David John “Dave” Matthews (born January 9, 1967) is a South African–born American musician and occasional actor, best known as the lead vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist for the Dave Matthews Band. He performs mainly with acoustic guitar and favors rhythm rather than solos in his playing.
Dave focused primarily on his work with Dave Matthews Band from 1990 to 2003. Since that period, he has occasionally ventured outside the band in various solo performances and records. Matthews sang on the track “Sing Along” on Blue Man Group’s second album The Complex in 2003. Later that year he released a solo album, “Some Devil”, which went platinum; its single, “Gravedigger”, won a Grammy Award in 2004. To support the album, Matthews toured with a group of musicians (most of whom performed on “Some Devil”) under the name Dave Matthews & Friends.
Matthews appears as a guest vocalist on Béla Fleck and the Flecktones’ 1998 release Left of Cool and both Fleck and Flecktones bassist Victor Wooten have made numerous appearances both live and studio with DMB (e.g. Wooten soloed in the second part of The Maker, and also in #41 on the 1998 live album Live in Chicago). The Flecktones also opened for DMB on several tours. Matthews performed a duet with Emmylou Harris on “My Antonia” on her 2000 album, Red Dirt Girl. They also appeared together on the musical television show CMT Crossroads, where the two performed Matthews’ “Gravedigger” and the folk song “Long Black Veil”.
Matthews performed a cover of Neil Young’s song, “The Needle and the Damage Done” at the 2010 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute honoring Young on January 29, 2010. Matthews also joined The Rolling Stones on their Bridges to Babylon Tour-1997-1998, and sang “Wild Horses”, and “Memory Motel” alongside vocalist Mick Jagger after The Dave Matthews Band opened for the Rolling Stones.
Before he was known as a musician, Dave Matthews was an amateur actor. In 2005 he played in Because of Winn-Dixie as Otis, a man who works at a pet store and plays guitar. In 2007, Matthews appeared briefly in the movie I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, where he plays a homosexual salesman. In 2008, he appeared in another Adam Sandler movie, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, as a racist redneck character named James. He also had a significant role in Lake City with Sissy Spacek and Troy Garity, in which he portrays the character “Red.” He was also in the 2011 movie Just Go With It. In 2007, Matthews guest starred in the Fox drama series House in the episode “Half-Wit”. He played a piano-playing musical savant who ended up having half of his brain removed in order to recover from his epilepsy, but at the expense of his musical abilities. Dave had a piano double for the complex pieces, but played the simpler pieces himself.
The fifth time Matthews appeared as musical guest on Saturday Night Live in November 2009 (which was also the fourth time the Dave Matthews Band appeared on the show), he made an appearance as Ozzy Osbourne in a skit called “The Mellow Show.” Bill Hader impersonated Matthews in the same skit. With 5 official guest appearances on SNL, Matthews is officially a member of the “Five-Timers Club”.
Matthews was also a cast member and performer in the popular music documentary Before the Music Dies.
Before the Music Dies Trailer: