Daily Archives: August 19, 2010

In Memory of LeRoi Moore: 1968 – 2008

[Today is the second anniversary of the tragic death of Dave Matthews Band saxophonist LeRoi Moore. To commemorate his life and his music, I want to re-post the eulogy I posted for him right after his untimely death.]

There are some forms of writing you never want to have to learn to write. A eulogy is one of those. Yesterday afternoon (Tuesday, 8/19/08) LeRoi Moore, the saxophonist for the Dave Matthews Band, passed away.

For me, this is the first time I’ve felt the loss of a musician so personally. I was too young to understand when Kurt Cobain died. I remember the deaths of John Lee Hooker and Chet Atkins- but never had enough of an emotional connection with their music to really feel the loss fully.

But the Dave Matthews Band, well, I grew up on the Dave Matthews Band. I remember the first time I saw a video of DMB playing live. It was their performance at Woodstock ‘99. I remember thinking how cool Dave looked when he danced. I remember how much fun Carter looked like he was having from behind the kit. I remember how Boyd twirled around onstage. I remember how Stefan was able to look uber cool without even trying. But what stood out the most to me was LeRoi. LeRoi stood stage right, wearing a huge peach colored t-shirt, corn-rowed hair tied back in a pony tail, and sporting a pair of Ray Charles style shades. What struck me most was how out of place he looked in this band; the rest of the guys looked cool in the rock star sense, while this guy looked like he would’ve fit in better at a dressed down blues jam.

That was LeRoi Moore. He may not have looked like he fit in stylistically, but musically he was the perfect match. His saxophone skills were amazing. The two times I saw him play live, his playing was out of this world. He may not have moved around onstage, but his music was able to move the audience.

And that’s exactly what he was able to do. The horns played by LeRoi brought the music regular pop music to something better. They combined the old school big band with the new school jam band. They refused to bow down to the stereotypes of the modern rock band with 2 guitarists, a bassist and a drummer. They broke all the rules, and because of that shined through. And LeRoi was one of the brightest lights out there.

So let’s celebrate the life of this great musician. For those of us who were able to see this band live, let’s remember those shows, our favorite jams, and the excitement of watching this master of the saxophone onstage. If you never saw LeRoi perform live, listen to the live tracks, and let the music paint the picture for you.

Dave Matthews Band – #41