Boyd Tinsley’s Mirror Ball
Brad and Boyd at the Relix office
The order that you [originally] created and played the music, is that the same order that’s in the film or was it really broken up after you had the collection of music?
We actually recorded twice as much music if not more than [what’s] in the movie, so we had a lot to choose from. I mostly let Aaron, the director, choose the music. There was some music that he had chosen that we ended up changing later on, but I let him decide for the most part. I think he did a great job with that.
For the screenings that you’re doing, you’re hosting these popup shows and playing with different musicians. Was that the approach that you wanted to take originally and how have the show evolved?
It was something that I’ve wanted to do for years, since like the late ‘90s, which was to make a movie and do it on my own. It’s like the dream came true. It came true in its own way, sort of unexpectedly. This tour, I decided to do this in the beginning of January, so I told the guys, “Oh yeah, we’re going to do a tour in February,” but it was just lhe time. That’s one of the things that I learned, you try to jump on something at the [right] time.
When you’re really feeling it.
Yeah, and that’s what it was. “We have to do it now, in February.” We did that and it’s just like the movie, everything fell into place. We’ve had some great events. They’ve all been really different and interesting. [We had] a Hollywood screening, last night in Miami we had a South Beach screening projected onto the side of a building. No matter where we are, the atmosphere is of love and it’s also something about this movie that sort of opens people up and brings people together. We played at these bars and people have been drinking all night but nobody gets unruly, there’s never any trouble. Not only that, we show the movie, people watch the movie and we do a question and answer. The other thing, people have been at the bar drinking for a couple of hours and here we are. People are still down to do a question and answer and they have good questions to ask. After that we bring up a band, they play and I come in and play some songs with them and after that is the gathering part of this.
Basically I go and meet everybody there and I give people hugs who want hugs, I sign autographs, take pictures, we joke around. It’s really cool, it’s like the barrier between me and the fans has never been more down, ever. I just feel comfortable in the midst of the fans. It’s really great. In a lot of ways they have really opened up my heart. It’s so much about love. It’s made me a more loving person. It’s made me re-look at my life, how I treat other people and how I do things. It’s been the same for everybody. This whole thing has been a very healing thing for a lot of people. One lady hadn’t been out of her house in four years, she had both physical and mental problems, and she came up to me in tears and said, “I’m so glad.” It was like a healing thing for her to be there. This whole experience has been so near for so many people. When I started this movie, I didn’t know why I was doing it. I just knew that I had to make the movie. I had no idea why. Now I’m starting to understand.
It’s been a really beautiful thing. It’s been hard and I’ve worked everyday [on it] for about five or six years with the band. I’ve never had more satisfaction and joy ever in my life. I’m fortunate and I’m glad that I followed my heart.
It’s great to hear someone like you because with the popularity of DMB, I can’t imagine you would have this kind of interaction with the fans like you’re able to [have] on the road now with the film.
No, not at all, so that’s why it’s really cool because honestly the last time I’ve been this close to fans was like in the very beginning.
After that we’ve sort of become part of this bubble where you’re taken here, you’re taken there but you’re always taken past the fans. Sometimes we stop on the way to hotels, we shake hands but this is more—I’m hugging people for minutes and I’m talking to them. It’s never been a burden, it’s something that I enjoy because not only have I given out thousands of hugs, we did gatherings in the winter tour without the movie being screened where we would just meet people. The thing you have to look at is that I’ve gotten thousands of hugs. It touches me. It transforms my heart. I’ve learned that love is probably the most powerful gift that we have, if we use it.
That’s very cool to hear you say that. So I also wanted to ask a little about DMB because you’re getting ready for the summer tour and [New Orleans] Jazz Fest. The last time you guys played Jazz Fest was a few years ago. Do you have any memories from those shows? Paul Simon was there and he came out with you guys, I think in 2001.
Yeah, and I think somebody else did. Jazz Fest is cool because everybody is there.
Lenny Kravitz played with you guys one year.
Lenny Kravitz did come out. You’re absolutely right. I think for “Watchtower.” It’s really great. There are so many people, it’s just such a great vibe and it’s great when gifted musicians sit in with each other and that kind of thing because that’s something that you don’t really get the chance to do. That’s one of those environments that I’m looking forward to. New Orleans has definitely played a big role in DMB. We recorded a lot of Big Whiskey down there. We’ve spent a lot of time down there and we did what we could to help out after [Hurricane] Katrina with the musicians’ village down there. I’m looking forward to going back.
Speaking of DMB, when can we expect to hear your song “True Reflections” again [the song was last played in 2001]?
We’ve been talking about that with some Twitter followers since the summer. It’s funny because I had a guitarist in Chicago, and we went to the ‘Bean’ in Chicago, a mirror-reflective bean, and we played in front of it without a permit. We were doing an acoustic guitar version of “True Reflections.” We got half way through it then the cops came and busted it. [Laughs.] We talked about it—Dave talked about doing it last summer—but our focus was really learning every song from the album, Away from the World. Hopefully, this summer I can talk Dave [into doing it]. I went back and listened to a recording of it and I said, “Oh wow! I love this song!”
It was nice to hear you sing, too. It is one of the only songs you sing lead on with Dave Matthews Band
Thank you. I’m excited to bring it back. It will probably happen this summer.
I also noticed that you brought back the acoustic violin in the last few years.
I love it and that’s another thing that I had forgotten. I started out in this band with an acoustic then I switched to electric because back in the day there wasn’t really a pickup that could handle a rock band, but now the pickups are amazing, so my acoustic sounds better than any electric that I’ve ever had because of the pickup that I have. I love it! I feel so much more connected to acoustic.
How have Jeff [Coffin] and Rashawn [Ross] influenced Dave Matthews Band’s current sound?
Jeff and Rashawn members of the band [now] and really great musicians. Rashawn has been playing and touring with us for a few years and Jeff is truly professional. He learned every song in the DMB catalog.
It’s really a great time for this band and we are doing things every night that we’ve never done before, and having a lot of fun. Every show is different, full of energy and it really feels like the old days, man.