Archive for March, 2006

Jamie Raskin gets it right

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

I love this quote from Jamie Raskin, a candidate for State Senate in Maryland:

“Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You didn’t place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.”

Jamie Raskin, testifying Wednesday, March 1, 2006 before the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in response to a question from Republican Senator Nancy Jacobs about whether marriage discrimination against gay people is required by “God’s Law.”

Thanks to Jennifer Powell for calling it to my attention.

Dead to the World 3/15/06

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

Goin’ Fishin
Turn Around
Charity and the Jam Band, Peanut Butter and Jam

Interview with Bill Kreutzmann and Justin Kreutzmann

Cumberland Blues->
Chalk Dust Torture->
– Serial Pod 12/17/05 Asheville Civic Center

Phone interview with Mike Gordon.
That art installation he talked about is online at

Soundcheck jam
– Serial Pod 12/17/05 Asheville Civic Center

Untitled 1 (title TK)
Untitled 2 (title TK)
– Bill Kreutzmann, Jim Winkler, et al. Kauai 1998

I’m OneRachel Fuller and Pete Townshend (unreleased studio demo)

Tico Tico
Not Fade Away->
Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad
– Grateful Dead 5/19/74 Portland Coliseum

Disaster on the Garden Isle

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

My wife and I have spent a lot of time on Kaua’i, and we love the place and the people we know there.
An earthen dam broke yesterday, causing a flood that has washed out the Kuhio Highway, destroyed several houses, and taken several lives.
Here’s a collection of photos from the newspaper The Garden Island showing the damage.
Our friend Don Mussell, who works on KKCR’s transmitter and other equipment and spends a lot of time on the island, has been keeping us abreast of events.

Bad news from the north shore today. A reservoir failed this morning at around 5:30 AM after 4 inches of rain fell in a few hours overnight. A wall of water 15 feet high and 1/2 mile wide came roaring through
the Waiakalua area. 7 people are missing, 4 houses were washed away, Highway 50 is gone (washed away, asphalt, rock, roadbed, everything) for about 1/4 mile between Kilauea and Moloa’a. Power lines are down, and the coast guard has been offshore looking for survivors. The water broke through an earth dam that has been in place for over 100 years, after overtopping it sometime in the early morning.

KKCR radio is on the air providing updates as they become available. One of the rescue staff is on the air this morning, after being on standby all night. The north shore of Kaua’i has received a huge amount of rain in the past week, around 25 inches from reports I have seen.

Kreutzmann x2 on DTTW tonight

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

Bill Kreutzmann and his son, Justin, are coming to KPFA tonight to talk and play some recordings.

Bill has some Jazz he recorded in Hawaii, plus some Serial Pod (w/ Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon) recorded last December, and we’ll listen to some Grateful Dead as well, of course.

Justin has a recording of Rachel Fuller and Pete Townshend, and some new projects to talk about.

8:00-10:00 pm PST tonight onKPFA 94.1 fm in northern California, KFCF 88.1 fm in Fresno, and online at and

Playlist will be updated as we go right here at

P.S. Justin has a transcript of Bill’s last KPFA appearance on his site.

You GO, Molly!

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

Molly Ivins gets my vote again:

I can’t see a damn soul in D.C. except Russ Feingold who is even worth considering for President. The rest of them seem to me so poisonously in hock to this system of legalized bribery they can’t even see straight….

Every Democrat I talk to is appalled at the sheer gutlessness and spinelessness of the Democratic performance. The party is still cringing at the thought of being called, ooh-ooh, “unpatriotic” by a bunch of rightwingers.

Take “unpatriotic” and shove it. How dare they do this to our country? “Unpatriotic”? These people have ruined the American military! Not to mention the economy, the middle class, and our reputation in the world. Everything they touch turns to dirt, including Medicare prescription drugs and hurricane relief.

I don’t know what it’s going to take to get the political system back from the moralists and corporatists – well, the answer might be contained in the question: we need to drive a wedge into the unholy alliance between the kleptocrats and the theocrats. All they really hav in common is a desire for power and influence.
If we could get the progressive, humane side of the political ledger to grow some balls, we might get somewhere. But I despair.

More musical adventures!

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

Last week was really great fun, all of it. Started with the Waybacks recording session at KPFA (to be broadcast April 19 on KPFA), then continued through the Hotel Utah gig w/ Henry Kaiser et al., and then two nights at the Freight w/ the Waybacks. And just to put a cherry on top, on my drive home from the Freight Saturday night I finally solved a problem I’ve been cogitating on for months: a couple of lines in “Shove” have been bothering me, and I sorta knew what I wanted to do but hadn’t come up with the right replacement til now.

So many things I’m glad to know
Are contained within those pages
All our bonds are self-imposed
It’s the wisdom of the ages

Changed to:

So many things I’m glad to know
Are contained within that text
If you deal with what you’ve been through
You can deal with what comes next

My opening sets at the Freight were ludicrously short: the house manager told me I could have 15 minutes – 18 tops. So I did three songs on the first night, and managed to squeeze four in on the second. I also sat in with the Waybacks – “That’s Real Love” (Stevie Coyle loves this song!) on Friday, “Jackaroe” on Saturday. Got a great reaction to my solo sets and my sit-ins, sold more than $100 worth of CDs, got two pages of new names for the mailing list.
The Utah sets were underrehearsed, but everyone had a fine time anyway. And all these players – Josh Zucker (bass), Josh Kaye (keys), and David Phillips (pedal steel) – are interested in playing more gigs together. I’m hoping to keep Adam Perry in the loop on drums, but he’s committed to The Love X Nowhere and may not be able to make the time. I love Adam’s playing, but I’m starting to like the idea of having a band that plays around here regularly and that might entail having a drummer who isn’t so tightly bound to another project (and let’s assume things are going to get busier and better for Adam’s main squeeze). He’s my first-call drummer until he says otherwise.
There’s a new club in Oakland called The Uptown. Dan McGonagle is working there, and he wants me to play. Might do another night with Henry there in April.
I’ve also confirmed May 13 at the Larkspur Theatre Cafe, with the Rowan Brothers. We’ll share a band – Josh, Josh, and David, plus Jimmy Sanchez on drums – and we’ll all be together in the middle for a Rubber Souldiers set of Beatle songs. We’re going to make a big deal out of this, pushing for coverage in the Chron etc., so I hope some of you will come out and help make it a success.
Last night I went to Kathi’s All-Star Jam at the El Rio in San Francisco. David Phillips is in the band, Train Wreck. The rest of the band are not people I’ve heard before, but they hold it together pretty well behind a parade of mostly amateur musicians. Ben Fong-Torres was there, singing two parody songs he wrote for the occasion (I gather he does new ones every month). I followed Ben, and I took maximum advantage of the band and my own skills by choosing the very familiar “Willin'” and “Pancho and Lefty” – both of which I have made my own over the years. I got a lot of good feedback after my performance, and I wound up singing harmony and playing acoustic guitar behind several other players, too. Kathi has a great posse of regulars, and she runs a very welcoming jam.
Also of note this week: I, along with Angie Coiro and her producer Lisa Lindelef, took a Pro Tools lesson from Gregg McVicar on Monday. Thus inspired, I finally got my Pro Tools system updated and configured, and I started playing with it in my studio. I’ve recently rearranged things in the house so I can rehearse, compose and record in the office, and now I need to do some more rearranging so I can connect the Pro Tools rig, the guitar rack, and the studio monitors and all the outboard gear I’ve got in the closet.

Alan Dalton’s O&ITW Banjo Book

Sunday, March 12th, 2006

GD Hour 914 will feature an interview with Alan Dalton, a Florida musician who put together a book of banjo tablature for the first Old and In the Way album. The Old and In the Way Banjo Songbook includes a CD of Alan playing Jerry Garcia’s banjo parts at normal tempo and then at half speed, so pickers can hear in detail how the parts go. (Listen to the interview)

Dalton did all this work on his own initiative, to show his banjo students how Jerry played. He was inspired to look into the possibility of publishing his charts, and his friend Vassar Clements – the legendary bluegrass fiddler, who passed away last summer – directed him to Alan Trist at Ice Nine, which handles Jerry’s music publishing. Trist loved the idea, made the connection with Alfred Publishing, and Bob’s yer uncle!

Here’s a link to a review of the book. You can order it here.

Here’s a photo of Alan that I took at Bean Blossom, Indiana in July 2005:
Alan Dalton

Grateful Dead Hour #912

Sunday, March 12th, 2006

Week of March 13, 2006

Part 1 22:37
Grateful Dead 3/31/89 Greensboro NC

Part 2 34:23
Grateful Dead, One from the Vault
Rodney Crowell, The Outsider
Ralph Roddenbery Band, Let It In

Support for the Grateful Dead Hour comes this week from, an online store offering t-shirts, hats, stickers, tye dyes, gifts and other officially licensed merchandise from the Grateful Dead, Phish, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd and many others.

And from Rock the Earth, defending the planet one beat at a time.

Walter Keeler (1957-2006)

Thursday, March 9th, 2006

We lost Walter this morning.
Walter Keeler was one of my “imaginary friends” – not imaginary at all, really, but one of the people I met and stayed in touch with primarily online, in The WELL. We had musical tastes in common, which is always a good basis for friendly dealings, and over the years I came to appreciate Walter’s deeply humane political and social views and his sharp wit. He was shy and quiet in person, but articulate and insightful in the text-only realm where we interacted most often. In political discussions (I am one of the moderators of a media forum in the WELL), Walter often summed up my own thoughts handsomely and incisively.
Walter was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last fall. He started a blog to keep his friends and family apprised of his treatment and his state of mind. The first entry was posted on November 18, recounting the events of November 7. As you read the journal, I think you’ll get a sense of Walter’s nature: a sensible, well-adjusted soul who faced his struggle bravely and wisely.
Having been through my wife’s battle with cancer – which had a much more positive outcome – I can only begin to imagine what Walter’s widow is feeling today. Helen Rossi is as sweet and funny and wise as her life partner was, and her account of Walter’s struggle – posted on the WELL and not readable from the web – was a model of clarity and compassion.
Theirs was one of those marriages that clearly worked. I’m sending all the love I’ve got to you, Helen. Life must go on.
Walter, We’re going to miss you.

Gans gigs March 9-11

Thursday, March 9th, 2006

Tonight! Thursday, March 9, 9:00 pm
Henry Kaiser – guitar
David Gans – guitar and vocals
David Phillips – pedal steel guitar
Josh Kaye – keyboards
Joshua Zucker – bass and vocals
Jeff Blair – drums

The Hotel Utah Saloon
500 Fourth Street, San Francisco

Tickets are $7 at the door
Friday and Saturday, March 10 & 11, 8:00 pm

David Gans

Freight and Salvage
1111 Addison Street, Berkeley

Tickets are $17/50 advance, $18.50 at the door