Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Before DMB Meant Asshats Drinking Natty Light and Screaming For "Crash"

15 year old Me Meeting Boyd Tinsley: You can't tell, but I was crying

In times of hardship (like, um, getting fired from the job you've held for two years over something absolutely fucking absurd) I'm wont to resort to familiarity. I have a handful of things that make me feel comfortable despite the turmoil of this world: Law and Order: SVU, Marlboro Lights, videochatting with my little sister, after dinner coffee and "Goodbye to All That" by Joan Didion-- a new addition to the list. There's another thing, too, which at this point I'm kind of embarrassed to admit, but five years ago it may have been a noun that developed into the number one descriptor of my personality: Dave Matthews Band.

Just before my parents divorced, when I was around 12 years old, my Mom bought Listener Supported, a live compilation of Dave Matthews Band songs. It was the first time I ever listened to them, and at first I was completely turned off: "Eww! A rock band with a violin!" I proclaimed, and then switched the CD player back to "Never Ever" by All Saints. (Which, btw, I just rediscovered, and it is a fantastic song to belt out while smoking a cigarette alone in your room... ahem... anyway)

After my parents divorced I was like, "Look! I'm alternative!" and bought things from Hot Topic and started listening to Something Corporate and then somehow that transitioned into me wearing flowy skirts and listening to Dave Matthews Band. I don't know. There's not enough time in the world to explicate the random and bizarre personality changes I endured during the end of middle school and beginning of high school, but I'm guessing we were all kind of like that. My parents' divorce allowed me to behave in outrageous and unexplained ways, which of course meant I became obsessed with Beat literature, and then somehow, Dave Matthews Band.

And when I say obsessed, I do quite literally mean obsessed. Owning every single CD - live or studio - that they ever put out was only the very beginning. I became a human Dave Matthews Band encyclopedia. I had on catalog every single lyric, song and notorious tour date. I could provide you with extensive bios for all band members. I had a piece published on their fan website (one that I paid $100/a year to belong to) about sharing a DMB concert experience with my Dad. I knew their inside jokes and traded bootlegs with fans I met on the message boards I spent most of my time on, like Nancies, which I think actually still exists. I even met people I'm still friends with through Nancies or at DMB shows. Every single dollar I earned at the paint your own pottery store went to CDs, merchandise, but above all: concert tickets. To this day I have seen Dave Matthews Band more than 25 times live. I can't believe I'm admitting it, but it's true. In high school I was basically a DMB roadie. I've seen them in several states including PA, NY, NJ, MA and CA. The list goes on, really. While watching them live, a band member would strike one chord and I could immediately name the song. I imagine it's how old people whose children are grown up dote over their dogs: DMB was my baby, and sometimes, when Dave did that little dance where he clicked his heels like a goddamn Wizard of Oz character, I teared up.

Somewhere between the end of high school and college my obsession began to wane. I think it was a mixture of no longer having money to spend on concert tickets (since they are now about $60 a pop) and the realization that DMB just isn't that cool. The other problem is that the caliber of fans seriously devolved during my obsession. In the beginning it was mostly hippies and ex-Deadheads and hardcore jam band fans. But if you've been to a DMB concert recently, you know that it's all really wasted 15 year olds making out on the lawn and screaming out for him to play "Everyday." God, I used to hate when they did that. Everyone knows it's lame when the band plays their radio hits-- it's almost as lame as immediately switching out your t-shirt for one you bought at the concert venue.

But it's times like these when I look fondly back on my intimate obsession with that South African hunk with a sideways smile and perpetual 5 o'clock shadow. There were times when his voice made me feel gooey like a 5th grade crush, but now I turn on his CDs when I'm looking for a little comfort: they manage to curb a certain breed of homesickness in a way nothing else can.

-Jess

13 comments:

My Infinite Numbered Days said...

I never was able to get into DMB, but I'm still giving them a chance.

Vanessa said...

okay if no one else is gonna comment about how effing cute you look in that photo, i guess i will just do it: YOU LOOK SO EFFING CUTE IN THAT PHOTO OMG I WANT TO EAT YOU UP WITH A SPOON WHY ARE YOU THE MOST ADORABLE CHILD EVER WTF.

okay great.

Marshall said...

Just to be clear, I was not making fun of Dave Matthews tonight. I would never do that haha.

the almost said...

i had a license plate holder that said "I am Mrs. Dave Matthews."

beat that! ;)

Jess and Josh said...

Did you ever spend hours begging your mom for a firedancer tattoo? LOL. We should talk Dave, I bet I've retained some of my encyclopedic skills.

the almost said...

hah! i had a firedancer sticker on my car.

and you'd probably beat me to the ground with your encyclopedic skills, girl.

the almost said...

oh and p.s.

i had the crazy opportunity to meet dave at a small show in l.a. it was a trip. if i can find the pictures, i will share.

Jess and Josh said...

JEALOUS. Only after my obsession did I find out that my Dad's close friend is Leroi's cousin. We ended up getting free backstage passes for a show last summer but Dave didn't come to the Green Room, unforch. Though my obsession has ebbed I would probably still jump at the chance to meet him.

the almost said...

yes, my obsession has diminished as well. the whole "dave scene" just isn't the same. and neither is the music, in my humble opinion. ;)

Emily said...

I haven't listened to any of my DMB cds in a while, but I definitely have good memories of them, especially of my friend who introduced me to their music (before they were even remotely "popular"). I was in their fan club and I had the firedancer sticker on my car, too.

I saw them in concert twice (which for me is a lot), but the last one I went to was full of the annoying people you are talking about, so that was definitely the beginning of the end of my love affair with DMB.

David S. said...

Man did I love Dave Matthews Band. I still think they're crazy talented songwriters but agree that things just aren't the same fan-wise or even music-wise. Thanks for bringing me back.

By the way, I adore your guys' blog. Your posts are always so specific but feel so universal.

Helen said...

Dave went to my school (before I went there obviously) and so we never listened to DMB ebcause it was deemed 'uncool' to listen to anything that had anything to do with the local music scene.

I have a few CDs now, but I've never really got into it - I guess I missed out on the crucial 15-year old stage or something. I might go and lsiten to it now though, you've got me thinking!

the almost said...

thought you'd get a kick out of this:

http://www.contrariwise.org/2008/07/27/280/