I’ve woken up, about ten years too late, to the realisation that nobody talks about the Dave Matthews Band any more. That’s amazing: it wasn’t so long ago that you couldn’t ask for directions on the street without having them brought up. Every DJ spun them, every guitar-strumming amateur knew their songbook backwards; for all I know, undergrads took their nightly wank to them. At some point between then and now, while I wasn’t looking, the mania seems to have died a quiet, natural death. Why this is, I can’t imagine, but truly: thank fuck.
The most startling thing the Dave Matthews Band ever did was – quite literally – unload half a tonne of poo on the heads of a boatload of tourists. I suppose I’d rather listen to their dopey music than have that done to me. Dave Matthews’ reign of terror involved subjecting every last hapless soul to his nasal wheezing, and making sure there could be no escape from his band’s high-on-skill-low-on-balls, feel-good, wishy-washy awful strummy sound, the organic diet of pop music, the whole-wheat and yoghurt to rock ‘n’ roll’s bacon and eggs. What’s worse, everyone loved it.
How Dave Matthews’ bid for world dominance came to succeed is one of the abiding mysteries of our time. For one, he genuinely – and inexplicably – transcended all economic, social, and taste barriers:
“I listen to the Corrs and the Dave Matthews Band” – Business school party girl, now senior partner in McKinsey & Co., owns flat in New York.
“I listen to Foetal Spleen, Anus/Pus, and the Dave Matthews Band” – Overweight washout, currently on disability after spraining a wrist cleaning dishes at the day job.
“Bunny Wailer and the Dave Matthews Band” – Rasta wannabe, Jamaican lingo and all, no good to man or beast, smoked up the tea leaves by mistake and has a permanently wrecked throat to show for it.
“Shostakovich and the Dave Matthews Band” – Classical snob with poor eyesight and no friends.
“Dream Theatre and the Dave Matthews Band“, “Fugazi and the Dave Matthews Band“, et cetera, every combination known to man, you name it, DMB – that acronym coming so tantalisingly close to spelling “dumb” – were all over town, in every CD collection, in every wretched home. It’s morbid to think of even now, but there we are: the cold fact is, the Dave Matthews Band were a thumping success, and, if you ever need something to run your faith in humankind aground, you can chew on that through the long, dark night.
The Dave Matthews Band are still around, by the looks of it, but they’ve somehow dropped out of the public gaze. Perhaps today’s lads aren’t so eager to wear their sensitivity on their sleeve; perhaps everyone simply knows better. The world is a kinder place for not having Matthews’ whining in every earhole. The thing to do now is to – cautiously – start to move on. Let’s write those ten dark years off. We need never speak of them again.