DAVE MATTHEWS Biography - Musicians


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Name: Dave Matthews                                                                     
Birth name: David John Matthews                                                         
Born: 9 January 1967 Johannesburg, South Africa                                         
David John Matthews (born January 9, 1967) is a South African, now naturalized         
American, Grammy-winning lead vocalist and guitarist for the Dave Matthews Band.       
He has also worked as a solo artist, and with other musicians such as Tim               
Reynolds and Trey Anastasio. An occasional actor, he has also appeared in three         
feature films.                                                                         
Dave is the third of four children born to John and Val Matthews. At age two,           
Dave's family migrated to Yorktown Heights in Westchester County, New York,             
where his father, a physicist, went to work for IBM.                                   
In 1974 the family again moved to Cambridge, England for a year before returning       
to New York—where his father died from lung cancer in 1977. Nevin Martell argues     
that his father's death may be an impetus for his "carpe diem" lyrics. The             
family moved back to South Africa in 1980.                                             
Upon Dave's graduation from St Stithians College high school, he faced a               
requirement by the South African government to put in two years of compulsory           
military service. Coming from a devoutly Quaker family, military service was not       
an option.                                                                             
Dave would move to Charlottesville, Virginia, a town Dave's family had lived in         
before he was born. It was in Charlottesville that he became part of the local         
music community. Pursuing various interests, Matthews tried his hand on stage,         
acting in various local productions. While enthusiastic for music, and a popular       
bartender at a local watering hole called Miller's, Matthews was intimidated by         
the quality of the local musicians and largely shied away from performing               
publicly. But local star (and future collaborator) Tim Reynolds finally goaded         
Matthews to join him on stage one night, and Matthews stunned the audience with         
his performance. This eventually led to his first professional musical gig at           
a modern dance performance by the Miki Liszt Dance Company, singing "Sensitive         
Feelings," composed by John D'earth and Dawn Thompson. In 1990 he hatched the           
idea to form his own band.                                                             
In 1994, Dave's older sister, Anne, who lived in South Africa, was murdered by         
her husband who subsequently committed suicide on or around January 27, 1994.           
- an event that has had a drastic effect on Dave's outlook on life.                     
Immediately following her death, Dave was forced to return to the United States         
due to unbreakable professional obligations. On January 29, 1994, he performed         
with Tim Reynolds at Wetlands in New York where he dedicated that performance "to       
her memory". His later album "Under the Table and Dreaming" would be dedicated         
to her. Anne is survived by her two children who, upon Anne's death, traveled           
to America, where Dave and his younger sister Jane took responsibility for their       
upbringing. They continue to raise them to this day.                                   
Matthews had originally envisioned someone else singing his songs but instead           
decided to use his own vocals. Yet after writing his first few songs, including         
"The Song that Jane Likes" and "Recently", he began to consider starting his own       
band. Matthews formed The Dave Matthews Band in early 1991 with Boyd Tinsley,           
LeRoi Moore, Carter Beauford, Stefan Lessard, and Peter Griesar (who left the           
band a short time later) while he was working as a bartender at Miller's in             
Charlottesville. The band's first show was on April 20, 1991, at the Earth Day         
Festival in Charlottesville, Virginia.                                                 
They began booking gigs on local stages even though they did not have a name.           
They considered "Dumela", the South African word for hello, but no real                 
enthusiasm was ever felt. They dropped the idea. It is reported that someone           
from the band telephoned a place where they were booked and said to "just write         
Dave Matthews and a band will show up." The person receiving the call wrote "band"     
after the name, and consequently it stuck.