Dave Matthews On the Absurd Idea of God, and Why He'd Turn Off KEXP If He Heard the DMB

Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds are playing an acoustic charity show at McCaw Hall on Dec. 6 and 7 to benefit Just Give.
For $150, Dave Matthews fans have a chance to see Wallingford's most famous resident with his famous collaborator, Tim Reynolds, tonight or Tuesday in the intimate confines of McCaw Hall, a room far closer to the setting of the pair's Live at Luther College live album, than the amphitheaters that the Dave Matthews band regularly packs.

The catch? Each ticket buyer also receives a $150 credit at Just Give, a non-profit clearing house on which fans can pick one of 1.5 million charities to donate their money. With all proceeds going to charity, the two-night stand could raise as much as a million dollars.

Last week, Matthews called us to talk about the idea of giving, why he supports KEXP, and why the Dave Matthews Band may come out of its self-imposed hiatus to play the Gorge or Bumbershoot in 2011 (see last week's post re: shows).

What have you been writing about lately?

I don't know if I've ever wrote about anything. Maybe the most recent is sort of a silly lyrical garble called "Black Jack" which has been turning into a song the last couple months while we've been on tour. I don't know, I don't really keep too much track of what I'm writing.

There's a lot of Christian imagery that pops up in your lyrics. I was listening to "Time Bomb" this afternoon. When you say things like, "I wanna believe in Jesus," is that rhetorical, or are you actively pursuing a relationship with God?

No. I use God because God is an idea that we have and that people have a relationship with, either a negative one or a positive one. I think very often people have a relationship with the idea of God in a more cynical way. And then some people have a direct relationship with God which I've never had the pleasure of having or believing in. Certainly the idea of a sentient being in space or the idea of a loving God that watches over us is absurd and almost annoying to me.

Why'd you decide to do this benefit for Just Give? What was it about what they're doing that was intriguing for you?

I guess it's what they're not doing in a way - that they're not necessarily siding with anyone, that they're just making a platform for nonprofits.

And this is not about helping the right organizations or 'no, we shouldn't help that.' It's about giving to something the individual - the ticket holder - wants to give to. And that's when we discovered there was a platform already, that we could exploit the idea so easily, then that's when we connected ourselves to Just Give.

You came out and supported KEXP's bid to move into the Fun Forest site at Seattle Center. Why did you decide to do that?

I just really like that station a lot. It's one of the coolest local stations in the country and (I like) the amount they support local music. My feeling was if that was a move the station wanted then I was in support of it.

Does it bother you that they don't play the Dave Matthews Band?

No, why? I play in the Dave Matthews Band. I don't wanna hear the Dave Matthews Band. Why would they play the Dave Matthews Band? I don't care if people don't like the music I make. I don't make it for people who don't like it and I don't play the music I play because I've done anything wrong or anything right. It's just what I do, you know?

If I was listening to KEXP and my music came on, I would turn it off. I'd listen to something else immediately. It wouldn't be one second--"oh maybe I'll listen to this for a minute,"--because it would be torture for me.


Not for a minute.

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