Songwriter David John Matthews, working in Charlottesville, Virginia, as a bartender at Miller's bar in November 1990, became a friend of a lawyer named Ross Hoffman. Hoffman convinced the usually reserved Matthews to record a demo of the few songs he had written. Hoffman hoped Matthews could shop the songs in order to find other musicians to perform on some studio work with him. Hoffman encouraged Matthews to approach Carter Beauford, a local drummer on the Charlottesville music scene. Beauford had been in several bands and was then playing on a jazz show on BET. After hearing Matthews' demo, Carter agreed to spend some time playing the drums, both inside and outside the studio. Matthews also approached LeRoi Moore, another local jazz musician who often performed with the John D'earth Quintet, to join them. Moore skeptically listened to the demo, but liked what he heard and decided that he too would give the young South African a chance. The trio began working on Matthews' songs in 1991. Matthews recollects that, "...the reason I went to Carter was not because I needed a drummer, but because I thought he was the baddest thing I'd ever seen and LeRoi, it wasn't because I desperately wanted a saxophone, it was because this guy just blew my mind. At this jazz place I used to bartend at Miller's, I would just sit back and watch him. I would be serving the musicians fat whiskeys and they'd be getting more and more hosed, but no matter how much, he used to still blow my mind. And it was the sense that everyone played from their heart. And when we got together and they asked, 'What do you want the music to sound like?' I said, 'I know this is a song I wrote and I like what you guys play, so I want you to play the way you react to my song.' There was a lot of breaking of our inhibitions."
Matthews later said in an interview with Michael Krugman, "In a way, initially it was just the three of us and I approached them with this tape and they said 'Sure,' cause they had time on their hands. They were both working on other things, but they had some afternoon time." The beginning stages of this new band proved to be, in the words of Morgan Delancey, "a time of trial and incubation." Beauford would later recall that, "It started out as a three-piece thing with Dave and Leroi...working on some of Dave's songs. He only had four songs at the time..And it didn't work out with the three of us." Matthews said, "The first time we played together...we were awful. Not just kind of bad, I mean heinously bad. We tried a couple of different songs and they were all terrible...Sometimes it amazes me that we ever had a second rehearsal."
Their limited instrumentals, however, did not provide the full sound they desired; more musicians were needed. John D'earth, conductor of the University of Virginia orchestra and a local musician, taught music at the Tandem Friends School and had previously played alongside Moore and Beauford in the jazz fusion band "Secret". Stefan Lessard, a junior bassist at the time, was under his guidance in a student jazz combo known as "Yabanci Jazzites". On the recommendation of John D’earth, the 15-year-old Lessard was asked to join in the studio to help complete the demo. While the partnership was never intended to continue beyond the studio, the four liked the sound and decided to continue together for live performances as well. Consequently, regular practices began in the basement of Carter Beauford's and Matthews' mother's home.
Peter Griesar was a bartender at Miller's beginning in 1989. In the August 1991, during Miller's annual respite for inventory, Matthews, Beauford, Moore and Lessard used the empty bar for rehearsing. Griesar heard the rehearsal, decided to take a break, and pulled out his harmonica and started playing with the band. After a few songs, he was invited to perform with them. He immediately accepted and became the band's first keyboardist.
Boyd Tinsley was the last member to join the band. Although he had performed on the demo with Matthews, Moore, Beauford and Lessard, he was busy with a couple of other bands at the time (Boyd Tinsley Band and Down Boy Down) and did not want to commit to a group of musicians that were only together in the studio at the time. He did not become a full-time member until 1992. Tinsley is well known for his violin solos, which often become one-on-one duels with Dave during live shows. Matthews later admitted, "We had no plans of adding a violinist. We just wanted some fiddle tracked on this one song "Tripping Billies", and Boyd was a friend of Leroi. He came in and it just clicked. That completely solidified the band, gave it a lot more power."
The band's first in-studio demo was recorded in February or March 1991 prior to Tinsley joining as a full-time band member and consisted of "Song That Jane Likes", "Recently", "Best of What's Around", and "I'll Back You Up."
For years, it was believed that the band's first public show was at Charlottesville's 1991 Earth Day Festival. A recent pronouncement by band member Stefan Lessard via Twitter on October 9, 2010, reports the discovery of an earlier show, taped March 14, 1991, at TRAX, a local music venue. The show was a benefit for the Middle East Children's Alliance and, according to Lessard, included the following songs: "Typical Situation", "Best of What's Around", "I'll Back You Up", "Song That Jane Likes", "Warehouse", "Cry Freedom", and "Recently". The show included only Dave, Stefan, Carter, and LeRoi. Local weekly appearances soon followed, and within a short time word of the band's sound spread.
They still did not have a name for the band. One name that was considered was "Dumwelah", which is the Tswana word for "hello", but there was little enthusiasm for the name and they decided against it. One story is that Moore reportedly telephoned a place they were booked and said to write "Dave Matthews." The person receiving the call wrote "band" after the name, and the name stayed Dave Matthews Band from that point on. Matthews told Robert Trott of AP, "Boyd [Tinsley], if memory serves, wrote 'Dave Matthews Band' [on this flyer for the show]. There was no time when we said, 'Let's call this band the Dave Matthews Band.' It just became that, and it sort of was too late to change when we started thinking that this could focus unfairly on me. People sort of made that association, but it's really not like that."
Beauford seemed to agree with Matthews' analysis of the band name when he said to Modern Drummer magazine that, "As a matter of fact, that's one of the things about this band that everybody likes: There isn't a leader. Each one of us can express ourselves musically without being choked by a leader. Everybody can offer what they feel is gonna enhance the music. So, yeah, that's the main thing that all the guys — especially me — feel make this band happen. It's the freedom that we have to speak with our instruments."
By the summer of 1991, they were playing at Eastern Standard with Charles Newman as their manager for a brief time. They also continued to play at fraternity functions; the last such show was at UVa at the SPE House/DTD's annual Lot Party in Spring 1992. Thereafter the band began playing a regular Tuesday night show at the popular Charlottesville club Trax. Tapings of shows at Trax are some of the most widely shared among DMB fans. After Newman, Coran Capshaw, owner of the Flood Zone where the band often played, took the helm of the Dave Matthews Band.
For a variety of reasons, like sensing that the band was on the verge of making it big and not wanting to have his life ruled by the grueling schedule that touring musicians often face, difficulties communicating with Matthews, and maintaining the mortgage on his new home, Peter Griesar decided to leave the band after a show at Trax nightclub on March 23, 1993, a night known as "Big League Chew".
On November 9, 1993, DMB released its first album, Remember Two Things, on its Bama Rags label, later re-released by RCA in 1997. Live songs on the album were recorded at The Flood Zone in Richmond, Virginia on August 10, 1993, and The Muse Music Club on Nantucket Island on August 16–18, 1993. The album debuted on college charts as the highest independent entry, and went on to be certified platinum by the RIAA in 2002 — 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 to this day. Only recently has the band had to take legal action against some bootleggers who sell recordings of their concerts at a profit — something the DMB trading community also abhors.
The band released their first live EP, entitled Recently, in 1994. The album's five tracks were taken from shows performed at The Birchmere, in Alexandria, Virginia, and from Trax, in Charlottesville. Recently was re-released by RCA Records in 1997.
On September 20, 1994, DMB released their second album, Under the Table and Dreaming, featuring their first commercial hits "What Would You Say" (featuring John Popper on harmonica), "Satellite", and "Ants Marching". The album was dedicated "In memory of Anne" for Matthews' older sister Anne, who was killed by her husband in 1994 in a murder-suicide.
Under the Table and Dreaming and its follow-up album, Crash brought the band national attention, culminating in a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "So Much to Say" as well as four other nominations between the years 1996 and 1997. The band also achieved hits with "Crash into Me", "Too Much", and "Tripping Billies".
By 1997, DMB reached unparalleled levels of popularity across the United States and, to some degree, the world. On October 28, 1997, the band released their first full-length live album, Live at Red Rocks 8.15.95. The album, which was recorded at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado, featured popular songs from the band's first three albums and included longtime collaborator Tim Reynolds on electric guitar.
In late 1997, the band returned to the studio with producer Steve Lillywhite and an array of guest collaborators, including Reynolds, banjoist Béla Fleck, vocalist Alanis Morissette, future touring band member Butch Taylor, Chapman Stick player Greg Howard,and the Kronos Quartet. They composed and recorded Before These Crowded Streets, their third album with RCA, which was released on April 28, 1998. The album represented a great change in direction for the band as they did not rely on upbeat hit singles to carry the album. "Stay (Wasting Time)", an uplifting gospel number, and "Crush", a love ballad, became very popular tracks along with the lead single, "Don't Drink the Water". Dave Matthews has commented that the inspiration for this song came from the treatment of Native Americans by the United States government. Although not a formal member of the band Butch Taylor acted as a sixth member of the group from 1998 until 2008, making contributions on tour as well as on studio and live albums. Before teaming up with the band, Taylor played in the band Secrets with DMB drummer, Carter Beauford as well as longtime DMB friend and guest guitarist, Tim. On May 27, 2008, Butch decided to leave the band for personal reasons.
On January 19, 1999, Matthews and Reynolds released the live album, Live at Luther College, from a February 6, 1996, acoustic concert played by Matthews and Reynolds at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. The album features songs mostly from DMB's first two albums, while also featuring the previously unreleased pieces "Deed Is Done" and "Little Thing". Also included on the album is Reynolds' acoustic virtuoso piece "Stream."
During the summer, the band took part in the Woodstock '99 concert and then released their third live album, Listener Supported, in the fall. The album, a live recording, used a show performed at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey on September 11, 1999 for a PBS television special. The album was also released as the band's first DVD. The year also provided two more Grammy nominations.
During 2000, DMB set up their own recording studio at a large countryside home outside Charlottesville. With longtime producer Lillywhite at the helm, the band began work on a fourth studio album. Heavily influenced by personal conflicts, notably the death of Matthews' uncle from alcoholism, the songs recorded with Lillywhite rank as some of the darkest he has ever written. In the end, the studio sessions were abandoned due to objection from the band's label, ending their seven-year relationship with Lillywhite.
In October 2000, an energized Matthews began writing with Glen Ballard, most famous for his work with Alanis Morissette. The rest of DMB (along with special guest Carlos Santana) soon joined Matthews in a Los Angeles studio and quickly recorded Everyday. While the album gave the band a fresh start, Ballard's pop-music approach to production was very different from the creative process Steve Lillywhite used to produce previous studio albums. Carter Beauford has said that the album was a product of Matthews and Ballard, and that it did not showcase the rest of the band. The February 27, 2001, release of Everyday was a huge commercial success. The singles "I Did It", "Everyday", and "The Space Between", brought the band an even larger level of popularity.
In "Everyday" the main guitar lick is derived from that of the song "#36."
In March 2001, the Lillywhite conflict came full circle when the 2000 studio sessions with the producer were leaked over the Internet. The tracks spread quickly over established Internet channels such as Napster. Collectively known as The Lillywhite Sessions, these tracks were lauded by both the fan base and the popular press. After critical comparison of the two simultaneous albums, fans that were less than pleased with Everyday's slicker sound were frustrated with the band's decision to scrap the work in exchange for Everyday.
Many of the songs from The Lillywhite Sessions would, however, eventually be officially released. In response to overwhelming fan support, coupled with a popular and widely publicized online campaign known as the Release Lillywhite Recordings Campaign, DMB returned to the studio in 2002 to record Busted Stuff. Produced by Stephen Harris, the recording engineer who worked under Lillywhite on previous albums, the resulting CD provided new treatments of much of the Lillywhite Sessions' material, along with newly written songs "You Never Know" and the single "Where Are You Going" which was subsequently used in the movie Mr. Deeds. Busted Stuff hit the shelves on July 16, 2002, receiving moderate critical and commercial success, while being generally well received by the band's fans.
During these two years the band released two live albums. The first, Live in Chicago 12.19.98, features Tim Reynolds on guitar as well as many other special guests such as bassist Victor Wooten, guitarist Mitch Rutman, and saxophonist Maceo Parker. The second, Live at Folsom Field, Boulder, Colorado, highlights songs from both Everyday and Busted Stuff and was released as both a CD and a DVD.
In the Spring of 2003, Matthews and Reynolds embarked on another successful solo acoustic tour. The shows are very different from the normal DMB shows in that the venues were usually more intimate, and the song selection is very different.
In 2003 Matthews and Tinsley released their first solo albums. Tinsley released True Reflections on June 17, 2003.
On September 23, 2003, Some Devil, Dave Matthews first solo album was released and sold 469,000 copies in the opening week. The album's sinister lead single, "Gravedigger" won Matthews another Grammy Award. The album was followed by the Dave Matthews & Friends tour.
The next day, September 24, DMB played a free concert on the Great Lawn in New York City's Central Park.
The Gorge, a combination 2-CD/1-DVD set with highlights from their 3-night 2002 tour closer at The Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington was released on June 29, 2004.
Later in the year it was announced that highlights from the Band's extensive live archives would be available for purchase via the official website. The first such release, Live Trax Vol. 1, was released on November 2, 2004 and was their performance at the Centrum Center in Worcester, Massachusetts on December 8, 1998.
On September 12, 2004, DMB played their second benefit show in less than a year, with a free show at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. This concert drew one of their largest crowds and produced a popular bootleg. The band was joined by guitarist Carlos Santana on many songs, and the tracks led to the second release in the Live Trax Series, Live Trax Vol. 2 released on December 17, 2004. The album gave fans previews of newly penned songs "Joy Ride", "Hello Again", and "Sugar Will"; all at the time presumed to be destined for release on a new studio album in 2005. However, only "Hello Again" was actually included on the subsequent album release, Stand Up.
In August 2004, DMB was at the center of a controversy when about 800 pounds of liquid human waste was dumped from band member Boyd Tinsley's tour bus through the grate in the Kinzie Street Bridge in Chicago onto passengers aboard a sightseeing boat on the Chicago River below. The bus driver, Stefan Wohl, pleaded guilty, and the band has donated $50,000 to the Friends of the Chicago River and $50,000 to the Chicago Park District. In April 2005, the band paid $200,000 to settle the civil lawsuit that followed.
In Fall 2004, DMB returned to their studio in Charlottesville, Virginia with a new producer. The band decided they wanted to take some chances and pursue a funkier side to their music. To help achieve this A&R Bruce Flohr tracked down producer/songwriter Mark Batson. According to Flohr in an interview with HitQuarters, "When the band and him got together it was instant creative karma. Things took off like a bat out of hell."
The resultant album, Stand Up, was released on May 10, 2005, debuting at #1 on the Billboard charts with sales of 465,000. Stand Up spawned the singles "American Baby", "Dreamgirl", and "Everybody Wake Up". The band also released a video for "Dreamgirl", featuring Julia Roberts, a long-time fan of the band. Another song from the album – "Steady As We Go" – was featured in an episode of Everwood and was cited by former campaign aide Andrew Young to be a favorite song of John Edwards and Rielle Hunter during their much-publicized affair. The album was heavily panned by the older fans of the group, due to its extremely different feel from previous albums.
During March 2005, Dave Matthews Band arrived on Australian shores for the first time, playing shows in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Byron Bay East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival. Also in March, on the 9th, their tour bus driver, Stefan Wohl, plead guilty to charges of dumping the bus's waste tank into the Chicago river, onto a tour boat containing 109 passengers, on August 8, 2004.
The band supported the album with a 54 show, summer-long tour culminating in a four-night stand at Colorado's Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The 2005 summer tour also marked the first time Rashawn Ross played with the band. DMB also played a short, 13 show tour in the fall. This fall tour featured the return of Christmas Song, Minarets (both first played since 2003) and Linus and Lucy (last played in 2000).
Dave Matthews made several appearances in the UK during the Spring of 2006, notably performing a solo show at the King's College Student Union (Tutu's) on February 28, followed by a small solo tour to promote the release of Stand Up in the UK.
On April 25, 2006, Dave Matthews Band announced a $1.5 million challenge grant to help build the New Orleans Habitat Musicians' Village. The band returned to the studio along with producer Mark Batson in March 2006 (with the resultant album slated for release in winter) before embarking on their annual summer tour, which concluded with a two-night stand in the band's hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. This tour featured the addition of trumpeter Rashawn Ross as a full-time touring member, which he has remained since. Ross, who received recognition with DMB's fans while playing with the jazz band Soulive, had guested during several shows the previous year. The tour also saw the debut of new songs such as "The Idea of You", "Shotgun", "Break Free", "Kill the King", and "Can't Stop."
In August, Dave Matthews Band announced on their website that, in order to fulfill a contractual obligation, they would be releasing a greatest hits album. They held a survey on their website that encouraged fans to select their ten favorite DMB songs. The album, titled The Best of What's Around Vol. 1, named after the opening track of 1994's Under The Table And Dreaming, was released on November 7, 2006. The album features two discs, the first consisting of what the band considers their best studio tracks, and the second of live tracks voted on by fans. Additionally, those who pre-ordered the CD on the Dave Matthews Band website received an "encore" CD with four additional live songs. The Encore CD was later made available on their website to anyone for an additional $10.
The band worked with Reverb, a non-profit environmental organization, for their 2006 summer tour. Their Labor Day concert at The Gorge Amphitheatre drew a crowd of 64,468, the largest ever for that venue
In early 2007, the Dave Matthews Band once again entered the studio with producers Mark Batson and Steven Miller to begin recording their seventh studio album. Mark Batson's relationship was severed at some point during the recording process, and the album was not finished. In late February, Dave Matthews embarked on a short tour of Europe with Tim Reynolds, which was followed in April by three dates in the northeastern United States.
On April 25, 2007, it was announced on the band's website that the Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds performance at Radio City Music Hall that had been recorded earlier that week on the 22nd would be released on CD, Blu-ray Disc and DVD, the duo's second release (following Live at Luther College). It includes unreleased songs, such as "Eh Hee" and "Corn Bread", and also two Tim Reynolds songs which he performed alone, "Betrayal" and "You Are My Sanity".
According to Billboard magazine, the band's new studio album had been scheduled to be released in July by RCA Records, but in an interview with the Brisbane Times on May 4, 2007, Stefan Lessard stated, "We’re on a bit of a creative break as far as working in the studio – we’ve been in pre-production for a long time, but we’ll get more serious later in the year."
On July 7, 2007, Dave Matthews Band performed on the American Live Earth concert at Giants Stadium.
On August 1, 2007, the band kicked off their annual summer tour in Mansfield, Massachusetts. The tour was shorter than most Dave Matthews Band summer tours, with only 37 shows. This tour saw the live debut of songs that the band had been working on in the studio earlier in the year with Mark Batson, including "#27", "Cornbread", as well as the dark and unique "A Dream So Real." "A Dream So Real" would only be played once after the 2007 Summer Tour, at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on June 21, 2008, featuring Matthews playing keyboard. Supporting acts for the tour included Toots and the Maytals, The Roots, and Robert Randolph and the Family Band.
On September 6, 2007, Dave Matthews Band performed a free concert for the Virginia Tech student body and faculty. The show was entitled "A Concert for Virginia Tech" and was done in memory of the shootings that took place on April 16, 2007. John Mayer, Phil Vassar, and Nas joined them. There were over 50,000 people in attendance. Two days later, they performed a benefit show at Atlanta's Piedmont Park with the Allman Brothers Band opening. Though only 65,000 tickets were sold (50,000 originally, then a second block of 15,000) nearly 20,000 people sneaked into the show, making it the largest one-day concert in Atlanta history. The show raised money for the Piedmont Park Conservancy Association. It was released as a CD/DVD called Live at Piedmont Park.
In a news article posted on August 30 on the official site, it was announced that a video for the song "Eh Hee" would be released for free download on the iTunes Store starting September 4, and remaining free throughout the week until it would be made available for purchase. The recording and video is a result of a solo effort by Dave Matthews, and does not include the other band members.
On March 6, 2008, it was revealed that the band had been working with Rob Cavallo on their next album, Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King. It was also mentioned that guitarist and longtime friend Tim Reynolds would be recording with the band on the new studio album. Reynolds would also join the band for their subsequent summer tour.
On April 6, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds performed an acoustic concert at Indiana University entitled "Rock for Change" in support of Barack Obama's presidential campaign. They also played a benefit show for the Seeds of Compassion initiative on April 11 at KeyArena in Seattle, part of the five-day celebration that week centered on the Dalai Lama. This was followed by two nights at the Fifth Annual Kokua Festival on April 19 and 20 at the Waikiki Shell in Honolulu, Hawaii. These shows were part of a benefit for the Kokua Hawai'i Foundation, created by Jack Johnson and his wife Kim to benefit Hawaii's educational system.
In July 2008, Dave Matthews Band headlined alongside Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the Mile High Music Festival held in Denver, Colorado. The festival ultimately became the largest in Colorado history. On December 17, 2008, DMB released the live album Dave Matthews Band – Live At Mile High Music Festival (2008). On May 27, three days before the band embarked on their annual summer tour, it was announced that keyboardist Butch Taylor, who had toured with the band since 2001, had decided to leave the band.
The Dave Matthews Band played their last show with all five original members on June 28 at the Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, Virginia. Two days later saxophonist LeRoi Moore was injured in an ATV accident on his farm near Charlottesville, Virginia. On July 1, 2008 while in Charlottesville, Dave Matthews announced Moore's accident. Béla Fleck and the Flecktones saxophonist Jeff Coffin filled in for Moore for the remainder of the tour. Although he was expected to make a full recovery, Moore died suddenly of complications from the accident on August 19. The following statement was released on the band's website:
We are deeply saddened that LeRoi Moore, saxophonist and founding member of Dave Matthews Band, died unexpectedly Tuesday afternoon, August 19, 2008, at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles from sudden complications stemming from his June ATV accident on his farm near Charlottesville, Virginia. LeRoi had recently returned to his Los Angeles home to begin an intensive physical rehabilitation program.
The band went ahead with a scheduled show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where Matthews announced the death of the band's "dear friend" to the crowd.
Despite Moore's death, the band continued to play the rest of the tour, cancelling only two shows. They concluded the tour with a benefit concert for lung cancer research (Stand Up For A Cure) at Madison Square Garden in New York City on September 10, for which tickets were exclusive to members of the band's fan club, Warehouse.
The band's next album, titled Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, was released on June 2, 2009, coinciding with a supporting summer tour, slated to run through early October. The band named their most recent album in honor of Moore. Moore is said to be the "King" in the album title. Tim Reynolds, Rashawn Ross and Jeff Coffin performed with the band on both the spring and the summer tours of 2009 and 2010.
The album peaked at number one on the Billboard 200, achieving platinum status. To date, three singles have been released, "Funny The Way It Is", "Why I Am", and "You and Me".
The album was nominated for two 2010 Grammy Awards: Best Rock Album and Album of the Year. During the awards telecast, the band played "You and Me" with accompaniment by live singers, percussionists, a string section, and an eight-piece horn section made up of teenagers from the Grammy Jazz Ensemble.
2011 marked the 20th Anniversary of the Band, and in March 2010 DMB announced that they would not tour in 2011, for the first time in 20 years. On January 19, 2011, the band announced on their website: "2011 is our 20th anniversary as a band and we want to celebrate by playing music together. While we are still taking the year off from touring, we have decided to plan four multi-day, multi-artist music events that will take place this summer. We will be sending out save the date emails and announcing more information soon but we wanted to share the news with our fans first." On February 22, the dates of the first show was announced as being at Bader Field in Atlantic City, New Jersey with David Gray, Ray LaMontagne, The Flaming Lips, O.A.R. and many others, and would take place on June 26. The second show was announced on April 7 and will be in Chicago with David Gray, Ray LaMontagne, O.A.R. and others with The Flaming Lips performing The Dark Side of the Moon.
The third and fourth shows were announced April 21. The third show was on August 26–28 at Governors Island in New York City with Dispatch, The Roots and Gogol Bordello and others. The fourth show was over Labor Day, September 2–4 at The Gorge in George, Washington with Dispatch, The Roots and John Butler Trio with many more and others to be announced.
The first show was hosted in Atlantic City at Bader Field on June 26, 2011. The Dave Matthews Band Caravan was largely successful. The short, 13-show tour saw the live return of many fan favorite songs. "Captain" was played for the first time since 2004, at the debut show of the Caravan tour on June 24, 2011. This show also saw the debut "cover" performances of Led Zeppelin's "Good Times Bad Times", and Morphine's "Buena." Features from the band's 2006 Summer Tour "Break Free" and "Kill the King" were also played for the first time since 2006. The unreleased song "Joyride" and hit single "American Baby" from Stand Up were also played for the first time since 2006. Tim Reynolds and Dave Matthews also played their own acoustic set, performing songs like "Oh" and "So Damn Lucky". The top three albums played on this tour (from most to least played) were Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, Cover Songs, and Crash.
On December 16, 2011, the band officially released the Dave Matthews Band Caravan show that took place on June 26, 2011 as Live at Atlantic City.
On February 7, 2012, Dave Matthews Band was announced as a headliner for the Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama. This was the first officially announced tour date for the band in 2012. Other headliners at this event were Jack White and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
On February 14, DMB announced the dates for a summer tour. The next day it was announced that they were recording a new studio album with producer Steve Lillywhite who worked with them on Under the Table and Dreaming, Crash and Before These Crowded Streets.
The Dave Matthews Band kicked off their 43 show 2012 summer tour at The Woodlands, Texas. This tour saw the live return of fan favorite songs such as "You Never Know" "Help Myself" and "Everybody Wake Up (Our Finest Hour Arrives)." The tour also saw the full band, live debuts of all of the songs off of Away from the World (except for "Broken Things" "Belly Full" and "Drunken Soldier") which would be released later on in the year.
The band released its eighth studio album, Away from the World, on September 11, 2012. The album saw the return of producer Steve Lillywhite, who had not worked with the band since their collaboration on the never released "The Lillywhite Sessions" in 2000. The album went to #1 on the Billboard 200, their sixth release to do so. The achievement tied the band with the Eagles for the most #1 albums by an American band in chart history.
Following the successful release of Away from the World, the band kicked off their 15 show, 2012 Winter Tour with a two-night show in East Rutherford, New Jersey on November 30 and December 1, 2012. The show that took place on November 30, featured the band playing every song off Away from the World. This marks the first time that the band has played an album in its entirety at a single show. Shows from November 30 to December 9 were opened by Jimmy Cliff while the second half of the shows on the tour (from December 11 to December 22), were opened by The Lumineers. They concluded the tour at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on December 22, 2012 where he still played 6 songs from his new album, Away From the World.
In January 2013, the band announced three performance dates for spring shows in the south, including the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
On February 15, DMB's website leaked the summer tour dates. They were quickly removed. DMB's 45 show, 2013 summer tour kicked off at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in Woodlands, Texas on May 17. The 2013 Summer Tour saw the highest number of different songs played out of any DMB tours in the history of the band. 110 unique songs were played, including the return of fan favorites such as True Reflections (first time played since 2003), Crazy Easy (first time played since 2004), and #34 (first time played since 2007). The tour ended with a show in Mountain View, California on September 8, 2013 which featured the longest performance of any song played on that tour (a 23.5-minute version of the hit song "Two Step"). In September 2013, the group announced they would be touring in South Africa, the birthplace of Dave Matthews, for the first time. On that tour, DMB will also be going back to South America performing in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile.
In November 2013, Matthews announced that a new album was in the works. The record will be produced by Rob Cavallo.
Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds began 2014 with a two night stand in New Orleans, Louisiana, performing at the Saenger Theatre on January 15 and January 16.
In January 2014, the 2014 Summer Tour was announced as "A Very Special Evening With Dave Matthews Band", where the band will play two sets at each show, one being acoustic and featuring different onstage lineups, and the traditional DMB electric set, with no opening acts. This also marked the first time that DMB did not make their annual two-night run at Alpine Valley Music Theatre since 2001.
In April 2014, DMB performed five shows in Australia including the West Coast Blues N Roots Festival, and the Byron Bay Bluesfest.
After noticeably struggling at shows in Australia, Tinsley revealed via his Twitter page, that he has developed arthritis in his right hand. Tinsley underwent surgery to correct carpal tunnel syndrome. He stated that he would be fine and would be ready for the coming tour. Tinsley has since made a marked improvement, and began playing strongly again towards the beginning of the 2014 Summer Tour.
The Dave Matthews Band's 42-show, 2014 Summer Tour kicked off in The Woodlands, Texas. The shorter acoustic set is played before the longer electric set. The acoustic set features the band in numerous different arrangements. The acoustic set also features Beauford on a smaller drum kit, bassist Lessard on acoustic and upright basses, Reynolds on acoustic guitar, and a more toned down horn section, featuring Coffin on flute. The acoustic set has also seen the return of many fan favorite songs, such as "I'll Back You Up", (played for the first time since 2010) "Pay For What You Get" and "Stolen Away on 55th and 3rd", (each being played for the first time since 2008), and the rare "Good Good Time", being played for the first time in its true, original format with Matthews using a capo since 2004. The tour has also seen a few recurring guests, such as Bela Fleck, as well as the return of background vocalists, "The Lovely Ladies" guesting occasional, singing on songs such as "Stay (Wasting Time) and "You and Me."
According to drummer Carter Beauford and trumpeter Rashawn Ross, the band will be heading into the studio to resume work on their upcoming studio album, after the conclusion of the 2014 Summer Tour.
In September 2014, it was announced that Dave and Tim would be kicking off the year with a two night stand in Oakland, California, at the historic Paramount Theatre (Oakland, California) on January 16 and January 17.
The band announced in November 2014 that they will be playing their first show ever in Mexico in 2015. They will be headlining Vive Latino in Mexico City on March 15, 2015.
On January 13, 2015, the band announced that they will be going on a summer tour and performing two full sets each evening. The North American tour starts in Austin, Texas on May 13 and concludes in Phoenix, Arizona on September 13. Soon after this announcement, the band announced an extensive European tour for the fall of 2015. The tour would commence with the band's first ever show in Abu Dhabi on October 8. After this show, the tour includes stops in Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, 4 shows in Italy, 4 shows in Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, France, 3 shows in the United Kingdom, and wraps up in Ireland on November 13. The tour also includes a stop in Poland, marking the first time the band has played there.
The band debuted three new songs, May 7, 2015, the band debuted Black and Blue Bird, on Legends on Letterman, and at a summer tour show in Raleigh, North Carolina on May 22, 2015, the band debuted Be Yourself with additional accompaniment guests, the Lovely Ladies. On June 12, 2015, Virginia in The Rain was debuted at Hartford, Connecticut.
In 2016, Dave Matthews Band reached its 25th anniversary and announced an anniversary tour. The 2016 tour ran from May 11 to September 4 with 45 shows in the U.S. and one show in Canada. In an email to their fan club, DMB announced in early 2016 that they would be not touring in 2017, marking the first time this has occurred since their inception in 1991. Although, in January of 2017, an e-mail was sent out announcing that Dave and Tim Reynolds would be touring in the Summer months of 2017.
Known for their grassroots attitude and tight, engaging live shows, the Dave Matthews Band always encouraged fans to record its performances, and were one of rock's most bootlegged bands. In fact, a direct patch to the soundboard was made available to recordists until 1995, when some of these tapes found their way into less scrupulous, commercial-minded hands who, in the band's eyes, overcharged fans. The band cites college students trading these tapes in the early 1990s as a key reason for their current fame.
In recent years it has been common to see several sources per show, sometimes as many as five or more.
In an effort to promote fan interaction, the official fan association for DMB, Warehouse, was opened December 4, 1998. Warehouse gives fans early access to concert tickets, exclusive CDs and merchandise to its members. Warehouse Fan Association (also known as "The Warehouse") pioneered the internet-based ticket sales used by many artists today. DMB Manager Coran Capshaw, who was convicted and pardoned for first degree murder, founded and ran Musictoday, a company which runs Warehouse and other online fan clubs. In August, 2006, it was acquired by major concert promoter Live Nation, a spinoff of Clear Channel.Studio albums
Remember Two Things (1993) [independent album]
Under the Table and Dreaming (1994)
Before These Crowded Streets (1998)
Busted Stuff (2002)
Stand Up (2005)
Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King (2009)
Away from the World (2012)
According to the band's website, as of May, 2010, the band's own charity, the BAMA Works Fund, has contributed over $8.5 million to a wide variety of need organizations. It was founded in 1999 to address the needs of disadvantaged youth, disabled persons, the environment, and arts and humanities in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia area, and surrounding area of Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Nelson, and Orange Counties. In addition, BAMA Works Fund has been active in other projects, and often the Dave Matthews Band, both as a whole and individually, have planned charity events and donated their time and resources outside of Charlottesville. Some examples include building a "Village Recovery Fund" after the tsunami that ravaged Sri Lanka, promoting a challenge grant for the Habitat for Humanity Musician's Village in New Orleans, multiple appearances to benefit both Farm Aid and the annual Neil Young-sponsored Bridge School Benefits, fundraisers for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and followed this with donations after the 2010 disaster that leveled many villages in Haiti. The band played benefit concerts to help fund the school system in New York City, and countless other concerns. As a result, the band was awarded the NAACP Chairman's Award. In Matthews' acceptance speech, he spoke for the band as a whole, commenting that of all the achievements they had enjoyed, that the award by the NAACP and Julian Bond in particular was by far the highest honor they had bestowed upon them.
The band donated the $1 million raised during a charity concert to homeless and children's charities in San Francisco, California. The band has played other charity concerts benefiting Bay Area parks, music education and AIDS research.
In June 2016, the band announced that a CD set of Dave Matthews' 1996 solo performance at Sweet Briar College would be released later on in the summer, with all profits to be donated to the college, which almost closed in 2015.