The Charlottesville you’re seeing on TV isn’t the one where the highly diverse Dave Matthews Band formed.
Violinist Boyd Tinsley, who joined up with Matthews in 1991 to start the band, was raised in the Virginia town at the center of the nation’s recent race riots. He’s never witnessed the kind of violence that erupted when white supremacists clashed with protesters over the removal of Confederate monuments last week.
“There’s never been racial problems in Charlottesville – it’s a racially diverse community,” Tinsley told us from his Virginia home. “Growing up as a kid, I never felt race consious.”
Among Tinsley’s neighbors are actress Sissy Spacek and author John Grisham.
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“The people that came to that rally? None of them were from Charlottesville,” he insisted.
Tinsley also takes issues with those like President Trump, who’ve said there were “good people” among the racist demonstrators.
“Trust me, good people don’t stand next to Klansmen and Nazis,” he said.
Tinsely recalls a racist rally in Chalottesville last month that took locals by surprise.
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“There was a torch-lit rally at the park 3-4 months ago there were 40 people holding torches and I thought ‘what the hell is this?'” he recalled. “Then we found out the Klan was coming.”
That’s when the community planned a Unity Concert for the same day as the Klan rally and drowned it out. That show was headlined by Tinsley’s new band, Crystal Garden, which will also play in New York as part of the U.S. Open festivities on Aug. 24. Boyd, who hosts an annual tennis tournament in Charlottesville, says his hometown will need all of the help it can get to recover from the recent bloodshed.
“There’s absolute disbelief and everyone in Charlottesville is dealing with that feeling all week,” he said. “I’ve lost sleep over it. I’ve had headaches. I’ve cried over it. I’m certainly not over it. That hurt. they came through a beautiful town and brought something ugly and its a stain that won’t wash away.”
With Brian Niemietz