginian adulthood. Rock elements played merrily with jazz, frenetic percussion and folk. Enter Carter Beauford (drums), LeRoi Moore (sax), Stefan Lessard (bass), Peter Griesar (keys), Boyd Tinsley (violin) and later Tim Reynolds (guitars), and the band became a freeform-Appalachian-arena-anthem machine. 

For a band of their size, they’ve seen only a few lineup changes. With Moore’s death in 2008, Jeff Coffin (the name an eerie coincidence) took over on saxophone. Trumpeter Rashawn Ross joined in 2005. Griesar played from 1991-1993, with Butch Taylor stepping in on synths from 1998-2008.  

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Their Lush Music Videos

Dave Matthews Band - Crash Into Me

We recall first seeing “What Would You Say” on MTV and being immediately intrigued. Directed by David Hogan (Melissa Etheridge, Prince), it was a Rubik’s cube of imagery and iconography. Down the line, we would witness debauched feasts (“Too Much”) and enchanting ballets in the forest (“Crash Into Me”). 

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Their Encyclopedic Live-Recording Archive

Dave Matthews Band in concert
Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

With nearly 20 concert albums and leagues of official downloads, DMB are constantly giving fans more music— and more ways to access it. Their Live Trax series commemorates some of their most historic gigs, in CD, MP3 and FLAC form. That’s in addition to their numerous concert DVDs. Among them, a 2003 Central Park performance that brought in more than 85,000 people and more than $1 million for charity, according to CNN. 

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They’re a Charitable Crew

Farm Aid Board of Directors: Neil Young, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews
Paul Natkin / Photo Reserve, Inc.

DMB are among the most philanthropic bands that formed in the 1990s. The aforementioned Central Park show benefited New York public schools. Matthews is on the board of directors for Farm Aid, an organization formed by Neil Young, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp in 1985 to protect the livelihoods of independent agriculturalists. Plus, his group’s Bama Works Fund contributes frequently to charities in the Charlottesville, Va., area.

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Their Guest List Is Killer

Dave Matthews Band - Under the Table and Dreaming

Even from the early days of Under the Table and Dreaming, DMB have rubbed elbows with incredible talents. U2 and Rolling Stones producer Steve Lillywhite manned their first studio release, which featured Blues Traveler’s John Popper. Matthews would record a duet with Johnny Cash in 2002. Banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck has stepped in during their concerts. Naturally, DMB and fellow jam elites Phish have collaborated. You can watch a highlight of that partnership from 1994 on Relix.

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Their Logo Speaks Volumes

Dave Matthews Band - Stand Up

Just like Matthews’ vocals, the band’s Silver Surfer-like emblem is DMB. It was conceived by the singer for 2005’s Stand Up as a representation of what he’d see from the stage every night: dancing women. (“Dancing Nancies,” perhaps?) The sigil is so striking that Diffuser named it one of the best music logos.

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Their Concerts Are Life-Changing

Dave Matthews Band Tour 2016
Courtesy the band

Twenty-five years on the road equals a robust, engaging stage show. Matthews’ signature spasmodic dances, Tinsley’s blazing solos, Carter’s concentration, Lessard’s nimbleness— their musicality lights up each venue. “(E)ven this far in, (Dave Matthews Band) still possess the potential to surprise,” The Arizona Republic wrote in 2015.

Prepare to be pleasantly surprised on the summer 2016 tour dates. Their official website has all the details.