DG interview on Chico Currents

April 21st, 2016

Interview with my old pal Alan Chamberlain on his podcast Chico Currents

Rosie McGee on TIAADWD

April 18th, 2016

Kind words for This Is All a Dream We Dreamed from Rosie McGee, who is one of the voices in the collective narrative.

“The beauty of this unique book lies in the authors’ decision to let ‘those who were actually there’ tell the Grateful Dead story in their own words, from their own memories of living, working and traveling with the Dead, culled from hundreds of interviews conducted over many years. The bonus of these ‘mini-memoirs’ from the band members, crew, associates, family and friends lies in their recalling details of everyday life inside an environment that was all but ordinary. Great reading, plus an important reference book to add to your Grateful Dead bookshelf!”

Rosie McGee, photographer/author and one of those who were there, then.





This Is All a Dream We Dreamed

Grateful Dead Hour no. 1439

April 17th, 2016

Week of April 18, 2016

Part 1 27:06
Grateful Dead 9/16/91 Madison Square Garden, NYC
MISSISSIPPI HALFSTEP
SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE->
COMES A TIME

Part 2 29:44
Grateful Dead, Sunshine Daydream (8/27/72) (Rhino)
SING ME BACK HOME
Merle Haggard, from The Music Never Stopped: Roots of the Grateful Dead (Shanachie)
MAMA TRIED
Grateful Dead, July 1978: The Complete Recordings (7/3/78) (Rhino)
DANCIN’ IN THE STREETS

Support for the Grateful Dead Hour comes this week from:

Dead and Company – Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, John Mayer, Jeff Chimenti and Oteil Burbridge – on tour from coast to coast June 10 through July 30. Complete details and ticketing at www.deadandcompany.com. That’s Dead and Company, on tour starting June 10th. Deadandcompany-dot-com

The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. Twiddle plays their signature hi-def shred with TAUK at The Cap on Saturday, May 7, presented by Live for Live Music. This show is guaranteed to put rhythm in your bones and chills up your spine. Events, information, and ticketing at thecapitoltheatre.com.

Wavy’s haiku for “…Hand-Me-Down”

April 12th, 2016

It’s a Hand-Me-Down
Lifts you up up and away
Into the awesome

– Wavy Gravy

Grateful Dead Hour no. 1438

April 10th, 2016

Week of April 11, 2016

Part 1 29:03
Grateful Dead 9/16/91 Madison Square Garden, New York City
WEST LA FADEAWAY
THE MUSIC NEVER STOPPED
DON’T EASE ME IN

Part 2 25:59
Alabama Music Hall of Fame Induction 2/26/16
David Gans introduces Donna Jean
Donna Jean Godchaux’s speech

Donna Jean Godchaux Band w/ Jeff Mattson, Back Around
SHE SAID SHE SAID

Donna Jean Godchaux-Mackay invited Gary Lambert (my cohost on SirisuXM’s Tales from the Golden Road) and me to introduce her at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame banquet on February 26. Gary wasn’t able to attend, but he wrote the first draft of the speech I gave at the banquet (with some help from me and some corrections from Deej). Here it is:

Those of us who hail from the Sovereign Republic of Psychedelia were first made aware of Donna Jean Godchaux in 1972, when she became the first and only woman to attain membership in that otherwise very male band of misfits known as the Grateful Dead. But what we Deadheads didn’t yet know was that we might have heard that beautiful voice before, on some of the most memorable records ever made. Y’see, before Donna Jean Godchaux fell in with those West Coast ne’er-do-wells, she was Donna Jean Thatcher, who started her career in the Muscle Shoals music scene while still a student at Sheffield High School, and also served as head of the cheerleading squad. In fact, Donna would sometimes head to recording dates straight from practice.

Donna’s sweet, soulful harmony vocals were heard on Percy Sledge’s hit, “When A Man Loves a Woman”, the first solo album by San Francisco’s own Boz Scaggs, as well as records by Solomon Burke, Joe Tex, Neil Diamond, Cher, Ben E. King, and others. Then there was the trip to Memphis, where she was one of the singers on “Suspicious Minds” and “In the Ghetto,” by Elvis Presley, the King of Rock’n’Roll his own self.

In the early ’70s, Donna pulled up stakes and moved to California, where she met, fell in love with and married a talented piano player named Keith Godchaux. Her friends dragged her to a Grateful Dead concert at an ice-skating arena turned rock palace called Winterland, and as she put it, “I just got my little pea brain blown right there.” With no real basis in practical reality, she turned to the friend sitting next to her and declared, “When I sing again, it’s gonna be with that band.” And damned if she didn’t make it happen. A few months later, she and Keith caught a small club date by one of Jerry Garcia’s various side projects. During a break between sets, Donna summoned up the nerve to speak to Jerry and inform him that – and Donna confirms this exact quote – “My husband is going to be your next piano player.” This was especially off-the-wall given that she had no reason to believe the Dead were looking for a keyboard player. It turned out that the Dead were starting think about finding someone to augment the band, as their founding organist Ron “Pigpen” McKernan’s health and energy declined. To Donna’s amazement, Jerry promptly wrote out his home number and told her to give him a call. Call she did, and shortly thereafter, Keith was invited to audition for the band, getting the gig in the fall of 1971.

A few months later, Donna herself broke into the boys’ club, just in time for the Dead’s legendary 1972 European tour. She’d later recall with a laugh that the transition from the Muscle Shoals rhythm section to the Grateful Dead was like going “from the tightest band in the world to the loosest.” But contrary to their reputation as psychedelic anarchists with a penchant for structure-free jams, the Dead had evolved musically – they’d always had a deep and abiding love for folk, country, blues, R&B and other American roots music forms, and those influences were evident in both the band’s choice of cover material and in their rapidly growing repertoire of fine original songs, which had fully flowered on such albums as Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty. Donna quickly proved to be a perfect fit in the Grateful Dead through the ‘70s, bringing poignant harmony to a ballad such as “Looks Like Rain,” adding gospel fervor to Merle Haggard’s “Sing Me Back Home” and country sass to her lead vocal on Loretta Lynn’s “You Ain’t Woman Enough.” She wrote and sang lead on two songs with the Grateful Dead – “Sunrise” on Terrapin Station, and “From the Heart of Me,” on Shakedown Street – and with the Jerry Garcia Band, she gave us “Rain” on the landmark 1977 studio album Cats Under the Stars.

Her travels with the Dead took Donna around the world, from Winterland (where she first saw the band) to the great concert halls and arenas of America and Europe, and even all the way to the foot of the Sphinx and Great Pyramids in Egypt.

The rigors of the road also took a toll, and the Godchauxs came to a mutually agreed-upon parting of the ways with the Grateful Dead in 1979. After losing Keith in a car accident the next year, she married her second husband, David Mackay – himself a fine musician – in 1981. The couple returned to Muscle Shoals in 1994 with their sons, Zion and Kinsman, who are both fine musicians. But music remained integral to her being, and it was only a matter of time before she’d come back to recording and performing, among her own circle of kindred spirits here at home, occasionally sitting in with some of her old pals from the Grateful Dead, and also connecting with a younger generation of players profoundly influenced by the Dead. Among those new friends was Jeff Mattson, a brilliant disciple of Jerry Garcia who also happens to be crazy about Southern Soul, and who became one of DJ’s primary co-conspirators in her current Donna Jean Godchaux Band – a group that manages to find and celebrate the common ground between San Francisco-style jamming and what she likes to call the “back porch groove” of Muscle Shoals.

By virtue of her history-making tenure in the Grateful Dead, Donna Jean Godchaux is already a member in good standing of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Now, it’s all come full circle for Donna Jean Thatcher from Sheffield High School. And while being enshrined in that place up in Cleveland is no small thing, there’s nothing quite as sweet as receiving the love and respect of folks in your own backyard. Accordingly, it’s a great honor to welcome to the Alabama Music Hall of Fame our dearest Deej – Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay.

(I don’t have a transcript of Donna’s remarks – you’ll just have to listen to the show!)

Congratulations, Donna Jean!!

Support for the Grateful Dead Hour comes this week from:

Dead and Company – Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, John Mayer, Jeff Chimenti and Oteil Burbridge – on tour from coast to coast June 10 through July 30. Complete details and ticketing at www.deadandcompany.com. That’s Dead and Company, on tour starting June 10th. Deadandcompany-dot-com

The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. On Friday, April 22, The Gipsy Kings present a tour-de-force of world music, blending flamenco, rumba, salsa, and pop. Events, information, and ticketing at thecapitoltheatre.com

Grateful Dead Hour no. 1437

April 3rd, 2016

Week of April 4, 2016

Part 1 33:06
Grateful Dead 9/16/91 Madison Square Garden, NYC
FEEL LIKE A STRANGER
BERTHA
MINGLEWOOD BLUES
IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES
DIRE WOLF
QUEEN JANE, APPROXIMATELY

Part 2 23:02
Grateful Dead, July 1978: The Complete Recordings (7/1/78)
ESTIMATED PROPHET->
THE OTHER ONE

Sublime, 40 Oz to Freedom
SCARLET BEGONIAS

Support for the Grateful Dead Hour comes this week from:

The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. On Saturday, April 16, we celebrate 107.1 The Peak’s birthday with pedal steel sensation Robert Randolph and the Family Band. On Monday and Tuesday, April 18 and 19, multi-Grammy Award winning rockers Steely Dan will play their masterfully crafted music at The Cap. Events, information, and ticketing at thecapitoltheatre.com.

Dead and Company – Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, John Mayer, Jeff Chimenti and Oteil Burbridge – on tour from coast to coast June 10 through July 30. Complete details and ticketing at www.deadandcompany.com. That’s Dead and Company, on tour starting June 10th.

Grateful Dead Hour no. 1436

April 1st, 2016

Week of March 28, 2016

Part 1 48:24
Grateful Dead 3/30/68 Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco
THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE->
DARK STAR->
CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER->
THE ELEVEN->
TURN ON YOUR LOVE LIGHT

Part 2 7:41
Jerry Garcia, Garcia
BIRD SONG

Support for the Grateful Dead Hour comes this week from:

The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. On Wednesday, March 30, guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani will be honored with a one-of-a-kind celebration of his career. On Saturday, April 2, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals will blend soul, folk, and blues-rock elements to form a complex blend of passionate music to be performed at The Cap. For events, information, and ticketing visit thecapitoltheatre.com.

Dead and Company – Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, John Mayer, Jeff Chimenti and Oteil Burbridge – on tour from coast to coast June 10 through July 30. Complete details and ticketing at www.deadandcompany.com. That’s Dead and Company, on tour starting June 10th.

Ordering info for THIS IS ALL A DREAM and two new CDs

March 23rd, 2016

Here’s how to order the book THIS IS ALL A DREAM WE DREAMED and the CDs YOU ARE HERE and IT’S A HAND-ME-DOWN as a package and save a few bucks.

This is for US addresses only! For international orders, contact me and we’ll find out how much to add for shipping.

(Track lists and more info on the two CDs here)




handmedown-coveryou-are-hereThis Is All a Dream We Dreamed

Grateful Dead Hour no. 1435

March 20th, 2016

Week of March 21, 2016

Part 1 42:12
Grateful Dead 6/8/90 Cal Expo, Sacramento CA
SPACE->
THE WHEEL->
I NEED A MIRACLE->
BLACK PETER->
SUGAR MAGNOLIA

Part 2 12:58
Grateful Dead 6/8/90 Cal Expo, Sacramento CA
US BLUES
Grateful Dead, 30 Trips Around the Sun (7/3/66)
GANGSTER OF LOVE

Support for the Grateful Dead Hour comes this week from:

The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. On Friday, March 25 and Saturday, March 26, The Disco Biscuits are making their highly anticipated debut at The Cap with The New Deal. The art of improvisation and impeccable jamming will be discovered and explored. The following Wednesday, March 30, guitar legend Joe Satriani celebrates 30 years of mind-bending guitar dare devilry with an energy-fueled show at The Cap. For events, information, and ticketing visit thecapitoltheatre.com.

Dead and Company – Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, John Mayer, Jeff Chimenti and Oteil Burbridge – on tour from coast to coast June 10 through July 30. Complete details and ticketing at www.deadandcompany.com. That’s Dead and Company, on tour starting June 10th.

Grateful Dead Hour no. 1434

March 13th, 2016

Week of March 14, 2016

Part 1 34:42
Grateful Dead 6/8/90 Cal Expo, Sacramento CA
ESTIMATED PROPHET->
FOOLISH HEART->
DRUMS

Part 2 20:13
Grateful Dead, Europe ’72: The Complete Recordings (5/4/72)
THE STRANGER (TWO SOULS IN COMMUNION)
PLAYING IN THE BAND

The Grateful Dead Hour is made possible in part this week by:

The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. On Saturday, March 19, JJ Grey & Mofro’s blend of rock, blues, funk, and gospel will satisfy any music lover’s appetite for Southern-fried swamp music. The weekend of March 25 and March 26, jamtronica pioneers The Disco Biscuits debut at The Cap with support by The New Deal. This night will be filled with the bombastic jams that both bands are renowned for. Events, information, and ticketing at thecapitoltheatre.com.

Dead and Company – Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, John Mayer, Jeff Chimenti and Oteil Burbridge – on tour from coast to coast June 10 through July 16. Complete details and ticketing at www.deadandcompany.com. That’s Dead and Company, on tour starting June 10th.

Grateful Dead Hour no. 1433

March 6th, 2016

Week of March 7, 2016

Part 1 33:22
Grateful Dead 6/8/90 Cal Expo, Sacramento CA
IT’S ALL OVER NOW
BIRD SONG

Dead and Company 11/7/15 Madison Square Garden, New York City
HE’S GONE

Part 2 22:33
Grateful Dead 6/8/90 Cal Expo, Sacramento CA
UNCLE JOHN’S BAND
CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER->
I KNOW YOU RIDER

Support for the Grateful Dead Hour comes this week from:

Dead and Company – Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, John Mayer, Jeff Chimenti and Oteil Burbridge – on tour from coast to coast June 10 through July 16. Complete details and ticketing at deadandcompany.com.

The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. On Friday, March 11, Matisyahu’s mix of reggae, hip-hop, and rock will let the good vibes and positive energy flow. The next night, Saturday, March 12, The Pink Floyd Experience will shine on with first-class musicianship and stunning lighting and video systems. This show is a must-see for any Pink Floyd fan. For events, information, and ticketing visit thecapitoltheatre.com.

Glide Magazine reviews TIAADWD

March 1st, 2016

Very kind review by Doug Collette @ Glide Magazine. An excerpt:

…one of the greatest virtues of An Oral History of the Grateful Dead is the palpable way the discourse captures the good-natured whimsy and openness to serendipity at the heart of the band’s formation on through much of their career…

NYSMusic reviews “It’s a Hand-Me-Down”

February 29th, 2016

Review by Neil Benjamin, Jr.

“…Gans strips down some of the Dead’s most cherished songs and serves them up the way he sees them. For a guy with a Ph.D in the Grateful Dead, he’s as qualified as anyone to give an inside perspective at what the Dead’s music means to him.

“The soft and serene tracks are perfect background music for a dinner party or solo reading time. Gans’ voice is unique, but similar enough to Garcia’s that you feel that comfortable peace that came with every word the man sang.”

Grateful Dead Hour no. 1432

February 28th, 2016

Week of February 29, 2016

Part 1 38:29
Grateful Dead 6/8/90 Cal Expo, Sacramento CA
COLD RAIN AND SNOW
WALKIN’ BLUES
EASY TO LOVE YOU
JACKAROE
QUEEN JANE, APPROXIMATELY
HIGH TIME

Part 2 17:14
Infamous Stringdusters 2/19/16 Wonder Ballroom, Portland
JACK STRAW
Grateful Dead, Workingman’s Dead
EASY WIND

Support for the Grateful Dead Hour comes this week from:

The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. On Friday, March 11, come reach for the sky, and keep your eye on the prize as Matisyahu spreads positive messages through music at The Cap. The following evening, Saturday, March 12, The Pink Floyd Experience will recreate a live Pink Floyd spectacular. For events, information, and ticketing visit thecapitoltheatre.com.

Dead and Company – Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, John Mayer, Jeff Chimenti and Oteil Burbridge – on tour from coast to coast June 10 through July 16. Complete details and ticketing at www.deadandcompany.com.

jambandsonline reviews TIAADWD

February 28th, 2016

Jam Bands Online reviews the book. An excerpt:

Whether long time fan or someone seeking a look inside the history of the band, this book will offer you glimpses into not only who the band was, what they set out to do, how they did it, the ups and downs, the twists and turns, and everything and everyone who made it all work. It paints a picture, colorful and quirky, of a band’s early and humble beginnings, and takes you on their journey from playing in small spaces to the large stage. There is a larger understanding of their reputation for being the major psychedelic jam band throughout the ‘80s and early ‘90s, up to Jerry Garcia’s untimely passing.