Boyd Tinsley on DMB’s ‘fresh new start’

As 2012 comes to a close, much of Dave Matthews Band’s 2013 plans are still up in the air — except for one crucial part.

“I asked about what we’re doing next year in the band, and the only thing I know for sure is the summer tour,” Boyd Tinsley said. “But for the rest of the year, I have no idea.”

In this final part of our interview with Boyd, he talks about the potential for a DMB B-sides album, how certain songs evolve and what it’s like being in the band in 2012.

The show [in Boston] was crazy. Do you ever see the setlist and know it’s going to be great before you even step on stage?

From the setlist, you have a good idea of what the gig’s gonna be like. The only thing is, we just gotta go up there and deliver. When I looked at the setlist, I was like, “Wow, I’m gonna be working tonight.” I didn’t look at the setlist until about a half hour before the show, so I was surprised.

Everybody had a lot of fun. Dave was so funny. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life on stage. There’s nothing like that. In this band, that can happen. You don’t even think you’re working at all. This is my job. How awesome is that? This has been a really great year for this band. Maybe the break that we had, maybe that helped. Maybe that sort of gave us a fresh new start.

How do you feel the Away From the World songs have fit in, now that you’re playing them all live?

They really blend in really well with the rest of our songs. It might have something to do with Lillywhite. It might have something to do with, particularly, the arrangements in songs. The way these songs are constructed are in the Lillywhite way.

Is revisiting older material in the studio something you’d be open to?

We have a s—load of it, man. We put it up on a board one time, and I was like, oh my God. That was at the beginning of GrooGrux King. We were sitting with Rob Cavallo, and it was like, how are we gonna approach the album? Are we gonna do some older stuff that we haven’t recorded, or are we gonna start from scratch? We decided, let’s just see if we can work up some ideas for some new stuff, and that’s obviously what we did.

I love it when we start from scratch. I love it when we create a song in the studio and record that. It’s just magical. You get to create stuff in the moment. There’s a lot of stuff on this album that are like first or second takes. That kind of magic happens when you’re really excited.

Would it be harder to capture that magic if you were revisiting songs that you didn’t record the first time?

In a sense, yeah. A particular kind of magic, yeah. To go to a song that you’ve already made, it already has roadblocks, or a map at least. It’s possible to take a song that you’ve already done in a certain kind of way and make into a different thing, which is good, and we’ve done that. I’m trying to think of examples…

“Two Step” sounds nothing like it does on the album now.

You know what’s funny about “Two Step?” It went off that way, but it feels like, to me, after all these years, it’s starting to go back — particularly the way we’re treating the intro. It used to have this constant, driving thing, but now — me, Dave, Tim and I guess Fonzie — there’s definitely this very hushed vibe to it. That really sort of comes out of the recording. That had that sort of mysterious vibe to it. The band is playing great. It’s fun as s— to be up on stage with Dave Matthews Band.

As far as touring, are there places that you’ve never been that you’d like to go to?

Everybody’s saying Japan. “That’s just the place to go.” “You gotta go to Japan.” I’d love to check out, maybe, South Africa. It’s something that we have definitely talked about over the years, and we just never have done it. But it’d be really cool if we did.

Photo by Jon Wilkins