An exclusive video previewing Dave Matthews Band's new album and an in-depth conversation with Matthews himself.
Is "Space Man" a straight-up love song?
Absolutely. [Lyrically] what this person is doing is a confession of all his sins, of everything that's wrong with him, whether it's alcoholism or whatever excess it is, or whether it's poverty. At the end, he finishes off remembering how much he loves this lady. I like that song a lot, I really like the way it bounces.
Is that a banjo I hear on there?
Oh yeah, a friend of ours, Danny Barnes, he came out and played on a few tunes. He played on that and "Cockadile" and also on "Skworm."
"Cockadile," with its swampy feel, taps into the New Orleans vibe.
I love a lot of country music and I'm a big fan of Woodie Guthrie and old American folk music. So I wanted to bring some of that flavor and Louisiana brought it out the whole way. I have a few songs from my past where I talk about my daughter Grace. I was picking on my guitar and my daughter Stella came up and said "Daddy, when are you gonna put me in a song?" So that's why I keep saying that [in "Cockadile"]: "when my Stella cries, "Daddy when you gonna put me in a song?" That was the only line I had, then we went down to New Orleans and the rest of it came, and it seemed appropriate.
We've got Danny Barnes on that song, and Boyd [Tinsley]'s work is beautiful. And I love his solo on "Funny the Way it Is."
Whose dog is that that barks at the beginning of "Cockadile"?
There's a dog that was at the studio named Oliver that barked every time anyone came in. There was also a guy, a fruit and vegetable vendor, he'd drive his pickup truck around saying, "I got 'sparagus, I got onions, I got avocados, tomatoes,' so we put him at the end of "Skworm."
You come across pretty fearless as a songwriter here.
I'm terrified as a songwriter, but maybe that helps me a little bit. On this album I didn't let myself off the hook, I was really determined to get as much right as I could. That's how I viewed the process: as a battle for the right songs and a battle for the process, and a battle for making a great record that Roi would have loved, as well as making a record that I will stand up and if someone tells me "I don't like it" I can say "that's your problem, 'cause it's good, bro."