September 14, 2016
Born in Anaheim, CA, bassist Stefan Lessard remembers music always being played at home. His mother sang, and his father would come home from his day job and immediately begin playing guitar or flute. After several moves, the family settled in Virginia when Stefan was six. Studying with his first music teacher, Mary Carol, he learned violin, piano and guitar. In high school, Stefan picked up the electric bass and took to it immediately. He then moved on to the upright. Soon he was playing alongside local jazz greats in Charlottesville clubs.
He was 16 and still in high school when then-bartender Dave Matthews asked Stefan to join him, along with Carter Beauford and LeRoi Moore, in their attempt to form a band. He jumped at the opportunity, bringing along his upright bass, but soon felt the sound of the group called for the electric. In the beginning, he was not only the youngest member of Dave Matthews Band, but also the only one playing an electric instrument. Stefan enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he was accepted a year early, but dropped out after a month due to the band’s growing popularity.
In 2007, Stefan formed the musical side project Yukon Kornelius with Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies, Adam Gardner of Guster and drummer Eric Fawcett (N*E*R*D and Spymob). The four musicians were filming a Warren Miller sports film, Children of Winter, and bonded over their love for snow sports, charitable missions and music. Yukon Kornelius played its first show at a benefit in Vermont. Most recently, Stefan and Mike McCready of Pearl Jam formed Secret Stash, a unique group of the duo’s “secret stash” of musical friends. They performed in August 2017 at Creating Equilibrium, a 3 day forum aimed at finding solutions to solve ecological issues in America.