Archive for the ‘Gratifying’ Category

Kind review of a recent live show

Monday, April 1st, 2019

David —

can’t remember the last time I looked up a performer’s lyrics the next morning.

quality, thoughtfully written stuff that I happen to culturally agree with. . .

and exactly the stuff that needs reinforcing in this particularly weird time. you gave a ton — very genuine and complete performance — the content of the lyrics, the fingerpicking, the cosmic loop music — really terrific assortment of sounds and feelings, all from one musician. plus a good message of firmness, resolve, and hope.

Rob Catterton

(He attended my house concert in Santa Rosa CA on Saturday, March 30)

Carnahan on “Drop the Bone”

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

Got a nice email from Danny Carnahan, founder of Wake the Dead, who recently bought a copy of Drop the Bone:

“I’m enjoying the heck out of the new CD. Your singing has never been more relaxed and fluid. Well done! And I was amused at the shoutout for Haight and Buena Vista*. I lived at that corner for nearly two years in the early ’80s. And today’s favorite rhyme is ‘Marco Polo’ with ‘just a solo.’ Ha! The bonus CD was a fun listen as well. The trimmed-down radio mixes were well-considered and retained the fun and the punch of the full-length versions.”

*in “Summer By the Bay

You can order the CD and/or the bonus disc here!

Profile of Fairyland’s C.J. Hirschfield

Monday, December 18th, 2017

I scored a delightful assignment: a profile (with photos) of my dear friend C.J. Hirschfield for the Splash Pad News.

Library Journal review of TIAAD

Sunday, November 8th, 2015

“There may currently be no better introduction to the Grateful Dead than this superior tome.”

Library Journal‘s starred review of This Is All a Dream We Dreamed: An Oral History of the Grateful Dead:

This fine oral history joins the list of essential Dead books that includes such titles as Dennis McNally’s A Long Strange Trip and Jackson’s own Garcia: An American Life. It’s not so much a matter of the revelations contained herein, although there are plenty, as what the different voices, working in concert, add to the band’s story. Readers will quickly become absorbed into the Dead’s world and will feel that everyone is speaking directly to them. Considering the disparate sources (every single one documented) Jackson and Gans have drawn from, the narrative’s natural flow is incredible. Helpful to telling the story are small narrative and scene-setting interjections provided throughout each chapter, giving just enough information to allow the reader to understand the particular context in which the material is being presented. Some interviews were conducted expressly for the book, but much is published here for the first time. VERDICT: There may currently be no better introduction to the Grateful Dead than this superior tome. — Derek Sanderson, Mount Saint Mary Coll. Lib., Newburgh, NY

My photo on the cover of Edible East Bay

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Last summer I took a photo of a caterpillar eating a tomato in our backyard garden. I’ve been a contributor to Edible East Bay for a few years – photos and the occasional article – so I sent the picture to editor Cheryl Koehler. She put it on the cover of the Fall 2015 issue!

There’s also a nice interview with two photos of Rita and me on the inside.

Hawaii photos

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Just got back from two weeks in Hawaii. Had a fine time and took a lot of photos!

“Brokedown Palace” for Calico

Friday, March 20th, 2015

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

The best possible feedback

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

This email just made my day, my week, my year. It’s about an instrumental called “Quarter to Five (for Tina Loney).” Posted here with the writer’s permission.

Dear David,

I recently had the great pleasure to hear a recording by John Bleich of your July 19th performance in Liberty Pa.

There was an “impromptu” set you did & you played a song Quarter To 5…….in memory for your friend Tina who you lost to cancer.

I have to tell you……that song…….really hits my heart……..knowing WHY it was written.

I have lost 3 family members & 1 best friend to cancer myself.

I cannot listen to your song without breaking down & crying like a baby all over again…thinking of those LOVED ONES I too have lost.

that song…….really hits my heart HARD

it touches me SO DEEPLY the very thought of it makes me tear UP, I am getting teary now as I type this to you.

Please KNOW music does NOT EVER effect me that way……….but THAT SONG DOES.

It is SO BEAUTIFUL I cannot STOP CRYING even just thinking about it……… goes STRAIGHT TO MY HEART like nothing else I have ever experienced in a song.

I am a grown man, almost 59 years old & was a commercial construction worker for 40 years, a hardened old SOB who just does NOT EVER breakdown & start crying over some SONG……..but this one………makes me cry & HARD TOO, I feel that pain I felt watching my mom & the others die a little each day up until the end & on to this very day some 34 years later.

Your song is THAT touching to me & has become very personal for me because I understand it all too well.

Thank YOU for making such beautiful music.


Submitted the manuscript

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Today is the day I send my book manuscript in! It’s called This Is All a Dream We Dreamed: An Oral History of the Grateful Dead. I wrote it in collaboration with my friend and colleague (and neighbor) Blair Jackson. It is set to be published in the fall of 2015 by Flatiron Books.

This is the end of a three-year process that began with a different book. That one was cancelled when the publisher downsized. My agent shopped it around and got no takers (too esoteric), but Bob Miller, the head of Flatiron – who was the editor of my first book 30 years ago and has gone on to an illustrious career (founding head of Hyperion, among other achievements) said he’d love to work with me again and did I have anything else in mind? Blair and I had been kicking around the idea of an oral history, and my agent (who is also Blair’s agent) ordered us to do it.

I was able to use a lot of the material I had gathered for the other book, and Blair and I have nearly 80 years of Dead-related journalism between us. We gathered many new interviews over the last year to add to our existing resources. We spent several months working separately, grabbing stories from the interviews and putting them into buckets by year, and then we began stitching things together to weave the tale.

That process culminated with an intense period of work over the last week, finalizing everything. On Sunday 11/30, late at night after a long stretch of work, I took a big bong hit and blasted out a bunch of ideas for the intro and sent the file to Blair to respond and refine. That piece turned out to be a good deal closer to coherent and effective than I thought it was at the time, so it only took one or two bounces between us to call it a done deal.

The process has been amazingly friction-free. Blair and I have worked together off and on for nearly 40 years, and our editorial voices and sensibilities are similar enough that we have not had any problems creating a unified tone in the work.

I just sent the package off to our agent and our editor. There are a few little bits to finish here and there, and we need to come up with eleven photos, but 99% of it is done and we are happy with it.

RAIN, glorious rain!

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

We really need rain in northern California. It’s raining in Oakland right now, and I hope it goes on for a few days. Here’s a little “rain” montage…

Letter from a former prisoner

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

Leonard Michael came to my show at the Red Light Cafe in Atlanta last night, and he sent me this message after the gig. I post it here with his blessing.

“It was very nice meeting you tonight David. I am the one who introduced myself at the bar right after your set and spoke of how much your show, The Grateful Dead Hour meant so much to me while I was on my ‘federal hiatus’ for many years. Having that little bit of sweet music enter my ear in such a place, and so far from the source was truly a sacred thing to me. A transistor radio with earbuds was all we were allowed for years and the although the availability of the broadcast was sparse, it was still something that would bring tears to my eyes in the most bittersweet way man.

“I had to let you know that because it’s sort of important to know of some of the nooks and crannies your hard work made it to and how it affected those like myself. Thanks for shining a little bit of love in a very dark place. Without that, I don’t know how I would have made it through….

Hope to see you again real soon.

Best wishes to you kind Sir,


Knowing that the Grateful Dead Hour helped this man get through his prison time is such a great thing. I’ve had this conversation way too many times over the years.

Auction: Be a chocolatier for KPFA!

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

PLACE YOUR BID IN THE COMMENTS SECTION OF THIS POST. Thanks! Bidding starts at $500, please. Auctions end at noon PST on Thursday, February 6.

Barlovento Chocolates

I am a regular consumer of Barlovento Chocolates. I buy them at the Grand Lake Farmers’ market on Saturdays and eat a little bit every evening while I do the dishes.

Chocolatier Pete Brydon has become a friend over the years, and he has made a very generous contribution to this year’s KPFA Grateful Dead marathon: Your chance to be a chocolatier!

Work with Peter and his team to develop your own personal flavor of truffle. You’ll spend an evening or two in the kitchen, go through flavors and learn how truffles are made, and decide what you want to do for your own special chocolate truffle. You’ll wind up with at least a hundred truffles (and you don’t have to take ’em all at once).

Your level of involvement is up to you. If you just want to design the truffle that’s fine; if you want to participate fully in the process, that’s great too.

And you’ll get a Barlovento Chocolates t-shirt, too.

We will begin the bidding at $500

DG in the Indy Star in support of the Tonic Ball

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

I will be in Indianapolis this Friday evening to participate in the Tonic Ball, a massive benefit event for Second Helpings. Here’s a little preview piece by David Lindquist.

Photos from Peru

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Rita and I “won” a pair of round-trip tickets to anywhere LAN Airlines flies in South America. It was a promotion, I think because they had just opened the San Francisco market.  It happened at a favorite restaurant, Bocanova – a “Pan-American” restaurant in Oakland’s Jack London Square – a perfect place for them to do this promotion! Every single diner AND every single employee working that that night got a voucher. We had two weeks to book and we had til the end of the year to take the trip, so we sat down with our friends (who had joined us that night) to make plans. We looked at Argentina, too, but our friends had some excellent connections in Peru so that tipped the scales.  I have always wanted to see Machu Picchu.

This link will take you to my photos and Rita’s, too. We’re both adding more images to our collections, so check back again in a few days.

After visiting Sillustani (near Lake Titicaca), our tour group stopped for a photo op.

After visiting Sillustani (near Lake Titicaca), our tour group stopped for a photo op.

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.”