Our Icon for the month of October is Dave Matthews. He is the front man, guitarist and singer-songwriter of the popular grassroots group The Dave Matthews Band.
Musician and actor David John Matthews was born on January 9, 1967, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
A self-taught musician, he and his family moved around the world throughout his childhood. When he was 2 years old, they moved to the New York suburb of Yorktown Heights, where Matthews’ father, a physicist, worked for IBM. In 1977, Matthews’ father died of lung cancer, and the family returned to Johannesburg to be with relatives.
In 1990, Matthews decided to put together a demo tape and approached his favorite jazz musicians to accompany him: sax player Leroi Moore and drummer Carter Beauford. For bass, he signed on Stefan Lessard, a 16-year-old local prodigy. Violinist Boyd Tinsley was recruited just weeks after the band formed. Early local gigs were an immediate success, and the band quickly developed a devoted following. The band’s manager, Coran Capshaw, utilized grassroots marketing to move the band to the national stage. The group was known as The Dave Matthews Band.
The Dave Matthews Band was soon playing at frat houses and beach clubs around the country. People began to make bootlegs of their shows and word of the band spread quickly among the college crowd. In 1994, the band released its major label debut, Under The Table And Dreaming, which went to No. 11 in the Billboard 200. The band’s second album, Crash, was released two years later, debuting at No. 2. Though the album didn’t receive as much critical praise, the band’s follow-up concert sold out New York’s Madison Square Garden in three hours.
In October 1997, the band put out an official double-disc live album entitled Live at Red Rocks. Without any marketing or promotion, it debuted at No. 3, providing a high-quality and reasonably priced alternative to illegal live CDs that were beginning to flood the black market.
Matthews in 2003 made his big-screen debut in the Disney film Where the Red Fern Grows, and then followed with Because of Winn-Dixie (2005), co-starring Jeff Daniels and Eva Marie Saint. He also made appearances in the films I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007), You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008) and Just Go with It (2011), all of which starred Adam Sandler in the lead role.
He is happily married to wife Ashley and has twin daughters, Stella Busina and Grace Anne, and son August Oliver.