It’s a simple fact that some days end up being shittier than others. And then, sometimes, days are so shitty they live on in infamy, remembered long after the stench has subsided.
August 8, 2004 was one of those days.
For those who weren’t born yet, back in the late '90s/early '00s Dave Matthews Band was a thing, even though you could never find anyone who would actually admit to listening to them.
As everyone who has ever been in a band knows, success means you get to leave the van behind for a tour bus. And the biggest benefit of a tour bus is that, instead of pissing into a bucket or Depends fashioned out of Bounty paper towels and duct tape, you get a toilet.
A toilet that needs to be periodically emptied.
This brings us back to August 8, 2004.
Most decent people empty their on-board toilets at a sani-station. If you’re really lucky, you can find a place that will let you grab a bite to eat while the shitter is being sucked dry. (See above photo from 100 Mile House.)
Rather than do the right thing, the driver of Dave Matthews Band’s bus decided to cut corners 14 years ago in Chicago, turning the Windy City into the Shitty City.
The driver found himself crossing the river-spanning Kinzie Bridge in Chicago. Recognizing he was driving over a bridge with a grate instead of blacktop, and spying water below, he decided to take care of business.
Before you could say “Holy shit”, the DMB tour bus dumped 800 pounds of human piss and shit onto the bridge, the untreated waste sluicing through the bridge’s grated surface and plummeting toward the Chicago River below.
The driver was no doubt hoping for, probably for the first time in his life, a monumental splashback, followed by Matthews’s turds being quietly carried away by the current. Urban legend was that he was playing DMB's “Don’t Drink the Water” on the tour bus sound system at the time of the dumping.
The only problem was that the shit didn’t hit water. Instead it hit an architectural tour boat right under the bridge.
Unfortunately, that boat was filled with 100 people looking skyward, taking in the beauty of one of America’s most stunning cities. And also getting a sudden faceful of piss and shit, some getting it in their eyes, others getting a true taste of rock stardom.
The Chicago Tribune reported the following: "Passengers on the tour boat, Chicago's Little Lady, described a downpour of foul-smelling, brownish-yellow slurry that ruined their clothes and made several of them sick."
Within days, record companies and various wags started sending out emails with subject lines like “We’ve got more shit coming your way than a Dave Matthews Band tour bus."
After pleading guilty to a misdemeanour charge of reckless conduct and water pollution, the band’s driver, Stefan Wohl, 42, was sentenced to 18 months of probation, 150 hours of community service, and a $10,000 fine.
To commemorate a day that still lingers like a bad smell in the history of Dave Matthews Band, watch the Consequence of Sound short titled The Day Dave Matthews Band Pooped on Chicago: A Documentary, which we’ve thoughtfully included below.
Should you be reading this story on a boat currently toodling along under the Kinzie Bridge, put down your fucking phone and take cover. And don’t look up. You never know when Dave Matthews Band's bus is right above you.