Dave Matthews Band formed in Charlottesville, Virginia, in early 1991 when vocalist/guitarist Dave Matthews decided to put some songs he had written on tape. Instead of simply recording himself with a guitar, he opted to bring in some instrumental help to give his musical ideas more depth.
Matthews found assistance in drummer Carter Beauford and saxophonist LeRoi Moore, who were both accomplished jazz musicians in the local Charlottesville music scene. Based on the recommendation of distinguished local jazz guru John D’earth, 16-year-old musical prodigy Stefan Lessard came on board to play bass. Completing the lineup were keyboard player Peter Griesar (who left the band after a couple of years) and talented and classically trained violinist Boyd Tinsley.
The band’s first public performances were at a Middle East Children’s Alliance Benefit at Trax Nightclub in March and at the City of Charlottesville’s Earth Day Festival in April. The first official gig for the newly conceived Dave Matthews Band was May 11, 1991, at a private party held on the rooftop of the pink warehouse on South Street in downtown Charlottesville. Regular gigs soon followed at two local clubs – Eastern Standard and Trax Nightclub.