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Success Still Blows Dave Matthews Band's Minds

Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Boyd Tinsley has gotten used to “having my mind blown” during his tenure in the Dave Matthews Band.

The violinist has watched the quintet go from a bar and frat party act when it first started 17 years ago in Charlottesville, Va., to filling stadiums and festival fields over the course of its six-studio-album career. Tinsley says that “after a while, you just sort of accept it,” but, he adds, that doesn’t mean he and his bandmates take the success for granted.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” says Tinsley, 44, who released a solo album, “True Reflections,” in 2003 and has also been a model for Tommy Hilfiger and JanSport campaigns. “It’s like, you know the crowd is coming and we’re gonna do on stage and just play and give the music everything we’ve got, but it’s so heartening to see people, year after year, keep coming back.

“That puts some pressure on you. It really does. Our way of dealing with it is to get on stage and just play, and that seems to do it for us.”

But unlike others in the so-called “jam band” community who stake their careers on live shows, the Dave Matthews Band is not averse to the studio, either. The group has sold 31 million albums, and it’s even enjoyed radio play for singles such as “What Would You Say,” “Too Much,” “Crash Into Me,” “The Space Between” and “Stay (Wasting Time).”

There’s new music in the offing, too. DMB has been busy writing songs for its next album — the follow-up to 2005’s chart-topping “Stand Up” — which will be produced by Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Goo Goo Dolls, Kid Rock) and finished after the band comes off the road in September. Tinsley says the music “sounds very much like DMB, but like songs you’ve never heard before ... coming from an entirely different direction.” It’s also, he says, more of a full band effort rather than a group just performing Matthews’ songs.

“Every song was written by everybody at the same time — we’ve never really done that before. We all got together and played and got these ideas, and we’d all work through building these songs all together. Everybody’s just really excited about it.

“That’s why I say it sounds very much like DMB. It couldn’t be more purely DMB than what it is.”

And even though the new songs are still in an unfinished form, Tinsley says fans may have an opportunity to hear them previewed at the group’s shows this summer.

“It might be a situation where we might take a couple of those in rehearsals and in sound checks and sort of work out arrangements to play this summer,” he explains. “We haven’t really discussed that too much. That’s the sort of thing that really comes spontaneously when we get together.”

The Dave Matthews Band and Alejandro Escovedo at 7 p.m. Monday (June 9) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $75 pavilion, $40 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet. com. The Dave Matthews Band also performs July 5 as part of the Rothbury Festival on the Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury, Mich. Tickets are $244.75 and include parking and camping for the entire festival. Information is available at www.rothburyfestival.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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