Dave Matthews Band: Boyd Tinsley is “No Longer a Member of the Band” After Sexual Misconduct Allegations
UPDATED May 18 5:40pm ET
Yesterday, it surfaced that Boyd Tinsley, the longtime violinist for Dave Matthews Band who announced earlier this year that he was “taking a break” from the group, has been accused of sexual misconduct by a former member of Crystal Garden, the band Tinsley created, supported and produced. Consequence of Sound originally reported on the story, and now the site has confirmed a response from DMB that says Tinsley is “no longer a member of the band” and that the members are “shocked by these disturbing allegations” and “were not previously aware of them.”
In the report from CoS, trumpet player and songwriter James Frost-Winn recounts several stories of escalating misconduct on the part of Tinsley, who he met as an 18-year-old busker in San Francisco in 2007.
Frost-Winn and Tinsley formed a personal and professional friendship throughout the next decade, beginning with Tinsley inviting the young musician to hang out with him when DMB were in town and buying Frost-Winn things like passes to Outside Lands. Tinsley invited Frost-Winn to join the new band he was creating, Crystal Garden, in 2014, and the following year he did, later moving to Seattle for the band.
“It was cool,” Frost-Winn tells CoS. “I knew this nice, down-to-earth celebrity guy; that’s pretty crazy. So when he mentioned this project, it was like, who wouldn’t want to do that?”
The instances of misconduct began in earnest after that. According to CoS, Frost-Winn remembers Tinsley buying him and his friends tickets to a New York Giants football game then, “When he did it, he said: ‘You better suck my dick or something.’ I thought maybe that was a funny joke or something, but it wasn’t also 100% joking.” Frost-Winn says that Tinsley later asked to wear his dirty socks before going on stage with DMB.
The most appalling accusation comes from a recording session Crystal Garden had with Tinsley at the violinist’s home studio in Virginia. As Frost-Winn tells, CoS, Tinsley apparently got extremely frustrated with the band at one point, even smashing a vintage guitar, then later, when Frost-Winn was napping on the couch after a long night of recording, he woke up to Tinsley masturbating next to him.
CoS also shares alleged texts from Tinsley that show the musician asking for photos of Frost-Winn and telling him plans for lewd photo shoots and that he was “actually masturbating to the thought of” the photos.
“I just tried to do something to laugh it off,” Frost-Winn tells Cos. “I couldn’t straight-up ignore him because he’s our boss. I wasn’t the only person he was hitting on in this group, but he would make it like ‘you’re the most sexy person in the band,’ ‘there’s just something about you.’”
Frost-Winn quit Crystal Garden in 2016 and filed a $9 million lawsuit today, May 17, in Washington state accusing Tinsley of creating a “hostile work environment” with his advances and expectations.
“In retrospect, he was absolutely grooming me,” Frost-Winn tells CoS. “I considered him like a brother, my family, especially after my mother passed—he was one of the positive role models in my life. I invested a lot into a relationship that was ultimately very bad for me. I first met him being homeless and 18 and new to experiencing the world. I felt very betrayed at the end of this.”
Read the full reports here.
On Friday, Tinsley responded to the allegations from Frost-Winn, telling NPR via a publicist: “I’m truly hurt by the one-sided account that appeared on a blog about me yesterday. I only wish the reporter had spoken to me first, so they would have heard the truth. I will defend myself against these false accusations. I can only assume the motivation for the article and the lawsuit filed against me. These accusations have caused embarrassment for my family, my friends and my fans. I will fight both in and out of court to repair the damage that has been done.”
Dave Matthews recently spoke to Vulture about Tinsley’s departure from the band, saying, “I have a deep love for Boyd, and he has to deal with his stuff. In many ways I’m sure it would’ve been a lot easier for him to just say, ‘I’m good. Let’s go play.’ But you can’t just throw yourself away, your wellness away, because you play violin in a band. It doesn’t make any sense to do that. I can’t say, ‘I can’t wait till he comes back,’ because I don’t know what’s going to happen. But right now being away is better for him. Nobody is happy about this situation. Except that we’re happy he can figure some stuff out. I hope he does.”