A Proud Monkey Delivers Dave Matthews Hits
Dustin Switzer spent years sharpening his skills as a bassist, guitarist and vocalist in local bands such as the Five Percent, Lessen One and Pop Rox.
But for his current project, A Proud Monkey, the Dallas native goes back to the roots of what inspired him to become a musician: Dave Matthews Band. Supported by a rotating roster of backup guitarists on stage, Switzer went On the Record to discuss some career highlights and his ambitious plans for other tributes to his favorite artists.
Q: Tell us about your relationship to Dave Matthews’ music.
A: I began teaching myself Dave Matthews Band songs in college in 1999. I was heavily intrigued by his unique chords and percussive rhythms. Once I knew enough of his songs, I began to perform them live, and it’s steamrolled from there to the present day. I’ve seen the band 55 times since 1998, and I opened up for Tim Reynolds at the River Street Jazz Cafe in 2008. My intricate knowledge of their music is shown in my performances.
Q: Where does the name A Proud Monkey come from?
A: “Proudest Monkey” is a song that closes DMB’s 1996 record “Crash.” I believe it to be a semi-autobiographical song of Dave’s, simplifying his long journey from South Africa to America to South Africa to Europe and back to America.
Q: What does a typical show look and sound like?
A: Our shows are completely different each time. At our home base, North Slope Brewing Co. in Dallas, we just recently performed DMB’s seminal record, “Before These Crowded Streets,” from start to finish as our first set. (There are) very difficult songs on that record, and Aaron Fink was a massive help in pulling it off. We did a Valentine’s Day show where we focused on happy and sad love songs, of which Dave has plenty. We’ve got plans to play each of their records all the way through in the future. It’s something no one else really does. We leave it all on the stage, every time.
Q: What else do you have in the works?
A: I’m in the planning stages of assembling a group tribute to my favorite artists: Dave Matthews Band, Peter Gabriel, Sting ... where you can come out and hear a set of hits by each of them. I’m also finishing an original record this spring which I began 10 years ago with A.J. Jump, Dylan Skursky and Jon Novakovich. My collaborators are way more talented than I am, however — Aaron Fink is putting out his fourth solo record, “Wolves and Butterflies,” and Neil Nicastro just released a new solo EP called “For Escaping.”
Contact the writer:
email@example.com; 570-348-9100 x5369; @pwildingTT on Twitter
A Proud Monkey Members:Dustin Switzer, vocals and guitar; Aaron Fink, Neil Nicastro and Andrew Sleboda, rotating guitarists Based out of: Dallas Established: 2002 Genre: Acoustic, Dave Matthews Band Covers Up next:Friday, April 6, 9 p.m., McGrath’s Pub & Eatery, 112 E. Main St., Dalton (with Neil Nicastro); Friday, April 20, 8 p.m., North Slope Brewing Co., 33 Tunkhannock Highway, Dallas (with Aaron Fink); Saturday, April 21, 9p.m., Molly O’Sheas at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp. (with Andrew Sleboda) Online: Visit facebook.com/daveandtimtribute or dustinswitzer.com.