Order the book and 2 CDs

January 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

Ordering the book and CD

January 23rd, 2016

Posting to keep this vital info at the top of the page!

This Is All a Dream We Dreamed: An Oral History of the Grateful Dead by Blair Jackson and David Gans was published on November 10. You can order an autographed (by both authors) copy direct from us: click here!

And my new album of Grateful Dead songs, It’s a Hand-Me-Down, is now available! Here’s a link to various online and CD options.

This Is All a Dream We Dreamedhandmedown-cover

Columbus Dispatch review of TIAAD

January 23rd, 2016

Margaret Quamme reviews This Is All a Dream We Dreamed in the Columbus Dispatch Sunday, January 17, 2016

‘”Although the book’s ideal reader is probably a passionate fan, even the casual observer will find plenty to relish, including nuggets such as an account of a surreal concert at the pyramids in Egypt, and comments such as manager Rock Scully’s on the importance of having Pigpen McKernan — whose drug of choice was alcohol — in the band: “When Garcia’s guitar neck turned into a snake, Pigpen saw it as a guitar; Jerry could rely on him to do that.”‘

Read it here.

Grateful Dead Hour no. 1426

January 17th, 2016

Week of January 18, 2016

Part 1 30:09
Grateful Dead 6/4/78 Campus Stadium, UC Santa Barbara

Part 2 25:33
Grateful Dead 6/4/78 Campus Stadium, UC Santa Barbara

David Gans, It’s a Hand-Me-Down

It’s a Hand-Me-Down is my new album of Grateful Dead songs, made possible by a Kickstarter campaign that many of you contributed to (thank you!!). This version of “Wharf Rat” is slightly edited to comply with FCC regulations about “bad language,” but the one on the album is intact. It’s available on CD, in high-res, via iTunes and other download sources. Request it from your favorite radio station!

Support for the Grateful Dead Hour comes this week from The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. On Saturday, January 23, The Capitol Theatre is driving to get-down town at 100mph with Lettuce, a band whose music is infectious enough to trigger a funk epidemic. Events, information, and ticketing at thecapitoltheatre.com.

Triple book review

January 15th, 2016

Deadspin looks at Bill Kreutzmann’s Deal, David Browne’s So Many Roads, and our This Is All a Dream We Dreamed

The Grateful Dead Literary-Industrial Complex Is A Long, Strange Trip All Its Own

DG-BJ interview on KPFA

January 14th, 2016

David and Blair, interviewed by Richard Wolinsky on KPFA‘s Bookwaves. Originally broacast 1/14/16. Click here for the extended podcast version.

Book, CD, and gig update

January 13th, 2016

November 10 was the publication date for THIS IS ALL A DREAM WE DREAMED: AN ORAL HISTORY OF THE GRATEFUL DEAD by Blair Jackson and David Gans. You can order a signed (by both authors) copy direct from me

And I have TWO new records! Many of you contributed to the Kickstarter campaign for my new album of Grateful Dead songs, IT’S A HAND-ME-DOWN, and I am profoundly thankful for your support. Here’s a link to various download and CD options.

I have also, with a good deal less fanfare, released a new CD of original material titled YOU ARE HERE. It’s a collection of studio recordings made at various times and with various personnel over the last few years. Mark Karan, Robin Sylvester, Mookie Siegel, Jacob Groopman, J Raoul Brody, and many other fine players are featured. Here’s a link to order this one.

And here’s a link for ordering both at once.

You’ll find more info on both records at dgans.com/discography.


Now on to the gigs. I have signed up with a booking agency, Hoplite Music. Were just getting started, and I will have lots more gigs to announce in a couple of weeks. More info, links, etc at dgans.com/gigs.html

First up is my annual socal/southwest tour. All these shows include book signings.

Thursday, February 4, 8pm: The Coffee Gallery Backstage, 2029 N. Lake, Altadena CA. Mr Smolin opens, and we’ll be joined by Craig Marshall of Cubensis. $15. Reservations: (626) 798-6236

Friday, February 5, 8pm: Orpheum Theater, 15 W Aspen Street, Flagstaff AZ. DG plays first, and then Keystone plays into the night. $10.

Saturday, February 6, 6pm: House concert in Cornville, Arizona. Potluck at 6, music at 7. $10-20 sliding scale. Email me for info/reservations.

Tuesday, February 9: Benefit for Peace Talks Radio, Albuquerque NM

Wednesday, February 10: The Cell, 2029 La Veta Dr NE, Albuquerque NM

Saturday, February 13, 8pm-midnight: Top Dead Center with DG at the Boondocks Lounge, 3306 N First Ave, Tucson AZ. $8

Sunday, February 14, 7-9:30pm: Riot in Old Town, 777 N Main Street, Cottonwood AZ. No cover charge!


Saturday, February 20, 9am-1am Pacific Time: the annual KPFA Grateful Dead fund-raising marathon!

Sunday, February 21, 7pm: The Kind Buds and DG at the Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley CA. $1/ticket goes to Bernie Sanders!

Tuesday, February 23, 8pm: DG sits in with The Kind Buds for a few at Sweetwater Music Hall. 19 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley CA

March 3-13: Midwest tour. Details TBA

Wednesday, April 20: Eugene OR! Details TBA

Friday, April 29: North Carolina! Details TBA

Wednesday, July 27: Round Pond ME. Details TBA

Saturday, July 30: Neverdun Farm, Kennebunkport ME. Details TBA

My performance schedule is posted at http://www.dgans.com/gigs.html – new gigs are being added all the time.

As always, I’m in the market for house concert opportunities. If you see an open spot on my schedule in your general vicinity, let’s try to make something happen!

And remember: word of mouth is a gigantic part of musicians’ promotion and publicity these days, so if you like my music, please spread the word about my gigs and recordings.

My recordings are available at dgans.com/discography

Great thanks to Jim Dunlop for providing me with first-rate strings for all my guitars!

Thanks also to Rick Turner for creating the amazing guitar I play on tour, the Renaissance RS-6.

Book excerpt: Workingman’s Dead

January 11th, 2016

Here is an execerpt from This Is All a Dream We Dreamed: An Oral History of the Grateful Dead, by Blair Jackson and David Gans. You can order a signed copy here.

BOB MATTHEWS: After the experience of Aoxomoxoa — so much time, so much loss of direction, so many hands involved — on Workingman’s Dead we went into the studio first and spent a couple of days rehearsing all the tunes and recording them on 2-track. “Before we even start, let’s have a concept of what the end product is going to feel like.” We learned from Sgt Pepper’s [Lonely Hearts Club Band] that every album had a beginning of side one and an end of side one that segued mentally into the beginning of side two and out through the end of side two.
I gave copies of the proposed album sequence on cassette to each of the band members, and they went back to the rehearsal studio in Point Reyes and practiced with that concept in mind. So when they came into the studio, there was a vision in everybody’s mind about the continuity and the emotional feel of this project, ending up with the next to last one being one of my favorites, “Black Peter.”

BETTY CANTOR-JACKSON: Bob would handle the board most of the time, and I would do all the setup, handle the room, set up all the microphones, and I would run the machines. I got to do my first solo mixing on it, and it was the first record I got to master by myself.

BOB MATTHEWS: When I delivered the Workingman’s Dead reference lacquers to Joe Smith at Warner Bros., he gave me a hug and said, “I can hear the vocals!” He was also very pleased with the fact that we did the whole album in less than twenty-eight studio days, delivered. And he loved it.

ROCK SCULLY: That was a different Grateful Dead, really, from what it had been before. It showed how tight they were getting with Crosby and Stills, and Jerry playing pedal steel and working in the same studio as them [Wally Heider’s in San Francisco]. [Graham] Nash is the one who brought in that English thing of stacking vocals — building out the harmonies on top of each other and keeping the songs short and simple. That’s what Hunter was writing and it translated great to that. Jerry liked it simple, and he liked that presentation. He liked singing together, those harmonies.

ROBERT HUNTER: It’s what Garcia and I wanted to do. It gets back to our folk roots. It’s what the first album was supposed to be, actually. A lot of the songs on that are really just folk tunes rocked up. “Viola Lee,” “Cold Rain and Snow” – those are folk songs. Garcia and I knew we could write better songs than that; we knew that idiom cold. It shocked the public [when we turned in that direction], but they were just songs to us.

JERRY GARCIA: We didn’t mean for people to start taking a lot of cocaine when we put out [“Casey Jones”]. It’s clearly an anti-coke song. The words aren’t light, good-time words — it’s just the feeling of it. We were manipulating a couple of things consciously when we put that song together. First of all, there’s a whole tradition of cocaine songs, there’s a tradition of train songs, and there’s a tradition of Casey Jones songs. And we’ve been doing a thing, ever since Aoxomoxoa, of building on a tradition that’s already there. Like “Dupree’s Diamond Blues.”

BOB WEIR (1970): You try to make an album as good as you can and hope it will be salable. Workingman’s Dead came out with ten cuts on it as opposed to three or four [like on Live Dead].

[In the late sixties] we got into more extended improvisational stuff. Then, after a couple of years of that, we found sort of a happy medium, where we could do both extended improvisational stuff and songs. From a record company standpoint and the way the media’s set up these days, it’s easier to sell songs than it is to sell improvisational long pieces. That’s one of the restrictions of the art of making a record [that] encompasses the music, how long the piece is going to be, how appealing and how accessible it is to the audience. By accessible I mean easily understood. As opposed to John Coltrane, who played some dynamite music — I mean some really fantastic music — but he was never any superstar. And he had not much of an audience, because not many people could understand what he was playing. It bugs you if you are playing music the best you can play it and not many people are listening. And just because you’re a performer, a performer wants people to listen. Generally, you might consider changing your material or finding a new sort of material that more people will be interested in listening to and at the same time you will be interested in playing it. That’s kind of where we settled down, at least with Workingman’s Dead.

[Workingman’s Dead] was a sudden change for the record-buying public, but it was a gradual change for us, because over the period of months before that, inasmuch as we’ve been hanging out with David Crosby and Stephen Stills, particularly, and listening to them sing together, and just blown out by the fact that they really can sing together; and we began to realize that we had been neglecting our own vocal presentation for instrumental presentation. And so we started working on our vocal arrangements, and choral arrangements. As it turned out, the next record we did had a lot of that on it. And it represented a marked change from the way we had sounded in the past, though none of us had really given it any thought. We were just going straight ahead and doing what we’d been doing. It was a lot of fun to make that record. It happened very quickly, and there was a spontaneity about that record that was just beautiful.

Grateful Dead Hour no. 1425

January 10th, 2016

Week of January 11, 2016

Part 1 34:01
Grateful Dead 6/4/78 Campus Stadium, UC Santa Barbara

Part 2 21:23
Teja Gerken (unreleased)
The Cyrus Clarke Band, California Stories
Matt Rae, Twangin’ the Dead
Bob Dylan, The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series, Vol.12 (Deluxe Edition)

Support for the Grateful Dead Hour comes this week from The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. On Friday, January 15, God Street Wine, Strangefolk, and Assembly of Dust will take us on a musical journey of creative jamming with three unique sets and killer collaborations. Come witness the magic of musicians coming together and making new music happen. Events, information, and ticketing at thecapitoltheatre.com.

Barry Barnes review

January 8th, 2016

This review was posted as a comment by Barry Barnes, author of Everything I Know About Business I Learned from the Grateful Dead. I thought it deserved a post of its own!

I’ve been following David’s musical development for the past 18 years, and I’ve seen him at least once every year as well as listening to his CDs. But I wasn’t prepared for his latest CD release: It’s a Hand Me Down. To me, he’s reached a new level as a musician and vocalist, and he demonstrates both in this solo album.

David’s guitar playing is at its finest on this album. It’s primarily acoustic but he sometimes uses multiple guitar tracks as well as looping, which has been a key feature of his live performances for several years, and he plugs in on a few tracks.

What surprised me most are his vocals. They seem to be even richer and deeper than in his earlier work. And I don’t recall much vibrato, which he now does beautifully here. Best of all for me, however, are songs like “Attics of My Life” and “Brokedown Palace” where he sings in almost a falsetto voice that is delicate, gently measured and spot on. No one could deliver them any better than he does here.

This CD is billed as an album of Grateful Dead covers, which it is, but it’s much more than that to me. In his liner note commentary, he says that after so many years of playing guitar, singing and writing songs, and being immersed in the Grateful Dead scene in many ways, these songs are delivered in his own voice. And they are. The songs do become his. They move way past being simply cover songs. It’s a joy for me to listen to this CD. It’s the most enjoyable recording of Grateful Dead “cover” music I’ve heard. In fact, the entire CD is my favorite of 2015.

Give it a listen!

(Ordering info here.)

Buy “You Are Here”

January 3rd, 2016

An album of original material. Featuring Mark Karan, Robin Sylvester, Mookie Siegel, Jacob Groopman, J Raoul Brody, Leif Karlstrom, et al.

Blue Roses, Desert of Love, Plum Wine/Plum Jam, Therapy Blues, These Apartments, Shut Up and Listen*, Honeydew, Ran Into God

* lyrics by Robert Hunter!

Also available on Festivalink and iTunes

Buy both CDs

January 3rd, 2016

Here’s a link to order the two new CDs together:

More info, track lists, etc. here.

Grateful Dead Hour no. 1424

January 3rd, 2016

Week of January 4, 2016

Part 1 24:34
Grateful Dead 6/4/78 Campus Stadium, UC Santa Barbara

Part 2 30:57
Grateful Dead 6/4/78 Campus Stadium, UC Santa Barbara

Dead and Company 11/7/15 Madison Square Garden, New York City

Support for the Grateful Dead Hour comes this week from The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. On Friday, January 15, God Street Wine, Strangefolk, and Assembly of Dust will come together as Assembly of Strange Wine. These three bands have deep histories in the wild landscape of jam, and are coming together to share in the joy of creating incredibly adventurous music. Events, information, and ticketing at thecapitoltheatre.com.

Lamorinda Weekly re TIAADWD

December 31st, 2015

Very nice preview article by Lou Fancher. Blair and I will be at the Lafayette (CA) Library next Thursday, January 7. Here is info about the event.

An excerpt: “Capturing the band’s essential aura through the words of band members and their collaborators is riveting, even for readers who don’t claim to be Deadheads. The myths and magnetism that drew a dedicated fan base is illustrated through interviews with over 100 people, including unofficial leader Jerry Garcia, drummer Mickey Hart, concert promoter Bill Graham, Carolyn ‘Mountain Girl’ Garcia, band member Bob Weir and others. Braided into the disparate, personal accounts with clarity and an admirable lack of hyperbole, given their backgrounds as Dead aficionados, Jackson and Gans insert fact-laden bridges to bolster an engrossing narrative.”

“It’s a Hand-Me-Down” in high-res

December 29th, 2015

My new album of Grateful Dead songs, It’s a Hand-Me-Down, is now available in 96-24 from HDTracks!

And here’s a link to all the ways to get the album.