Podcasts | Political Beats

Episode 2: Bob Costa / Dave Matthews Band

Introducing the Band

Your hosts @ScotBertram and @EsotericCD, with guest Robert Costa, national political reporter for the Washington Post and moderator of Washington Week on PBS: follow him on Twitter at @CostaReports and read his reporting here. (Photo: Marcos Brindicci/Reuters)
Bob's Musical Pick
Dave Matthews Band. How did he get into them? Jeff recounts his conversion from snobbish dismissal to admiration.
The Band's Early Years
Bob & company discuss DMB's scrappy early years, how they grew from a local southern Virginia act to a college rock phenomenon through relentless gigging and fan-friendly taping policies at their concerts. An appreciation of Before These Crowded Streets leads into a discussion of the two earlier albums that set it up: Under The Table And Dreaming and Crash.
KEY TRACKS: "Rapunzel" (Before These Crowded Streets, 1998); "Stay (Wasting Time)" (Before These Crowded Streets, 1998); "Don't Drink The Water" (Before These Crowded Streets, 1998); "Halloween (live 12/21/02)" (Warehouse 5, volume 3, 2003); "Crush" (Before These Crowded Streets, 1998); "Warehouse" (Under The Table And Dreaming, 1995); "Ants Marching" (Under The Table And Dreaming, 1995); "#41"³ (Crash, 1996);
Dave Matthews Band As a Live Act
This is really where the action is with DMB, as all agree. Scot singles out Tim Reynolds as Matthews' key collaborator outside the band, with a nod to the Live At Luther College album. Jeff goes on an extended rant about Boyd Tinsley's awfulness as a live performer, both as an uninspired soloist and an out-of-tune clodhopper whose questionable violin pitching slaughters promising material around it. Bob vehemently disagrees and cites evidence!
KEY TRACKS: "Minarets (live 2/6/96)" [Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds] (Live At Luther College, 1999); "Crash Into Me" [Dave Matthews & Time Reynolds] (Live At Luther College, 1999); "Don't Drink The Water (live 4/22/07)" [Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds] (Live At Radio City, 2007); "#41 (live 12/19/98)" (Live In Chicago, 2001); "Last Stop (live 6/21/98)" (Boyd Tinsley at his absolute worst); "Lie In Our Graves (live 8/15/95)" (Live At Red Rocks, 1997)
The Lost "Lillywhite Sessions," and the Problematic Follow-ups
The gang discusses the Great Lost Dave Matthews Album, the collapse of which in 2000 turned DMB to a much more simplified, pop-oriented songwriting path. Jeff still thinks that "Grey Street" is a great song, though.
KEY TRACKS: "JTR" (The Lillywhite Sessions, 2000); "Sweet Up And Down" (The Lillywhite Sessions, 2000); "Monkey Man" (The Lillywhite Sessions, 2000); "The Space Between" (Everyday, 2001); "Everyday" (Everyday, 2001); "Grey Street" (Busted Stuff, 2002)
To the Present Day
Is DMB in its inevitable twilight phase? Has the band recovered from the death of saxophonist LeRoi Moore? Jeff cites his friend's theory of the DMB's evolution as a fractured or reverse-bildungsroman (it's less pretentious than it sounds, but still pretty pretentious). The gang discusses whether their live act has kept up with its classic earlier tours and Bob names his favorite live era of DMB.
KEY TRACKS: "Grux" (Big Whiskey & The GrooGrux King, 2009); "Why I Am" (Big Whiskey & The GrooGrux King, 2009); "Belly Full" (Away From The World, 2012); "Sweet" (Away From The World, 2012);
Final Thoughts
Bob, Jeff and Scot present their "2 albums and 5 songs" recommendations for DMB.
You can subscribe to Political Beats on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and TuneIn. You can also download this episode here.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More