Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a band. Specifically, the Dave Matthews Band.
I got my first DMB CD (Under the Table and Dreaming) when I was in high school, sight unseen (unheard?) based on the recommendation of my best friend. Who knew that it would spark a love affair that would last for more than a decade?
Everybody was a DMB fan back then, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that I lived, breathed, ate, and slept in their music. Most of the time, literally. Certainly there are super-fans who had more “cred” to their name, but I did alright. I have something like 20 DMB CDs. I had shirts, hats and stickers. I saw them in concert more times than I can count, including one magical tour when I saw them three consecutive nights in a row. I listened to CDs in the car, in my room, and on my discman in between classes (that’s right you youngsters, a discman). I learned how to play the guitar because of Dave Matthews. It seems ridiculous now, but I used to wear a hemp necklace. A hemp necklace people!
Considering all of this, I felt like I must have tons and tons of old blog entries about the Dave Matthews Band, but surprisingly I didn’t. However, I did find a pretty good excerpt from a blog post as recent as February 2008 that sums things up quickly:
One final note, Live at Radio City Music Hall by Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds is really good! Dave and I used to have a pretty good relationship. We hit a rocky patch during the whole Lillywhite Sessions debacle, but Busted Stuff and Some Devil were better than a dozen roses. Still, the endless live compilations began to wear on me (see Live Trax vols 1 – 10). How many CDs can I own with the same songs on them? Finally, Stand Up did our relationship in. But here comes Live at Radio City to make me remember all those romantic weekends at Deer Creek. Of course it is good! Did we forget that Live at Luther College inspired me to learn how to play the guitar? And that Tim Reynolds still can play the hell out of a guitar. Dave’s voice is a little more raspy, the song selection is decidedly spiritual and I’ve never heard acoustic guitar sound so…sinister. They really work that low E! But it certainly brings back memories and I’ve spent more than a few trips in the car singing my lungs out.
Although I rarely listen to DMB these days, there’s no denying that a large portion of my life is inexorably tied to that music. It was the unceasing soundtrack of my life for a large, important chuck of time, spanning from high school, throughout college, throughout my time in Philadelphia, and into my life in Chicago.
Which is probably why, when I pulled out some old DMB CDs for a road trip a couple of weeks ago, I startled Sara by weeping openly several times.
It would be impossible to hear a DMB song that didn’t have some associated memory with it. I know them all by heart, but it’s like they know *me* by heart as well. I can’t hear Under the Table without thinking about driving around Fort Wayne in Chris’ red S10. I can’t hear Crash or Recently without thinking about playing Magic the Gathering in Casey’s basement. Live at Luther College reminds me of the guys that lived in my hallway at the dorm my freshman year. Before These Crowded Streets reminds me of playing guitar in Hillenbrand with Casey and Jeremy. Rody and I listed to Live at Red Rocks in the car on the way Deer Creek for concerts (ha, I just remembered, Rody won DMB tickets once by calling in to a radio show and singing Ants Marching!). Reid and Casey performed #41 at an open mike in the basement of the Union. I think about ex-girlfriends, friends half way around the world, and now I think about the DMB songs I sang to my kids when they were babies and wouldn’t go to sleep (and still occasionally now).
Everybody has a particular band or particular style of music that really defines them, or reminds them of their childhood. For me, that is and always will be the Dave Matthews Band.