You may remember the Dave Matthews Band from your Gen X ’90s. Despite the fact that nobody seems to want to admit to enjoying their music, they continue to be wildly successful and Dave Matthews uses his fame to help support charitable causes on a regular basis. At Seattle Met, Allison Williams wonders why there’s a Dave Matthews “dad-bod”-shaped hole in Seattle’s idea of musical genius, overshadowed by bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana.
He married and moved to Seattle where his wife studied holistic medicine, buying a house on an unremarkable block of Wallingford in 2001. Today the tiny blue Craftsman, even with its finished basement and artfully overgrown front garden, would barely qualify as a Seattle starter home. Dave still owns the property, valued at less than a million dollars in a city where that barely buys a dog house. Seattleites do double takes when Dave pops up at QFC or an Eastlake punk show, but he seems to crave the anonymity he found here. He declined to be interviewed for this story, but in 2012 he told critic Gene Stout, “For the most part, I feel comfortably middle class in Seattle.”
Less quiet was the band’s growing philanthropic force. Dave became a director of Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid but his specialty is disaster relief; DMB played charity shows post-Katrina, post-tsunami, post-floods. And relief for human-borne disasters too: post-Standing Rock, post-Virginia Tech massacre. After white supremacists marched on Charlottesville, where he still has roots and real estate, the man who left South Africa’s apartheid headlined a unity concert in his adopted hometown.
Even as they faded from radio prominence, Dave Matthews Band racked up sales, dropping a whopping 96 total live releases on CD and digital. The most recent milestone: When the band released Come Tomorrow this June, its success marked the seventh consecutive number-one debut on the Billboard 200 list for studio albums — the first time it’s happened. To any band, ever.
Concert for Peace and Justice