LeRoi Moore dead at 46; saxophonist was original Dave Matthews Band member

LeRoi Moore died today of complications from a June 30 ATV accident. The Dave Matthews Band saxophonist was 46 years old.

LeRoi passed away in Los Angeles, where DMB was scheduled to begin a two-night stand at the Staples Center. A statement from The Official Dave Matthews Band Website said LeRoi died at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, and he had recently gone to his L.A. home to begin extensive physical rehabilitation.

leroi moore

Fans outside DMB’s hotel in Los Angeles today reported seeing Dave Matthews crying, and he and other band members and crew hugging each other while boarding their tour buses.

The ATV accident that ultimately took LeRoi’s life happened outside his Virginia farm during a short break in DMB’s tour. He was admitted to the University of Virginia Health System in serious condition and released early the week of July 13.

AntsMarching.org reported that LeRoi had suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung in the accident, and on July 20, DMB announced that he had been readmitted to the hospital because of complications from his injuries.

LeRoi and drummer Carter Beauford were the first two Charlottesville, Va. musicians that young bartender Dave Matthews approached in early 1991 about playing some songs he wrote. With bassist Stefan Lessard and violinist Boyd Tinsley, they formed Dave Matthews Band and went on to sell more than 30 million albums in the United States alone.

Jeff Coffin, saxophonist with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, has been filling in for LeRoi since his injury, and DMB had begun recording a new album, with LeRoi, before the 2008 summer tour began. Of course, it is way too early to know what the future may hold for a new DMB album or the band in general in light of LeRoi’s passing.

LeRoi Moore played a crucial role in defining the unique sound that drove Dave Matthews Band to superstardom in the 1990s. He stood still at the side of the stage, eyes often hidden behind his sunglasses, and let the sweet sounds of his saxophone do the dancing for him.

Tributes from Dave Matthews Band friends poured in following Moore’s death.

The Allman Brothers Band dedicated “No One to Run with Anymore” to LeRoi during their concert in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Bela Fleck and the Flecktones posted this tribute on their Web site:

Dear LeRoi,
May you always be a light.
May you always be a friend.
May what you did for others be done for others too.

You have been a great friend.
You have been a great supporter.
You have been an inspiration for a generation.

The world will miss you.
I hope you’re playing with Coltrane right now.

Love,
–All of us

DMB bassist Stefan Lessard also posted this brief entry on his MySpace blog:

I just wanted to take a second to thank everyone for the support and blessings.
It means a lot and I know that Leroi feels the vibrations where ever his soul may be….

Trey Anastasio has shared his memories of LeRoi on Phish’s website:

When Phish played Virginia Beach in 1997, LeRoi came on stage and started playing three saxophones at once and set off the most hilarious chain of events. Within minutes Page was playing four of his keyboards with his hands and feet and I had three guitars on and drumsticks in my hand banging on Fish’s drums. and Mike was playing two basses. It was just a phenomenal moment! And I remember LeRoi laughing with his mouth full of saxophones.

We miss you LeRoi and thank you for the joy you brought all of us.

Trey Anastasio

O.A.R. talked about LeRoi’s influence on its site:

Yesterday the music community lost an amazing musician and person.

LeRoi Moore and his music inspired guys like us and was a huge part of our musical experience growing up. We are fans of his, as everyone reading this is, and wanted to take a moment to thank him for his contribution to our lives and love of music. Please join in sending your energy and love to those that knew him best as we are sure the more people are saying his name today, the more we all will remember just how important he was to the world of music and those who were inspired by his work.

-O.A.R.

DMB friend and collaborator Greg Howard shared his thoughts with AntsMarching.org:

Yesterday I was at the grocery store and saw an entertainment mag with an article about the recent sudden death of Bernie Mac. I’m a fan, and I hadn’t been keeping up with the news, so it was a shock, he was only 50 years old.

The first person I thought of was my old friend LeRoi Moore (DMB, Code Magenta) I hadn’t seen LeRoi in a while but had been following his recovery from a recent ATV accident. So I was doubly shocked to hear about his sudden death last night (only 46 years old).

LeRoi also had a wicked sense of humor, but it’s something only his friends knew about. Unlike Bernie Mac, LeRoi was a pretty shy and reserved person when out in public, but I always knew whenever I saw him that he would have a killer joke for me. He also had a truly brilliant mind and was an amazing and energetic conversationalist.

Saxophonists in the rock music world are few these days, and Leroi has left behind a body of work that people will have in their heads for many years to come. And as much as I will love listening to his sounds I will definitely remember more his delivery of his favorite latest punch line.

My condolences to his family and band mates for this sudden, tragic loss.

RIP, Leroi,

Greg

Charlottesville band Soko, which had been working with LeRoi on its latest project, posted this message on MySpace:

We are devastated by today’s passing of our brother and mentor, LeRoi Moore. Not only was he one of the kindest, most generous, most deeply intelligent and hilarious people one could ever hope to meet, but he was one of the greatest saxophonists ever to walk this rock. He’d scoff at the notion, but those who know, know. We are blessed to have shared air with him. He was also our biggest supporter — “thanks” doesn’t remotely do it justice.

As many of our fans know, we’ve been working on a re-do of our first album, which featured Roi on 5 tracks — an album that he prodded us to do in the first place. The re-do of the title track, In November Sunlight, features a solo from LeRoi that moves us to the core. So, here’s a non-mix, bass-heavy and not ready for prime time, with an absolutely beautiful LeRoi solo. You need to hear it.

In November Sunlight, 2008

And John Mayer dedicated his Aug. 20 concert to LeRoi, performing an abbreviated version of DMB’s “#34.”

Dave Matthews Band played its regularly scheduled concert in Los Angeles just hours after Moore’s death.

The band opened with “Bartender,” which starts off with these lines:

If I go before I’m old
Oh brother of mine please don’t forget me if I go

After the song, Dave Matthews told the crowd, “We all had some bad news today,” according to People.com. “Our good friend LeRoi Moore passed on and gave his ghost up today and we will miss him forever.”

The DMB crew posted this message online after the show:

As we sat this afternoon contemplating the loss of our brother, we wondered how we could possibly do a show today. Dave put it into perspective stating, “There’s no place I’d rather be than here with you guys right now.” We cherish special memories of our lost friend. Tonight, Dave told a story about LeRoi at a bar in Virginia where the cash register was near the stage and LeRoi leaned on the register because “standing had become a chore”. Roi proceeded to play the most beautiful version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Dave said, “that was the day I fell in love with him. And I’m still in love with him.” It’s safe to say we all were in love with him.

“It’s always easier to leave, than to be left.” -DM

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