DAVE MATTHEWS On ROBERT FRIPP: “I Was Just Trying To Imitate Him”

I’m not sure there are many listeners out there that hear Dave Matthews and think “oh, he’s definitely influenced by Robert Fripp.” But here we are, talking about exactly that.


In a recent interview with Howard Stern, Matthews discussed how the King Crimson legend’s super unique style of playing actually influenced his own riff-writing. Especially some of the older stuff.

“[Fripp] would probably look at my guitar playing and think, ‘You’re a moron,'” said Matthews. “But he has this weird tuning where he plays in a really formal way [with his hands spread out].

“Like with the song, Warehouse, it makes a sound, and you can make these patterns up and just sort of repeat the patterns. There’s probably an easier way to play it [where you’re less spread out across the fretboard] but it’s satisfying.”

Matthews specifically cited his 1995 track “Satellite” as an example, noting that he didn’t do the best job imitating Fripp’s wide intervallic jumps. Still, it’s a pretty cool riff.

“I was just trying to imitate him, and I was also ignorant. So it was a combination of those two things,” he said. “I was trying to play what he was playing by looking rather than listening, like ‘What is he doing?’ So I tried and it didn’t sound anything like what he was doing, but it was nice.”

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