The Dave Matthews Band is one of the biggest acts out there and is rapidly gaining in popularity in Europe, but Matthews himself plans on enjoying some down time in Ireland when he’s there for a show next month . . . time that’s hard to come by here at home given his huge popularity, particularly among the college-age set.

“Last time we were in Dublin, not only did we walk the beautiful city streets, but we visited Howth, looked at the sea and saw some strange birds. We even had a couple of pints before heading back to town,” Matthews told The Irish Times last week.

“I wouldn’t say we were anonymous though -- we’re still noisy Americans. Our asses hang out no matter what we do.”

Matthews, who’ll play the 02 Arena in Dublin on March 9, takes his cue from bands like U2, which keep on producing the goods even after years and years in the business.

“I tend to look at bands that still inspire me, like U2. They’re still making legitimate records. Not everyone is as good as the last, granted. But some are still better than the one that came before,” he says.

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