The Dave Matthews Band suffered a tragic loss in 2008, when the group’s longtime saxophonist LeRoi Moore died after an auto accident. But sometimes out of tragedy comes triumph. The Virginia-bred band regrouped and released 2009’s “Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King,” a chart-topping album that is considered one of the best from the Dave Matthews Band. “Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King” has also received Grammy nominations for album of the year and best rock album.
In this interview, lead singer/guitarist Dave Matthews, violinist Boyd Tinsley, bass player Stefan Lessard and drummer Carter Beauford talked briefly about making the album. And although the group is carrying on without Moore, his spirit is still very much alive in the music and in everything the band does.
How would you describe what the Dave Matthews Band is about these days?
Lessard: The soul of what we do and who we are and how we play together is all in this music.
Beauford: We don’t really accept the fact that it happens until it’s over.
How did you cope with making your first album since the passing of LeRoi Moore?
Matthews: There was poison leaking into our great friendships, and I just wanted to get out of it.
Beauford: Things were kind of touch and go, but that sort of catapulted us into talking …
Matthews: About what we meant to each other and what music meant.
Dave Matthews Band on “Today” in New York City, June 2009
Most bands don’t last as long as your band has, with the same original lineup. What’s kept you guys together?
Tinsley: What kept us together over the years is the love of this band and the love of this music.
Beauford: It’s about presenting a piece of you to the people and say, “Hey, this is what I have to offer, and it’s my best work.”
Out of all the albums the Dave Matthews Band has made, how do you want people to feel about “Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King”?
Matthews: If this is my last album that I ever make, it’s the only album that I hope people listen to.
Tinsley: People always say, “Take it to the next level,” and that’s what we’ve done here. We’ve taken it to the next level. This is for LeRoi.
For more info: Dave Matthews Band website
Photo credits: Photo #1: RCA Records. Photo #2: AP.