The History Of DMB: Chapter III
By Jake Vigliotti
June 23, 2007
Dave opened the 1993 year with a trip back to his birth country of South Africa to visit family, notably his grandfather and sister Anne. He returned with a couple new songs and a bit more fire to his writing.
Those late January 1993 shows stand out for a number of reasons. One, they were quite popular with fans, so many people heard them. Also, the band played with great confidence; It’s almost like that brief 20 day break, and the crowds welcoming them back showed them that what they were doing worked (1).
In early February, DMB returned to a brief studio session to lay down a few tracks (perhaps for copyright purposes). Two takes of Granny were performed, one with the now-traditional “Love, Baby!” (2) ending. Also during this session the band (3) laid down a song called “Kind Intentions”, a hauntingly beautiful yet violent song. It foreshadowed the rough times coming for the band.
The first significant Southeastern tour occurred in February 1993. DMB made a jaunt through some southern schools that would soon become familiar stomping ground for the boys; Athens, GA, Tuscaloosa, AL, and Clemson, SC would all become regular stops for DMB in the next year, and the fan base grew expediently in those areas (4).
In early March long time contributor to the band Miguel Valdez died. The band played a series of tribute shows for Valdez in March. Although Valdez was sick, this was quite a blow to DMB. He was a close friend of the band and played with them quite often. They dedicated the song #34 to his memory (5). Also that month, Peter Griesar left the band (6). The band used Doug Wanamaker as a fill-in keyboardist for a few shows before turning the six-man band into a 5 man band.
April and May helped DMB turn the band from a 6-man sound to a 5-man piece. Around that time, DMB experimented with some songs, trying to play a few in a new way, and in hindsight that two-month period was a crucial one for the band. Instead of actively pursuing a keyboardist to replace Peter, DMB pressed on, changed some songs around, and developed the sound that they became most common for as a major band (7).
The band continued their grueling touring schedule, and also had their weekly Trax Flood Zone shows. Their contract was such that even an injury to a band member didn’t stop the shows. DMB played two shows in early July without Stefan, who was injured (8).
So was their schedule at that time (9). Greg Howard filled in with his Chapman stick. 1993 was by far the most grueling tour schedule for the band. Monday’s were either a travel day or a show, Tuesday’s were back in Charlottesville, Wednesday’s in Richmond, Thursday’s and Fridays (traditionally big going out nights in Southern Campuses) were on the road, and Saturday was back in Richmond. In towns where bars were open on Sunday’s, DMB would hit the road again and play a quick two shows before starting all over again on Tuesday back in Charlottesville.
In hindsight, that schedule worked to their favor; it was 1993 that secured DMB’s reputation as the college band of the time. Their tours throughout the Southeast, playing those aforementioned college towns such as Athens and Tuscaloosa, secured their reputation. As had happened previously, fans (via tapes) knew all the songs, and would sing along and dance to every tune. Slowly, the Frat party shows turned into the largest venues in those towns, and that led to more shows in surrounding areas (10), and more fans.
Yet for all the success touring, DMB had yet to secure a record deal. The band decided to release an album independently. Choosing a location where they weren’t well known, DMB traveled up the East Coast where a quiet crowd would lesson the background noise (11). The first trip to Massachusetts led to the first DMB album.
The band played two CD-release party shows in November, and any hope that DMB would be a small time band were officially gone. If anyone in Charlottesville or Richmond didn’t know DMB before, they certainly knew them then. Both CD release parties were packed houses, and there were lines around the Charlottesville Record store Planet 9 awaiting the midnight release.
The album sold well at independent record stores in college towns, but the bulk of the sales came from concerts (a booth selling merchandise was at every show) and a mail order list. Practically every show featured Boyd doing a sort-of Public Service Announcement listing what was for sale, and where they were going next.
The band ended 1993 with another college tour run, a record contract with a major label (RCA- secured after the release of Remember Two Things), and another New Year’s Eve show.
(1) 1.20.93 ranked up with 11.17.92 as one of the most frequently traded shows. The show also featured Kristen Asbury as a guest vocalist (who also sang with DMB often in 1992). Additionally, 1.27.93 was scheduled to be the second show released live by DMB (after the 8.15.95 Red Rocks show). It was ultimately replaced by 2.6.96 (Luther College). The story associated with it is that RCA wanted a more recent show, and felt it was ‘too old’. If 1.27.93 was released, it would’ve received a “zero track”. Spotlight would have been track zero, only accessible by skipping backwards from track 1.
(2) for a very brief time, Dave actually identified the song Granny as “Love Baby”. DMB was using the “Love, Baby” outro regularly by 2.26.93 at least.
(3) Boyd was actually absent from the session, and there are some cuts with Peter clearly heard on keys, indicated that he may have ‘arrived late’ to the recording session.
(4) Some entries in the Minarets.net email newsgroup has notes from fans shocked that the band was not from their area of the country. More than a few people in Tuscaloosa thought DMB was from Birmingham due to their frequency playing in T-town.
(5) Contrary to popular belief, the song was not written for Miguel, but rather dedicated to his memory. The song was first performed live on 2.17.93 (while Valdez was still alive), and Roi teased it on 2.4.93, hinting that the song may have been soundchecked much earlier.
(6) Peter has cited burnout of the touring as the basic reason why he left. The band retired People People a song that Peter wrote the music for, after his departure. They also briefly put So Much To Say - a song he co-wrote – on hiatus (with a few performances right after he left only), and Lover Lay Down - a song he was long rumored to be a contributor to and according to fan accounts on Minarets was a co-writer of (the veracity of that statement is debatable). Christmas Song was not played too often anyway, but some sources have said that Peter had a hand in that song as well. His departure may not have affected its frequency either way.
(7) Many fans were later shocked to learn that DMB had a keyboardist. Because their first major Southeastern bar-tour occurred after Peter left, fans outside of Virginia never realized that DMB was a 6-man band originally.
(8) On September 29 and 30th of 1992, Carter hurt his hand and Miguel Valdez filled in on percussion with Carter singing back-up vocals and providing some minor percussions.
(9) As opposed to later years, when DMB, despite the large crowds, were able to cancel shows for injuries and illness, as well as personal losses for band members.
(10) The first deep south tour for DMB was just a run through some college towns; Clemson, Tuscaloosa, Athens, etc. at Fraternity houses. The next time they came around, DMB expanded that tour to playing a few shows in each state at college bars. That’s how quickly word spread of this special band.
(11) That kept the crowd noise to such a minimum, to the point where fans could hardly believe that the tracks were recorded live. The Remember Two Things recordings occurred at The Muse, and Remember Two Things went Gold, very rare for an independent release.
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