Archive for the ‘Life and death’ Category

Jon Stewart on the South Carolina shooting

Friday, June 19th, 2015

“Brokedown Palace” for Calico

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Calico_MarinMF2000
Elisabeth Vandermei, aka Calico (Hog Farm) and Ruby (GDTS)
June 4, 1935-March 18, 2015. Photo by David Gans (circa 2000)

I was in the studio on March 19, recording “Brokedown Palace,” and when it came time to record the vocals I found myself thinking a lot about Calico, who passed away on the 18th. She was an exemplary human being and one of the greatest hippies who ever lived. Thousands and thousands of Deadheads remember her fondly for the great care she took of us all in so many ways. Here is the recording, dedicated to Calico.

Recorded by Jeremy Goody at Megasonic Sound, Piedmont CA.

Guitars by Martin and DeSio Guitars

My mistake

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

I fucked up.

In the liner notes for GarciaLive vol 5, just released, I stated that “God Save the Queen” is known Stateside as “America the Beautiful.” I am getting notes from all over the place, calling attention to this blunder.

I regret the error.

Thought for the day

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

It’s amazing how much you can get done when you’re supposed to be doing something else.

A memorial for the deportees

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

From Sue Kern at KFCF in Fresno:

Woody Guthrie’s song, “Deportees,” about the plane that caught fire over Los Gatos canyon, was actually about a crash that occurred in Coalinga, in Fresno County. The 28 Mexican nationals who died were being deported back to Mexico after working in the California fields, and the news accounts at the time reported the names of the INS agents and flight crew – but the deportees weren’t named. Hence Woody’s song.

One of our local authors, Tim Z Hernandez, discovered where the unmarked grave was located while researching another book he was writing, and he talked with Lance Canales (one of our treasured local musicians – blues guitar and native flute, of Lance Canales and the Flood). Together they came up with this project to find out the names of all the deportees, contact their families, and put up a memorial headstone to commemorate them. They’re working with the Fresno Catholic Diocese and specifically Carlos Rascon, director of their cemetery, trying to raise $10,000 for the project. The Woody Guthrie Foundation and Nora Guthrie are co-sponsoring it.

The benefit takes place at Fulton 55 (875 Divisadero Street, Fresno) this coming Thursday, April 18th, starting at 7:30 pm, and will feature Lance Canales and the Flood, Jemmy Bluestein, and Conjunto Califas, as well as Tim Hernandez reading his poetry. Lance has recorded a version of “Deportees” that includes a reading of the names of all the dead. 

Learn more about the concert and the history here.  Hear Woody’s poem sung by son Arlo Guthrie, here.  For tickets, call 1-877-987-6487, or go here.

If you can’t make it to the concert but want to contribute to the Memorial Headstone, donations can be mailed to Saint Peter’s Cemetery, 264 N. Blythe Ave., Fresno, Ca 93706. On the memo part of the check please indicate: Holy Cross Memorial. All donations are tax deductible.

Life according to Roger Ebert

Friday, April 5th, 2013

My friend Scott Underwood posted a tribute to Roger Ebert on his blog, and I love this quote so very much:

“I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”

On the question of gun control, violence in the media, etc.

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

I still think the only meaningful change is perhaps the most difficult one: a change of consciousness. We need more models of compassion, and we need to shrink the distance between the havest of the haves and the have-nottest of the have-nots. And we need to see more accountability throughout the system. Rich criminals get away with murder, literally, and the poor get away with nothing.

Years ago, when I told my therapist that I had been a thief of various things as a child, he told me: “You don’t steal from people you feel connected to.” Similarly, you don’t throw your fast-food trash out your car window in a neighborhood that feels like your own home.

And so on. Too damn many people feel unwelcome on their own planet.

Save Us from the Saved

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Jon Carroll in today’s San Francisco Chronicle:

Marco Rubio is a Tea Party Republican and a senator from Florida. He is mentioned as one of the hopes of the party for 2016. Recently he was asked an interesting question by Michael Hainey of GQ magazine: “How old do you think the Earth is?” This was his reply:

“I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians. … At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created, and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in seven days, or seven actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.”

….

If parents would like their children to take part in the grand adventure of understanding the mysteries of the universe, they should be taught why science thinks what it thinks and how its suppositions are supported by evidence. Some religions, alas, must then resort to the “God left this so-called evidence to test our faith,” which is the end of all conversation and the beginning of fanaticism.

I wrote a song about this shit: “Save Us from the Saved

I put my faith in nature
What I hear and smell and see
Until I meet that Higher Power
I’ll do what makes sense to me

We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness…

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

The celebrated poet Jane Hirshfield, a friend and cyber-neighbor in The WELL, posted a poem by Jack Gilbert following the announcement of his passing last week. The poem is titled “A Brief for the Defense.” These lines were especially powerful and important, to my eye and heart:

We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.

– Jack Gilbert

Register to vote, and then VOTE!

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

The deadlines to register to vote are coming! If you have moved since the last time you voted, or never registered, now is the time.

Just visit http://bit.ly/DavidGansRegisterToVote to complete a voter registration application online. It takes only a couple minutes!

If you need more information about ID requirements, absentee balloting, early voting or anything else, visit HeadCount.org.

Thanks!

Jon Carroll on religion/spirituality

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

As is so often the case, Jon Carroll speaks my mind:

I have no investment in my beliefs. They’ve changed over the years, but not much. I really don’t care whether you believe what I believe or not. If you don’t believe what I believe, you are not a bad person. “Belief system” is way down the list of criteria I use when choosing whom to hang out with.

Read the whole column here.

Three years out…

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

And I’m doing great!

Tom Davis (1952-2012)

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Very sorry to learn of Tom Davis’ passing yesterday. He was 59.

I met Tom and interviewed him the spring of 2009 when he was promoting his very funny memoir, Thirty-Nine Years of Short-Term Memory Loss. The 66-minute interview is posted here.

I’m at the Gathering of the Vibes this weekend. Tom came to the 2009 GOTV as my guest, and I had the pleasure of organizing a reunion with Donna Jean Godchaux; the two were friends when she was a member of the Grateful Dead. I also introduced Tom to members of the Dark Star Orchestra; the band dedicated “Bird Song” to Tom in last night’s performance.

“Looking into the Next World” for Hugo

Monday, November 21st, 2011

A piece of music for our beloved cat Hugo, whose life must end today. He has been “Looking into the Next World” for a while now, and the time has come. We love him intensely and we will miss him terribly.

My 1991 interview with Bear

Monday, March 14th, 2011

I have nearly six hours of tape from my January 1991 interview with Owsley Stanley. I’m about to go on tour for two weeks, and I will be reviewing and excerpting the recording as time permits, with the aim of broadcasting a large portion of it on Dead to the World March 30 and the Grateful Dead Hour ASAP.

Here are two bits I pulled from the first hour for a radio broadcast last Sunday. I only had a few minutes between the time I heard the news of Bear’s death and going on the air on SiriusXM’s Tales from the Golden Road.

Bear interview January 1991 – excerpt 1

Bear interview January 1991 – excerpt 2

I just thought you might be interested in what he sounded like.

“He got plenty done this time around…” – Bob Weir