Who likes the Dave Matthews Band?

January 14, 2014

Dave Matthews

Word came through today that the Dave Matthews Band is going to be embarking on a summer tour, reaching the DTE Energy Music Theatre on June 25. Only last year, Rolling Stone put the band on it’s list of the “50 Greatest Live Acts Right Now.” Presale for all shows begins on Thursday, January 16 at 10 a.m. Blah Blah Blah.

The press release glows. “A Very Special Evening with Dave Matthews Band will feature the group delivering two sets per evening, performing songs from throughout its career. Dave Matthews Band will wind through numerous configurations – from electric to acoustic, from full-throttle numbers featuring the entire band to more intimate moments featuring small groups of band members – including a stripped-down pairing of Matthews with guitarist Tim Reynolds, performing as an acoustic duo, as they occasionally do when the band is off the road. A variety of guests will join the band throughout the summer.”

“I was talking to Carter about how much I still like just sitting around playing music together. It’s how we started – in the basements of Carter’s and my mom’s houses,” says vocalist/guitarist Dave Matthews. “Our shows are loose, but we started thinking that maybe this summer we should make them looser and bring some of that feeling to the stage. It seems like the opposite of a safe plan, so why not?”

To which we say, “Whoopie-shit.”

The Dave Matthews Band is, it seems to us, the sort of band that people who don’t really like music veer towards, because it’s easy but it allows the fans to pretend that they’re into jazz rock fusion and are therefore quite clever. If you meet a girl at a bar and ask her what kind of music she likes, and she replies, “Oh, I like everything,” the chances are she likes the Dave Matthews Band, radio rock, and nothing challenging.

Am I missing something? What is it about this intolerable dullard that drives so many people to part with so much money? Please, seriously, tell me.

I ask again, who likes the Dave Matthews Band? Because, from here, it appears to be highly paid business types who want to be cool for an evening, before returning to their real life. Matthews is the musical equivalent of beige, or boiled broccoli with no gravy. He’s just there. He doesn’t disgust, but he’s not worth raising your head for.

The only Dave Matthews fan I ever met (who admitted it) worked at an ad agency, and she was only into radio music. Maybe that colored my opinion a little so I’m willing to be convinced otherwise. Where are you, Dave Matthews fans? Speak up. Because you can be damned sure Pink Knob is gonna be packed.

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  • Steph Bee

    I like Dave Matthews Band. I also like Modest Mouse, Umphrey’s McGee, Richie Hawtin, My Morning Jacket, classic jazz, 70′s prog rock, and even some radio rock. I grew up liking DMB, so at this point (16 years into our relationship) it’s just as much for comfort as it is for the actual music. However, I do think the musicianship is incredible. have you ever tried to play a Dave Matthews song on the guitar? it’s not easy. Carter Beauford, the drummer, has natural talent oozing out his fingertips. The songs are catchy, and lyrics are insightful. Have you ever listened to Live at Red Rocks from 1995 or Listener Supported from 1999? It seems to be like you’re unlearned about the music and judging the band based on the wardrobe of the concert attendees.

  • Brett Callwood

    No no, Steph. I’ve listened to them. In the past, I’ve been forced to. I don’t doubt the quality of the musicianship on offer. I just find it soulless. But I’m glad you like it, and I thank you for your reply.

  • Steph Bee

    The word soulless often confuses me, but I really am at a loss to apply it to Mr Matthews. I think he has so much passion. He’s a force to be reckoned with on stage – it consumes him and sends him into a literal tizzy.

  • theJOJ

    am gonna have to assume the writer, or blogger i should say, when quickly recalling any DMB songs he knows, will answer with a Crash Into Me, Satellite, and that Ants one…you’d think someone tasked with writing about music, would have happened to seek thoughts of other actual musicians, many of which say their style is anything but traditional and quite complex in nature.

  • SMU2004

    I have to agree with Steph here for the most part. Matthews is a fine musician, and I do not doubt his passion for what he does. And….what he does is extremely satisfying to a large segment of the population. It is not particularly challenging or cerebral, but it is music, and it is a commercially viable and bankable product. Think of him as the pre-PED scandal Alex Rodriguez. I didn’t like that guy or what he did for baseball, but I can’t say he didn’t excel at his craft, and legions of “baseball fans” loved him for it.

  • JD Dominowski

    Read the lyrics to any of his songs…..soulless? No. Gutless?= This article. You don’t sell 30+million records because you don’t relate to people. Trashing a band with this much musical talent is just preposterous. If you don’t get it, fine. If you don’t like it, fine. But as a songwriter myself, I look at artists like Dave Matthews and marvel at how they are able to completely slash through everything out there that’s completely disposable and by writing hundreds of songs, they each have something deeply rooted in them that speaks to people. Yes, the majority of their fanbase are college educated, working class people who enjoy their shows because of the vibe they have. I’m sure they’re really truly sorry to the rest of Indie-Hipster America for that…

  • lol @ Steph Bee

    lol – I bet all the money you give him sends him into a figurative tizzy

  • JD Dominowski

    I’m sorry….I’m not sure where people are getting it’s not “challenging” from? They are all stone cold killer musicians!

  • michael lambright

    All the dorks replying really supports the authors’ case.

  • Steph Bee

    haven’t been to a DMB show since 2004, back when tix were only about $20. He probably has about $200 of my dollars… worth every penny.

  • JD Dominowski

    So….it’s the artist’s fault that they’re successful in the music industry? I go pay money to see my favorite bands. Matter of fact, I can’t think of a single national act I’ve ever seen for free. That’s a reason to tear someone down?

  • mpl

    Wow, so many people do not understand that “great” muscianship – i.e being really good at guitar, does not equate to great music. Dave Mathews Band may be “great” individual musicians, but this band is god awful. I wont hate anyone who likes The Dave Mathews Band – it is just a real quick way to find out that that person and I will never be friends on any level because they exist in a world where they accept shit as music; something I will never even begin to understand.

  • Musician

    Brett… Do you play in a band?? Have you ever written music? Or just complain about those who do?? If you have please post so I can understand what “valid” music is in your mind… Unfortunately you just come across as a pompous ass with his only validation being a detroit music mag and a doc about a band from 30 years ago… Not very challenging territory if you ask me. . , BTW have you ever been paid to write a positive review of a band?? That seems far more soulless to me. . . Just sayin ;)

  • LOL @ BC

    lol … we saw that Brett ;)

  • Guest

    Brett Callwood your hate for a musical group that revolutionized the music industry is appalling. Your hate in general and bashing a band for no apparent reason is distasteful. Also your writing is about as piss poor as you claim DMB’s music to be. But then again how would you get any hits on your site. When it comes down to it loathing a band for who they are does not fix anything, if you are really unsatisfied with the current music scene then pick up an instrument and do something better.

  • Roger White

    As you’ve told me in the past Brett, you do this just to create a buzz about yourself.

  • Roger White

    As you’ve told me in the past Brett, you do this just to create a buzz about yourself.

  • Ed

    You sound like an ignorant a-hole. I’m curious to know what bands you listen to. Really, really curious…

  • Brett Callwood

    Paid by my employer? Yes, of course. Paid by the band? Absolutely not. Just curious what you mean.

  • Brett Callwood

    Nope, I didn’t say that. I said that I do it to create a buzz, to get people talking, but not about myself.

  • Ed

    Crappy writer is crappy.

  • Roger White

    The title alone has created your Buzz.

  • theJOJ

    he means you write stupid, incendiary $hit that you either don’t fully believe, or are ignorant enough to actually believe, in an effort to get a ton of traffic to your ‘lil music blog outta detroit…your boss, who has 2 jobs and gets paid about 34K, will be tickled tomorrow over the metrics. i truly love many different types of groups and bands, but have a deep affinity towards DMB due to complex and meaningful lyrics, (sure, pull out a silly lyric from the 4 songs you know, but there’s 100+ more) the rare instance of excellent harmonizing, and amazing live experiences you don’t see outta more popular bands…i doubt U2 or even ‘the cool bands’ can do what they do on a nightly basis for over 20 years to sell out crowds

  • theJOJ

    he’s not a writer, or even a blogger…he’s a ‘blawgist’ dawg…
    he’s probably not even a music fan, in that he clearly won’t state what types of music he likes outside of his blawggin duties…tell me Mr. Callwell, what IS cool music that should be appreciated?

  • lol @ Steph Bee again

    100% sure tickets cost a minimum of $60 in 2004. don’t get yourself in a tizzy trying to figure it out but I’m right.

  • Dani Galbraith

    As I sit here, giving the Dave Matthews Band a fair shake by listening to random tracks, I am inclined to see where Mr. Callwood is coming from. I would not say Dave Matthews is musically soulless per se, but there is something about his voice as it litters a song, especially when accompanied by the elevator-groping saxophone, that is giving me an acute headache. Dave Matthews seems a very competent musician, I just do not think he is for everyone. I found Mr. Callwood’s take on the DMB enjoyably humorous.

  • Alicia

    I’ve been a DMB fan since the early 90′s and have spent my $ going to shows here in Detroit and out of state and have had the time of my life doing so. Actually, Detroit fans are the best and I’m proud to say I am one. If you’ve ever related to music, of any kind, then you get a little piece of what Dave fans feel. To say its ‘soulless’ is such bullshit. I have not always liked every CD and every song, but I appreciate their talents. I will be attending this summer show here on June 25 at the Knob w/ the rest of the fans, giving myself a much needed break from that easy profession we call nursing. I hope you sit at home and choke down some boiled broccoli with your favorite gravy on it while listening to your challenging sounds.

  • Evan Johnson


    The irony of this article is that you are indicting Dave Matthews Band fans for not challenging themselves, and pursuing that which is easy and accessible. It seems to be that a 500 word turd of a blog post attacking a really popular band is pretty damned easy. I’ve heard more engaging arguments come from 13 year old NOFX fans who despise all things mainstream while waiting to get picked up by their mom’s minivan in front of Somerset Mall. While I do agree that DMB is crunchy frat-boy bullshit, I’m not going after his fans for being philistines. Ostracizing everyone who doesn’t pass your little underground hipster test is a one way ticket to being that obnoxious record store worker who rolls his eyes when someone’s Dad asks where the Seger is. I fucking love Bob Seger. If people enjoy music, just let them enjoy it. The fact of the matter is the people at the show are going to probably have a ton of fun, and thats their business. Meanwhile, you can sit in your one-bedroom blogging and listening to Venetian Snares all night. Doesn’t that sound challenging?

    PS Are you one of those people who proudly claim: “I still call it Pine Knob” in hopes of garnering some sort of “old-school” street cred? Cut that shit out.

  • RowdyYates

    This article is unnecessarily snarky and I think the author is just trying to get the DMB fans worked up. Not a fan myself and I do think DMB is pretty bland, but to each his own. No doubt they know how to play their instruments. Some people just want to feel cooler than you, and if you’re a DMB fan intolerable people like this author can put themselves on their “my favorite band is better than your favorite band” pedestal and mock all the highly paid business types that enjoy a nice evening out hearing music they enjoy. Really insightful, Brett! Wow you don’t like DMB! Never heard that one before. The author is just being a Pink Knob.

  • musician

    ^^^ Now you know how it feels to be misquoted. lol

  • Steph Bee

    A simple google search shows a ticket stub from said tour (summer, ’04) with lawn tickets at $33. I was a little low, perhaps he has $300 of my dollars.

  • tennesseetuxedo59


  • Mark Haaseth

    Revolutionized the industry????I can’t stop laughing. Elevator music and I’m being nice.

  • Mark Haaseth

    Thank you!

  • Mark Haaseth

    I say pine knob because I hate corporate bs!!! BTW, cant stand that old geezer bob meager and the bite the bullet band

  • Evan Johnson

    Thats very nice Mark, but my question was directed at the author. Glad you hate corporations though. That’s very edgy. Keep it up!

  • Mark Haaseth

    Playing gods awful elevator muzak

  • Mark Haaseth

    Nice to see that you’re a good little wage slave. Mommy and Daddy will be so proud. Remember, never question anything and do as you are told. Luckily, DMB is guaranteed to NEVER upset your parents!

  • Dave in Ann Arbor

    Doesn’t disgust? When I hear that asshole’s horrible warbling I can’t locate and destroy the source of it fast enough. God save my ears from this dreck.

  • Evan Johnson

    Question: How many pictures of fat Danzig wearing a mesh t-shirt do you have in your “man-cave”?

  • Mark Haaseth

    Not a one. How many do you have of justin beiber?

  • Evan Johnson

    Nobody has gotten laid wearing a bullet belt since Vietnam. For the record I only listen to Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Slutvomit, and Sleep. I don’t even like them that much, I just hate my neighbors.

  • Mark Haaseth

    So, you wear one??? Or are you just making stupid assumptions from your tiny mind???

  • Evan Johnson

    We all know that when you assume you make an Ass out of U and Me. I learned that in science in 7th grade. From your posting history, I’ve discerned that you like calling people “scumbag” and that you are pretty stoked about guns. Between your love for firearms, and your proclivity for “edginess” I can safely conclude that you possess some sort of garment made exclusively from bullets.

  • Mark Haaseth

    So, are you going to still be in 7th grade next fall? Be careful your mom doesn’t catch you on her computer.
    In fact, I call them like I see them and I am an NRA Firearms Instructor with over 30 years of firearms experience.
    No, no garments of bullets.
    Can we deduce you have garments made from women’s panties that you stole from the neighbors laundry lines?
    You bore me. Time to go back to your little life. You are being ignored. But, you’re used to that!

  • Evan Johnson

    You’ve got some pretty crazy ideas man, I like your style.

  • Rusty

    I mean, have you ever listened to The Stone? Or Warehouse? These are very complex songs musically and lyrically that any sensible music aficionado should have listened to by now. Additionally, they have one of the greatest drummers alive playing for them. That should be enough in itself. I contend that DMB is one of the greatest bands ever at layering (music and sounds). And BTW, my favorite rock groups are LZ, Jack White groupings, Phish, Beatles, PJ…

  • Matt

    I’m someone who love’s Garage Punk and Indie rock and anything from the 60′s and I really don’t like any of the groups that are along the same lines as DMB. But after going to a DMB show I really started to appreciate his music. He’s a good guy with a very good songwriting ability who loves his fans and loves music. He’s just on a level that most jam bands aren’t.

  • Michelle Kirkwood

    “It seems to be that a 500 word turd of a blog post attacking a really
    popular band is pretty damned easy. I’ve heard more engaging arguments
    come from 13 year old NOFX fans who despise all things mainstream while
    waiting to get picked up by their mom’s minivan in front of Somerset

    Ha ha ha ha ha! That’s a lovely smackdown, if I may say so myself! Having been a DMB fan from the first time I heard the silly “What’d You SaY?” from back in the day, I can say they’re not for everyone–they’ve always had their own unique style, which is why I like them. Dave Matthew’s voice is an acquired taste, but I never really found him that difficult to listen to. And I’ve always like Seger,too. I’ve always liked mainstream and underground music—I was listening to it back in the ’80′s,before it became the cool thing to listen to I get why the author might not like them, but to not like anybody that likes them? C’mon, it’s not even that serious!

  • Sarah

    He actually even misspelled it: Pink Knob. Unless that’s some sort of play on words.

    HAHA Venetian Snares… perfect example. I think MT should give you a blog spot. Or blawg spot rather. Phew, tough to keep up with this guy’s spellings/misspellings.

  • Sarah

    First, did you write this “blawg” (this word by the way is gross, why are you using it?) like 10 years ago and just decide to publish? I would hardly call DMB a current radio band. Maybe the River plays their songs once in awhile, but that shouldn’t cause you too much arthritis in your index finger.

    Second, there are hundreds of bands that are actually awful. So why pick on Dave Matthews? At least his music is good. Not earth shattering, but they write their own music and lyrics, and songs are generally very positive in nature. At a time when most music is written by writers who never get credit, and tunes are about hating others or self-indulgent, I congratulate Dave Matthews for this.

    Third, your reference to fans spending money on Dave Matthews concerts is ridiculous. You picked a random artist, that has no current relevancy, and decided to go after fans. People spend money frivolously on concerts, travel, jewelry and experiences every day. It seems you aren’t so much judging a band, as an entire group of people that for some reason you are jealous of because they have more expendable funds than you?

    This whole thing is just weird. I’m disappointed the Metro Times, a publication that is founded upon acceptance of others has you on the payroll.

  • Acadia

    You s…k , Dave Mathews is f ing awesome! This blog post reminds me of the “This is the End” … and you are Jay Baruchel

  • derek belfoure

    Dude get a life. Don’t judge. I’m a fan of the nineties stuff and any live production, especially the acoustic stuff wit Tim. I will admit I’m not a huge fan of anything made after they got too mainstream, I hate mainstream and hate radio music, if a band gets famous I stop listening. For instance the black keys. Their early stuff is raw and just sick. Now a days they have a bunch of idiots singing hooks they heard on the radio. I boycott them now. I’m in my thirties now and can’t appreciate much that’s made anymore. As you would say its “soulless” while I believe Dave n the crew feel every note and lyric deep

    I listen to a lot of obscure things. I can’t say my music taste is like anyone else’s lol not even close. So what do I know

  • derek belfoure

    I also paid 25$ in 2003

  • MandyK

    Wow, this article is insane. I can’t understand bashing someone’s choice in music-music is art and DMB is the art form I most relate to and has tremendous meaning in my life and others in the “family.” Dave’s voice is ethereal to me and his passion and lyrics are inspiring. We are many and this many people can’t be wrong. I don’t judge anyone else for their musical choices. I also have a great love for Pink Floyd, Tom Petty, and The Beatles, with DMB rounding out the top of my list. So, if you don’t like it, fine. To feel that strongly about it to write an article, really? I don’t have time to bash whoever you may be into. I’m too busy listening to the boys of DMB. To each their own. Let love rule. Thanks.

  • Gary W

    I enjoy the Dave Matthews Band a lot, for more reasons than one. First off, Dave’s guitar playing is very unique and the varying quality of his riffs helped me learn guitar. (Learn Dave Matthew’s on guitar and you learn the guitar). Second, his live shows are fantastic. I have only been to one show, but I have spent probably too much time on youtube watching live shows. His songs are rarely played the same and the band has fun on stage. You can go to 10 concerts of his and chances are no two songs were played the same. The solos change, the length of songs change, and that is what draws me in too. I have seen a few bands more than once in concert, including The Head and the Heart. Now I am not bashing on this band because I love them too, but they play there music the same way each time. They are still great live, but what makes me like DMB more is the variety of one song. There are plenty of versions of just one song. He is also quite entertaining to watch, meaning very quirky. He is unique and quite weird, which some people might not like, but it also draws me in. And I do think that he revolutionized music. He has inspired many, and many have inspired him. Its music, everyone is going to get inspired by someone. I have talked to many people about what kind of music they like and it seems like people have a distaste for music that either, other people like too much, or if they were forced to listen to it. Not everyone is going to like someone. I am just glad that there is still a band out there that writes their own songs, plays there own music, and inspires people in a positive way unlike the new definition of pop music, where no one writes their own music anymore, and fame goes to their heads.

  • Bella

    I don’t think every song is perfect, but certain songs speak for themselves. Especially the live versions which are equal to, if not better than, the recorded version. The passion he puts into his songs is astounding. Search for a love version of Halloween. Look up the lyrics. It’s emotion. It’s relatable. Of course people like it. My personal favorite songs are shake me like a monkey and squirm. I don’t know. It really depends on what songs you hear.

  • Bella

    Oh- and also, my music taste isn’t radio music. I listen to a huge variety, but mostly Jack White, Nirvana, Cake, nineties grungy stuff. Whatever you classify it as.