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Dave Matthews Band's Big Stink


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Dave Matthews Band's Big Stink

Wed Aug 25, 1:30 PM ET

By Josh Grossberg

This probably wasn't what Dave had in mind when he wrote "Don't Drink the Water

The state of Illinois has filed a lawsuit against the Dave Matthews Band for allegedly dumping up to 800 pounds of liquid human waste from its tour bus into the Chicago River earlier this month.

The suit, filed on Tuesday by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, claims that a bus rented by the usually eco-friendly group was traveling cross town to the band's hotel on Aug. 8 when it pulled up alongside a metal grating on the Kinzie Street Bridge. That's when, the suit claims, bus driver Stefan A. Wohl emptied the contents of the vehicle's septic tank into the river.

And that was bad news for Chicago's First Lady, a passing tour boat filled with 100 people on an architecture sightseeing cruise that was doused by the falling excrement.

No one was seriously hurt by the raining waste. The boat's captain made a U-turn and headed back to the dock, where reeking passengers were given refunds and the ship was thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.

Madigan seeks more than $70,000 in civil penalties from the Dave Matthews Band and their driver for violating the state's water pollution and public nuisance laws.

"This incident may be unique, but that does not lessen the environmental or public health risks posed by the release of at least 800 pounds of liquid human waste into a busy waterway and onto a crowded tour boat," Madigan said in a statement.

DMB's spokesman, John Vlautin, says this isn't the kind of jam the band is used to and says any pollution was not intentional.

"Our driver has stated that he was not involved in this incident," Vlautin said in a statement, adding that the band "will continue to be cooperative in this investigation."

No word on whether any of the tainted tourists plan to take legal action against the rockers.

The Dave Matthews Band will presumably keep their waste under control as they continue on their current tour, which is now on the road on the West Coast for the next month before linking up with the Vote for Change tour. The politically motivated trek, featuring the likes of Bruce Springsteen (news), the Dixie Chicks (news - web sites), Pearl Jam and John Mellencamp (news), will play 34 shows in 28 cities in swing states in an effort to unseat President Bush (news - web sites).

DMB will hook up with Jurassic Five and My Morning Jacket for six dates, starting Oct. 1 at University Park, Pennsylvania, and continuing on to Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Florida.


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