brent johnson digs up a lost treasure from Dave Matthews Band on the day they announced a summer tour …
“Dave Matthews Band.”
It’s a three-word term that has been among the most searched items on Google all day.
That’s because the superstar alt-rockers announced dates for a summer tour today. And a Dave Matthews Band summer tour is one of the most anticipated events in rock music.
For the thousands of Daveheads (like me) across the country, the arrival of summer has always meant Matthews and his band would bring their jazzy, world-beat friendly, driving acoustic rock to stadiums and arenas all over the land.
But this year is special. Last summer was the first in years that DMB didn’t officially “tour.” Instead, they held a three-day festival called the Dave Matthews Band Caravan in four cities. (Pop-Break covered the final day at Randall’s Island In New York.)
This summer, there’s a slew of dates all over the map. And the band will reportedly debut new material from an album they’re working on with producer Steve Lillywhite.
Name sound familiar? Maybe that’s because he’s worked with everyone from U2 to Peter Gabriel to The Rolling Stones to Morrissey. Maybe that’s because he produced the three stellar albums that opened DMB’s career.
Or maybe it’s because he’s the man behind The Lillywhite Sessions — a 2000 recording that has gained almost mythical status after Matthews & Co. scrapped the project and a bootleg of the songs famously leaked online at the height of the Napster era.
Instead, the band released Everyday, a whole new record with slick pop producer Glen Ballard. Fans cried foul, and DMB followed it up with a string of lackluster recordings.
This is the first time DMB has worked with Lillywhite since then. And that’s exciting: The British producer knew how to highlight the pathos in Matthews’ songwriting and the crackling nuances in the band’s musicianship. It’s no surprise DMB has rarely approached the heft and energy of their early work since they replaced him.
In honor of the news, today’s Lost Song is one of the great tracks from The Lillywhite Sessions: ‘Big Eyed Fish.’ At the time, the band was reportedly unhappy with the depressing lyrics and plodding tone of Matthews’ new songs. But in hindsight, they’re full of depth and emotion. This one is a morality tale about the pitfalls of seeking greener grass — seen through the eyes of a man, a monkey and a fish.
DMB eventually released the song in 2003 as part of Busted Stuff — a collection of re-recordings of the Lillywhite Sessions tunes. But like most of the tracks on that version, the new ‘Fish’ lacked the bite of the original …