Band Issues Dumping Letter

By Waldo Jaquith

In response to the charges brought against Dave Matthews Band and bus driver Stefan Wohl in the Chicago sewage-dumping situation, Dave Matthews Band has issued a letter, addressed "to the people of Chicago and our fans." In the letter, they write that they "care deeply about what happened," describing the incident as "terrible" and "awful," both with regard to the boat passengers and the environmental impact, explaining that it's a matter of "simple principles of humanity." Praising Chicago, they promise that if they are found to be responsible, they "will work quickly to make amends." They also make clear that they are working with Chicago authorities to determine what happened. They also offer a spirited character-based defense of Stefan Wohl, explaining that as a member of the DMB family, his word that he did not dump the bus' sewage storage tanks means a great deal to them. Keep reading for the full text of the letter.

To the people of Chicago and our fans:

Given comments being made in some of the emails we have received from fans and the comments we have seen in some of the media, we believe it is important to clarify where we stand regarding the bus dumping incident in Chicago.

Hopefully this will resolve any misunderstandings because we want everyone to know that we care deeply about what happened to the people on the boat that day, which was terrible, and the damage that occurred to Chicago's environment. We are not attempting to avoid any responsibility we may have for the incident. We love Chicago, we love the city and we love the people. It is one of our favorite cities to play. We would never do anything to offend the people of Chicago or any of our fans. If we were responsible for what happened, we will work quickly to make amends, with the people on the boat and with Chicago.

We have fully and voluntarily cooperated with the Chicago authorities since the moment we heard about the incident. We provided access to our drivers and our tour manager immediately, the band was using five different buses in Chicago at that time and we provided the license plate numbers of all of them, we provided photographs of any of the buses they requested and we offered to supply DNA evidence to determine if one of our buses was the bus involved. In short, we have worked with the Chicago authorities in every way we can to determine whether one of our buses was the bus involved in the incident.

Our driver was the only person on the bus during the period relevant to this matter, and he has told us that he had nothing to do with this incident. We have not yet seen any of the other evidence in this case, and we have a few narrow but critical questions related to what we have seen of the evidence in the media. We are working with the Chicago authorities to resolve these open issues as quickly as possible so this matter can be closed.

What happened that Sunday is extremely important to us. It touches on many of the core principles we have supported and tried to live up to, not simply environmental principles and principles of accountability, but more importantly simple principles of humanity. What happened to the people on the boat is awful and our hearts go out to them.

But please understand another principle we are committed to is loyalty and respect for the people who we work with. We are proud that many of our crew have worked with us since the band's earliest years. It has become a family and that family is very important to us. This driver has been working with us for over 5 years. In that time he has earned our respect and trust and on a personal level he has become part of the family. In light of that, we take his statements seriously and ask for everyone's patience until we resolve our concerns. We are working to resolve these as quickly as possible. And to repeat, if it was our bus that did it, we will take responsibility immediately.