Dave Matthews has plenty of things to do and places to go – what with his band regrouping for a summer tour, re-signing to RCA Records and beginning pre-production on a new album – but during his break from the DMB, the frontman pretended to be someone with no goals and nowhere to go.
In Matthews’ first film role, “Because of Winn-Dixie,” he plays a drifter.
“How on earth could I be a drifter?” Matthews asked. “If I didn’t have the job I have right now, if I wasn’t playing music, who knows? I could have been a scientist, but I doubt it. I’m not real ambitious, except when I’m playing music. I like to pretend to be a drifter. Smelly person, dirty fingernails? I could get that covered pretty smoothly. Disheveled? I could cover that. Facial hair, strange bodily noises, drifter-type noises. Loner, mysterious, creepy. Don’t let the kids touch him, that kind of thing? I can get into that.”
Matthews has technically acted in a film before (an indie one that never saw release), but “Because of Winn-Dixie,” due in August, will be the jam-band leader’s big-screen debut.
Matthews plays an eccentric felon with a mysterious past who finds work in a pet store in a small Southern town, strumming his guitar to calm the animals. He composed a song called “Butterfly” for the film – a near-lullaby his character uses to bond with a little girl and her stray dog, named Winn-Dixie after the grocery-store chain where she found him. The girl and her dog end up bringing together the rest of the town’s outcasts, as described in Kate DiCamillo’s novel of the same title, on which the film is based.
“It’s a sweet children’s story,” Matthews said. “It’s about lonely people, people who are lost and people that are sad, and about a little girl who brings them together. So it’s one of those good stories – good, wholesome stuff. Not a lot of crack smoking in this movie, not a lot of edgy urban scenes, not going to find that in this movie. But I think Hollywood has got that stuff covered.”
Matthews previously dabbled in local theater, appearing in a few plays in Charlottesville, Virginia. His first film – the one that never saw release – was based on the children’s story “Where the Red Fern Grows,” which was also centered around children and their relationships with dogs.
“I like kids, I like dogs,” Matthews shrugged. “And there’s dogs in [both films], but this movie is a little more edgy. The first one, ‘Where the Red Fern Grows,’ is a beautiful story, but there was a lot, for better or for worse, there was a very Christian involvement in the making of that movie, so it’s just nice. It’s a sad story, but it could have had a little more edge.”
Though “Where the Red Fern Grows” also starred Ned Beatty and Dabney Coleman, the production ground to a disappointing halt after the film company ran out of funds, Matthews said.
“I’m glad to say that my performance in that was by no means exceptional, but it wasn’t appalling,” he said. “So when I’m not on the screen, you’re not thinking about me. So that’s perfect. At no point are you judging it really badly. So hopefully I can up that a little bit, so that when I’m off the screen [in ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’], you’re like, ‘Where is he?’ But now I’m already jinxing it. The ‘suck’ knob is going up as we speak.”
Dave Matthews Band Tour Dates, According To The Band’s Web Site:
6/17 – Maryland Heights, MO – UMB Bank Pavilion
6/18 – Tinley Park, IL – Tweeter Center
6/20 – Noblesville, IN – Verizon Wireless Music Center
6/21 – Noblesville, IN – Verizon Wireless Music Center
6/23 – Columbus, OH – Germain Amphitheater
6/24 – Columbus, OH – Germain Amphitheater
6/26 – Burgettstown, PA – Post-Gazette Pavilion
6/27 – Burgettstown, PA – Post-Gazette Pavilion
6/29 – Cuyahoga Falls, OH – Blossom Music Center
6/30 – Toronto, ON – Molson Amphitheatre
7/6 – Mansfield, MA – Tweeter Center
7/7 – Mansfield, MA – Tweeter Center
7/10 – Hershey, PA – Hersheypark Stadium
7/11 – Bristow, VA – Nissan Pavilion
7/13 – Darien Center, NY – Six Flags
7/14 – Columbia, MD – Merriweather Post Pavilion
7/16 – Hartford, CT – Meadows Music Center
7/17 – Hartford, CT – Meadows Music Center
7/20 – Camden, NJ – Tweeter Center
7/21 – Camden, NJ – Tweeter Center
7/23 – Virginia Beach, VA – Verizon Wireless Center
7/24 – Charlotte, NC – Verizon Wireless Center
7/26 – Raleigh, NC – Alltel Pavilion
7/27 – Atlanta, GA – HiFi Buys Amphitheatre
7/29 – Tampa, FLA – Tampa Bay Amphitheatre
7/31 – West Palm Beach, FL – Sound Advice Amphitheatre
8/1 – West Palm Beach, FL – Sound Advice Amphitheatre
8/4 – Antioch, TN – AmSouth Amphitheatre
8/5 – Cincinnati, OH – Riverbend Music Center
8/7 – East Troy, WI – Alpine Valley Music Theatre
8/8 – East Troy, WI – Alpine Valley Music Theatre
8/16 – Bonner Springs, KS – Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre