inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #76 of 500: David Gans (tnf) Tue 27 Mar 01 08:55
    


>Also, if you don't mind sharing with us, here's another question.  You
mentioned above how you'd like to start working more regularly with a band.
Any ideas on how that band would take shape?  More or less emphasis on
acoustic or electric?

At this point I don't know.  I really miss playing electric guitar, but I
worry about my ears.  I did some damage over the years, and now I can't go
into a loud environment without earplugs.  There are in-ear monitor systems
available now that I think will make it possible for me to play electric and
control the amount of noise I have to deal with.

The things I miss the most in this solo setting are vocal harmony and
jamming.  If I could take a band on the road it would have many singers and
some players who share my love of scouting uncharted musical realms.  The
thing I learned from the Grateful Dead is that if you have good songs and a
strong sense of adventure you can put together live experiences that are a
revelation to everyone in attendance.

I've played a couple of gigs in the Bay Area with a band we call Guilty
Pleasures: myself on guitar and vocals, Patti Cobb on keyboards and vocals,
Alyn Kelley (of Mary Schmary and other groups) on vocals, the wonderful
drummer Mika Scott of Berkeley, and a different bass player each time so far.
 The first time it was my niece, Caitlin Oliver-Gans, who plays in an Irish
bar band called The Kissers in Madison, Wisconsin; the second time, we had
Steve Ramirez, who has been a member of The Reptiles for the last seven years
or so.  (The Reptiles is a band that started about 20 years ago, with myself
and Alan Feldstein (fiddle@well.com) out front; Al and I have been playing
together off and on since the early '70s.)

I don't know if Guilty Pleasures is going to be anything more than a casual
affair, but it sure is fun and there sure are some fine players in there.  I
think we could do some damage if we put our minds to it.
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #77 of 500: David Gans (tnf) Tue 27 Mar 01 08:59
    

>Like Dave, I'd be very interested in seeing you talk about why you chose
>particular songs for the disc (and why you chose not to include some, such
>as Like A Dog)

I'm saving "Like a Dog" until I have an opportunity to record it with a band.

I could easily out put another CD of solo acoustic stuff, and if this one
does well enough I probably will.

There is one simple rule to follow in choosing material for a disc like this:
you can't do it all.  I have quite a few songs that I would like to have
included, but this collection fell together pretty nicely and a few attempts
to tinker with it didn't really improve the result.
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #78 of 500: depresso doppio (sd) Tue 27 Mar 01 12:02
    
David!
I'm delighted to know that the CD is out. Just ordered a copy from Amazon.
Who Killed Uncle John's sample and lyrics were enough of a reason to get the
disc. Can't wait to hear you (twice) in Atlanta beginning on april fools day
the anniversary of a '94 Atlanta Dead show as it happens.
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #79 of 500: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Tue 27 Mar 01 12:30
    
So how do you put all the pieces together--you've got the recordings,
you've got the art, do you just hand a disc to some production
company and write them a check and get a box of CDs later?

If so, how do you choose a good company to do this?
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #80 of 500: David Gans (tnf) Tue 27 Mar 01 12:38
    

I have participated in three DIY CD projects.  One we did through Olde West,
(San Francisco), recommended by my friend Kathi Goldmark (who has put out a
lot of really great stuff on her Don't Quit Your Day Job Records label); the
other two I did through my friend Mike Cogan at Bay Records in Berkeley
(www.bayrec.com).  I don't do a lot of window shopping; I trust my friends.

Mike recommended Sara Glaser, who used to have an office around the corner
and now has one right there at Bay Records.  She did a fine job with the
layout of my "Monica Lewinsky" CD (with a cover painting by Janey Fritscche,
janey@well.com) (more info at http://www.trufun.com/monica ), and so when I
needed a CD package quick, I knew she'd be able to whip out a decent package
in a hurry.  Sara is also a musician, a member of the Hanes Family, whose
music I dig.  We've sung together a few times, and that makes me more
inclined to give her the work.  The bottom line, though, is (of course) the
quality of the work.  When I hand my master over to Mike Cogan and my art
work over to Sara Glaser, I know I'm going to get good stuff back from the
pressing plant.  And I did.
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #81 of 500: David Gans (tnf) Tue 27 Mar 01 12:41
    

Alan (sd), I am excited about playing in Atlanta again.  The closing track on
this new CD is from last time I played the Red Light (which was also the
first time).  See stoy earlier in the topic.

The Atlanta gig is one place where my Grateful Dead connection will help:
I'[ve been invited by Z93 to help anchor their live broadcast of Ratdog, and
I'll also sing a few songs of my own during an after-show broadcast from
another venue in the same building.  This will enable me to plug my show at
the Red Light the following night -- AND I get to hear Ratdog, a very much-
improved band over the last year or so.
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #82 of 500: Gordon Taylor (warfrat) Tue 27 Mar 01 14:15
    
You mentioned earlier that you're "trying to step out from the shadow of
the Grateful Dead and become a performer and writer in my own right.",
which, btw, I think you are accomplishing. But who do you consider your
audience? It would seem to me that your audience might not be the deadhead
crowd but much more the "baby boomer" crowd (although I think it's great
that many deadheads might be getting some music appreciation with your
setlist, having not heard many of those songs in the standard GD related
rep).
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #83 of 500: David Gans (tnf) Tue 27 Mar 01 14:41
    

"Who is your audience" is one of the Big Hard Questions of this business.

I get a certain amount of support from the Deadhead audience, but not as much
as I had hoped for.  In my current solo incarnation, the GD influence is a
little harder to detect since I'm not able to exhibit my brilliance as an
improviser :^)

But it's also true that my musical style owes as much to the Chicago folikes
(John Prine, Steve Goodman, Jimmy Bufett), Bob Dylan, the Band, Jackson
Browne et al, and also to Merle Haggard and Elvis Costello, as to the Dead.
So I need to reach beyond the Dead scene in search of my audience.

I felt so at home in front of the David Lindley audience a couple of weeks
ago.  That's a baby boomer demo right there, for the most part.  But I also
have a lot of younger fans, judging from my email and the turnout at clubs in
some towns.

Sorry for the rambling response, but it's a hard question.  I'll play for
anyone who is willling to give me an even break!
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #84 of 500: Gordon Taylor (warfrat) Tue 27 Mar 01 14:50
    
BTW, a search on Napster for "David Gans" turned up nothing, fwiw. In some
small way, even though I believe it to be wrong to steal your music, I
would also think it somewhat of an "honor", if you will, that people are
out there sharing your music (and that people are actually interested in
downloading it).
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #85 of 500: David Gans (tnf) Tue 27 Mar 01 15:00
    
Yeah, at this point it would be a good thing to be there.
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #86 of 500: Gordon Taylor (warfrat) Tue 27 Mar 01 15:32
    
Hmmmmmm....
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #87 of 500: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Tue 27 Mar 01 19:49
    
So, now that you're out there touring, what are your favorite and
least favorite things about being on the road?
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #88 of 500: depresso doppio (sd) Wed 28 Mar 01 01:02
    
what gordon hmmmmmed......
i don't use napster much but all the mp3 files on my drive show up there
when i am on with them. just a few of us could get something into
circulation there in a short while, i'd guess...
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #89 of 500: David Gans (tnf) Wed 28 Mar 01 07:36
    
A weird new form of digital word-of-mouth avertising.  Go figure!


>So, now that you're out there touring, what are your favorite and
 least favorite things about being on the road?

Favorite: the gigs, and the friends.  I am fortunate to have friends in many
of the places I'm going, so I get to see them and stay in their homes rather
than in boring and expensive (or cheap and disgusting) hotels.

Least favorite: being away from Rita and the kitties.
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #90 of 500: Gordon Taylor (warfrat) Wed 28 Mar 01 09:31
    
David, are they any comtemporary singer-songwriters out there (I know you
mentioned Gilian Welch) who you are listening to?
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #91 of 500: Dave Waite (dwaite) Wed 28 Mar 01 09:39
    
And another question..
Let's see, you host several conferences on the well, run a national
syndicated 1 hr radio program, produce commercial releases, have written
several books, updated others and I assume you are still writing, and still
manage to keep your musical career, touring and traveling in check.  Most
importantly...  Keep a loving relationship with your wife.
 Did I miss anything?
Do you ever feel a little over committed, and spread a little thin?"
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #92 of 500: David Gans (tnf) Wed 28 Mar 01 09:54
    

>David, are they any comtemporary singer-songwriters out there (I know you
>mentioned Gilian Welch) who you are listening to?

I am not keeping up with the singer-songwriter scene, I'm afraid.  Between my
day job in Deadland and my concentration on developing my own stuff, it's
hard to find the time to listen to new material by others.
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #93 of 500: David Gans (tnf) Wed 28 Mar 01 10:00
    

>Do you ever feel a little over committed, and spread a little thin?


There are occasional moments when the peaks of activity in two or more realms
coincide, but for the most part I am able to keep my careers from interfering
with each other.

I have finally gotten smart enough to stop saying yes to writing assignments,
no matter how attractive or manageable I think they are.  The fact is, I'm a
desperately slow and undisciplined writer, and it always takes longer than I
think it will.

I have reduced my WELL obligations considerably over the last couple of
years.  Keeping up with the media conference is enough!

It may seem weird, but I stay in touch with the WELL better on the road than
at home.  There's a lot more time out here when I have time to kill, and
reading downloaded conference traffic is perfect for that.
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #94 of 500: depresso doppio (sd) Wed 28 Mar 01 12:38
    
i'm a little surprised.
you write so well and produce a good bit so i supposed that you were a
fairly disciplined scribe.
add the musical output and it seems that you may be being a little to rough
on yourself.
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #95 of 500: David Gans (tnf) Wed 28 Mar 01 12:43
    
Ask any of the editors I routinely infuriated during my career!  :^)
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #96 of 500: Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 28 Mar 01 13:49
    

I have to say that you may be slow and undisciplined, but you are an
EXCELLENT writer!
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #97 of 500: police riots (dwaite) Wed 28 Mar 01 14:19
    
ARe you as slow when you write your songs?
-dang caps lock-
DO you approach writing on a subject differently from bringing a subject to
life in song?
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #98 of 500: neil (neil-glazer) Wed 28 Mar 01 14:34
    
I'd like to expand on that last question: could you describe for us a
bit of your creative process?  How do you get from here to there?  Do
you play around with some music first, and then add lyrics, or vice
versa?  Or is it more flexible than that?  I know some songwriters have
a set pattern they follow, and others don't.  Where do you come out? 
Or is it as messy as sausage making and unsusceptible to such
generalized questions?
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #99 of 500: David Gans (tnf) Thu 29 Mar 01 09:02
    

>I have to say that you may be slow and undisciplined, but you are an EXCEL-
>LENT writer!

You are very kind, Linda. Thank you.



>Are you as slow when you write your songs?

Yes.  When I was younger and had nothing more pressing to d o with my days, I
wrote all the time.  Nowadays a great deal of my writing is carried around in
my head as a background process, nurturing an idea until it's pretty far
along before I actually put it on paper or try singing and playing.

My output is low - one or two per year is about my average of late -- but my
success rate is quite high.  Every song I've written in the last few years is
something I perform.



>Do you approach writing on a subject differently from bringing a subject to
>life in song?

I'm afraid I don't understand the question, Dave.



>I'd like to expand on that last question: could you describe for us a bit of
>your creative process?  How do you get from here to there?  Do you play
>around with some music first, and then add lyrics, or vice versa?  Or is it
>more flexible than that?  I know some songwriters have a set pattern they
>follow, and others don't.  Where do you come out?  Or is it as messy as
>sausage making and unsusceptible to such generalized questions?

Responses <23> and <24> in this topic address these questions.

In brief: I have no fixed method. I'll take 'em any way I can get 'em!

I interviewed Randy Newman a couple of times in the '80s, when I was writing
for music magazines.  He told me he goes to work in the morning, sits at the
piano and writes for some number of hours, and then goes on about his life
without thinking about the work.  "You don't have a notebook by your bed for
those late-night flashes of inspiration?" I asked. "No," he replied.

"That's either totally great or completely lame," I mused.

"Oh, it's completely lame," he said.

Me, I carry a notebook in my pocket at all times and write down little bits
and pieces whenever they hit.  And once in a while I'll go back through those
notebooks -- which also record phone messages, shopping lists, timings for
the radio show, etc. -- and harvest the scraps.  Seeds of new songs, one
would hope; doesn't really happen for me that way very often.
  
inkwell.vue.107 : David Gans - Solo Acoustic
permalink #100 of 500: Dave Waite (dwaite) Thu 29 Mar 01 09:13
    
I suppose you answered my question with your brief  explaination on how you
put a sog together.  I was trying to ask if you approached writing songs
different from writing for a book or magazine.
  

More...



Members: Enter the conference to participate

Subscribe to an RSS 2.0 feed of new responses in this topic RSS feed of new responses

 
   Join Us
 
Home | Learn About | Conferences | Member Pages | Mail | Store | Services & Help | Password | Join Us

Twitter G+ Facebook