Happy Birthday, Dave Matthews!
Despite his penchant for easy, engaging acoustic melodies and a cheery blend of pop, folk, soul and a jam band aesthetic, things haven't always been so sublime for Dave Matthews, His albums have sold millions of copies and made him a populist hero of sorts, but his personal life has also been shattered by a series of tragedies and controversies that have made things rather contentious at times.
Nevertheless, the murder of his sister in early 1994 left a lasting
impression on his musical themes, a political edge which lingers to this
day. During the 2000 recording of the Dave Matthews Band's fourth
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studio album, his uncle died from alcoholism, resulting in a series of
dark, depressive songs that so irked his record label, its executives
had to plead with him to return to the lighter fare of his earlier
outings. Likewise the sudden death of saxophonist and DMB co-founder
LeRoi Moore due to a freak accident on August 19, 2008 also hit him
hard, bringing that sense of loss full circle.
It's a credit to Matthews' ability to persevere that he's managed to champion on, expressing himself with a distinctive artistic sensibility. Before he became a musician, he was an amateur actor, appearing in several productions in his adopted hometown of Charlottesville Virginia in the early 1990s. He performed onstage as late as 2005 when he took the role Otis in Because of Winn Dixie, and made a cameo appearance in the film I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, portraying a homosexual salesman. He followed that up in 2008 when he appeared in another Adam Sandler movie, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, playing the role of a racist redneck character named James. Last year alone, he was in three movies -- The Other Side with Giovanni Ribisi and Jason Lee, In The Woods, starring Debra Winger and Terrence Howard, and the Adam Sandler comedy Just Go With It. In addition to his film credits, TV watchers may recall his role as a piano playing musical savant who had half his brain removed in an episode of "House" and his unlikely portrayal of Ozzy Osbourne in an episode of "Saturday Night Live," which ironically found cast member Bill Hader playing him in hte same skit.
Notably, Matthews is also an outspoken advocate in favor of environmental initiatives, such as biofuel availability and the fight against global climate change.
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