This week on the music beat

By David Browne and Rob Brunner
September 07, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

SWAMP THING After six years as Beck’s turntablist, DJ Swamp is now where it’s at himself. Swamp lends his scratching skills to recent singles from Ben Folds (”Rocking the Suburbs”), Better Than Ezra (”Extra Ordinary”), and the Crystal Method (”Name of the Game”). And on Sept. 18, the DJ drops his first solo album, Never Is Now, a playfully ominous hip-hop disc that might frighten Beck’s more pop-minded fans. ”If people check it out because of Beck, that’s fine,” says Swamp. ”It’ll be obvious there’s no connection. And a lot of people who don’t like Beck will like it.” Actually, Swamp wrote a lot of Never’s tracks for Beck, who passed. ”That’s why I did my own record,” Swamp says. ”Beck thinks I’m too dark.” — Rob Brunner

X MAN In the bleachers at last month’s X Games in Philadelphia were amateur Rollerbladers, skateboarders — and, unexpectedly, a member of the Dave Matthews Band, bassist Stefan Lessard, who was seen videotaping the proceedings for helpful hints. ”I try to hide it on the road,” he admits of his passion for skating. ”People don’t like to see me skateboarding right before a show. It’s like bad insurance. My stage manager follows me in a little golf cart.” Lessard may not be lessening anyone’s anxieties soon: ESPN, which sponsors the X Games, is giving him one of the halfpipes that would otherwise be scrapped, as long as he pays to have it shipped to his house in Charlottesville, Va. Meanwhile, Lessard confirms reports that one of DMB’s upcoming shows will be taped for a live album with reworked tunes from the shelved Lillywhite sessions. ”Those were hard songs to come across in the studio right away,” Lessard says. ”As a band, we felt frustrated. When we do finally release those songs, they’ll be much better than they would have been.” Call it extreme jamming.