KIRO Radio's Josh Kerns talks local music
Seattle Sounds

Dave Mathews Band violinist turns grief into film

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When LeRoi Moore died unexpectedly four years ago, it hit his fellow Dave Matthews Band mate Boyd Tinsley especially hard. Now, the violinist is channeling his grief through an experimental, unconventional new film he produced and scored.(AP image)

When LeRoi Moore died unexpectedly four years ago, it hit his fellow Dave Mathews Band mate Boyd Tinsley especially hard. Now, the violinist is channeling his grief through an experimental, unconventional new film that debuted Thursday in Seattle.

"He was a really good friend of mine. I was really down, it was really dark and I really needed something to put all that into, and all of a sudden it just hit me this was the time to make a movie," he says in an interview with Seattle Sounds.

Listen to Interview: Boyd Tinsley/Dave Matthews Band

"Faces in the Mirror" tells the story of a young man who returns home for his father's funeral. In an unconventional twist, the music came before the story or script.

DMB was putting the finishing touches on "Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King" in Seattle. When the sessions would break for the night, Tinsley says he immediately jumped into the studio with noted Seattle musicians from Maktub to Shawn Smith of Brad as they cooked up a series of sounds and songs that would become the framework for the film.

"I wanted to make a movie like that, that was more about feeling than about maybe just listening to dialogue and sort of watching. So I thought let's start with the emotion of the music and then make everything else based off of that and then when we put it together it'll just be like this one emotional experience."

It's entirely Tinsley's baby. Along with scoring the music, he produced and appeared in the film. It was far from conventional. Much of the film was improvised around the music. It took two years to edit because Tinsley had to conform the video to the audio.

The result? He's ecstatic.

"We made the movie dance with the music," he beams.

Tinsley says the process evolved directly from over 20 years in DMB, and the free form nature of the band, which rarely performs a song the same way twice.

"When I play a solo, I don't know what the solo is going to be, but I'll just know right before I play how it's going to start. And then from there it just unfolds and goes where it wants to go and everybody follows it and everybody feels it," he says.

The film screened Friday to a sold-out crowd at the Gorge, where the band plays a weekend show almost every year. Tinsley says the band has played the iconic venue at least 40 times.

"It has such a vibe to it it's a very spiritual vibe. It's just so beautiful, I've never seen anything like it. The venue itself but also the land around it too is just so amazing," Tinsley says.

Tinsley calls the Gorge one of the greatest venues in the world, encouraging him to do something special there every time he takes the stage.

"It's one of those places that brings stuff out of you and it's just such a beautiful energy between the crowd that's been out there the whole weekend camping out and us out there and we're right up against this big canyon, this gorge and it's a beautiful place."

While he plans to do more film making, Tinsley says DMB has no plans to slow down. The band is set to release its newest album "Away From the World" on Sept. 11 and continue touring regularly.

"We're playing like we're 18-years-old. We're reaching to take the music to a whole different level...and I think we've made one of our best albums. It's just so much fun. I think we'll be playing for a while."

Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.
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