DMBLA English Translation
By Jake Vigliotti
1) Why did you wanted to write this book? How the idea came to be, was it yours or the proposal came from the band?
I was asked to write a book about the DMB for the Italian market. I was scared, but many people and journalists pushed me, because I'm a good writer and I have an in-depth knowledge of the band. There are only 3 books about the DMB: Step Into The Light, Music for The People and So Much To Say, but they do not tell the real story of the band. There are many mistakes in the Step Into The Light and Music for The People and they are old. So Much To Say is a fan book that goes through the band's evolution without much depth and without the main steps and events that determined profound changes.
Moreover, whenever I talked to US fans (even the more knowledgeable ones), I was always surprised to notice that their actual knowledge of the band was very superficial. This urged me to write a book that had to be complete and exhaustive: it had to talk not only about the various phases the DMB went through but also about their personal relationships, the origin of their albums, the meaning of their songs, and the characteristics of their management. A book that would highlight the heart of the band and the secret of their success.
2) How was the investigation process and interviews? Since the band is most of the time touring and you live in Italy. How long did it take you to write it?
I didn't ask for “official interviews”, except for a few (and they are documented in the Bibliography and References). At first I asked the management for some official photos, including the one on the book cover. When I was asked to write a book on the Dave Matthews Band, I purposely decided to do it freely and with the only constraint to respect the band's privacy. Traveling with them in recent years I've had long conversations with the musicians, crew and management, so it is obvious that I've got to know the band and its history very closely and from a vantage point. However, none of those private conversations have been reported in this book, at least not directly. To be fair, I decided to document them with bibliographic research that supported what I was told by the people directly involved. Nothing about the history and evolution of the DMB is the result of my personal considerations or conjectures. Therefore, the book is the result of two years of research and of the effort to cross-check the information known to me with what has been officially published (there are many articles unknown to the fan base. Many people in Charlottesville helped me find them). I started to research and I wrote the first 3 chapters on 2011. Then, for personal reasons, I stopped for more than one year....
I did not write a word during all that time. I started writing the book in February 2013 and I finished on December 27, 2013. I am a psychiatrist, and my job at the hospital is very demanding, but during those months I dedicated all my free time to researching, chronologically listening to ALL the albums and bootlegs, and writing.
3) What are we going to be able to find on your book that we are not going to find on any other about the DMB?
There is the history of the DMB from its members' point of view, not the fans'. You will find many unknown and curious episodes, some of which were unknown to me as well (unknown to very many people, in fact). Even more interesting, you will read about what really happened in the crucial years between 2006 and 2008, when the band went through a deep crisis, and how they managed to overcome it. I think this is going to be a big surprise for the worldwide DMB fanbase.
4) In what percentage was the band involved in the creative process? Besides being interviewed, how involved where they with it?
As I said before, the band was not involved in the creative process. I gathered all the information I needed to write this kind of book while traveling and talking with the band members and the crew and while working with their management. Last year my editor and my team of readers encouraged me to publish the book abroad first (in English), because there is no other book like this one. I talked to Dave about this idea, and we talked about my doubts and questions about the origin of some songs. I also talked to the management. They wanted to read it and asked me to send them the rough copy before contacting a publisher. I sent it over to the management and the band.
5) Which was the most difficult part to write and why?
Many parts of the book were tough to write because of their emotional significance: the relationship among Dave, Mark Roebuck and Haines Fullerton, for example. That chapter was very tricky: I knew that Mark Roebuck wasn't very happy about other articles people wrote about this, so I interviewed him and I sent him my chapter. He liked it a lot. Writing about LeRoi's accident and death wasn't easy either. From a more technical point of view I wanted to write a book for the general public, not only DMB fans. I wanted to arouse the interest of music lovers and people who only know the band's name (or don't know the band at all). Therefore, I studied the band's musical evolution from the origin of their albums and their songs to Dave's songwriting style, to the musician's point of view. It has been a fascinating discovery for me as well.
6) Did you had complete freedom to write about anything or was it something you left out?
As I said before, I was totally free to write about everything, with the only constraint to respect the band's privacy.
7) When writing about anything we like sometimes we find it difficult to remain objective because we are emotionally attached with the subject of our story, in this case DMB. How was your work and writing process as a writer to keep a neutral line of thought throughout?
I would like to say that the DMBook is not a fan book. Obviously, I am passionate about the band, but I stopped being a “fan” the moment I started working with them and their management. This happened a few years ago. Your point of view changes completely when you somehow become a part of the organization and mechanisms revolving around the band. You become more objective, because you have to be able to see the problems as well, especially the ones in the relationship between the overall organization of the band and foreign countries.
The way you listen to their music or attend a concert changes as well. My editor and my publisher at Arcana Edizioni (the #1 publishing house in Italy as far as music books are concerned) told me that I managed to write a book that is “really excellent, both as a factual work and from a fan's point of view”. My editor also said that even though he is a fan, he would have never dared to commission a book about the DMB because he thought it was a “really too complicated and hard challenge” but that I managed to do it.
8) As a DMB follower and fan, what new things did you find out about the band during the writing process of the book?
As a DMB fan I have discovered many things while traveling with them. I had the opportunity of talking with them and having many good times and fun with each other in a very family like atmosphere. This experience gave me the chance to identify with the band and their point of view, to observe their world from a perspective that is completely different from a fan's. Actually during the writing process I did not discovered anything new. But I think the fans most certainly will.
9) Why did you choose to write it in Italian first and not in English? I understand there is going to be a translation later.
I am a perfectionist. When I started writing the book for the Italian market, I discovered a lot of precious material unknown to many hardcore fans. I decided to go in-depth, so I was asked to publish abroad first, in English. As I said before, I talked about it with the band and management.
However, to be able to publish in English worldwide with the management's approval I had to wait for their priorities, and that's what I decided to do. I waited. Publish abroad first, then in Italy.
Due to personal and family reasons, last January I decided to publish the book in Italy first, because I wanted my parents to see it (my dad is a big fan). I talked to the management and this is why the book will be published in Italy first.
10) What is your favorite anecdote from the book?
That's a difficult question! There a so many...One of them is really intriguing. Last summer I interviewed tour director Geoff Trump. After the interview he introduced me to his wife, and he told her that I worked with the band and I was writing a book about them. This is what I write in the book: “I smile at the thought that an Italian undertook this task, and I remember when I stumbled upon a Sociology dissertation during my research. The paper was written around 2000 by an American student. Its subject was the cultural incompatibility between DMB and Italy which, according to the American author, is the reason why the band could never be understood in Italy.
I read the dissertation in utter disbelief, mostly because it had a lot of prejudices and silly beliefs, so much so that I still ask myself why he chose that subject and I wonder if he got a good grade for it. I'm not going to cite the dissertation but it's out there, I swear”.
11) Finally, why should dmb fans buy the book?
Because it's the only in-depth book about the DMB and also because, as my publisher said, “it's a very well written and fascinating masterpiece” (I'm not saying it, he said it, ok?)
Interview by María José Carreño and Nat Alonso
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