Boyd Tinsley reconnects with fans: An interview

In just a matter of months, Boyd Tinsley has become the most accessible and interactive member of Dave Matthews Band.

He regularly converses with his Twitter followers, a 25,000-person strong group known as Narnia, and he has taken to holding impromptu post-concert meet-and-greets with fans. In this first of a two-part interview, conducted during DMB’s off day in Boston, Boyd talks about reconnecting with fans and their reception to his film, “Faces in the Mirror.”

Welcome to Boston. How do you like playing here?

We love playing here, man. Boston fans love us, and they show it, and it’s beautiful, you know? I love how people are so honest about what they say up here.

We’re like that with our sports teams, too. It also goes the other way. When we don’t like you, we really don’t like you.

[Laughs.] I’m glad to be on the good side, then.

When you have a whole day off like today, how do you spend it?

A tour like this is pretty non-stop, and it’s hard for me to do anything on a day off other than just kick it. We’re playing a lot of dates in a short period of time. Usually I like to walk around, just spend an hour or so walking around a place when we get there, but I just haven’t had a chance to do that.

Also, on this tour I’ve been doing these after-show gatherings, so that’s been a part of my day. It’s really cool, and it’s such a beautiful way to end a day.

Where did you get the idea to do those interactive meetups?

More and more people have been asking, “We’d like a [‘Faces in the Mirror’] screening here. We’d like a screening there.” And it’d be impossible to do screenings for everybody, at least in a short period of time. But I can get out and at least meet people. And that’s been as cool for me as it is for them.

I haven’t talked to you since the film came out. What has the reception been like?

People really love this film. It’s interesting going to the screening and sitting with people as they watch the film. I feel so good when I look around and I see people react the way that I intended them to react to the movie: to laugh here, or to cry here, or to whatever. It just lets me know that, wow, we got it right.

Does Narnia give you a greater appreciation for the connection that you have with fans and what your music means to them?

Yes, it absolutely does. In the early days of the band, it was a lot easier to interact with the crowd, and I did a lot. And I almost forgot about that. One of the things that happens as you get bigger is, you sort of lose more contact with the fans. It’s weird. You sort of become, a little bit, in this bubble.

When you were starting off, did it ever cross your mind that the band would become so big?

I still don’t think about it. [Laughs.] There’s so many things perspective-wise that I don’t think I’ve really taken a lot of time to think about. And one is what we were talking about earlier: knowing the fans and knowing what the music means to them. That is something that I guess I’ve known. People have told me that. But I guess I really have gotten to know a lot more people a lot better, so I understand it. I’m beyond just knowing it. Now I understand it.

Photo by Jon Wilkins