Dave Matthews Band Revels In 'Busted Stuff'

(Feature excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com) Although Dave Matthews says he "wasn't too rattled" by the mixed fan response to 2001's "Everyday," he's pleased that the latest Dave Matthews B

Dave Matthews admits that he's one of those artists who will find -- and then obsessively fixate upon -- the occasional sour face in a crowd of adoring fans. "When you get to a point of reaching a large, accepting audience, it's a natural inclination to zero-in on that one person who's not digging you and then torture yourself searching for the reason why," he says, adding with a self-deprecating laugh, "You want to walk up to that person and shake their shoulders and say, 'What's the matter?' Clearly, I take these things entirely too personally."

Yet Matthews says he "wasn't too rattled" by the mixed fan response to "Everyday," his band's experimental 2001 opus. "It was a joyful experience for me, and that's what I carry in my heart about that record. When the history of this band is written, I believe that 'Everyday' will stand on its own and shine as one of our truly great records. It just took some people by surprise, which is not the worst thing an artist can do."

Still, he's equally pleased that the latest Dave Matthews Band (DMB) offering, "Busted Stuff" (due July 16 on RCA), returns to the more intimate, soulfully acoustic-based sound that loyalists have come to appreciate and anticipate.

"This record captured a precious time for this band," he says. "Throughout the process, there was a deep sense of caring between us. It was a reaffirming experience for us, on both musical and personal levels. The bond among us always felt strong, but we realized that it was unbreakable. It was fantastic."

Some of the material featured on "Busted Stuff" was first drawn during an ill-fated studio liaison with producer Steve Lillywhite several years ago. After months of what Matthews describes as "tension and banging one's head against the wall," the tracks were scrapped, and the band linked with producer Glen Ballard to record "Everyday."

"The Lillywhite sessions should've worked, but they didn't, and who knows why," band member Boyd Tinsley says. "It just became a really hard and arduous process after a while. It felt like we weren't going anywhere."

Unfortunately, while the band plowed through the making and marketing of "Everyday," tracks from the Lillywhite sessions were leaked onto the Internet -- a frustrating experience that Matthews likens to "a painter finding his painting for sale in a gallery before he's finished it. It was a huge violation."

The exposure of the songs from those sessions didn't sway the band from finishing them for "Busted Stuff," though. "As we were working on those songs, in particular, there was a sense of, 'Well, if they liked them unfinished, wait until they hear them as they're intended,'" notes Stephen Harris, the band's longtime engineer who was tapped to produce this project.

The new collection shows Matthews offering far more soulful vocals than he has previously. His rich baritone and warmly conversational tone is particularly effective on the jazz-kissed "Grace Is Gone" and the gentle "Where Are You Going," which has been tapped as the set's first single. The track is also featured on the soundtrack to the Adam Sandler film "Mr. Deeds," due out June 11.

The "Busted Stuff" CD will also feature various enhanced aspects, such as access to a secured Web site offering band interviews, live performances, and special tracks that were previously unavailable. RCA will also include a limited-edition bonus DVD of similar material.

Fans can expect DMB to do plenty of what it enjoys most -- tour incessantly. The band has already been on the road for the past two months, and will take a break in June. A second leg of touring will begin in July and keep the band on the road through the beginning of the fall.

"It's rarely felt so good to be on the road," Matthews says. "It's an amazing thing to step out onstage and bring songs that we're so deeply into and proud of to the fans. That sounds so hokey, but it's the absolute truth."

And what about that occasional fan who doesn't dig what the band is doing? I'm learning that the most important critic and fan of ours to please is me," he says. "I can and will want to connect with that one dude who's yelling 'you suck' to us. And I'll even find him rearing his ugly head in my mind more than I want. But I'll be able to maintain the proper perspective on what we're doing if I can remain proud of it at all times. And I am."

Excerpted from the June 8, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.

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