CNN PEOPLE IN THE NEWS
Profiles of Kobe Bryant, Dave Matthews
Aired October 4, 2003 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Next on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, his talent made him an NBA icon and millions of dollars in endorsements.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's an immensely gifted basketball player. He is driven to be the best.
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ANNOUNCER: Then, his squeaky clean image was tarnished by an accusation.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The defendant was charged with one count of sexual assault.
KOBE BRYANT, BASKETBALL PLAYER: I'm innocent.
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ANNOUNCER: Now, as he repairs for a new season and a criminal trial, a look that life of Kobe Bryant. Then, you know the songs, you know the name, but do you know the story of Dave Matthews and The Dave Matthews Band?
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DAVE MATTHEWS, MUSICIAN: When we were starting out, there was nothing like us out there.
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ANNOUNCER: One of the world's best selling bands fronted by a man who shies away from the spotlight.
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MATTHEWS: The one thing I've regretted is that we didn't sit down and come up with some cute little name for ourselves.
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ANNOUNCER: He grew up in the turmoil of South Africa's apartheid and got his start while bartending at a college hangout in Virginia. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOYD TINSLEY, DAVE MATTHEWS BAND: He was a very interesting fellow, but the thing about it was no one knew that he played music.
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ANNOUNCER: On the road, on stage and now, on his own, with a new solo album. Dave Matthews, one-on-one. Their stories now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
PAULA ZAHN, HOST: Hi. Welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Paula Zahn. The countdown is on for basketball superstar, Kobe Bryant. Not just another to NBA season or even another run at the championship. Bryant is charged with sexual assault in Colorado. And the countdown is on in a high stakes legal battle that may decide the rest of its life. It is a fall from grace made even more stunning by what we have come to expect from basketball's Mr. Clean. Here's Sharon Collins.
SHARON COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The last time Kobe Bryant was in a Colorado courtroom, he spoke just two words at a hearing that lasted just seven minutes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The People of The State of Colorado against Kobe Dean Bryant.
COLLINS: Images brief but memorable of the basketball phenom who jumped directly from high school to superstardom.
ROLAND LAZENBY, AUTHOR, "MAD GAME: THE NBA EDUCATION OF KOBE BRYANT": His image was this incredibly driven, this incredibly hard working, somewhat arrogant but immensely talented young player who was determined to will his way to the top of the game.
COLLINS: An image of a family man who had avoided the spotlight off the court as much as he craved it on.
JACK MCCALLUM, SENIOR WRITER, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED": He had had a wife. He had a presumably monogamous relationship. He had a six- month-old daughter that he doted over. He was everything the league could possibly want. You couldn't get any better than Kobe Bryant.
COLLINS: An image now being reassessed as Kobe Bryant stands trial.
BRYANT: I'm innocent.
LAZENBY: Kobe Bryant now has a very real flaw. At the very least, he's an adulterer. The courts may decide he's a rapist. And so, that requires a major, major readjustment on the part of the public.
COLLINS: Basketball has always been part of Kobe Bryant's life. He was born in Philadelphia, in 1978. His father, Joe "Jellybean" Bryant was also an NBA player. He spent eight years in the league before his basketball career took him and his family overseas. Kobe Bryant would spend eight years growing up in Italy.
BRYANT: Me and my sisters, we really enjoyed it. We met a lot of new people and were able to pick up a lot of family values.
COLLINS: While Bryant's father was playing and coaching the game, Bryant was learning it and learning it well.
JOE BRYANT, FATHER: The thing that's propelling yourself to get up on the horse in gymnastics, I mean, he's propelled himself in dunking a basketball, I mean like eight or nine years old. So I said well, this kid is very creative. I mean he is going to be something special.
BRYANT: I was 8 years old playing with kids who were 14 or 15. They were a lot bigger than I was. And Plus, over there everybody is fundamentally sound. And they're very savvy with the basketball. So I was able to pick up a lot, on the little things.
COLLINS: Bryant's favorite basketball player was Magic Johnson. He would watch the Lakers' star on videotapes sent to him from the States, by his grandparents.
LAZENBY: Kobe would spend hours playing and replaying those games, stopping the tape, studying, running things back, looking at the game the way coaches look at it.
COLLINS: The Bryant family returned to Philadelphia shortly before Bryant began high school. The young basketball player soon became the focus of attention.
MCCALLUM: We had this kind of strange cultural background. He had been in Italy. He spoke Italian. He played the piano and any time we seize upon something else, besides the typical story, which is a kid going outside and shooting hoops for 20 hours in an urban setting, as soon as we latch on that, we have something.
COLLINS: Powerhouse basketball programs like North Carolina and Duke recruited Bryant. He was named "USA Today's" High School Player of The Year. And he scored 1080 on his SATs.
BRYANT: My parents basically said to me, "Kobe, if don't do good on the books, you're not going to play basketball." That's it. That just kind of clicked. I said, hey man. They're not taking basketball away from me.
TOM MCGOVERN, LOWER MARION ATHLETIC DIR.: How do you keep a 17- year-old that has a whole world at the feet, and everybody asking for autograph and following him and surrounding him. How do you keep his feet on the ground? I mean that's quite a feat, and they've done a nice job of it. He's really a neat kid.
COLLINS: However, Bryant has another option besides college. Take the then unorthodox step of skipping it altogether and going directly to the NBA. BRYANT: It was a tough decision, but it's a nice decision to have. I have fun with it. After the season, I'm sitting down and just really think about it. What would it be like? Look at the pros and cons.
JOE BRYANT: That's a roller coaster for me. I would love to see him go to college, you know, as a parent. But I know that if he goes to college, he won't be in it too long.
COLLINS: In April 1996, Bryant announced his intentions.
BRYANT: I, Kobe Bryant, have decided to take my talents to...
BRYANT: No. I have decided to skip college and take my talents to the NBA.
COLLINS: The spotlight on Bryant would only get brighter. He took pop star Brandy to his senior prom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With the 13 pick in the 1996 NBA draft, the Charlotte Hornets select Kobe Bryant from Lower Marion High School in Pennsylvania.
COLLINS: Then in June 1996, Bryant was drafted and quickly traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, Magic Johnson's former team.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's going to wear number 8.
COLLINS: Then 17-year-old Kobe Bryant was about to put on the uniform of his idol and follow in his father's footsteps. He was an NBA player.
BRYANT: You know I was in the airport on my way up here and people would come up to me and say, "Hey, do you play basketball?" I say, "Yeah, you know, I play basketball." And they'd say, "Well, what team do you play for?" I'm used to saying Lower Marion High School. So I'm there -- I'm like, well, I play for Lower Marion High. No, you know what? I'm a Los Angeles Laker.
COLLINS: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, Kobe Bryant becomes a superstar but doesn't make a lot of friends along the way.
MCCALLUM: Kobe has been a very questionable teammate.
ANNOUNCER: We now return to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
COLLINS (voice-over): At the tender age of just 17 years old, Kobe Bryant had gone directly from high school senior to the NBA.
LAZENBY: Kobe arrived with this attitude, this enthusiasm, this great belief in his destiny. Visions of stardom were in his eyes.
COLLINS: Bryant became the youngest player ever to appear in an NBA game. But spent much of the first season on the bench, watching, learning, and eager to play.
BRYANT: This experience, you know, just going through something, trying something new, wanting to, you know, wanting to do well, trying to perfect everything. It was a learning experience. You have to go through that. You have to learn. You have to see things from various aspects and various angles.
COLLINS: It was impossible to miss Bryant's brilliant potential. As a rookie, he won the NBA's slam-dunk contest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One more time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, between the legs, Kobe Bryant.
BRYANT: Growing up, you have to be a fan. Every kid I want knew wanted to be in a slam-dunk contest. So, that was a dream growing up.
COLLINS: Bryant's popularity soared. The following season, the fans voted him to start in the All-Star Game, even though he wasn't even a starter on his own team.
BRYANT: It's incredible. It's a dream come true. My whole body is numb. I don't know what I'm thinking. Thoughts are racing. So I...
LAZENBY: His enthusiasm is obvious for the game. His ability, his electrifying dunks. Those are the same reasons that you know people all over the globe were attracted to Michael Jordan.
COLLINS: The hype surrounding the All-Star game soon focused on Bryant and a head to head match-up with Michael "Air" Jordan versus his 19-year-old heir apparent.
MCCALLUM: It's funny to watch Kobe on the court. He almost seems to sometimes to have channeled Jordan. He walks like him, how he interacts with the referees, with the opponents. It is very Jordannesque. And Kobe has consciously done that.
COLLINS: Bryant finished with a team high 18 points. Jordan was named the game's most valuable player.
MICHAEL JORDAN: I just wanted to make sure that Kobe didn't dominate me. You know? Basically. And the hype was me against him, and I know I wasn't a 100 percent, you know. And he was. He was looking. He was biting at the bits. And, you know, I was just hopeful and glad that I was able to fight him off.
COLLINS: Bryant was becoming a superstar. He had endorsement deals with Adidas, Sprite and Spaulding before he could legally drink, but adjusting to life in the NBA wasn't always easy for the teenager.
LAZENBY: As a young player, he would often drive over to UCLA and he would watch from, his car, the students there, he told me, wanting to see what their lives were like, trying to get some sense of what it would have been like if he had gone to college. He's this young man who had chosen this very mature, professional life, and yet, socially, it wasn't there for him.
COLLINS: Bryant developed a reputation as a player who go out on the town and rarely socialized.
MCCALLUM: He was living in this fish bowl of Hollywood where if you -- you know you show up somewhere, if you're playing, you know, guitar with Johnny Depp on the Sunset Boulevard, I mean, they're going to know it. By and large, Kobe did not.
BRYANT: What are you going to do? What are you going to do? We're all people here. We're just different people, you know. You're going to criticize me because I don't want to go to a bar? You know, criticize me because I don't want to go to a club? For what? What growth can I get from that?
COLLINS: Bryant also experienced some growing pains in trying to relate to teammates who were older and more seasoned.
LAZENBY: They would try to joke with him. They wanted to invite him to do the things that they did. And he had all these plans he wanted to achieve. He had all this work he wanted to do. And he wanted to have a relentless pursuit of his destiny. And the players around him were like, lighten up.
MCCALLUM: Kobe is a driven basketball player. Anybody that gets to that level, no matter what anybody in the public thinks about Michael Jordan or Allen Iverson or even Shaquille, dominating because of natural talent and things like that, it's not true. I mean those guys are driven to perfect themselves. That was Kobe Bryant. He was consumed by basketball.
COLLINS: In 2000, 21-year-old Kobe Bryant reached the pinnacle of success. He and his Laker teammates beat the Indiana Pacers and became NBA champions.
BRYANT: It's been a long time. It's been a long 12 years. We finally brought the championship back to where it belongs and that's the City of Los Angeles. We're looking forward to coming back next year and trying to do it again. Thank you for your support. We love you all. Thank you.
COLLINS: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, Bryant's tension with the teammates grows, and a night in Colorado shatters his image.
MCCALLUM: Kobe had done not only a good job, but an exceptional job seemingly of maturing under this spotlight. Now we're all going to take another look at that.
ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
COLLINS (voice-over): On the basketball court, Kobe Bryant is nothing short of spectacular.
BRYANT: It's such a joy to play the game. You know? Nothing matters on the basketball court except, you know, except the game.
LAZENBY: Kobe has the length, he has this incredible speed. He has a long reach. He has this creativity in getting to the basket. He has this creativity in terms of dunking and finishing plays and it is a package that the NBA sorely needs. He is not Magic, but he is a magician.
COLLINS: Bryant's passion for playing was matched by his obsession with improving. Following the 2000 championship season, Bryant wanted to play a bigger role on the Lakers.
BRYANT: And this season was frustrating because people wanted me to stay at that level that I played at last year. They wanted me to remain the same. I can't do that. I just can't, you know, something is burning, pushing me to improve and to find out more about this game.
COLLINS: However, that drive was seen by many of the Bryant's teammates as selfishness.
MCCALLUM: There has been times when they have felt he's taken too many shots and taken over the offense too much. The offense that he plays is supposed to be a very team-oriented thing. So it's taken Kobe -- he's had some rough seas on the way to figuring out how to be a great teammate.
COLLINS: Most notably, Bryant didn't get along with the team's other megastar, Shaquille O'Neal. The pair had an uneasy relationship since both joined the Lakers in 1996. O'Neal, as a veteran, focused on winning a championship; Bryant, as an eager rookie, wanting to make his mark.
MCCALLUM: And Shaq was always sort of very direct about it, you know, when people would ask him about it. You know Kobe won't give me the ball. You know Kobe -- you know, Kobe was always a little bit more diplomatic or a little bit more allusive about what the problem was.
COLLINS: Even after winning the title together, the Lakers were at times polarized, Bryant on one side, O'Neal and the rest of team on the other.
LAZENBY: The age difference, Kobe's lack of a college background, the problems with Laker offense, all of these things compounded to create a very isolationist position for Kobe.
COLLINS: Under Head Coach Bill Jackson, Bryant was slowly brought back into the fold.
LAZENBY: You're always going to have these kinds of conflicts in basketball. What's important is that players learn to live with them and to deal with them and Kobe and Shaq learned that.
COLLINS: Bryant's personal life also underwent changes. Bryant met Vanessa Lane, a high school student while on a video shoot and became engaged when Bryant was 21, Lane 18. The relationship caused a rift between Bryant and his family; reportedly due in part to the fact Vanessa is not African-American.
MCCALLUM: Joe denies there's any sort of problem with ethnicity, that there's a hint that maybe they were dissatisfied he married so young and he married somebody so young, but the real secret of what that dissatisfaction is really yet to come out.
COLLINS: Bryant and Lane married in 2001 and had a daughter, Natalia, born in January.
MCCALLUM: The perception was that when he was off the court, he went home to Vanessa. You know one thing he would talk about kind of buoyantly when she was pregnant with their baby and he would -- he hated to talk about his personal life. I mean his wife was really kept apart.
BRYANT: Privacy was -- is something that's suffering. You know, I'm a very private person. I like going out and, you know, having dinner with my wife and, you know. Sometimes you just want to go out and get a breath of fresh air, and go to Disneyland and walk around, and, you know, that's suffered a lot.
COLLINS: However, Bryant's private life has been thrown completely into the open. On June 30th, Bryant traveled to Colorado where he was scheduled to undergo knee surgery. He checked into the lodge and spa at Cordillera, just west of Vail, Colorado, where he met a 19-year-old hotel worker.
The woman allegedly went to his room that evening and the following day, reported an alleged sexual assault. On July 4th, Bryant, the darling of Madison Avenue and the golden boy of NBA was booked on suspicion of felony sexual assault.
MCCALLUM: The idea that a 24-year-old basketball player, superstar, would have sex outside of his marriage, if I'm supposed to be surprised at that, I just am not. But what's surprised almost anybody, even Kobe's critics, were the adding on something of a violent nature to it.
LAZENBY: I said it's not possible. I said, you might as well told Bill Bradley has been charged with this or something, because it just it is a complete departure from his character.
COLLINS: After two weeks of investigation, Eagle County, Colorado, District Attorney Mark Hurlbert, announced charges would be filed.
MARK HURLBERT, EAGLE CO. DISTRICT ATTORNEY: It is alleged that he had sexual penetration or intrusion and he caused submission of the victim through actual physical force. COLLINS: Bryant quickly issued a statement admitting adultery, but denying he had assaulted the woman. Later that evening he and wife, Vanessa, appeared at a news conference.
BRYANT: I'm innocent. You know? I didn't force her to do anything against her will. I'm innocent.
MCCALLUM: I saw a kid, at last, in a very unfamiliar situation. So I thought the emotion and the kind of apprehension that Kobe showed at the press conference was totally real.
COLLINS: The NBA has said Bryant will be allowed to play this season while his legal matters proceed.
MCCALLUM: The NBA will tell you that it has enough great stars to weather this storm and the NBA's not going to crumble tomorrow because this happened to Kobe Bryant. However, I think it's a huge blow.
COLLINS: Bryant also has more than $100 million in endorsement deals, including a five-year, $45 million contract he recently signed with NIKE.
BRYANT: What's up? What's up?
COLLINS: Thus far, none of the major companies Bryant endorses have pulled out of their deals.
DAVID CARTER, THE SPORTS BUSINESS GROUP: It is going to be an issue of what does he end up facing here? Does he end up serving jail time? In that case, not only is his career in serious jeopardy, but he will not longer have any corporate relationships to speak of. If he's acquitted, I think he'll recover fairly quickly.
COLLINS: But what won't recover completely is Bryant's image. The young superstar who seemed too good to be true, no longer does.
ZAHN: Kobe Bryant and the Lakers are scheduled to play their first pre-season game on Tuesday. Their regular season tips off October 28.
ANNOUNCER: Coming up, chart-topping singles, sold out concerts.
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MATTHEWS: We cut the gorge through the music business by ourselves.
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ANNOUNCER: How Dave Matthews and The Dave Matthews Band got so popular, just ahead on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
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ZAHN: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Rock, pop, jazz, bluegrass. It's hard to pin The Dave Matthews Band down. Even more difficult to define is Dave himself. From South Africa to the summit of the music world, Matthews' mediocre rise is the stuff of dreams and now he's striking out on his own with a new solo CD. But relax, Matthews isn't leaving the band that has made him famous. There's too much history there. Here's Bruce Burkhardt.
BRUCE BURKHARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Marching into the stratosphere, The Dave Matthews Band or DMB, as they're known to their legions of fans, has sold more than 25 million CDs. They are simply one of the most successful acts in North America and one of the most unlikely.
MATTHEWS: He wakes up in the morning...
BRUCE FLOHR, RCA RECORDS: How the hell did a band without an electric guitar sell so many records?
BURKHARDT: Chart topping singles, sold out concerts, $60 million in touring alone last year.
MATTHEWS: We cut the gorge through the music business by ourselves because when we were starting out, there was nothing like us out there.
BURKHARDT: No lead guitar, a violinist, three African Americans, two white guys, their background as diverse as their music.
NEVIN MARTELL, BIOGRAPHER: The Dave Matthews Band music is kind of an eclectic mix of world rhythms. You got tinges of country, you got the classic rock 'n' roll in there, you got bluegrass. You kind of -- it's kind of an album of all different sorts of things. You can't really pin it down to one particular brand of music.
MATTHEWS: I say my hell is the closet and I'm stuck inside.
BURKHARDT: Difficult to define, five individuals, together a band, more than the sum of its parts, and yet, a band under one man's name. This man. This voice. But don't tell him that.
MATTHEWS: One thing I've regretted is that we didn't sit down and come up with some cute little name for ourselves then just The Dave Matthews Band. Well, it's stuck now. But I regret it because it singled me out in the group.
BURKHARDT: But with the release of his new solo CD, "Some Devil," Matthews is singling himself out. He's sans band. It's a departure but not a complete detour from the music that's made him millions.
MATTHEWS: Grave digger, when you dig my grave, could you make it shallow so that I can feel the rain?
BURKHARDT: Alone or on stage with the band that bears his name, the story of Dave Matthews, the story of DMB, doesn't start with the group's modest beginnings in Charlottesville, Virginia or even America. It begins in South Africa. David John Matthews was born on January 9, 1967 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was raised in the Quaker tradition, a belief that stresses both racial tolerance and pacifism, two things in short supply during the years of apartheid.
The turmoil in South Africa and his Quaker upbringing would forever shake Dave Matthews, his view of the world and sense of freedom and justice. He attended anti-apartheid marches and rallies and to this day speaks of the impression left on him from that troubled time.
MATTHEWS: I guess in a way, the fertile ground for evolution is oppression, you know. Although it's very ugly, revolutionary spirit comes out of just the will that we have. It's inside of us all that will that we have, and South Africa taught me that.
BURKHARDT: Matthews moved often during his younger years because of apartheid and his father's job. He spent time in the U.S. and elsewhere until his father died suddenly of lung cancer.
MATTHEWS: My dad died when I was 10. I mean it was hard because I guess when you're little, you don't really get what death is.
BURKHARDT: Devastated, Dave Matthews moved back to South Africa, where he would finish school. There, he would also find solace in a world of music and a first love, art.
MATTHEWS: I liked to do visual arts a lot as a kid, and mainly drawing because it just was a real solitude, a real patience involved in that.
BURKHARDT: But Matthews had no patience for the apartheid regime in South Africa. Military service was compulsory yet counter to Matthews' pacifist upbringing, so he moved back to the United States. And he eventually settled in Charlottesville, Virginia, a small college town and bohemian community where Matthews traded his passion of drawing for an obsession with the guitar, a trade that changed his life forever.
TINSLEY: You know, Charlottesville is a pretty big music community, you know. It's just like a lot of musicians get together and just jam out with each other.
BURKHARDT: Working as a bartender at a local hangout known as Miller's, Dave Matthews was at the epicenter of the music scene in Charlottesville. Not coincidence then that most of his future bandmates were regulars. Of course, they had no idea at first of the quiet talent behind the bar. After all, Matthews was just the guy who served the drinks.
TINSLEY: He was a very interesting fellow. But the thing about it was no one knew that he played music until one day, you know, I saw him on stage.
BURKHARDT: Matthews may have kept a low profile the beginning, but he had big plans. He wasn't only running tabs for some of the best players in town but he was also keeping tabs on them. Confidence, however, was an issue, especially around the likes of such accomplished musicians as saxophonist, LeRoi Moore and drummer, Carter Beauford, not to mention a prodigy like bassist, Stefan Lessard or a virtuoso like violinist, Boyd Tinsley.
TINSLEY: The music was so different and even the instrumentation of the band, even before I got it to -- I mean they had been rehearsing like two months before I joined, and you know, it was so different that a violin wasn't going to really mess it up too much, you know?
BURKHARDT: Matthews' ensemble may have been different but they were also determined. Coming up, on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, DMB hits the road and hits the charts. But just as everything is coming together, tragedy strikes Matthews life again.
ANNOUNCER: Now back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
BURKHARDT (voice-over): In 1991, bartender Dave Matthews had assembled all the pieces for his new band, an eclectic group both ethnically and musically.
MATTHEWS: Crazy how...
BURKHARDT: Diverse, talented, ready to strike out on their own. But for Matthews and the rest of the band, the beginning was modest at best. Their first gig, the rooftop of Dave's apartment building on South Street in Charlottesville, a low-key jam for friends. The band didn't even have name. Necessity, however, would soon prove the mother of invention.
MARTELL: The way they came up with the name was basically one day they were called upon to come up with a name and Boyd kind of jokingly wrote down on a flyer, oh, we're just the little old' Dave Matthews Band.
TINSLEY: When I say The Dave Matthews Band, I think all five of us, you know? And I think -- I think we all feel that way, you know? You know, I mean it's just a name to me, you know.
BURKHARDT: With a new name and a few gigs under their belt, The Dave Matthews Band started touring in earnest, frat parties at the University of Virginia, the club circuit in and around Charlottesville, taverns and bars that exist today only in the history of DMB. But it would be through these long hours on the road, on the stage that the band would find its voice and groove. MARTELL: The awesome chemistry that you see up on stage today that's from those years of touring together, that's from the years of just taking the songs as basic structures and like building on them.
BURKHARDT: The Dave Matthews Band wasn't only building a catalog of songs; they were also building an enormous fan base. Word spread and DMB quickly became the house band at a Charlottesville institution known as Tracks.
JONATHAN DORFMAN, FRIEND: You could really see from one week to the next how the club would just suddenly have more people in it. And when you spoke to the people who watching the band -- and sometimes they had driven down from Pennsylvania.
BURKHARDT: As time went on, DMB adopted a "Grateful Dead" approach to touring, endless jam sessions and the lenient policy that allowed fans to freely tape their shows. These tapes would spread along the eastern seaboard fueling an underground celebrity that the band could never have imagined.
MATTHEWS: You go up to -- you know into a school or a state you've never been before and the audience was singing all the words back to us. We never had a CD out.
Fun, fun, fun.
BURKHARDT: And audiences weren't the only ones attracted to The Dave Matthews Band. By chance, one of the many bootlegs floating around the country made its way to Bruce Flohr, a record executive at RCA in Los Angeles. After hearing DMB for the first time, he hopped a plane to New York to see them for himself.
FLOHR: I went down to a club in New York called The Wetlands. And we walked in and there were 500 kids that were well aware of Dave. And right then, I got the feeling there was something special going on.
BURKHARDT: That something special put Flohr in hot pursuit of signing the band, but that would be easier said than done.
MATTHEWS: We were pretty hesitant anyway because we were making a pretty good living just touring around, so the idea of attaching ourselves to somebody didn't necessarily appeal to us that much.
FLOHR: I mean they really tested us. We had, you know, a lot of good times together, but it was -- I always felt like we were being watched and judged.
MATTHEWS: But then, you know, they kept making the offer sweeter, and they kept buying us dinner, so it seemed, like, OK, well, you seem like nice enough people.
BURKHARDT: After releasing the independent live album, "Remember Two Things," The Dave Matthews Band was paired with producer, Steve Lilywhite, and the question became could their electrifying performances be captured in a studio. MARTELL: Lilywhite's really good at just telling a band, in a non-threatening, non-kind of dictorial manner, "Look, this is what we need to move it."
BURKHARDT: While Lilywhite and the Dave Matthews Band worked on a debut record, RCA was faced with the daunting task of selling DMB's unique sound in a market then saturated by grunge rock.
FLOHR: One of the turning points of the band's career was a convention down in New Orleans, a radio convention, where we had the band play in front of all their fans and the band just tore the roof off that place. And everybody went home from that convention and said, "This is the next best thing."
BURKHARDT: A major label, a new album, just as everything seemed to be going Matthews' way, tragedy again haunted his life and family.
MARTELL: Dave found out that his sister, Anne, had been killed in South Africa. Not only that but she had been killed by her husband, who had then committed suicide.
BURKHARDT: Matthews is very private about the exact details of his sister's death. One of the only public acknowledgements of his loss came, fittingly enough, on stage during a performance on January 29, 1994.
MATTHEWS: As a country filled with lots of violence and lots of hatred, but is also filled with lots of love and lots of good people, but I was there mourning the very recent murder of my sister. So this evening goes out to her and in her memory.
BURKHARDT: Matthews struggled on, and he and the band would release "Under The Table and Dreaming" at the end of 1994. The first single, "What Would You Say" was as successful as it was unorthodox.
MARTELL: Even the record company themselves were a little flummoxed by the whole thing. There's a violin. It's not -- there's no lead guitar in the song. Like, these are not things that you would typically associate with the song that would go top 40.
BURKHARDT: But "What Would You Say" did go top 40, along with two other singles, "Ants Marching" and the ballad, "Satellite."
The Dave Matthews Band was not only picking up mainstream fans on the radio, it also kept reeling them in on the road, returning to their roots in the campaign of non-stop touring.
TINSLEY: There's nothing more fun than to be jamming with The Dave Matthews Band with you know, 20, 30,000 people, you know, and jamming with a violin and rocking the crowd, which is pretty awesome.
BURKHARDT: Striking while the iron was hot, the band collaborated again with Steve Lilywhite for a follow-up album. And the train kept rolling. "Crash" went multi-platinum. It also gave The Dave Matthews Band their biggest hit ever, the title song, "Crash Into Me."
MATTHEWS: Crash into me...
MARTELL: It became like a ubiquitous ballad, like no matter where you went "Crash Into Me" was playing. If you were at a prom, a wedding, a football game, like, you know, in the back seat of your girlfriend's car, whatever. Like, it was the song.
BURKHARDT: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, an Internet leak of a busted studio session.
BURKHARDT: Dave Matthews goes solo, sort of.
ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
BURKHARDT (voice-over): By the late '90s, The Dave Matthews Band was on top of the world -- multi-platinum records and sold out arenas.
FLOHR: There's no way I could sit here and tell you I could see three nights Giants Stadium sold out from the wetlands, absolutely not. I did believe in my heart that this thing was going to become special.
TINSLEY: It was just like wow, we must be something now, you know.
BURKHARDT: In 1998, DMB released their third studio album, "Before These Crowded Streets," a new CD, a slightly different approach.
MATTHEWS: For the most part, it was written in the studio, so it was not an awkward thing for the band, it was almost -- it was a very liberating thing.
BURKHARDT: After "Crowded Streets" and months on the road in support of the album, The Dave Matthews Band returned to Charlottesville and they headed right back into the studio, back into another collaboration with Steve Lilywhite. But this time the tracks were slow to come together. After six months of frustration, they pulled out of the Lilywhite sessions.
MATTHEWS: We all felt it. It was a real sort of lack of direction and the feeling that it was just never going to end.
FLOHR: The original intention with to put a pause on the Lilywhite sessions and come back to them after the tour.
BURKHARDT: So DMB looked for a new direction and found pop producer, Glenn Ballard.
TINSLEY: He and Dave got together and wrote some songs up and wrote all the music and the charts up and stuff, which was -- you know that was something we had never really done before.
BURKHARDT: While recording what would become the album "Everyday" with Ballard, the earlier tracks from the Lilywhites session found their way onto the Internet.
MARTELL: Somebody in their camp, no one knows who to this day, leaked what would be known as "The Summer So Far" or the Lilywhite sessions.
BURKHARDT: With fans thinking the Lilywhite sessions were a preview of "Everyday," that album's unabashed pop musings came as a complete surprise.
FLOHR: I felt it allowed "Everyday," which is an amazing record and has amazing songs on it, to be unfairly judged.
BURKHARDT: The leak also caused concern about DMB's lenient taping policy and the very community that helped rocket the band out of obscurity. The band and RCA were worried that the Internet may have made DMB too accessible. But despite it all, Matthews and the band stayed true to their policy of allowing fans to freely record their shows.
MATTHEWS: I mean there's lots of bad notes I've sung and bad notes I've played that are out there. I guess that could be an inspiration for people to say, I don't want them to tape what we're doing, but I find it hard to understand that.
BURKHARDT: And taping has come a long way from the hand-held recordings that sprouted among those early fans in Charlottesville. Today, DMB loyalists can spend thousands of dollars on high-tech audio equipment and digital equipment that allows them to post shows onto the Internet within hours of the final note.
With one of the most dedicated fan bases in music and his career at an all time high, Dave Matthews hit a personal high in 2000 when he married long time girlfriend, Ashley Harper. And not long after his nuptials, Matthews also became a father of twins.
MATTHEWS: Well, my kids can be a handful. My surprise is how great they think I am. My daughters think I'm the bee's bonnet.
BURKHARDT: Family, fame and fortune. In 2002, "Entertainment Weekly" ranked Dave Matthews at number 34 on its list of the 51 most powerful entertainers. But celebrity hasn't swayed Matthews too far from his Quaker upbringing. He and his band have long given back, donating tens of thousands of dollars to charities in Charlottesville and beyond through their BAMA Foundation (ph).
JOHN REDICK, CHARLOTTESVILLE ALBERMELE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION: My sense is that there was a real devotion to philanthropy and making the world a better place. I sense that this was part of a family mission. And I think Dave grew up with that.
BURKHARDT: Charitable and ever changing. Matthews is now branching out yet again. This time, he's solo and showing a slightly darker side with his new CD "Some Devil."
MATTHEWS: Grave, gravedigger...
I cannot wait for people to hear this record.
Would you make it shallow so that I can feel the rain?
FLOHR: I think that it's going to shock a lot of people, that Dave had this much music in him.
BURKHARDT: Music enough, it seems for both solo projects and The Dave Matthews Band. Just the day after "Some Devil" was released, Dave was back with the band at a huge benefit concert in New York's Central Park.
MATTHEWS: It sometimes takes walking away from what you have, to see clearly what you have. But it's lucky for me that I could walk away but not be leaving.
BURKHARDT: From bar band to the heights of the music world, so much so fast for Dave Matthews and DMB, but where does he -- where do they go from here?
DORFMAN: I cannot imagine David not being involved in music.
MARTELL: You know, 10, 20 years from now; they're still going to be putting out records. They're still going to be touring. They're still going to be selling out their shows. I don't think that there's any chance that the band is going to stop being, you know, a huge success.
FLOHR: I can't think of very many bands that we've seen develop in the last decade with their induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. I know for a fact that this band will be one of those bands.
MATTHEWS: What would you say?
ZAHN: Dave Matthews solo CD, "Some Devil" debuted at number two on the billboard chart, selling nearly 500,000 copies.
That's it for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Coming up next week, the six degrees of Kevin Bacon. I'm Paula Zahn. Thanks so much for joining us.
ANNOUNCER: For more celebrity news, be sure to pick up a copy of "People" magazine this week.
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