STEFAN LESSARD


Some might say that Stefan Lessard was in the right place at the right time, but it took a bit more than luck for the 16 year old Bassist to join up with the Dave Matthews Band.

Stefan Kahil Lessard is the eldest child of Janaki and Ron Lessard, born June 4, 1974. The family weren’t exactly hippies (probably more bohemian), but they did make a trip across the country in an old VW bus (Rolling Stone, 1996, Private Source.). The family moved 13 times before Stefan joined DMB in 1991. At an early age, he showed promise as a musician.

Part of that came from his mother, Janaki, who was singing to the future Fonz in the womb (SITL, p. 42). She performed professionally in Spain under her birth name Jackie. Janaki – the name by which she is known – was bestowed upon her by Swami Satchidananda in 1980 while in Virginia. Ron, Stefan's father, ran a music department in Madision, WI from 1986-87, and eventually opened his own music store – The Stardust - in Charlottesville in 1992.

Lessard happened upon the Dave Matthews Band via his band teacher at the Tandem School (just outside Charlottesville) - John D'earth. D'earth played trumpet at Millers', where Dave bartended, and heard that the newly-formed trio of Dave, Roi, and Carter needed a bass-line. He recommended the then-High School Junior to be their fourth.

A phrase often associated with how a 16 year old could play in a band with a 34 year old is 'old soul' (Montreal Gazette, May 9, 96 [quote by Dave]). Lessard always seemed mature for his age (SITL, p 43.), and that maturity helped Lessard make a tough decision. Stefan eventually dropped out of The Tandem school, and then left a music scholarship at Virginia Commonwealth University (as only a High School Junior with a GED). All for the potential of the DMB.

As time has progressed, Lessard has become key song writer for the band. He developed his first musical piece in 1993 (called, A Tune By Stefan Lessard) and received his first co-writing credit alone with Dave for 1994's Let You Down. He has famously written the main riff's for Rapunzel and The Dreaming Tree.

He is often refered to as 'Fonzie' or 'Fonz', a play on his first name Stefan.

Lessard is married (Jaclyn - 2nd) with three children: Elijah (Diggy) (from a previous marriage), Hazel, and Flora.


   


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