True Reflections With Boyd Tinsley
Last summer you also debuted a handful of numbers on tour with the intention of eventually recording them…
Our intention was to take about seven of the songs that we had worked out last summer and use them as the base of the album. But when we got in the studio, man, everyone was feeling this time like, “Let’s just start from scratch—let’s just build a whole new album from ideas from everyone in the band.” I’m really glad we did that. This is definitely one of the most fun, creative studio experiences we’ve ever had. Everyone was a main contributor to at least one, or even several, songs. It brought out a lot of different things from each band member. It forced us to dig into places we haven’t really dug into before. Stefan picked up an electronic guitar. Dave played piano. I play electric mandolin on a tune. I think everyone wanted to experiment. There is a good chance that I’m even going to play mandolin on the road.
How did you structure the group writing process?
For the first week or so, we’d get in the studio with Mark Batson one at a time and just put down ideas. On “American Baby,” the violin hook is the very first thing I played in the studio. Mark basically said, “Play” and the violin hook is the first thing I came out with at that time and that whole song is based on that hook. Everyone did that: Dave came in with some chord progressions and Carter came in with some drum grooves and Roi came in with some horn lines. It was based on ideas brought to the table by individual band members. Mark is an amazing guy—a really insightful producer and individual. He understood what each of us brought to the table as an individual.
Did Batson bring any elements of his hip-hop background into the Stand Up sessions?
If there is anything from the hip-hop side, it’s that the low-end is a lot more kicking than it used to be. And that’s a good thing. But he didn’t try to come in and make us into a hip-hop band. The thing about Mark is that he is a great musician…period. He understood the band from the very beginning. I think the album sounds like the Dave Matthews Band but a different side of the Dave Matthews Band. It comes across in a lot of different ways. There is a funkier side in certain places and more of a rock side in other places. A few songs got very African—a lot of that is coming from Dave, who’s South African. It brought a lot of stuff that we already had in us but we needed Mark to draw out.
In a 2002 Relix interview you told [senior editor] Dean Budnick that, in recent years, the Dave Matthews Band has been focusing more on tightening its arrangements than jamming. How much room do you feel there is for improvisation within these songs?
I think these songs definitely lend themselves to improvisation. I mean, I think some of the ballads will come out to be less improvisational, but I think for the most part, these songs are going to lend themselves to stretching out and evolving on the road. “Louisiana Bayou” is one that comes to mind as a song that will lend itself to a lot of improv.
Since 2002’s Busted Stuff, both you and Dave have recorded and released solo albums. Do you think your time away from the band helped further Stand Up’s collaborative spirit?
Hell yeah! I think that was a really great thing for us. At the same time I was doing my own solo album, Dave was doing his own solo thing. Everyone was reaching out to different projects and just going into their own studios and working on different ideas. It shows on this album. Everything we learned from those individual projects, we brought to the table on this album. Everyone had a lot of different ideas to bring. I played with Doyle Bramhall and Chris Bruce—a lot of great musicians. I think it actually opened us up a lot musically working on those different projects.
Shifting gears to the Dave Matthews Band’s live show—how is the band composing its setlists this tour?
It comes around that day [of the show]. It usually involves either Dave or Stefan or Dave and Stefan and Carter, because they’re the rhythm section. Roi and I don’t necessarily have to play every note, so we defer to them. And, occasionally, the crew will contribute as well. We try to mix it up for both us and the audience.
Last year the Dave Matthews Band also began to issue Live Trax, a series of authorized archival performances. How did you select the three shows currently offered. [12/8/98, Worcester, MA; 9/12/04, San Francisco, CA; and 8/27/00, Hartford, CT]?
A lot of it is the crew—they are the ones listening to us all the time. A lot of times when we’re in it, we can’t remember today from yesterday [laughs]. They’ll give us a bunch of CDs from different shows and we’ll listen to them and give our opinions on the best ones. But we usually let the crew pick those out. Like that San Francisco show was a really special one—similar to the New York show. The whole city sort of opened us. I remember it being a pretty smoking show—Carlos Santana came out and played with us that day. That was the highlight of that night for me.
*Santana seemed to act as a city ambassador, similar to what Warren Haynes did during your Central Park performance… *
I’ll tell you what: You see a lot of musicians come and go over the years, but Warren has been with us from the very beginning. He offered to support us when we were just starting out in clubs. He would come down and sit in with us—share his wisdom with us—and he always comes back around. He used to come down to check us out when we were playing at the Wetlands in the early 1990s. I have yet to meet a more spiritual individual.
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
Ron Sexsmith visits the Relix office to perform a tune from his latest record Forever Endeavor.
- Welcome to moe.town (Relix Revisited)
- Visions of the Hangout Music Festival 2013 (A Gallery)
- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros Share "Better Days"
- Jim Weider’s Project Percolator at the Inn On The Blues
- Electric Daisy Carnival New York (A Gallery)
- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers "Friend of The Devil" at the Beacon
- Dame "Sugar Muffin"
- Dead Confederate: In The Marrow
- Interlocken Festival to Feature Neil Young, Furthur, String Cheese Incident, Black Crowes, Zac Brown and More
- The Salvation of Page McConnell (Relix Revisited)
- Interlocken Adds Widespread Panic and John Fogerty, Furthur to Play Workingman’s Dead
- Warren Haynes and Joe Bonamassa "If Heartaches Were Nickels"
- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers "Friend of The Devil" at the Beacon
- The Final Ingredient in Dogfish Head’s Grateful Dead Tribute Ale Is…
- Stone Gossard Readies His Moonlander
- Trey Anastasio Band at The Hangout (Video Stream)
- Doctor’s Orders: So what should we call the Super Ball IX Newspaper?
- John Kadlecik Posts Statement on Bob Weir’s Collapse
- "I Wanne Be In moe.": The Latest Volunteers
- Bob Weir Escorted Off Stage During Furthur Show
- Furthur Cancels BottleRock Show as Bob Weir Is Out Of Commision
- Vote for Your Favorite "I Wanne Be In moe." Contestant
- Doctor’s Orders: What’s Your Favorite Furthur Song? (Win Copy of Relix Signed by Phil and Bobby)
- On The Verge Poll