Dave Matthews' Five Most Unlikely Musical Collaborations
Photo by Danny Clinch
Short of the Grateful Dead and the Beatles, no musical act has a more loyal fan base than Dave Matthews Band. Since its founding 23 years ago in Virginia, DMB has packed venues large and small. This year is no different. The band returns to South Florida's Cruzan Amphitheatre with two back-to-back shows. The diehards who continually attend the group's shows don't turn out just to hear frontman and namesake Dave croon and pluck his guitar; they're also eager to catch founding bassist Stefan Lessard, original drummer Carter Beauford, saxophonist Jeff Coffin, guitarist Tim Reynolds, trumpeter Rashawn Ross, and especially violinist Boyd Tinsley -- who is arguably the most crucial ingredient in the band's distinct sound.
But beyond the regulars, another draw is that you never know who might show up onstage to jam or sing. From international influences like South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela to banjo legend Bela Fleck to Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready, DMB is always ready to share the spotlight with a varied assortment of guests. In the band's communal spirit, we look back at five of the least likely musicians Dave Matthews has made music with over the years.
You'd think hanging out on a Sesame Street stoop would be all fun and games, but when Matthews guest-starred on the children's show last year, both he and the blue Muppet Grover were having feelings they couldn't explain. So with his banjo in hand, Dave sang along with Grover "I Need a Word," a tune teaching both toddlers and DMB completists names for feelings they might be having. This made Dave, Grover, and viewers joyful, especially when the two ended the skit with a happy, old-timey banjo tune.
2. The Rolling Stones
On the Rolling Stones' Bridges to Babylon Tour in 1997, the opening act was none other than Dave Matthews Band. But instead of being allowed to enjoy the rest of the night after playing the opener, Matthews was called back onstage to sing "Memory Motel" and a haunting rendition of "Wild Horses" alongside Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and company. The Stones thought so highly of the musician's work that they included his contribution to "Memory Motel" on their 1998 live album, No Security.