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Scrapped Dave Matthews Band Sessions Available On Napster

The unfinished Dave Matthews Band album that was shelved in lieu of the group’s current chart-topper, Everyday, has been leaked on Napster.

Although the group gave the controversial file-sharing service permission to carry the single “I Did It” back in January, a band spokesperson said the Dave Matthews Band is not responsible for the unfinished album’s appearance online.

The 12 songs are from sessions with longtime DMB producer Steve Lillywhite in the group’s home state of Virginia. The band decided to scrap the material and start afresh in Los Angeles with pop producer Glen Ballard after the process became “somewhat laborious,” Matthews told MTV News recently.

In a statement, Lillywhite said, “I cannot condone the release of these unfinished recordings, although I feel these are some of the most moving pieces of music that I’ve ever recorded with Dave Matthews Band.”

Songs from the sessions available via Napster include: “Busted Stuff,” “Grey Street,” “Diggin’ a Ditch,” “Sweet Up and Down,” “JTR,” “Big Eyed Fish,” “Grace Is Gone,” “Captain,” “Bartender,” “Monkey Man,” “Kit Kat Jam” and “Raven.” The songs generally feature darker themes and looser arrangements than the more upbeat, straight-ahead tunes on Everyday.

“Lyrically, I was in a pretty dark space,” Matthews said of the songs recorded with Lillywhite.

Fans of the band have spearheaded an online campaign asking for the unfinished album to be officially released, while some DMB devotees have even posted album cover designs on newsgroups. A spokesperson for the group said that there are no plans to issue the album commercially.

“I’m happy the songs are out,” 24-year-old Dave Matthews Band fan Tony Solis of Santa Cruz, California, wrote in an e-mail. “I wish they could have either kept them a better secret or actually released them. I also don’t think that we have any right to get the songs, but I downloaded them anyway because, let’s face it, they were available.”

“I have mixed feelings,” Ted Shultz, 18, of Mercer Island, Washington, wrote. “I think it’s cool that the songs are finally available, and I really like the material – a lot more than I like Everyday – but at the same time, it’s material the band didn’t want us to hear, and I sort of feel bad about how greedy we’ve all been in trying to get [the songs]. I’m sure the record label must be having a heart attack right about now.”

There was no word at press time on whether the group’s label, RCA, will be adding the Lillywhite tracks to the ever-growing list of files Napster is required by court order to block, or whether RCA will seek any other action in the matter. A spokesperson for Napster had no comment.

The January release of “I Did It” to Napster made the Dave Matthews Band the first major-label act to put a song on the file-sharing service with its label’s permission. The band said at the time that it wanted its Napster-using fans to have a clean version of the song, since several poor-quality recordings of the tune, taped off radio, had surfaced online.

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