Dave Matthews has just started a telephone interview when the shrieks of a child interrupt his thoughts and he has to go to another room to escape the commotion.
"It's not easy to find a quiet place in my house," quips the leader of the Dave Matthews Band. "There's a lot of action."
But it's that kind of action with his 3-year-old son and two 9-year-old daughters that Matthews was craving when he decided last year, after spending 20 years on the road, to take a hiatus from touring.
However, the 44-year-old rocker's love of music couldn't keep him away from the stage for long, and this summer, the band — which includes Carter Beauford, Boyd Tinsley and Stefan Lessard — is performing in four cities — three nights in each city — in a "caravan" of concerts.
The concerts in Atlantic City, N.J.; Chicago; New York; and George, Wash., features the Dave Matthews Band as headliners and includes acts like the Flaming Lips, Ray LaMontagne, the Roots and Dispatch. The acts will vary in each city.
"I hope that people will go away from it, probably a little exhausted, but feeling like they had a really special experience," Matthews said.
AP: When you ended your tour, people assumed that was it for a while. What made you decide to do the "caravan"?
Matthews: There's some different reasons. A lot of the guys wanted to play and I love playing with this band. I've just been wanting to take a break from being on the road. ... I'm not as up for the crazy tour schedule this year ... but I still love playing music. It does seem like a good way not to live on a bus and go to someplace and see some good musicians play, and then work a little bit.
AP: What have you been doing during your time off?
Matthews: I've just been with my family and nothing else. ... Last year I spent was away from my family a lot. It's hard for me to leave my kids, and it's harder on me than it is on them. It's funny, I get a little quieter with time. I don't want to chase my tail and one day repeat myself and repeat myself and one day have kids going to college and not have memories that I should, because I was too busy doing my thing. ... I'm always playing music and trying to make new sounds, but mainly, it's been trying to hear theirs.
AP: Do you think your break might be a little bit more extended, or do you not want to put a timetable on it?
Matthews: I'd like to get into writing again and I think a lot of it for me is just trying to figure out how I can do both, and a lot of people have done it. ... It's a hard switch, but I'm working on trying to figure out how to do it. I don't want to stop — I don't think I really can stop making music. ... I'm not planning going into the studio for a specific month or anything like that. But I imagine I am going to. I don't see an end to that.
AP: There's a new book, "So Much to Say: Dave Matthews Band — 20 Years on the Road." What are some of the things included in the book that might surprise people?
Matthews: You know what's going to make you laugh? My mother told me there was some book out about us, and that's the first I heard of it. ... I had no idea. I am so in the dark about everything, which is OK. I've always kind of been, I've never really kept up with the culture around me, so it's not surprising that some book came out and I was oblivious about it. ... I have yet to see it. ... I have a pretty good idea of what happened in the last 20 years, and there's a lot of books out there that are about other things that I would much rather read than read a book that has details of my life.
AP: You have talked about trying to do things that might better the world. What are some of the projects you'd like to tackle?
Matthews: I think it's always on my mind and all of our minds, especially when I became a father, about what kind of planet I'm leaving for my children, and so that preoccupies me a little bit, and then opportunities tend to come up because there are people that are more directly focused on more specific ways into improving or sustaining a healthier direction for the planet.