Butch Bails on Summer Tour

In a tersely-worded statement on their website, DMB has announced that keyboardist Butch Taylor will no longer be touring with them. Though never a formal member of the band, in the sense that such a thing is ever official, the statement describes him as leaving the band, as opposed to ceasing to support them on tour. The Virginia native performed with the band for a decade. The cause of the split is not yet known.

Dave and Tim to Perform for Obama

Barack Obama
Sen. Obama. By Matt Wright, reproduced under the Creative Commons license.
In news that will set conservative fans' heads exploding the country 'round, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds will be performing a concert to support Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign. The event will be held this Sunday, April 6, at Indiana University in Bloomington. The concert is to gain support for Obama, not to raise money, so the concert is free. It's open only to Indiana residents, with access requiring a valid state ID. Tickets are available in several locations around the state through Thursday.

Dave to Chat with Dalai Lama

Prior to Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds' Seattle benefit concert for the Dalai Lama, Dave and Lama Gyatso will engage in an on-stage dialogue. A known fan of the Buddhist leader in exile, this has got to be an exciting opportunity for Dave Matthews.

ATO Signs Liz Phair

We don't generally bother to write about ATO Records news here, because there's just so much of it and virtually none of it is of interest to DMB fans. But this is just awesome: ATO has signed Liz Phair, and they're re-releasing Exile in Guyville. The 1993 release is widely seen as one of the greatest albums ever. The ATO release will include four previously unreleased tracks, including "Ant in Alaska" and "Wild Thing," which are widely circulated as part of her "Girly Sound" demos, but apparently were part of the Exile recording sessions. It will also be accompanied by a DVD, which will feature, awesomely, Phair interviewing characters from the Wicker Park, Chicago indie scene, which includes John Cusack and This American Life's Ira Glass. All of this is enough to warrant forgiving Phair for her eponymous 2003 album, which was basically her Everyday.

Envision DMB re-releasing Remember Two Things, only this time without heavily modifying it in production to compensate for the quality of the performance, adding a few bonus tracks, and a DVD of them interviewing some of the other great Charlottesville creative types of the early 90s, and you've got the idea.

Summer Tour Dates, Album Info

In their most informative announcement in many months, the band today announced their tour dates and provided a long-awaited update on the progress on a new album. The summer tour is the same structure and most of the stops that we've seen for a decade, kicking off in Burgettstown, PA in late May and winding up in Berkeley, CA in early September. Opening acts are State Radio, Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, The Black Crowes, Paolo Nutini, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Old Crow Medicine Show, Gomez, Ingrid Michaelson, Willie Nelson, TR3, the Eli Young Band, Robert Earl Keen and O.A.R. The Warehouse lottery runs through March 17, while tickets go on sale to the general public on March 22 for most shows and March 29 for the remainder.

There's an eyebrow-raising price hike—the band is apparently experimenting with a new pricing structure, and is selling the best seats for $250 (!) a pop at a trio of shows. For a band that has long objected to high ticket prices, this is a significant change in tack.

Finally, there's news about the new album. The band is on their fifth producer in as many albums, having parted ways with Batson despite having begun their latest album with him. (For more on Batson see our 2005 interview with him.) The latest producer is Rob Cavallo, known for his extensive work with pop punk band Green Day, plus his production for one-time DMB collaborator Alanis Morissette, Chris Isaak and Jewel. Tim Reynolds is back in the game, contributing to the new album, presumably in the form of guitar, which explains how TR3 came to join the tour this summer. (See our 2000 interview with him.) There's no ETA on the long-developing album, but having surpassed the gestation period for the Lillywhite sessions, it has now been in progress longer than any other DMB album.

Dave and Tim in Hawaii

Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds will be performing at the Kokua Festival in Honolulu, Hawaii, the band has announced in an e-mail to fans. The April 19-20 event will benefit Jack Johnson's Kokua Hawaii Foundation, an environmental education group. Tickets go on sale via Ticketmaster next week.

Willie Nelson Covers "Gravedigger"

Willie Nelson covers "Gravedigger" on his new album, Moment of Forever due out later this month. Does it get any better than Willie covering DMB? I submit to you that it does not.

Live Albums on iTMS

Dave Matthews Band now has a significant chunk of their live catalog on the iTunes Music Store, rather than just the studio tracks that they've been offering since April of last year. They're sticking to their nationally-distributed live releases (Live at Red Rocks, Listener Supported, etc.), keeping their Live Trax series for sale on their site. The band has been enormously reluctant to sell digital audio through iTMS, preferring their own proprietary sales system through their website. Thanks to Dave F. for the tip.

Stefan, Son Escape House Fire

Burned House
By Andrew Shurtleff, Daily Progress.
Stefan Lessard and his son were lucky to escape a six-alarm fire that destroyed their home this morning. The house is heavily damaged -- total loss is presumed -- despite the response from every last fire company in the county. It's thought that the fire began on the front porch around 7:30am. Firefighters were only able to save Stefan's Chevrolet Chevelle. from the garage. The 3,200 square foot house, built in 2001, had been assessed for tax purposes at $820,000. Stefan purchased it four years ago.

"Round and Round" Video Interview

Rolling Stone has a brief, casual video interview with Dave Matthews on their website, including him playing some bits from "Round and Round." He describes the song as his "newest Satellite," an apparent reference to the simplicity of the guitar progression. The song debuted earlier this month. Thanks to Brian W. for the tip.

West Point Webcast

Here's your day-before reminder that DMB's two-night stand at West Point will be broadcast online on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Robert Randolph and the Family Band opens at 6:45pm, followed by DMB, presumably at 8:00pm. Watch the whole thing here.

DMB to Play West Point

The band's cross-branding promotion with a phone company has come to a close, with the winner of the "World's Loudest Pep Rally" competition being named. The United States Military Academy at West Point sent more text messages through the phone company's mobile phones than any of the other 100+ universities vying to have the band play at their school. The pair of free concerts will be held at the school on November 14 and 15, with Robert Randolph & the Family Band opening. A small number of tickets will be provided to Warehouse members via lottery.

"In Rainbows" Distributed by ATO?

Weeks of rumors broke into the press today with the New York Times reporting that Radiohead's "In Rainbows" will be distributed by ATO Records. The band made waves recently by selling the release online on a name-your-price basis, rather than surrendering ownership or distribution to a label. Dave Matthews and Coran Capshaw's ATO Records -- an imprint of RCA/BMG -- has earned a reputation as a label that's willing to let artists do their own thing, which is presumably what attracted Radiohead to them. Thanks to Shanes for the tip.

Leroi in Honda Ad

The reclusive Leroi Moore is featured in a Honda advertisement, an advertising industry publication reports. The promotion for the Ridgeline pickup attempts to present the vehicle as being both tough but refined, and a series of advertisements present clashing images to reinforce this, such as Chuck Norris at a garden party or using a laser to carve a turkey. The spot in which Leroi appears shows sailors battling a tumultuous ocean while the well-coiffed Moore calmly plays sax on deck. It's not unheard of for members of DMB to appear in advertisements, but it's certainly not something they do often. Thanks to Zach G. for the tip.

Matthews Guests at Chesney Concert

Eh Hee ScreenshotIn one of the weirder bits of news recently, several people e-mailed us this morning reporting that Dave Matthews guested at a Kenny Chesney concert last night. Chesney is wrapping up his summer-long tour with a two-night stand in Atlanta and, like Dave Matthews Band, apparently believes in a big finish. He's said to have performed "Where Are You Going?" and dueted with Chesney on a cover of Steve Miller Band's "The Joker." The country singer inspires a following that's similar in tone and tenor to DMB fans. One potential source of the odd coupling is country musician Pat Green, who opened five shows for DMB last month -- he likewise opened for Chesney throughout his tour, and is signed to Chesney's BNA Records. Thanks to Brandon J. for being first with the news.

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