Please Explain: Dave Matthews

In what I’m hoping will be a very interactive weekly segment, I will mention some person(s) that I don’t understand why they are so popular. My goal is not to rip, but to get some insight on why the pop culture phenomenom exists for these “celebrities”.

I chose Dave Matthews to begin the list, as I think a lot of people who attend his concerts I would like personally. I don’t really hate the guy and think that his song “Crash” is a great erotic tune, even though it has been played into the ground by radio. My basic problem is that I can’t figure out why he sells out arenas, despite being such a quirky voiced dude of moderate song writing ability. How is this guy the master of unlocking Patchouli’s* box? (*Patchouli is an oil worn by hippie chicks. Many of these women are big fans of South Africa’s biggest musical export.)

If you are a fan of Dave, explain why my feelings are wrong. If not, please be as descriptive in what you don’t like about the guy. I will weigh-in with greater detail about DMB later on in the commentary area.

52 thoughts on “Please Explain: Dave Matthews

  1. 1.  I cannot explain to you Dave Matthews, only repeat the most apt description of his music I ever heard, from my younger brother:

    “Easy listening for frat boys.”

    Suffice it to say, I, too, am baffled. I do know that I once woke up in the middle of the night, saw the video for “Crash into You” and thought, “Ye gods, Tom Hanks made a music video?”

  2. 2.  Oh, and in detail, I don’t like him because:

    1. Jam bands suck.

    2. The Sixties ended in 1974.

    3. He looks more like Tom Hanks than Colin Hanks does, which is just straight confusing.

  3. 3.  As a not-Dave-Matthews fan, the best I can do is the explanation in 1. Also, I’d guess that the amount of airplay he gets increases his crowds. Of course, now we have to wonder what comes first; the chicken or the egg…

  4. 4.  I’m going to like this new segment, especially if you pick more baffling people like Dave Matthews. I don’t get it either.

  5. 5.  i am a professional musician and i just don’t get it. i even own 2 or 3 of his older cd’s. the violinist & saxophonist are exceptionally horrific – horibble tone, terrible intonation and zero to say, muscially. the bass player is the luckiest man this side of lou gehrig. carter beauford, however, is a monster drummer and musician and is supremely lucky to have hit the jackpot of all jackpots – a famous and successful touring band of original music, where he is given the liberty to compose his own creative and busy parts, with the latter being expected & accepted. an absolute dream come true!

    widespread panic, are an even bigger anamoly. but they are wonderful folks who treat their fans with respect, so i guess the mediocrity is elevated.

  6. 6.  all that said, dave matthews does indeed have some good tunes. certainly not good enough to have catapulted him to the level he’s on, but he still obviously has talent, skill, ability and good judgement…

  7. 7.  I get DMB confused with Matchbox 20…although I’ve probably never knowingly heard more than three or four songs from either.

    (BTW, when I see ‘DMB’ I think Diamond Mind Baseball.)

  8. 8.  much like matchbox 20, dave matthews is music for people who don’t like music.

    being into dave matthews is the one last gasp college and post-college folks have before they finally give in and stop buying cd’s (or downloading mp3’s) and start listening to light FM. seeing as this age group tends to have the most “i am not quite sure to do with this yet” income, they spend it on what they think they should spend it on: going to crazy concerts and drinking. that’s what they get from “dave”.

    they’re not even really a jam band.

    i never found his music all that problematic, i just turned off to him once his following began its ascent.

  9. 9.  Wait a minute, I don’t like music and I am completely ambivalent about the Dave Matthews Band, so don’t blame him on us. I remember my only Dave Matthews Band concert, it was a sold out show at Madison Square Garden and on our way there I admitted that I had no idea who they were, then the people in the car played the album “Crash” and all I could say was “Oh yeah him, I guess I’ve heard some of his songs.”

  10. 10.  my friend and i were discussing this very thing several years ago and we came up with the following analogy, which i still love… dave matthews is like jesus; pretty good when considered on his own merits, but the fans ruin it for you.

    still, it’s not the kind of music i really am into, so i never find myself wanting to listen to it.

  11. 11.  I like the “music for people who don’t like much music” comment. My cousin is a DMB diehard who goes to every concert in his area, owns every CD/DVD, visits his web site daily to check out last night’s setlist, and downloads bootlegs all the time. Yet outside of DMB, I bet he owns maybe 10 CDs total. Most, if not all of which collect dust.

    I personally own 3 DMB albums and even went to a concert at Soldier Field, though I can’t really say I’m a huge fan. He’s not bad, he just doesn’t rock enough for my tastes nor does he make me think, and he meanders too much. He’s decent background music.

    My favorite DMB album is “Everyday”, which ironically is the least popular among DMB fans. I can see why. It was the album he co-wrote with Glen Ballard, and it features tight 3-4 minute tracks with big hooks and little noodling.

    But back to the original comment. That line reminds me of a line Jim DeRogatis used in describing Metallica. “The favorite metal band for people that don’t like much metal.” A friend of mine, much like my cousin, owns about 20 CDs, 16 of which say “Metallica” down the spine. Now, I like Metallica far more than DMB, probably because they rock out live and they rarely meander. But still, the shoe fits…

  12. 12.  My thoughts…
    I hate Dave Matthews. I used to not hate him, I even liked his first two albums (the very first one with the optical illusion on the cover, and Under the Table). I think I had both of these in high school (in NJ), then I went to college in Virginia, which was Dave Matthew’s US homebase. It was a state school, so 75% of my classmates were huge ‘Dave’ fans:
    “I’ve seen Dave 42 times.”
    “My brother’s sister’s uncle laid down a couple of backing tracks for Dave’s first demo.”
    “I was at Trax one night and Dave poured my beer, then he went on stage and wrote Ants Marching, and looked directly into my soul as he sang it.”
    You couldn’t walk past 3 dorm rooms without hearing their music blaring out of two of them. I quickly got tired of ‘Dave’ and wished he’d moved back to S. Africa. I still cover my ears every time I see a Wrangler with the top off, scared to death that the next sound I hear will be “What would you say.”

    Their music isn’t bad, per se, but it’s just not that great. I think their initial popularity came out of the fact that people were getting tired of grunge by 1994, the Dead had just been split up by Jerry Garcia’s death, Phish wasn’t radio friendly enough, so everyone who wanted to be a hippie (which is about 66.67% of college freshman those days), chose DMB as their standard bearer. And it’s only gotten worse since.

  13. 13.  Scott, at some point please let’s try to discuss NASCAR. I’m not trying to hijack the DMB thread, but Nascar has truly puzzled me for years now. Any little activity can muster a few adherants, but the crushing popularity of a ‘sport’ that seemingly consists of going fast and turning left a lot—well, that mystifies me.

    Returning to the DMB: Much like TV, SOMETHING has to fill out 500+ channels of programming…radio is no different. They need something to inoffensively fill out playlists: ergo DMB.

  14. 14.  PS- Jack Johnson (who I actually do like, despite [or because of?] the goofiness of his songs) is in danger of becoming the next DMB. However, I think he’ll have the good sense to stop making the same record over and over again in the near future, and go back to making surf films/saving the planet/etc.

  15. 15.  DMB is the perfect band for those once pop music junkies (late teens) to ‘expand’ their musical tastes by delving into a laid back band. But really, they arent getting away from pop music at all….bc DMB is still considered ‘pop’ music. He gets tons of radio airplay.

    I think DMB has made a few good songs as you’ve mentioned before: “Crash” and “Crazy” being my favorites.

    But I dont understand either his massively loyal fan base. I liked DMB for about 2 years, then have moved on. He’s sort of like the hippy ‘folk’ singer of this generation–but at the same time is mainstream enough to be considered ‘hip’…in the footsteps of Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead.

    I dont think DMB has made anything cutting edge ever though. In terms of bands that have influenced whole genres…they dont come close to Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Motley Crue..

  16. 17.  It’s the new muzak, really. I have a good friend who is a huge DMB fan, but she’s scared of anything adventurous I send her way.

  17. 19.  16 – My Chemical Romance might be the #1 rock band going right now (mainstream), and sounds like they were influenced by the Pumpkins.

  18. 20.  I believe DMB fans don’t realize how great music can be, and how it can make you feel.

    Case in point: an ex-GF of mine was a huge DMB fan, but I always asked her what the big deal was. Her reply was that, “Well, we’re just different; you have that Joe Strummer guy, and I have Dave.”

    I thought, “Huh?, OMG, she doesn’t even know.”

  19. 21.  I am getting pretty tired of those of us who don’t care about music getting the blame for Dave Matthews Band. It’s not us, okay? I know plenty of people who have extensive CD collections who are DMB fans. In fact, the people who hate Dave Matthews Band are getting as annoying as the people who really like them.

    11. I assume you are referring to Trax in DC. I one day aspire to own a club like that where people in leather jackets and dog collars can take a break from slam-dancing and play sand volleyball out back.

  20. 22.  I’m kind of surprised that no real DMB fans have come forward. I guess Scott is just preaching to the choir, and he hasn’t even given his sermon yet.

    I mean, when Scott bashed Clay Aiken the Claymates came out in full force.

  21. 23.  “NASCAR seemingly consists of going fast and turning left a lot.”

    Typical blue state snootiness on display. The older I get, the more I respect race car drivers. You try driving 500 miles at top speed in a car stripped down with no creature comforts, it’s 120+ degrees inside, and you’re not even able to take a leak or anything else. And there are 30 other guys doing the same. And you have to try to go faster than them and not crash.

    Hell, I have a hard time driving 500 miles in one day in a luxury automobile, and that’s with stops, radio, AC, etc.

    Do I watch NASCAR? No. Nor am I a “fan.” But they don’t deserve the condescending sneers they get from liberal elitists.

  22. 24.  21 Trax is in Charlottesville, and it’s where Dave Matthews first started playing gigs. It’s just like any of thousands of other local music venues in the US, but you’d think it was CBGB based on the way the DMB fans talk about the place.

  23. 25.  23. But what about that is even remotely entertaining to watch? Running a marathon is harder than that, and you don’t see marathon’s pulling NASCAR like ratings. It’s not about being a liberal elitist, it’s about wanting to see something good.

  24. 26.  A couple things. I was hoping for someone to defend their love of Dave Matthews. I guess I will have to do one next week where I defend someone that most people slag on to open the dialogue.

    Also, NASCAR is too big of a category for me to want to take on. Not a fan, but have been to a couple races and don’t regret doing it as it’s pretty amazing to see in person. One of those things like Ecstacy where try it a couple of times and it’s probably a good life experience, try it more than that and it’s get to be more of a questionable thing.

    I will defend Chris in the blue-stater deal, as he lives in Central Illinois, which is not exactly liberal politcally.

  25. 27.  I’ve got what might be a controversial opinion for you, Scott…

    I honestly put DMB in the same mental category as Radiohead and Led Zeppelin. On the one hand, there are songs I like and appreciate. I happily accompanied friends to DMB’s Central Park show a few years back, for instance. However, similar to 10, I’m turned off by fans’ militancy and fierce support because I’ve never been THAT in love with a particular band. In college, I had an argument with a friend of my roommate’s who insisted that Glen Ballard had destroyed something precious, and I took the position that since she doesn’t actually know Mr. Matthews and is under no obligation to unconditionally adore him and his work, she might consider simply ignoring the album if she didn’t like it. She found that incomprehensible. In the same way, I have a friend who got a tattoo of the Radiohead bear logo. As I told him at the time, God forbid Thom Yorke or the band make a record he hates. I like to think I like music. I write my own songs and record demos at home and whatnot. But I also like to think I’m beyond idolatry of that sort, that I can listen to something and decide if I like it. Obviously, I’m influenced by previous work, but even though I love the last Fall Out Boy record (Cork Tree), I’m not just going to automatically love the sum of the band’s work (I can’t stand their public persona), nor do I push that record on other people and scream it from the rooftops. So, while Led Zeppelin has a few songs I listen to, and I appreciate that they are a capital R Rock Band, their fans still turn me off a little bit to them.

    –David

  26. 28.  Not a big fan of DMB but one of my good friends who resembles Will Carrol has the largest music selection I know and he’s very much into DMB so to say it is music for those who don’t like music just seems to simplistic.
    Maybe he’ll drop by the site to explain why he likes him. Course he’s also a huge Yankee fan and from Philly so maybe he’s just screwed up.

  27. 29.  My first 3 months of college, my roommate (who owned the stereo in our room, and thus got to pick the tunes), played only three CDs, over and over again. One was “Under the Table and Dreaming”. I still can’t listen to that record voluntarily, and when a song off it comes on the radio, I have to turn it off. I despise that record.

    But after a few years had passed and I stopped screaming hysterically whenever someone said “Dave Matthews”, I listened to some other DMB stuff and I found I enjoyed most of it. I like the sound, I like the lyrics. I can’t explain why I like it other than to say that I do. I’m not a huge fan and DMB isn’t in my top 50 favorite bands/singers, maybe not even my top 100, but if it comes on the radio, I’ll generally listen.

    Unless its “Under the Table and Dreaming.” I really despise that record.

  28. 30.  23 Typical Red State inferiority complex on display. Nobody said it wasn’t hard, they said it was boring, which it totally is.

    And yes, I’m totally baiting you, but you baited me first.

  29. 31.  This segment will also be known as “This guy sucks, don’t you agree?”

    Works for me either way.

  30. 32.  While I’m sure many see it this way, Greg, it’s not exactly my direction. If I wanted to take that angle, I would choose people like Clay Aiken or Paris Hilton. I’m trying to choose celebs who some people that I usually value their opinion seem to like.

    I’m sure as this weekly segment develops, there will be someone who you disagree with my thoughts on and this will be your chance to step up and prove why I’m off.

  31. 33.  Hi everyone,

    Long time reader, first time talkbacker. I usually don’t post a response to controversial topics until I’ve been a member for at least a week, but Scott threw down the gauntlet and nobody seems to be picking it up.

    Dave Matthews Band is one of my favorite bands/artists out there. They’re among Sarah Slean (a Canadian artist I heartily recommend), Miles Davis, Nigel Kennedy, Sinatra, Shakira, Outkast, Fiona Apple, Metallica, Kathleen Battle, and Bela Fleck. 11 years of playing music (piano and clarinet) has given me an eclectic taste in music. I only mention this because of the comment earlier, that Dave Matthews “music for people who don’t like much music.” I like music, I’d like to think I know music. Some may disagree.

    Why do I like them?

    – The overarching simplicity of their song work belies the underlying complexity. A number of their songs can be played by a guy with an acoustic guitar. Doing so excludes the underneath the forefront melody. I’ve listened to “Before these Crowded Streets” a couple hundred times, and I’m still learning new things about the music. It is layered music. Some might call it convoluted, which wouldn’t be unfair.

    – Matthews’ lyrics mirror the complexity of their melody. Sure, Crash is a nice erotic song. About voyeurism. Say Goodbye is a nice erotic song too, until you realize it’s about some guy trying to seduce another man’s wife. The Stone is about a gravestone, complete with a saxophone interpolation of Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” The lyrics are music’s answer to literature’s Modernist movement. They draw on culture and require you to think.

    – Their like auteurs of cinema: they have “interior meaning” in their melodies and lyrics. For instance, the common use of rain as a metaphor for salvation.

    – Their drummer, Carter Beauford, isn’t their percussion section. He’s another instrument. And he’s incredible. The other members are good too.

    – They attract other incredibly talented musicians. Bela Fleck, the Kronos Quartet, Rashawn Ross, and Gov’t Mule, among many others.

    – They’ve had some deep, mind-blowing songs. “Bartender.” “Spoon.” “#41.” The aforementioned “The Stone.” And Matthews’ solo career produced “Gravedigger,” possibly the finest song of the past 10 years (well, the acoustic version of it anyways).

    They’re popular for those reasons, plus a few more:

    – Dave Matthews is a weird, funny dude. Google Davespeak and you’ll find out what I mean.

    – They’re pretty good folks. They donate and support a number of charities, they speak out against things they disagree with. In short, reasonably decent celebrities.

    – Their ticket prices are extremely reasonable. $40 for a ticket to a major band? And they play for 3 1/2 hours? It’s a steal. Especially when you consider other bands usually charge $60-$100 per show.

    I don’t fault people who don’t like DMB. Music is a largely subjective field, and there is enough room for everyone. Heck, I don’t like a lot of techno, hip hop, or industrial music.

    Hopefully though, this’ll give everyone the urge to reconsider DMB and give them a second (and third, fourth, and fifth) chance.

    -Alex

  32. 34.  I like the idea of this weekly segment. I don’t get it regarding Dave Matthews. Their popularity has always struck me as an attempt by the mainstream blob to seem a little more sophisticated than it is.

    That said, having lived in South Florida nearly all of my life, I hereby nominate as Week 2’s subject Mr. Jimmy Buffett.

    I’ll go to my grave never understanding Buffett. Sure, he’s got a few tunes we’ve all heard at least 10,000 times apiece, and at least two songs that belong on the mythical college album I’d like to sell, called “Songs You Are Required to Like.”

    But Parrotheads baffle me. And so does he.

  33. 35.  Here’s something I meant to do before, but forgot to offer up in my original post.

    If you have any suggestions on who should be the Please Explain victim of the week, send them to my email at
    scott@scottlongonline.com.

    If they get mentioned in the comments section, it takes away from some of the surprise, plus I want to focus on just one subject per week. My bad. Also, Buffett was going to be one of my subjects. I guess we will just have to wait awhile now, since cooperjude found where we were hiding the presents before Xmas.

  34. 36.  Thanks to Alexnation. Not easy to come in here and give a reasoned answer. Mr. Chum in pool of sharks? Kind of like being a conservative pundit on the panel of Real Time with Bill Maher.

    I can’t really argue too much with your reasoning, but will take exception to the idea that the acoustic version of Gravedigger could possibly be the finest song of the past 10 years. This hurts your credibility. Music is subjective, but Gravedigger? Unless this a version I haven’t heard where the Kronos Quartet plays strings in the background, while Miles Davis does trumpet fills, and Fiona Apple sings the lead, I can’t see how this song could get any kind of lofty acclaim.

    Once again, though, major props to Alexnation for showing up and defending the man. Hey, even Tim McVeigh needed legal council. It’s America, Goddammit!

  35. 37.  We have went down the line long enough for me to offer up my bias that makes anyone promoting Dave Matthews struggle to convert me.

    I DON”T LIKE JAM BANDS. Can’t say I care for any of them. I don’t mind the Grateful Dead’s Greatest Hits, but I prefer the cover tunes on the excellent Deadication CD. I don’t like really long songs. Unless you break them up into a suite like the Who, Beatles or what Green Day did on American Idiot, when you reach double figures, I think you could use a good editor.

    Some people will throw the Allman Brothers in the mix of being a jam band. I don’t see them that way, but if you do, then I guess I do like one. I also like earlier Black Crowes, especially their second album, when they were more like the Stones. When they started to become more jam bandish, I dumped them like Kate Hudson did Chris Robinson.

  36. 38.  23

    I’m not sure, but I think it’s impossible to be snooty if you have changed 600+ diapers over the last year…I’m sure there’s a Nascar/poop joke in there somewhere, but damned if I can spot it.

    30

    …sort of stole my line…I’m sure driving a car at insane speeds is hard, but so is multi-variable calculus and I don’t see myself watching that on TV either.

    Does Government Mule count as a Jam Band?? Those guys rock!

    I’ll second your “Allman Brothers aren’t a Jam Band” notion as well.

  37. 39.  36 It may be America, but I’m Canadian. Which makes things really ironic. Also means I was probably drunk when I wrote the last post.

    Incidentally, my citizenship is the reason I mentioned Gravedigger. We may be polite, but us Canadians are a controversial bunch. C’mon, we’re a country that legalized gay marriage and is considering decriminalizing pot. My nominating Gravedigger for song of the decade is the least controversial thing out of Canada this year.

    ~Alex

  38. 40.  Well, if you are Canadian, the best song of the decade has to be from his 2002 DVD release “Live in Reno”. Yes I’m talking about the live version of the “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by the Canadian Springsteen…Mr. Gordon Lightfoot.

  39. 41.  40 Gordon Lightfoot? Gee Scott, I didn’t know you were 80.

    All kidding aside, Lightfoot’s overshadowed by the more popular Leonard Cohen. It may not be fair though. Lightfoot’s probably got the better sense of humor. But Cohen wrote “Hallelujah” and “I’m Your Man.” It’s a toss up.

    I’m impressed by your knowledge of Great White Northern artists. Most people only know us for Celine Dion and Nickleback. Not that there’s anything wrong with Nickleback.

  40. 42.  I’d probably fit into the middle of the argument. In high school (97-99 especially), most of the girls I knew absolutely worshipped DMB to the point where I refused to even listen to it. Then college came around and I broke down and listened to some of his stuff. My final prognosis: not bad. He has some cool riffs that carry his better-known songs and I actually like his voice. I’m not a jam band fan, but I do enjoy a nice jam once in a while, which DMB easily fits into.

    The one thing I do agree with wholeheartedly is the annoyingness of the DMB faithful. One of my roommates in college never stopped talking about DMB when it came to music and I don’t think he had more than 5 CD’s by other artists. It’s one of those things where the fans think they’re in some exclusive club that understands great, complex music, but in reality is only embracing a guy with jam band tendencies and a pop sensibility.

  41. 43.  I don’t like DMB, but I think the point of the question is to put forth an explanation of why some people do.

    I think DMB is popular because the music plays equally well with men and women. I like Radiohead a lot but your not going to make friends with a lot of girls when you’ve got Myxomatosis playing on your dorm room stereo.

    And the drugs. Don’t forget the drugs.

    (An aside– NASCAR: The fans are white, the drivers are white, it’s got a country music connection, a historical connection to the South and to say you don’t understand it causes immediate comments about how your a blue state elitist. I’d be shocked if it weren’t popular.)

  42. 44.  Oh, and before the flame war begins, I am not expressing an opinion on the racial politics of NASCAR. If someone said, “I don’t like rap music.” And the response was, “Well, it’s lyrically and rhythmically complex,” it would be only half the answer.

    Of course, hip hop has far more of a cross-over audience than NASCAR, so I am not sure how well that example works.

  43. 45.  i’m not a fan. the whole jam band thing was tired before the ’90s revival. his voice gets on my nerves, too, which i can get past when the music merits more listens (neil young, etc.).

    that said, all hopes of me ever liking the guy were dashed when i met him. the girl i was seeing at the time was a huge fan (ugh), so when i saw him on the street when he was in my town for a show, i ducked into a cd shop, payed actual money for one of his discs, and politely asked him to sign it.

    i was greeted with impatience and attitude. i was shocked because i figured he’d be a laid back kinda stoner dude. not the case.

    that said, he was with the violinist from the band, who was as nice as the day is long.

    maybe he was having a bad day, but i tried to be as respectful and low-key about the thing as possible.

    all of that aside, his music has never done anything for me.

  44. 46.  Yankee Fan In Boston, when you first started your story, I was hoping it had to do with him having a one-night stand with your girl to which you found out about, went to his hotel room, and punched him in the face. Having said this, it was still a good brush with mediocrity.

    I heard Matthews on the panel of Maher’s old Politically Incorrect show and he came off better than the average rock star. This doesn’t mean his music is good, though. Patrick Duffy was always great on the show, but it doesn’t mean I thought he was a good actor.

    Who knew Dave Matthews would create the kind of reaction that only a Clay Aiken in his prime could bring forth at this site? (Yes, I realize the idea of Clay Aiken ever having a prime is very questionable.)

  45. 47.  Why I like the Dave Matthews Band has nothing to do with their music, fans, nor any half-cocked notion of “how down-to-earth the guys in the band are.”

    It is simply for their comedic effect.

    While on tour in Chicago a few years back, it seems the boys had neglected to void the bus’s crapper. Well, what better place to do so than right smack dab in the middle of downtown, in broad daylight, right over the Chicago River?

    Well, it seems that their timing was right out of the next Jackass movie, as a boatload of tourists happened to pass underneath at just the precise time, dousing unsuspecting folks in their excrement.

    This led the Chicago papers to have a field day with the story, with such head lines as “Dave Matthews Band gets Crappier” and “Splash Onto Me.” Of course these are obvious ones, they only got nastier, and for the sake of the younger viewers, I’ll not detail those. Suffice to say they elicited a snicker or two.

    But, in what is perhaps the funniest comment about it came from the driver of the van (who was later found guilty).

    “Jerry Fitzpatrick, the driver initially accused of dumping the waste, told the Tribune that “the band is very environmentally conscious. We wouldn’t want to have anything to do with this sort of thing.””

    That’s right, mate, hide behind the band’s eco-consciousness and make a nebulous non statement of guilt.

    A friend of a friend, who claimed to have been on the boat and received a small cash payment for the incident, said, “Well, it still wasn’t as bad as having to listen to their music.”

  46. 48.  I’ve never quite understood the love for him either.

    Back in 1998/9, I was forced to go to a concert of his in Ottawa. My conversation with the border crossing agent sums up my ambivilance:

    Canadian border guy (with extreme Canadian accent:) “Where ya headed?”

    Me: “Dave Matthews Concert on Ottawa.”

    Canadian guy, now confused: “Mmm, where is he playing?”

    Me: “The Corel Centre”

    Canadian guy, “Oooo, at the Centre, eh? Must be big.”

    Me: Apparantly not, have a nice day.

  47. 49.  I know I’m late to this, but what the hey.

    My theory on the popularity of the awful Dave Matthews Band is that they came out at a low point in pop music history, the mid-90s. It was a fallow period for many of the long-time greats like Dylan, the Stones, Neil Young, Springsteen and U2. The radio was full of skeevy stuff like Alanis Morrissette, Chris Isaak, Joan Osborne, Natalie Merchant, Ben Folds Five, Wilco and, of course, the legendary Hootie and the Blowfish.

    People like me wandered into record stores (when record “stores” still existed) and despaired about wanting to hear new music, but having so little to choose from. One day, I almost bought a DMB album, but fortunately, I backed away, my $17 safe in my pocket.

    Dave Matthews was fortunate enough to come along at a period when his extremely modest talent and originality seemed, for a minute, to be something to look into. And now we’re stuck with him.

    He is to the 90s was Supertramp was to the 70s, except Supertramp was a lot better.

  48. 50.  dzzrtRatt –

    When was Wilco on the radio in the mid-90’s? Were that the case, perchance we could have avoided this mess altogether.

    Hey, wait. Were you calling Wilco ‘skeevy?’

  49. 51.  Wilco is deserving of a “please explain.” Their music seems incredibly precious and posed. A lot of people I respect love them, but I just don’t get it. I’m a fan of their genre of music, the Cosmic American thing, but their songs leave me completely cold.

  50. 52.  49-51 I wouldn’t lump Wilco in with those other artists either. I understand what you me by “precious”, but they pull it off in a way that doesn’t bother me. ‘Heavy Metal Drummer’ was fairly precious, but it’s as good a pop song as I’ve heard in the last several years.

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