Archive for the ‘music’ Category

David’s daily livestreams

Sunday, October 11th, 2020

I play a live show EVERY DAY!!

Tuesday-Sunday 4pm Pacific, 7pm Eastern

Monday 3-4:15pm Pacific, 6-7:15pm Eastern

I am playing for tips, and appreciating donations at:

Buy books and music at
My co-author, Blair Jackson, lives down the street, so if you order a copy of This Is All a Dream We Dreamed: An Oral History of the Grateful Dead it’ll be signed by both of us!

Photo by James Goldman

Article about DG’s daily livestreams

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

Monika Wallis shared this article on FB with this comment (reposted with her permission):

One day, the end of June, I ‘stumbled’ across this music stream, which literally changed my life, during the Pandemic. Being a Deadhead, I knew of David Gans, but now I know him. Every day I get an hour of calm, healing, retreat & being with others in my culture who are like minded. On my Birthday, I requested 9 songs of which he played all, to my surprise. This is a great article about him. Give him a listen, you won’t regret!

David Gans Live-Streams Daily During the Pandemic

DG’s daily live performance

Saturday, August 29th, 2020

I play a live set every day!

Tuesday through Sunday 4pm Pacific time on my FB page @dgansmusic
Monday 3-4:15pm on Deadheadland’s FB page and

I play for tips! Appreciating donations via PayPal and Venmo

You can also support my music by buying books and music at

Here’s a taste of my “solo electric” style: “Not Fade Away” from August 12.

Festival Express promo kit

Monday, July 6th, 2020

In 2003, I received two copies of the promo kit for Festival Express, a wonderful musical documentary of the June 1970 Canadian tour that inspired the Hunter-Garcia song “Might As Well.”

If I recall correctly, the press kit included a screener DVD, bio and other info about the film, probably a few photos. Each package also included several bags of guitar picks and a case of Hempire rolling papers that had nothing that indicated a link to the film.

The guitar picks had the film’s logo stamped on them – a 100-count bag each of three different thicknesses of Jim Dunlop Tortex picks, the kind I like. The purple ones were the gauge I prefer, so I gave away the other four bags and used nothing but those purple Festival Express picks for the next ten years or more. When my supply ran low, I ordered a thousand white Tortex picks with my own logo and web site stamped on ’em in purple.

The Hempire papers were also very much to my liking, the popular 1.25 size. The two cases of papers lasted seventeen years. The last two packs are nearly depleted. I bought new papers for the first time since 2003.

It’s the end of an era, and that’s what this post is about.

DG’s daily concerts continue

Sunday, May 3rd, 2020

My daily live performances will continue until further notice!

Today (Sunday 5/3) I’m on at 3pm PT, 6pm ET

Mondays in May it’s 3-4:15pm PT

Tuesday through Saturday it’s, usually 4pm PT, 7pm ET

And here is a list of all the songs I have played so far:

1 Afterbird
5 An American Family
4 Attics of My Life
1 Autumn Day
4 Be Like Earl
1 Beautiful Despair
1 Black Peter
1 Black Muddy River
4 Black Throated Wind
2 Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
8 Blue Roses
2 Blue Umbrella
1 Born to Be Wild
1 Boulder to Birmingham
7 Box of Rain
4 Brokedown Palace
4 Broken Arrow
1 Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow)
1 Candyman
1 Caroline
6 Cassidy’s Cat
1 Catch the Wind
2 Cold Rain and Snow
1 Counting Flowers on the Wall
1 Cousin Caterpillar
2 Crazy Crazy Crazy
1 Dark Star
1 Dawn’s Early Light
1 Deal
3 Dear Mr Fantasy
1 Desperado
6 Down to Eugene
1 Echolalia
2 Elvis Imitators
1 Falling Star
1 Father and Son
1 For Everyman
1 For a Dancer
2 Four Strong Winds
5 Friend of the Devil
2 Gomorrah
3 Guilty
1 Help!
1 Henry
1 High Guy
5 High Time
2 Honeydew
2 Hooker River
1 I Bid You Good Night
1 I Can’t Sleep
1 I Saw Her Standing There
1 I Should Have Known Better
1 Illegal Smile
1 Impressionist Two-Step
4 In Another World
2 In My Life
1 It Must Have Been the Roses
7 It’s Gonna Get Better
1 I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
1 Jackaroe
3 Jacqueline
3 Jam
4 Keep Your Day Job
1 Lazy River Road
3 Leave Me
6 Life Is a Jam
4 Like a Dog
1 Lonesome Fugitive
7 Looks Like Rain
3 Loser
1 Love Potion #9
2 Me and Bobby McGee
1 Memphis, Tennessee
1 Midnight Moonlight
1 The Minstrel
1 Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
1 Moonshadow
1 Mr Bojangles
3 Mr Tambourine Man
4 New Speedway Boogie
4 Norwegian Wood
4 Not Fade Away
3 Our Lady of the Well
3 Pancho and Lefty
1 Political Science
1 Popstar
3 Quarter to Five (for Tina Loney)
1 Ramblin’ Man
2 Ran into God
1 Return of the Grievous Angel
1 Ripple
4 River and Drown
1 Rocket Man
3 Row Jimmy
6 Save Us from the Saved
2 Scarlet Begonias
1 Scene of the Crime
1 Secret Agent Man
1 Seeds and Stems
5 Shakedown Street
1 She Loves You
6 Ship of Fools
5 Shove in the Right Direction
2 Shut Up and Listen
1 Sin City
1 Sing Me Back Home
2 Sitting in Limbo
1 Solitary Man
1 Someday Soon
2 Stagger Lee
4 Stella Blue
1 Sugar Magnolia
1 Sugar Mountain
5 Sugaree
5 Summer by the Bay
1 Sweet Baby James
1 Teach Your Children
1 Tear My Stillhouse Down
7 Terrapin Station
3 That’s Real Love
3 The Bounty of the County
1 The First Episode at Hienton
1 The Losing End
6 The Town That Still Believes in Magic
1 The Wheel
2 Therapy Blues
2 These Apartments
2 Things We Said Today
2 Thunder Road
4 Touch of Grey
2 Travelin’ Man
2 Uncle John’s Band
1 Waltzing Across Texas
1 Watching the Detectives
4 Wharf Rat
1 What’s So Funny About Peace, Love, and Understanding?
1 Wheels
1 When I Paint My Masterpiece
1 Who Killed Uncle John?
1 Wild World
2 Willin’
1 Within You Without You
1 Yellow Moon
1 You Won’t See Me
2 Your Movie
1 You’re Gonna Lose That Girl
1 You’ve Got a Friend

DG’s daily live shows continue

Thursday, April 23rd, 2020
I am continuing to do a live show on Facebook every afternoon! The start time varies, but it’s usually 4pm

Go to and hit REFRESH until the feed appears! Welcoming donations at and venmo: @David-Gans-9 Buy books and music at

Here is a list of 105 songs I’ve played so far:
An American Family
Attics of My Life
Autumn Day
Be Like Earl
Black Peter
Black Throated Wind
Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
Blue Roses
Blue Umbrella
Born to Be Wild
Boulder to Birmingham
Box of Rain
Broken Arrow
Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow)
Cassidy’s Cat
Catch the Wind
Crazy Crazy Crazy
Dawn’s Early Light
Dear Mr Fantasy
Down to Eugene
Elvis Imitator
Falling Star
For Everyman
Four Strong Winds
Friend of the Devil
High Guy
High Time
Hooker River
I Bid You Good Night
I Can’t Sleep
I Saw Her Standing There
Illegal Smile
In Another World
In My Life
It’s Gonna Get Better
I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
Keep Your Day Job
Lazy River Road
Leave Me
Life Is a Jam
Like a Dog
Looks Like Rain
Me and Bobby McGee
Midnight Moonlight
Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
Mr Tambourine Man
New Speedway Boogie
Norwegian Wood
Not Fade Away
Our Lady of the Well
Pancho and Lefty
Political Science
Quarter to Five (for Tina Loney)
Ran into God
Return of the Grievous Angel
River and Drown
Rocket Man
Row Jimmy
Save Us from the Saved
Seeds and Stems
Shakedown Street
She Loves You
Ship of Fools
Shove in the Right Direction
Shut Up and Listen
Solitary Man
Someday Soon
Stagger Lee
Stella Blue
Summer By the Bay
Sweet Baby James
Terrapin Station
That’s Real Love
The Bounty of the County
The First Episode at Hienton
The Losing End
The Town That Still Believes in Magic
Therapy Blues
These Apartments
Things We Said Today
Thunder Road
Touch of Grey
Travelin’ Man
Uncle John’s Band
Waltzing Across Texas
Wharf Rat
What’s So Funny About Peace, Love, and Understanding?
Who Killed Uncle John?
Within You Without You
Yellow Moon
Your Movie

DG’s daily live shows

Sunday, April 12th, 2020

During the coronavirus lockdown, David Gans is playing a live set every day on Facebook. It usually happens on his music page, but occasionally it launches on another platform.

Today’s performance happens at 4pm pacific (7pm eastern), at dgansmusic

Welcoming donations at and

venmo: @David-Gans-9

Buy books and music at

Interview with Keith Olsen 8/9/77

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

Bob Weir, Keith Olsen, and Davd Gans

Photo by Ed Perlstein

Producer Keith Olsen has died.

Here is a partial transcript of the interview I did with him on August 9, 1977 at Sound City in Van Nuys CA, while he and Bob Weir were working on Heaven Help the Fool.

[Talking about interview with San Francisco Chronicle’s Joel Selvin, which took place just as KO returned from England with the Terrapin Station orchestrations.] I had just gotten back from England, and here I was with a whole bunch of stuff that the band had never heard: a 58-page score of strings and horns and a 32-voice choir…

The Grateful Dead were overwhelmed: “Oh my god, we’ve lost the band.” I [had done] a mix at Abbey Road… wanting to hear every note that everybody played. The strings and the horns were excruciatingly loud in the mix compared to where they should be. They’d never heard a string mix before… It’s quite a shock, especially when you have no idea what this short weirdo from Los Angeles, California is going to do to your song. All I could do with Jerry was sing him a bunch of parts that I heard, and say, “This is what I’m going to be writing with Paul Buckmaster.” Then you get over there, and Paul Buckmaster being Paul Buckmaster – what a mind!

Those lines are very much Jerry’s melody lines. The woodwinds and reeds are just a counterpoint to it. When he first heard it, we didn’t have the melody yet; the melody was his guitar, and we just had the strings. I said, “Don’t worry.”

We learned a lot in section rehearsals up at Front Street. They were learning a song, but something seemed weird about it. When everybody went off to get a bite to eat, I asked the drummers and Phil to come back. I sez “Okay, let’s run down the tune.”

“What? No guitars? No voices?”

“Sure. You all know where you are.” All of a sudden they had to start thinking… Billy’s going [whispers] “Mickey, how many bars til the bridge?”

I said, “Don’t worry about it – don’t count the bars – it’s got to be a unit.” In the section rehearsal, it just clicked. Without anything else happening in the room, Phil was the instrument that had to play the chord changes.

Phil is a very inventive bass player, and he’s also a super-intelligent person. Duty called! “My god, it’s me! I’m now the rhythm guitar player; I’m holding down the bottom of this tune; I’m also setting any internal rhythm of this tune – any focus on where the chord change is going is all focused on me” – and it clicked. He just fell right into it. To switch into a focused space, he was the easiest one of all. It was amazing.

It allows Weir to do a more inventive rhythm guitar part, where he doesn’t have to be down there at the bottom coppin’ the bass note, the low E string all the time, to make sure there’s a good fundamental; the fundamental’s there, or it’s passed through in a passing tone, always leading to what the next chord is, without any doubt in the listener’s ear. Phil got right into it, and Bob just said, “Great! Here I go.”

Working with two drummers took a long time at first. Being able to translate from live performance, when you can get away with a lot, to the studio – and these little extensions of our ears called microphones, that are a quarter of an inch off a snare drum, quarter of an inch off each bass drum head. Here you have two snare drums, two bass drums, eight tom-toms, 15 cymbals. That’s a pretty giant set! Where is the beat? The feel was inconsistent, depending on who hit first and hardest. I’m talking about milliseconds. The difference of feel between an upbeat and a backbeat… When you have a drummer that is naturally on the back side of the beat, and one on top of the beat… That’s the two colors of the drummers. Something’s got to give. You have to pick the person who’s right for the feel of the tune – which drummer’s doing to be the most solid, have that drummer be the pulse and let the other drummer be the color. That’s really the stuff that Mickey does the best: the color. I used Billy for snare drum and bass drum and pulse, pretty much on the entire album,.

On preparing to work with the Grateful Dead

I remembered what they sounded like when I heard them play live once, several years ago, and they blew me away they were so good. I always wondered why they couldn’t get that on record.

I listened through Blues for Allah once, and I think I gave it away to a friend. It wasn’t very well done, I told them. It seemed like they rushed through it, and then I found out afterwards that they spent five months recording that album.

Five months, really? Then Garcia said, “Let me rephrase that: we spent four and a half months trying to figure out what we should do first, and then the last two weeks recording.” Garcia’a so great. [laughs]

Production by committee is really hard; record-making by committee is really hard. It can work, but the instances of it working are very few and far between.

I’m really pleased with [Terrapin Station]. There were some trying moments, when we really had to grind away to figure out if what we were doing was right. It was a fine line. I didn’t want to dictate to the Dead, ’cause I would destroy a rapport. I didn’t want to let them dictate to me what was going to on the record. I wanted every performance to come out of them, but be open to ideas like… Tom Scott doing a solo on “Estimated Prophet.”

Jerry had never really done any harmony solos, and he got off doin’ ’em. “This is fun!” And he knows his electronics so well. He paid a bunch of money for that Slave Driver 360, which is a function generator that gave us that [sings line from the end of “Lady with a Fan”]. He had it sitting in here for three hours, idling, with signs that said, “Do not touch!” To let it get stable. That thing was crazy: when you play a note, you trigger a bunch of little ICs that say, “He’s playing an E and he’s wiggling it, so I’m going to give a control voltage to the oscillator in something down the line, and I will tell it to play an E and wiggle it.” It’s a most amazing piece of gear; it’s a frequency-to-voltage converter.

[discussion of Les Paul technique of playing a solo over the tape at half speed, used in “Terrapin Flyer”]

“Terrapin Transit” is there to destroy any thought you had about constant tempo – even though it was written and conducted in exactly the same tempo as the tune that preceded it. The violins were on, I think, an 8-beat cycle, the violas on a 7-beat cycle, the cellos in 6, and the second violins in 5… You can click your fingers right through that whole thing.

Weir is an accomplished rhythm guitar player. It’s an art that has been forgotten by too many people in this industry. Rhythm guitar is hard to play! It’s an integral part of making music….

Making the Grateful Dead accessible to people throughout the country in different walks of life and different musical tastes… Garcia has been such an underrated guitarist – he’s so melodic, and the ease of playing… I’ve seen that for years in the band, and I’ve just always wished that band could make a record that I could enjoy.

Dino English on the Grateful Dead’s drummers

Saturday, February 8th, 2020

Last week on Tales from the Golden Road we had a caller asking about drumming – a topic about which this guitarist isn’t nearly as well-informed as I’d like. Later in the program we got a call from Dino English, one of Dark Star Orchestra‘s drummers, adding lots of useful information to the topic. And this week, Dino sent me some more info by email to share with the world.

Here’s Dino:


Just to continue the drum discussion… listening to Betty Board of 10-2-77 off archive…

So this Betty board has Billy snare, kick and toms mostly on left while Mickey snare and toms Mostly on right. Betty [Cantor-Jackson], as well as Dan [Healy], would place stuff as if you were looking at the stage for the most part except Jerry and Bass generally up middle with keys on one side and Bob guitar on the opposite. In this case the keys are hard left, Bob fairly hard right.

First song, Casey Jones, if you put the phones on, you can clearly hear both drummers hitting the back beat at the same time. Both of them hitting the backbeat at the same time happened quite a bit … especially in the 70’s before Mickey started going more world beatish in the 80’s where he would hit a back beat on the toms more. He did do it in the 70’s as well but it was especially prominent after Mickey moved his big Tom to left and right above his snare is the later 80’s

On Jack Straw on this recording you can hear Mickey play backbeats on the toms as well and some snare back beats here and there.

Brown Eyed, on this recording, you have them both hitting back beats on snare.

Even though they are playing similar parts, it still adds to the over depth of the texture.

And of course in general, Mickey was the primary tom fill guy, while Billy driving the groove. Quite often they would trade up who is on hi hats and the other would play ride. But there was certainly times when they both played hi hat or ride at the same time.

They would sometimes fill at the same time as well with a similar rhythm (such as 16th note theme) or quite often Mickey would start and Billy would finish.

But yes, it was all in the purpose of serving whatever song it was they were currently playing. And giving each other space. They were clearly playing together rather than what quite often happens when you get two drummers together where one or both of the them wants to turn it into a drum battle while shitting all over the music.


And I should also throw in that on occasion, the channels accidentally got switched by the tapers if they got a board feed and mixed up right and left inputs. Then you’d have Billy on the right and Mickey on the left. But that’s clearly a mistake, as you can hear it if you dial into the same show with an audience recording where the right and left is clear.

And also you can tell it’s wrong by just knowing how they mixed. Both Dan and Betty have told me they mix as if looking at the stage. They both have their differences of how extreme things are panned. Dan tended to go extreme hard left and right with snare kick and hats and the overheads would work as a unifier of sorts with Billy’s right overhead and Mickeys left overhead being almost center (from the perspective of looking at the stage).  … while Betty would not quite pan the snare that extreme. 

I’ve tried to point this out to Charlie Miller at times (with varying results).

On a side note, Dan would make some exceptions. He would hard pan Mickey’s floor toms hard right when if looking at the stage they would be center. He said he did this because the floor toms took up too much sonic space.  

One thing that often seems to be true as well with all this stuff… there are always exceptions to the case. These are all things that developed over time and as with the music, very rarely would things stay the same. 

(added later)
I should mention the cowbell since it can be a pretty predominant part. On many tunes Mickey would often play the cowbell and toms as a textual thing while Billy held down the beat with a kick, snare, hi hat thing. That would be a classic example of them playing very different parts. Examples of this would be Let It Grow or Scarlet > Fire. 

Honoring Stu at KPFA: update

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

Our campaign to raise $10,000 for KPFA in Stu Steinhardt’s name is coming along nicely. As of this afternoon, our total is $7,490.00!

Please add your contribution. Any amount is appreciated! Here’s a link to the story.

You can make a check payable to KPFA and send it to me –

David Gans
484 Lake Park Ave #102
Oakland CA 94610-2730

Or you can contribute via PayPal to – make sure you mark it FRIENDS AND FAMILY so we don’t have to pay a fee – and include a note stating that it is a contribution to Stuart’s memorial fund.

We’re gonna “pay it forward” and give KPFA several years’ worth of the donations that Stu is no longer able to make. Nothing will replace the hours he gave to the station, nor the PIE he so generously baked for our music jocks. But this plaque will keep his memory alive at the station forever.

And please tune in for the KPFA Grateful Dead Marathon on Saturday, February 15, 9am to 1am pacific time.

Honoring Stu: current total!

Sunday, February 2nd, 2020

As of this morning, we have raised $6,205.00 toward our goal of $10,000. Here is the original post with all the info! Please read it, and please contribute!

Honoring Stu: update

Friday, January 24th, 2020

We’re hoping to raise $10,000 or more for KPFA in Stu Steinhardt’s honor (see the original post for all the details). As of this morning we have collected $2115.

Please read the original post and make a contribution if you can. It’s tax-deductible!

Here is Stuart wearing a KPFA GD Marathon t-shirt (as he often did).

Stuart Steinhardt in a KPFA Marathon t-shirt

Art auction for KPFA/Stu Steinhardt memorial

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

SPRING, BRIONES by Rita Hurault
Acrylic, 16″ x 20″, ready to hang

We’re raising $10,000 or more for a memorial to Stuart Steinhardt at our beloved KPFA in Berkeley. Here is the announcement of the fund drive.

Rita has offered this painting for auction. Please place your bids in the comments section of this post.

Starting bid is $500.

Fragile Thunder at Lockn’

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

I am thrilled to announce that FRAGILE THUNDER will be at Lockn’ this summer!

Have you heard our CD, One Afternoon Long Ago?

All-Star salute to Dylan/Dead in Cincinnati

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

Friday, April 17 at Stanley’s Pub in Cincinnati: Joe Marcinek, David Gans, Lee Owen, Scott Carnder, and Dino English play favorites from the Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan.

More info and more gigs here.