DMB Home Coming Issue April
Locals had their chance to catch pivotal shows
By Hawes Spencer, C-ville Weekly Editor
Eastem Standard Tuesdays: Site of the first regular gig.
An enterprising bartender named Mark Roebuck decided he could
earn more tips if the slowest night of his week was sparked by an
open mic. Beginning around 1990, Roebuck's friend Dave was a frequent
presence. On Monday, January 22, 1991, Roebuck gets a call
at the restaurant. Would he mind if one of the Indigo Girls came
by to jam?
"I just said, 'Bring it on.' They didn't come over until about
one. Dave was just there hanging out. He got up there and sang 'All
Along the Watchtower' -- an amazing version. The Indigo Girl was
floored, it was an amazing night. I kept it open until 3am."
Matthews and keyboardist Pat Griesars soon became frequent Monday
night visitors. Sometime that summer, Roebuck guesses it was June,
his friend Dave said something about organizing a band. Without
ever hearimg them play, Roebuck gave them a slot. "I said,
'hey man I've got Tuesdays open.'"
The pay: "Fifty dollars a night -- and all the alcohol they
The band set up in the back of the restaurant near the bathrooms.
By the time the gig was first mentioned in C-VILLE (August
6, 1991), DMB was "packing the place" says Roebuck. Unfortunately,
bartender Roebuck was soon packing his bags. Sometime in late August
or early September the owners of Eastern Standard canned him.
"They said I was too irresponsible -- and I probably was."
Roebuck says the band graciously told him they were moving over
to Trax to protest his firing.
Tax Tuesdays: There's a lot of conflicting information out
there on the date of the first Trax show. Publicist Ambrosia Healy
pegs August 21, 1991 as the first DMB show at the cavernous, beer-drenched
music palace. However, C-VILLE's files show that night belonged
to blues great Koko Taylor with special guests is Dennis Guinana...,
Judy Coughlin, Gary Taylor, and Bill Blodgett. ("I know they
didn't play before us," says Coughlin today.) Based on our
files, we'd venture that the first DMB concert at Trax -- at least
as a headline act -- was Friday, September 20, 1991.
Mark Roebuck and The Deal become DMB trivia.