inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #76 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sun 23 Apr 00 10:54
    

Wednesday, April 21, 1999, 1:45 am

Well, that gig was gobs of fun!  Just a big ol' wide-open beer hall with
tables all around the dance floor and another level with tables between there
and the bar.

Before I started, an employee of the bar brought me some flowers that had
been sent by someone.  The card said, "David -- Love your speaking voice --
Can't wait to hear you sing!  Best of luck  Sharon."  Sweet, possibly a
little scary.  I put 'em on the stage right in front of me.

I was warned in email (by someone I don't know) that it's a late crowd and
not to be too bummed if there weren't too many people when I started, but
there were plenty of people there when I started and more streamed in
throughout my set.  They were receptive to my originals and the non-Dead
stuff, and I felt very focused and powerful even on the ballads.

As the room filled up it got louder, but there were enough people paying
close attention that I wasn't bothered by the noise.  One couple responded to
my invitation to come closer by sitting on the floor right in front of me.

Everything felt good.  Songs flowed in interesting ways.  My guitar playing
was fluid, inventive and accurate.  My voice performed quite well, and I felt
new stuff happening in my interpretations of "Rubin and Cherise," "Autumn
Day," and "One Time One Night."  On the spur of the moment I powered out
"Mason's Children," and roared into the best "Within You Without You." I've
ever done.  And that segued sweetly into "Attics of My Life."

I did eight originals out of 24 songs.  I never felt pressured to do Dead
stuff, which was nice considering how much of the crowd were obvious
Deadheads.

After my set the woman who had been on the floor picked a rose out of the
flower arrangement, handed it to me, and said, "I'm the one who sent these."
Whew!  Not a stalker!  I put the rose between my teeth and kept it there
while I packed up my stuff.

I didn't sell a single disc, but I forgot to mention them from the stage so
that's probably why.  I did get several names for the mailing list.

I was invited to jam with Born Cross-Eyed.  As a Dead cover band they were
nothing  to write home about.  They debuted "Cosmic Charlie." (so they told
me) and then played a nondescript "China Cat->Rider," then invited me on
stage.  I wasted no time in launching into "Franklin's Tower," and then we
went into "Scarlet  Begonias," "Dark Star," "The Other One," and "Goin' Down
the Road Feelin' Bad."  I left the stage as they brought it to an end.
Musically it wasn't all that interesting, but I had a great time up there
playing and singing.

I did two radio interviews today, one on each of my GDH affiliates (yes, I
have two in this town; long story), WUKY at 11:00 and WRVG at 5:30.  Both
hosts were cool and kind: neither made me talk about the GD too much, and
both addressed me as a musician first and foremost.  I sounded good in all
the live performances.

WRVG played stuff from my demo CD (9/18/98) and plugged my show again after I
left the studio, and I heard another cut from the demo a few minutes before I
took the stage.  It was nice to have all that radio support!

When I was settling up with Bobby Ray in the office, I told him I'd prefer to
be billed with something other than a Dead cover band next time.  He told me
he would be glad to oblige, and then he told me the deal had been presented
to him as a fait accompli -- by Born Cross-Eyed, I think.  I have to find out
how Metzger let this happen.  It's one thing to be co-billed with an
appropriate act, but it's another to be bamboozled by pushy locals.
Obviously the gig worked out well, but I think (and told Bobby) I could do as
well sharing the bill with another kind of act.

I'd also like to see about moving over to venues where music is the main
thing, rather than beer.  I agree with Bobby Ray that it's quite an
achievement to get across in a solo acoustic format in a bar such as this.
"I figure if I can make it as a solo acoustic in this kind of hall, I can
handle about anything," I told him.  And tonight, I really felt I owned the
room.

Bill Gillespie, host of "The Tapers' Section" on WRVG, asked for a tape of
tonight's set.  He'd like to do a three-hour show with me, with interview and
music.  I told him I'd get him Wagner's tape of the Saturday Heartland show
as well as tonight's if it turned out (and from logging the tape with
headphones, I think it did).
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #77 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sun 23 Apr 00 10:54
    

Next post is a bit squickworthy, dealing with bodily functions.  You Have
Been Warned.
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #78 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sun 23 Apr 00 10:54
    <hidden>
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #79 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sun 23 Apr 00 10:55
    

Thursday, April 22, 1999, 10:00 am.  Somewhere on I-44

And so the tour ends with a bang _and_ a whimper.

I took the Old Frankfort Pike out of Lexington, driving through gorgeous
horse country, past white paddock fences and the occasional black ones.
There were some great long "slave walls" (Melinda mentioned the term but not
the etymology) made of limestone, either "dry laid" or mortared.  The flat
stones are laid horizontally to a height of three feet or so, and then there
is a top layer of vertically-oriented stones.  There are old, old trees
planted right next to the fences, shading the road on sunny days.  The pink
dogwoods are in bloom, and it was warm and overcast but not threatening as I
enjoyed my country drive.

Something about the layout of these horse ranches -- corrals separated by
fenced channels (I don't know what the real word is) -- rings an ancient bell
in my memory.  The San Fernando Valley was still largely rural when I was a
young kid, and such places were a major part of the landscape.  It was a nice
feeling, a warm memory.

Then I was out past the horse ranches and into an area of cow pastures.  I
saw a couple of modest herds all laying down (not on their sides - what do
you call that position where they're on the ground with their legs tucked in
under?); for some reason I was surprised by this sight.

Some very cool old bridges (car and railroad) in Louisville, where I crossed
the Ohio River.

The redbud are stunning all along I-64 through southern Indiana.  Dogwoods,
with their pale yellow, almost white, blossoms, were less populous but no
less impressive.  I passed Santa Claus, Indiana; Cynthiana, Indiana (there's
a Cynthiana near Lexington, too); some unbelievably intense fertilizer-type
smells.  The clouds unloaded one really serious squall, but it lasted only
about half a minute.  I heard a Christian radio talk show that blamed the
pro-choice movement for the high-school shooting massacre in Colorado ("the
family is in free-fall").


The turnout in St. Louis was disappointing,  but the audience that did show
up was unanimously positive.  I was paid for 22, and there were a few more
people there who had gotten their tickets from KDHX.  The owner, Joe, was
philosophical about the turnout -- "It's only your second time.  Let's be
patient" -- and he is interested in having me there again.  The KDHX guys and
a guy from the opening act tell me there are better venues for me -- but they
mean more Deadhead-oriented places.  The Off Broadway is where Gillian Welch
is playing next month, and where the Austin Lounge Lizards play, etc.  It's a
damn good room, and the sound on that stage is excellent.  It's Joe the owner
who does the sound, and he's good.

The opening act, 710, was mediocre.  If this is how Deadheads are getting
their fix, they must be desperate for some semblance of the Thing, or
profoundly generous of spirit, or have really bad taste in music.  The singer
had clearly started out as the Pigpen of the group, but he sang almost all
the other songs, too, and he did not go deep.  The lead guitarist had pretty
nice tone on his amplified  acoustic, but the interactions were really
uninteresting.  One audience member took special notice of the percussionist
in commenting after the set: "When he stopped playing for a while, the music
had a fighting chance."  I think they're ordinarily a two-drummer band, so
the guy may have been used to playing traps instead of chimes, conga, etc.

I joined 710 for several songs, and I had a good time -- but in a sort of
selfish way.  I tried to engage them musically, but  they were awfully
deferential.  I think I gave 'em an occasion to rise to.  I wasn't up-front
all the time: on some songs, I hung back and played rhythm and sang harmony.
I enjoyed cruising along with them for a while.

Most importantly, playing with 710 put me in a much better mood for my own
set.  I was pretty glum at 8:30 when there weren't many people in the house.
Some more people arrived as the opening set progressed, but it was still a
pretty sparse turnout.

With the sound on stage as good as it was, and being nice and warmed up from
the opening set, I started right in with "River and Drown."  This audience
was responsive to the originals, so I favored them quite a bit.  I delivered
some great versions of the Dead stuff, too, most notably "Attics."

At one point I made a comment about the trouble I was having with my throat,
and a voice from the audience suggested that those beautiful redbuds were the
likely culprit.  Dang!

In attendance was my online neighbor and former bandmate axon.  This is not
someone I have been terribly fond of in our online dealings over the years --
his born-again corporate scumbag persona really grated on me -- but I had to
face the fact that his opinion of my performance was really important to me.
I guess I respect him more than I thought I did.  (He had generally positive
stuff to say in the short time we hung out after the show; I expect some sort
of online commentary after he's reviewed the recording he made  :^)

I didn't want to stay with the Deadheads who had invited me, so I pretended
to be going home with axon and his pal, and I drove out of St. Louis for an
hour or so and stopped at a random motel.  The tap water was the worst I have
ever tasted.  I got dressed and went out to my car for bottled water to brush
my teeth.  And this morning,  I can't bring myself to shower in it.
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #80 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sun 23 Apr 00 10:57
    


Sunday, April 25, 1999, 8:00 am

I'm HOME!  And glad of it!

I drove down to Fayetteville, Arkansas to visit with my sister for a couple
of days.  I was already in the groove of long-distance driving, so I hardly
noticed it :^)

The Ozarks are quite a lovely part of the country, I was surprised to see.

On the way back to St. Louis, on the Interstate, I saw a sign warning of a
DRUG CHECKPOINT!  DOGS!  HALF A MILE AHEAD!  And anyone who was stupid enough
to get off at the exit a quarter of a mile ahead was driving right into the
clutches of the War On Some Drugs.
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #81 of 232: Gail Williams (gail) Sun 23 Apr 00 16:54
    
Welcome home.  What an adventure.
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #82 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sun 23 Apr 00 18:04
    
I've been sick in bed for several days, which ahs given me the time to go
though the journal and prepare it for posting here.  I'll get caught up to
the present day in a week or so.
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #83 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Tue 25 Apr 00 11:05
    

Monday, April 26, 1999, 5:00 pm

Listening to the tape from Lexington, and it sounds great!  I'll master this
to CD for interested parties, and probably make a new demo of highlights.
The audio quality is excellent!

I'm also waiting for Mike Wagner to deliver a CD of the recording he made at
the Heartland on Saturday, April 10.  That was a peak performance, and he
makes wonderful recordings.


Today I received a check for $5.34  from BMI -- my royalties for "college
radio" play of "Monica Lewinsky."
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #84 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Tue 25 Apr 00 11:05
    

Wednesday, April 28, 1999, 11:00 am

It was great to be back at Anna's with Eric last night.  I really love the
solo stuff, but it's also fun to play lead guitar, sing harmony, etc. with
Eric.  And I'm able to do more with my own songs when he's playing guitar
with me.

Since I "stole" Nanci Griffith's "Gulf Coast Highway" from Eric, he invited
me to take the lead on it last night so he could sing harmony.  That worked
out very well.

I feel like a powerful, confident musician again, ready to take on some
serious challenges.  I wonder what happened to me during that Lesh business:
I was way too careful, felt seriously limited as a musician, didn't step up
to the plate when I had the opportunity.  Maybe that kept me from making a
fool of myself, but I think it also made me vulnerable to the character as-
sassination that accompanied my brief stint in the big time.

I took great pains not to act like a big shot, but I got busted for ambition
anyway.  Maybe it was inevitable, I don't know.  But if I had that shot
today, I'd be kicking ass.  My performance would speak for itself.  I still
feel like the victim of a gross injustice.

But the really important thing is that I feel very much at the top of my game
today, and ready to make some serious strides.  I don't think I ever really
felt that I belonged on stage in a serious setting before, but I sure do now.
I am a really good songwriter, and I have made myself into an excellent
vocalist and guitarist.  And people are slowly starting to take note.

Now it's a matter of marketing.
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #85 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Tue 25 Apr 00 11:05
    

Wednesday, May 5, 1999, 9:30 am

Eric and I had another really great night at Anna's last night.  I had a
meeting at KPFA, so I came in early and set my stuff up before walking around
the corner to the radio station.  I got back at about 8:05, while Eric was
performing his first or second song, and we just went right to it.  I just
had a ball singing harmony and playing lead guitar, and everything felt good.
 The audience came and went, but whoever was there at any given moment was
very enthusiastic in their response.

At the end of the first set I played a few songs on my own.  For some reason,
I was strongly inspired to play "Terrapin," one of the more magnificent
Grateful Dead pieces and not something that I perform often.  I played it
once on my April tour, and it felt good, so I guess I wanted to see if I
could do it again.  It worked very well.  I segued into "Attics of My Life,"
and then followed with "Autumn Day," which is definitely finished and which
definitely works.
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #86 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Tue 25 Apr 00 11:06
    

Friday, May 14, 1999, 10:00 am

Another fine performance at Anna's last night.  Great crowd, too!  I hope we
get to make this change a permanent one.  Anna said last night that we
probably will be allowed to keep Thursdays.

Eric and I have really been on a roll since I got back from my April tour.  I
think the air is a factor for me: after breathing all that smoke and pollen
out there in the Midwest, it's a breeze to sing in the clean air of Berkeley.

We're opening the songs up for guitar solos here and there, and our vocal
blend just feels right on the money.  And people are appreciating us: last
night we tried to leave the stage at 10, but with a full house demanding
more, we played another 15 minutes!
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #87 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Tue 25 Apr 00 11:06
    

Monday, May 17, 1999, 10:00 am

I played Wavy Gravy's birthday party in Berkeley on Saturday, and although
the party raged on pretty loudly while I played, there were plenty of people
paying attention and commenting afterwards (to me as well as to my wife).

Last night I played at Sweetwater, which has been very nicely improved under
the new owners!  There is a sound booth up at the back of the room now, and I
think the stage is a little bigger, too.  Good crowd, very attentive, and I
gave 'em a good show.
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #88 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Tue 25 Apr 00 11:07
    

From DIRTY LINEN, issue #83 (Aug-Sep 1999):

David Gans and Eric Rawlins HOME BY MORNING [Perfectible CD01 (1997)]

Although perhaps best known as a music journalist and longtime host of the
syndicated "Grateful Dead Hour" radio show, David Gans has been a working
musician since the early 70s.  His first CD was recorded with his frequent
duet partner, Eric Rawlins, who contributes about half the tunes here and
alternates lead vocals with Gans.  Other than a very pretty cover of Robert
Hunter's "Yellow Moon," the Dead's musical personality is not evident on this
CD.  Instead, it has a very nice California folk-country feel, aided by
collaborators such as David Grisman, Sally van Meter, and Todd Phillips. Both
Gans and Rawlins contribute originals, notably Gans' alluring "Listen" and
Rawlins' majestic "Salisbury Plain." - Michael Parrish
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #89 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Tue 25 Apr 00 11:08
    

Tour Diary: May 1999

Five gigs in ten days (as originally scheduled) is not a particularly
economical way to conduct a musical career, but as a life experience it was a
lot of fun.  I saw many good friends, got good feedback on my suitability as
a house guest, and saw parts of America that I've never seen before.  With
ample time off between gigs, I took the scenic route as much as possible.

I flew in Friday night the 21st and drove to Gerard Van der Leun's pad in
Brooklyn, expecting to spend some quality time with one of my all-time
favorite misanthropes; instead, I found myself in the company of an impres-
sively humanized Gerard and his charming and non-glossy girlfriend for a day
and a half.  There was plenty of sardonic fun, as expected, but Gerard ex-
hibited an impressive degree of warmth as well.

Marlene is a sweetheart!  She works as a hairdresser, and also has some crea-
tive proclivities: while I was visiting, she made repeated trips to her com-
puter screen to add entries to a file that represents the fruits of her ongo-
ing effort to accumulate "2000 names for your dog" for a book project she and
Gerard are working on.  I was happy to contribute a few.

While she was out on Saturday, I asked Gerard where he found this lovely,
down-to-earth lady.  "I thought I'd draw the Queen of Hearts this time," he
replied.  "You know, the Queen of Diamonds will beat you if she's able.  It
seemed to me some fine things had been laid upon my table, but I only wanted
things that I can't get."  And yet, I did not think to perform "Desperado" at
Limestone's that night.

Before the gig we went to dinner at Ponte Vecchio, a real Brooklyn Italian
place several blocks north of the venue.  Gerard and Marlene, Dan Levy and
Jeff Gorlechen and Rob Tannenbaum (who did not come to Limestone's for the
show), and me.  Excellent food, hilarious conversation.  I left the table
early to walk back to the club.

Dan Levy got it at Limestone's, and so did Gerard and Marlene -- and maybe
Jeff, too -- so I can't be too upset about the people who said they'd be
there and didn't show up.  There were lots of folks in the audience who came
out because they had heard I was good, and who really enjoyed what my perfor-
mance.  That's what counts.  They were attentive and responsive, and I
delivered the goods.  And if I keep doing this, the audiences will continue
to grow.  I'm opening new markets, and each one has to grow at its own pace.

On Sunday, after saying goodbye to Gerard and Marlene, I stopped in Brooklyn
to visit with Richard Gehr and his wife, Virginia McEnerney, and to meet
their two lovely daughters.  Penelope is six, articulate and witty, and she
writes and draws prolifically in the journals her father buys for her.
Violet is 20 months, devastatingly beautiful with her curly blonde locks and
bright blue eyes, and just minutes away from speaking English.

Richard took me to a cool boutique across the street, where I bought two
pairs of earrings for Rita and an origami flower-with-frog for my next hosts;
I also scored a dozen excellent bagels to take with me to Connecticut.

It was a short visit, my first time seeing Richard's home and family (I had
met Virginia for the first time two weeks before at Dan Levy's wedding).  We
made plans to get together again on Tuesday when I came back to The City to
play at Wetlands, and then I headed off to northeastern Connecticut to spend
a couple of days with Gary Greenberg and his family.

I've never been in this part of the country before.  I suppose my mental pic-
ture of this area is largely formed by its representation in TV shows and
movies, so I imagined Connecticut as little more than suburbs along the com-
muter rail lines.  But the coast is lovely, with industrial seaports, river
mouths, wetlands, marinas and institutions of higher learning all along I-95.
 And then after I turned off and headed for the northeastern corner of the
state, I was delighted to find myself passing through some lush, lovely
countryside.

Gary, Susan and Joel live in a house that Gary built, on a six-acre lot that
backs up on a state forest.  Over the course of my 36-hour visit, we drove
over glorious country roads and through a couple of tiny towns to visit a
friend of Gary's on his organic farm, where bees and hops and sugar maples
are part of the program; made a separate journey in the other direction to
buy guitar strings, exchange a printer, and shop at the Willimantic food col-
lective.  We had breakfast one morning in a diner where everyone knows each
other, and we jammed in Gary's band shack.  And I reveled in the glowing
presence of young Joel, a strong, smart and charming fellow who changes lives
with his lighthouse-strength smile.

While Gary was seeing clients one afternoon and evening, I stayed home and
had dinner with Susan, exchanging stories and getting to know each other.  As
I expected, she is smart and soulful and a very good match for my friend, her
husband.

This is part of what makes this new life of mine exciting: seeing the
country, covering ground in a powerful American rental car, and getting close
with people I don't see enough of in my otherwise cyber-mediated life.  The
adventure is a multifarious challenge with manifold rewards.

Gary wasn't able to join me for Tuesday's Wetlands jaunt, as we had
originally planned, so rather than commute back to his house -- which would
have gotten me to bed in the 4-5 am range and required a very early wake-up
to get to Portsmouth on Wednesday -- I took Richard up on his offer of lodg-
ing that night.  After playing music with Gary in his band shack for an hour
or so, I jumped back in the Grand Am and zoomed back to Brooklyn, arriving in
the late afternoon.  It was a mostly urban schlep between Brooklyn and Con-
necticut (twice northbound and once southbound), but the great friends and
adorable children at the end of each journey were more than ample compensa-
tion.

While Richard was bathing his daughters, I went out to a neighborhood Italian
deli with Virginia to get some dinner.  Then Richard and I took the subway
into Manhattan.

The gig here was in the lounge downstairs at Wetlands --  a 30-minute set
during the break in the Illuminati show in the main room upstairs.  While I
was setting up and hanging out, I spoke with a few people who said they came
to the club especially to hear me.  That felt good.  And it also felt good to
have that noisy bar go quiet when I played ballads, and to get lots of en-
thusiastic applause -- including at the end of the improvisation I did coming
out of "Sitting in Limbo."  They went nuts over the Dead stuff, of course,
but they also paid attention and responded to my own material.  I didn't sell
any CDs, but I got quite a few names for my mailing list.

It will be interesting to find out who was actually listening.  One
phenomenon I have noticed in the last year or so is that a lot of people in
this business don't seem to pay that much attention to the content of the
performance, judging instead by the performance of the performance: how well
did I draw?  It's that Catch-22 situation in which you have to demonstrate a
following before you can get booked, and you can't develop a following
without gigs.  I have encountered a few club owners who seem to be concerned
with the quality of the performance and will take a chance on someone they
know is good -- and *promote* that up-and-coming artist for our mutual
benefit -- but an awful lot of them are reactionary only.

The ultimate risk-taking promoter was David Allen of the Boarding House in
San Francisco, back in the '70s.  He  put the Mystic Knights of the Oingo
Boingo into his club for two weeks and waited for the crowds to start showing
up.  He did the same for Steve Martin, and many other acts he knew deserved a
chance to build an audience.  People in the bay area trusted David's
judgment; we went to those shows, and he deserved a lot of credit for launch-
ing those careers.

I have to struggle with the stunt-casting issue.  When Joe Gallant invited me
to be part of "Paradise Waits" in 1995, it wasn't because he thought I was a
good musician; it was because I was someone who could give him airplay, and
maybe bring in a few paying customers.  I became even more certain of this
when I went to New York in January 1996, where the behavior of some of the
"real" musicians toward me was painfully exclusionary.  I was treated exactly
the same way Toni Brown was: influential Dead media person with stage ambi-
tions, a situation Joe was willing to take advantage of in a way that ul-
timately left me feeling abused and disrespected.

Some promoters seem to book me because I'm a famous Deadhead and they expect
the legendary Deadhead underground to show up at the gigs without any market-
ing on their part.  These people are often disappointed by the bottom line
when I play for them.  My mission is to give a brilliant performance every
time, so the people who do attend go away from the show knowing there is more
to me than a connection to the Grateful Dead.  I can only hope the promoter
is perceptive enough to recognize the potential.  It's happening often
enough, but I also feel that I have been given exactly one chance in some
places, and come up short.

I saw Pete Shapiro standing there watching my performance at Wetlands; it
will be interesting to see if he *heard* me.

In Brooklyn Wednesday morning, Richard and I had breakfast in a retro diner
(with excellent food) around the corner from his house, and then I hit the
road, taking a slightly different route through Connecticut this time on my
way to Massachusetts and through to Portsmouth, New Hampshire

I arrived at the home of John T. Clark, aka "Clarkie," a friend of my Maine
friends who had invited us all to gather there before heading over to the gig
in Newmarket.  Carol Brightman came down from Maine, and so did Peter Wigley,
who is featured in Carol's book _Sweet Chaos_ and with whom I have been cor-
responding electronically for several years.  There were eight or nine people
in our entourage, including Bill Shimamura, a musician from Maine who I have
been wanting to meet since I heard his CD (via Carol) last year.

Wednesday night's show at the Old Stone Church in Newmarket NH was also a
very successful one from a creative standpoint.  Audience size was small --
why do these promoters book shows and then not promote them? -- but everyone
there was there for my performance.  There was a woman in the back of the
room who kept calling out for original stuff.  After the show she told me she
was a musician herself -- a folk singer (and songwriter?) who is currently
performing in "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" across the state line in
Massachusetts.

Here is an email message that arrived from Peter Wigley a few days after we
were all together:

>Hey Now, you all!

>Just wanted to thank you all for the delightful evening we spent together on
>the 26th.

>Clarkie and Carol, thanks for your generosity and hospitality.  You have a
>knack for making people feel right at home, and the dip was awesome!

>David, it was great to meet you in person at last.  Big fun hanging out and
>talking with you (and when's the "All-Jerry, All-The-Time Channel" going on
>the air?).  I loved your show ~ Brokedown Palace was especially sweet; your
>arrangement of Bid You Good Night was very Caribbean, I thought, without
>imitating Joseph Spence; I got off on Born To Be Wild-> Thunder Road; and
>thanks enormously for Grievous Angel and Til I Gain Control Again, which
>took me back to some rich personal history.  It was terrific to hear Live
>One and Caroline (and Monica!) done live ~ I only wish I'd remembered to ask
>for Jacqueline, one of my other favorites from that CD.  I thought your
>duets with Bill were splendid, and I was amazed at how well you two meshed,
>considering you'd never played together before (even considering that this
>was familiar material).  Dark Hollow, both times, was a special treat.  I'm
>sure I'm leaving out some stellar moments, but they were appreciated and
>absorbed, believe me.  And your intimate, enthusiastic performance for a
>small crowd shows both real class and love of your art.

>I thought the venue was cool, loved the laid-back atmosphere, and I'm gonna
>kick myself buttless for not having brought a camera - the image of the dog
>flopped down in the dead center of the floor while David played was price-
>less, an album-cover shot, maybe even a Life magazine cover...

>Bill, it was great to see you again, especially so soon after the delightful
>show you did in Denmark.  As I said above, your duets with David were splen-
>did moments in a thoroughly wonderful evening.  Hope to catch you later this
>month somewhere.

>Carol, it was terrific to see you as well.  I come away from our conversa-
>tions stimulated and energized by your perspective and wit.  Come August,
>when I actually get to shuffle off those job shackles for a few weeks, I'll
>ride my bike over to Walpole.  Maybe I can get your knees in the breeze!

>Brooksie, Steve, Tim - it was good to meet you all (in some cases again,
>though I'm not sure a wasted wave in a parking garage really counts as a
>first time), and I hope we can get in some more hangin' out time again soon.

>It was a sweet night, full of fine connections & new directions.  I was
>privileged to be in the crowd.  Thanks, y'all.


The thing about the Bill Shimamura duets was that our sound check/rehearsal
felt weak and unpromising.  He was timid, and I didn't feel that I had much
to lock onto when accompanying him.  But when we did it for real during the
show, it was warm and tight and musical, and we did a couple more songs than
we had rehearsed.  I love that kind of stuff: a little faith goes a long way.

Also in attendance at the Stone Church gig was Allen Ostroy, who manages Moon
Boot Lover (Peter Prince!) and Percy Hill.  Allen told me Peter couldn't get
to the gig but he really wanted to see me, so I planned to give him a call in
the morning and see about having lunch together or something.

Clarkie had made arrangements for out-of-towners to stay at "The Barn" at his
stepmother's house in Rye Beach, a mile or two from his place.  Carol and I
wound up over there after the gig, marveling at the treasures in this al-
lAmerican family gathering place, with group photos from many decades lining
the walls, recreational equipment hanging from the ceiling, many small
bedrooms separated by thin wooden panels.  It's the kind of place someone
like me sees on a weekend rental, but this is the summer retreat of a large
and multi-generational American family, with real history in every furnish-
ing, decoration, and salt shaker rather than the generic appointments of a
rental.  Very New England, very not-my-family.

Carol and I had a nice, wide-ranging conversation before turning in, and in
the morning we packed up and drove over to the beach for a walk before pick-
ing Clarkie up for breakfast in town.  There were a few people surfing in the
modest tide as we walked, talked and picked up interesting stones.  We talked
about upcoming projects, Carol's family, and, of course, the Grateful Dead.

When we got to Clarkie's house, I got Peter Prince on the phone.  He agreed
to meet us at this great cafe with deliciously bad art on the walls.  After
we finished our excellent meal, we walked around Portsmouth -- through the
town and down to the water, by the tugboats and the fishing boats and the
funny smells and the dockside bars and restaurants.  Lots of cool shops, lots
of venerable architecture.  It's still a bit of a novelty to me, a lifelong
Californian, to see these places whose history is measured in centuries
rather than years or decades.

I dropped Carol and Clarkie off at Clarkie's house, and then took Peter back
to his house for further hangage.  We hatched a plot to get the Merry
Danksters back together this year, and then Peter's roommate made us sing
"Guilty" together for her video camera.  Then I got back on the road, taking
the Interstate down into Massachusetts but dropping off onto US 20 for a
taste of the countryside.  Then I got back on the Interstate and drove as far
as East Hartford, where I checked into a hotel for the night.  A decent piece
of fish at the restaurant across the street, an hour or so of the latest
"Alien" sequel (Sigourney Weaver nuzzling that slimy creature like a
littermate) and one of those international sex-television surveys on HBO, and
then sleep.

The next morning I took US 6 through Connecticut, alongside railroad tracks
and rivers, through mill towns in various states of repair.  Again, I was
struck by the beauty of the countryside.  Apart from the Detroit to Cleveland
run, my travels have been a long progression of beautiful sights -- historic
names on the land, and cities and towns and rivers of literature and lore.
America is a vast and gorgeous continent, and I'm delighted to be making its
acquaintance at ground level after all these years of hanging out on the
edges.

I found my way to at Terrapin Tapes in Brookfield.  Ken Hays wasn't there,
but I had a nice lunch with Warner Swain at a picnic table outside their of-
fice.  Then it was back on the highway, bound for New Jersey.  I got off the
Interstate and took a state road through several of those legendary NYC sub-
urbs I've heard about all my life -- White Plains, Scarsdale, etc.  Very
nice, upscale towns, not at all like cookie-cutter suburbs.

After enduring some of that legendary NYC traffic (the GW Bridge on a holiday
getaway afternoon), I arrived at the Toppers' apartment in Guttenberg in time
to watch a little of their wedding video, which Jon was copying for a family
member.  We talked about the biz for a while, and then Jon, Jessica and I got
into their new SUV and rode over to Teaneck for a pre-show dinner.

Bill Cluck pulled into the parking space behind ours just as we were unload-
ing my stuff, so we invited him to join us or dinner.  His friend Sammy
showed up, to, and our party was rounded out by Paul Israel.

The show at Mexicali Blues was an interesting combination of satisfaction and
struggle.  I heard reports from people in the audience that the sound could
have been better.  There's a large air conditioner near the stage that makes
it kind of hard for a solo act, but I could hear myself pretty well.  There
were two women at a front table talking loudly through the first half of the
show, and I focused a lot of my energy on them in hopes of getting them in-
volved in the music.  It worked!  Eventually they turned around and paid at-
tention to my show for quite a while.  And after they left, I had a much
easier time connecting with the rest of the audience.

Listening to the show on tape now, I can remember viscerally how hard it was
to develop any sense of flow in this performance, even though there were
plenty of friendly, supportive people in the house.  There are gigs in which
I never *don't* know what song comes next -- either by jamming in that direc-
tion or ending and starting -- but  this night was the opposite.  It's espe-
cially interesting in that the three other gigs I played this week were all
effortless from a song-selection standpoint, such that I even felt totally
comfortable starting a jam with no direction in mind, knowing I would play
interesting stuff that led somewhere cool without sounding forced or lurchy.

I must also add, now that I'm an hour and forty minutes into the playback,
that my internal desperation (okay, that's too strong a word) does not come
across in the music, nor in the repartee.  The performances are strong and
the interactions are funny and warm.

There was a woman sitting alone who offered much encouragement and made some
fun requests (I _never_ do "Cinnamon Girl" solo!).  After the show she bought
both my CDs and introduced herself as vasudha from the WELL.  Other WELL
friends not already mentioned included Michael Weitzman with his fiancee,
Mary, and Michael Thurlow, who came to my previous show in Teaneck and also
trekked to Brooklyn for my Limestone's show last week.

The show was a success box-office-wise: I nearly doubled my guarantee.  And
Topper's bride, Jessica, told me matter-of-factly, "You're good."

I stayed with the Toppers that night, getting to sleep around 2:00 am.  Woke
up at 8:00 and hit the road for Adamstown PA, a little over 200 miles away.
First crankification was the 45-minute traffic jam in the Poconos, just out-
side of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, caused by an accident which was all
cleared by the time I got to the site.  Several of the less major highways on
my route were under construction, so even though there were no crews working
on this holiday weekend, traffic was squeezed into one lane for miles at a
time, and other annoyances.  Still, it was another pleasant slice of the
American countryside, and I was happy to be out in it.

My itinerary said, "The event is being held on the grounds of the Adamstown
Rod & Gun Club, which is just off exit 21.  Art assures me that there will be
signs, etc.  and you will have no trouble finding the venue."  HAH!  I drove
around the vicinity of Exit 21 for nearly an hour before I spied a small hand-
lettered sign that said "SPRING FLING ->".  I took that right and drove for
miles, past farms and new housing developments and a fire station, until I
reached the next town and decided to turn around.  Back I went, past farms
stocked not just with sheep and cows but also with buffalo and ostriches
(emus?)!

I went back into Adamstown and asked for directions at a gas station.  Went
back out that same road, spotted another tiny hand-lettered sign that I had
(quite understandably) missed the first time; made the turn, drove a few
hundred yards, and there was the Rod and Gun Club.

And what a dismal scene it was.  I could tell before entering that this was a
desperately under-attended event.

There were four guys working the gate.  I rolled down the window and iden-
tified myself as a performer, and one of the guys said, in an oddly defensive
tone, "Okay."

I'm not _bragging_ about it, you idiot.  "Uh, where do I go?"

"That way."  Jeeziz.  "Thanks."  Annoyed, I hit the gas a little too hard and
left a bit of a dust cloud behind me as I drove onto the grounds.  I parked
near the noise.

There were several dozen cars in the immediate vicinity, and lots of tents in
the middle distance.  I could see people wandering around in the camping area
and in the parking lot.  It looked like things were just getting started, but
it also seemed to me that there should have been a lot more people and
vehicles there, on this second day of a holiday-weekend festival.

There was a guy standing nearby when I got out of my car.  I asked him who's
in charge.  "I am," he said.

"Hi, I'm David Gans," I said, extending my hand.  "Sorry I'm late, but I
kinda got lost."

He told me his name was Bruce.  He had long wavy black hair, but his bearing
was more biker than hippie.  His left arm and hand were slightly withered,
and I think his left hand was paralyzed, but he didn't limp.  "How much are
you getting paid?"

"Five hundred dollars."

He seemed offended by this information.  "You're only playing an hour --
that's a lot of money.  You're gonna have to wait til we get some of the
money from the gate."  There was a hostility in his bearing that struck me as
unnecessary, and decidedly inappropriate.

"I'll play longer if you'd like.  What time do I go on?"

"Uh, three o'clock."

Noticing a hissing sound that emerged when the music stopped, I looked over
at a group of young people gathered around a large blue tank, just in time to
see a young man pass out and fall to the ground, quivering.  "CLOSE THAT
THING DOWN!" shouted my host.  This guy was considerably more unpleasant than
circumstances seemed to warrant, so I asked him where I might find Art Rick-
abaugh, the guy we had made our deal with.  "He's not in charge of the enter-
tainment," said the surly dude.  "He's running the food concession."

As I began to make may way toward where I thought the food booth might be, I
was greeted warmly by Steve Walker, manning his Hex Hollow Music booth --
which was located in the backstage parking area rather than out in the
audience area where one would have expected to find it.  I soon realized that
there was no barrier between backstage and front-of-house, and no need for
passes (though a few young girls were wearing "all-access" laminates).
Walker gave me a set of his house brand strings (made by Martin, where he
used to work) and reminded me that he really wants me to play his festival,
the Hexfest, in September.  He assured me that his festival has been going on
for several years and is run properly and responsibly.

Walker also told me the turnout here was much lower than expected, due to
competition from a weekend festival closer to Philly that has Ratdog headlin-
ing.  I could readily list several other factors: the remote location, the
piss-poor signage leading to the event, the inadequacy of the promoters'
marketing campaign (Audrey Marsh told me she had been unable to get any use-
ful information from them on the phone) -- not to mention the weirdness of
having a hippie festival at a "rod and gun club."  I think this event was
doomed from its inception.

I decided I'd better see about getting paid before I played.

I wandered around the building toward the music and found the food stand
right next to the "stage," which was actually a gap between two buildings.
The area right in front of the band was a concrete pad with some picnic
tables and a roof.  Beyond the pavilion I saw a duck pond and a gently roll-
ing lawn, with a row of campers' tents abut 30 yards away.  There were a
couple dozen people under the roof, including two hippie girls dancing with
balloons in their hands.  I saw another nitrous tank off to the side, over
near the tattoo-and-piercing concession operating out of a vehicle parked
right next to the dance area.  A large percentage of the people I could see
were sucking on balloons.

The band, a somewhat generic-looking group of young hippies playing music
that did not jump into my consciousness and demand attention, exhorted people
to come close and dance.  The hissing of tanks persisted.  A small, fresh-
lyshorn poodle pup charged across the concrete, pursued by a girl from the
tattoo crew.

I found Art Rickabaugh behind the counter of the food stand.  I shook his
hand and asked him why the other character had been so weird about my pay.
"I don't know what his problem is," he told me.  "He's seen the contract."

Further discourse with Rickabaugh made it clear that everybody was getting
burned to some degree.  I gather Juggling Suns, Gordon Stone et al.  had been
paid at least part of their fees in advance, and I guess from now on I'll
demand 50% up front when I get booked at festival gigs, too.

Art told me I could have anything I wanted, gratis.  The menu was limited --
cheeseburgers, fried chicken, etc.  I took a plate of dreadful-looking black
stir-fry -- at least it wasn't dripping grease -- and a bottle of spring
water went backstage to find someplace to eat.

I sat at an unoccupied picnic table and got out my computer to start writing
some of this stuff down while I ate the recognizable bits of the stir-fry,
which wasn't as bad in the mouth as it was on the eye.  The rice was
reasonably well-cooked, and the broccoli was okay.  The cauliflower was
cooked beyond recognition.  From where I sat I could see a row of parked cars
and watch people wandering around in the sun, many of them carrying balloons.
Teenagers with balloons, young adults with beers and balloons.  Around the
corner from where I sat, the backstage tank was back in action.

A young woman came over near where I was sitting, carrying a balloon and an
empty beer cup.  She smiled as she walked past me, and then she stepped up to
a beer tap mounted on the side of what I now recognized as a large walk-in
refrigerator.  After filling her cup, she spied me and my computer and sat
down to ask me what I was writing.  I told her it was my journal and no, she
may not read it.  But we schmoozed for a while, and I learned that her name
was Terri and she had just turned 21 and she was fairly new to nitrous oxide.
I witnessed her discovery that breathing in and out of the balloon five times
or so really heightened the effect, so I was able to observe closely the
ecstatic effects of nitrous on a somewhat beered-up young woman.

She also shared her balloon with me, but I only took a couple of hits.  I
guess I'm a grizzled old veteran of that shit: not much point in doing any if
you're not going to do way too much.

And when Terri made a comment about not being that much into "drugs," I
pointed out that the liquid in her other hand was also a drug.

By 2:45 or so, the band that was playing had stopped playing.  I stepped up
to the hostile promoter, just to confirm that I was on next, and he said,
"No.  Oregano is on next."  Then he lit into me about my supposed act of
child endangerment -- driving recklessly across the field when I entered.
"Are you a Deadhead?" he demanded.

Is this a trick question?  "Yeah, I guess so."

"ARE YOU A DEADHEAD?"

Hello? "Yes."

"Well, then, you should know that there are little kids all over the place,
and you shouldn't go spraying gravel like that all over the place."

"I did not endanger anyone when I drove in here," I began to explain, but he
wasn't listening.  As he moved on to some other tempest, I returned to my
picnic table and resumed reading and writing on my laptop.

Later, the promoter came back over to where I was sitting and began to berate
me again.  This time he informed me, in between hits on the nitrous balloon
in his hand, that because of myself and some other guy's vehicular behavior,
a friend of his had taken his young daughter and left the festival.  "As far
as I'm concerned, you can go home."

Then I understood.  He was looking for an excuse not to pay me.

"We have a contract, you know --"

"I didn't sign anything."

At this point it was clear that  I wasn't going to get any satisfaction from
this character, so I went back over to the guy I did know and informed him of
this turn of events.  "Yeah, he's bitching about how you roared across the
field in your car and all that," said Art.  "I don't know what to tell you.
I'm not very happy with the way he's treating me, either, and I'm definitely
not going to do this with him again."

It looked like Art was in the process of getting screwed, too, but he did
promise to send me $200 out of his own money.  I don't expect he'll have much
in the way of profit to share, so I won't hold him to it.

I borrowed a cel phone from the catering lady who had come in from Hazelton
to feed Juggling Suns.  Figuring I might just drive straight to Newark and
fly home that night, I called United Airlines.  The best I could do was a
3:00 flight Sunday afternoon -- which was fine, really, because I was ex-
pected at Dan and Audrey's in Media either that night or the next day.  After
completing my arrangements with United, I called Audrey for directions and
was relaxing in Media about an hour later.

First time I've ever been screwed by a promoter.

It was a weird way to end a tour, from a professional standpoint, but on a
personal level  the last 24 hours of the trip were a great pleasure.

I arrived chez Marsh in the late afternoon.  Dan was out of town and Josh
(Audrey's older son) was away for the weekend, so it was just Audrey and
Stevie, the engaging youngster with the *very* impressive Beanie Baby collec-
tion.  Audrey called Dick and Estelle Elliott, who live nearby, and after all
parties were consulted we decided to have pizza for dinner.  While Audrey and
Stevie were out getting the pizza, I plugged in my laptop and checked my
mail, did a little writing, and checked the answering machine at home.  The
Elliotts and the food arrived shortly, and we made quick work of those pies.
Then we hung out on the back deck for a while, enjoying the atmosphere.  I
played Dan's new Ovation guitar for a few minutes.  It was a pleasant gather-
ing.

Then we all piled into the van and headed over to Rita's Water Ice stand, at
this time of year the true center of life in Media, Pennsylvania.  The line
wasn't oppressively long when we got there, but business was VERY good.  And
of course, the ices were delicious -- I wish we had 'em in California!

We sat at one of the picnic tables and watched families walking and driving
up, queuing for treats, and then enjoying them in the warm early evening of a
Memorial Day weekend.  Much small talk with strangers, much admiring of
babies in strollers, much smiling at the smiles of happy young people.  And
then back in the van, back to the house, and back out onto the deck for more
evening air -- and fireflies!  It's a little early in the season, so there
weren't that many, but for this California coastal native, those luminescent
squiggles were a novelty and a wonder.

After Dick and Estelle went home and Stevie headed up into his private domain
for the night, Audrey and I watched a particularly disgusting/hilarious
episode of "South Park" before turning in.

My flight out of Newark was scheduled for 3:00, so I had to leave Media by
noon at the very latest -- and if I was smart, I'd have left much earlier.
Audrey had planned a brunch for all the WELL friends who were in town for Jam
on the River -- the festival that was part of the reason why my gig was a
non-gig -- but only Michelle Waughtel was able to get there early enough for
me to see her before I left.  I did get to meet her tall, handsome, greeneyed
beau, Richard.  Very nice man, and they have very nice, comfortable energy
together.

With that combination of reluctance and anticipation that always informs the
transition from touring life to home life, I said goodbye to my friends in
Media, threw my crap in the car, cranked up WXPN, and hit the Turnpike.

It is a VERY good thing I left when I did, because the Jersey Turnpike on a
hot holiday weekend day is not exactly a high-speed artery.  The backup at
Exit 7A (Jersey Shore) was monumental.  But I did get through it, and the
rest of the journey was smooth and unimpeded.  I got to the airport in time.

On this trip, I had as much stuff as it is possible for one person to schlep
-- not a bit more, but not a bit less, either.  My baggage consists of: my
guitar in its armored case; a Land's End carry-on suitcase with wheels, in
which I carry my stand, stomp boxes, cables, tape recorder, spare strings,
clipboard, etc.  (the most yuppie "road case" you've ever seen); a huge new
suitcase with wheels; and my backpack, in which I carry my computer,
notebooks, reading materials, etc.  This was my first trip with the new suit-
case, and I was a sight to see, I'm sure, rolling one bag in front of me and
one bag behind me, with the big bright blue guitar case slung at my side and
my upscale backpack behind me.  Manipulating this one-man entourage through
revolving doors, onto the monorail at Newark, up and down various escalators,
etc.  was quite a challenge.  I may have to make some refinements to this
getup as I go along.

It is such a blessing to have friends who are so supportive of my musical
endeavors.  It's nice to be taken in by online acquaintances I've never met
before -- and their generosity has been beneficial to my goals as well as
leading to new friendships --  but it's extra special to spend time with
people with whom I have deeper friendships and richer histories.  The job I'm
doing can be a lonely and difficult one, and the relationships that form
along the way can be awfully tricky -- what do I need and want from these
people, and what do they want and expect from me?  So it's great to have
relationships that predate my touring life, with people I'd be seeing no mat-
ter what my reason for being in town.

It's that good ol' unconditional love thing.  To have my music embraced by
these friends is a huge confidence-builder.  The one weird thing about that
is that I feel more support outside the Bay Area than I do at home; maybe
that's a hidden benefit, since it makes the road more pleasurable.  If I had
lots of gigs at home, maybe I wouldn't tour so much, and that would not be
good for the long-term plan.
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #90 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Wed 26 Apr 00 10:47
    

Friday, July 30, 10:00 am

My day was sad because Dick Latvala is on life support and probably isn't
going to live much longer.  He had a heart attack on the 26th, home alone,
and was unconscious for some unknown period of time before his roommate came
home and called for help.

I played my gig with Eric last night, and it was one of those nights when
every song had some light to shed on the current state of things, and I kept
getting lost in those thoughts.  Delivered some soulful solos from that
space, though, which was cathartic.

Going up to see my comatose buddy today and say goodbye.
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #91 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Wed 26 Apr 00 10:47
    

Saturday, July 31, 1999, 9:00 am

Steve Silberman and I visited Dick in the hospital yesterday.  I held his
hand and spoke softly to him, and there was no reaction at all.  Phil Lesh
visited him later in the day, and he swears Dick squeezed his hand.

The EEG was read by the local doc and by a neurologist named Muenter (Bob
Weir's father-in-law), and they decided the best thing was to keep Dick right
where he is and wait.

That's all I know.
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #92 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Wed 26 Apr 00 10:48
    

Tuesday, August 10, 1999, 5:30 pm

I played a small gig downstairs at the Maritime Hall last night.  It was a
Jerry Garcia tribute, on the anniversary of Jerry's death.  I opened with a
solo acoustic set, more than half of which was Garcia stuff, and then I
played acoustic guitar with the "headline" band, and that was fun, too.  I
hardly ever play electric any more.
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #93 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Wed 26 Apr 00 10:48
    

From the Damning With Faint Praise Hall of Fame:



"...while his material is a few notches more entertaining than the average
guitar-slinger stuff, hope for your own sake that he deigns to cover Elton
John's 'Rocket Man.'  Gans' version is EVEN BETTER than William Shatner's."
  - "In Pittsburgh" 8/22/99
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #94 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Wed 26 Apr 00 10:49
    

Saturday, August 28, 1999, 3:00pm EDT

The first show (Friday, August 27 at Graffiti Showcase in Pittsburgh) was a
smashing success.  More than 130 paid, and they were a great audience.  I sat
in with the opener, acoustic Fungus, for "Friend of the Devil," "Jack Straw"
and "Ripple" to close out their set, and that was both fun and effective; the
audience was very positive in their response.

My own set was also very well-received.  I got standing ovations in the
middle of the set, and huge reactions when I started certain songs -- most
notably "Rubin and Cherise."  People just love that song.

Tom Donaldson and his friends were great.  Many of the people who came the
last time were here again, with friends.

The owner of the club, Tony DiNardo, is a pleasant guy who runs a very clean
scene.  The last time I was here, sitting with him after the show, various
waitresses came in and kissed him on the cheek as they said good night.
"It's not what you think," he told me.  "They're my daughters."  This time I
talked with him some more, and learned that he has nine children, five of
them daughters; all five of the girls work at the club.  I think it's great:
he keeps the place clean and wholesome so it's a safe place for his family to
work.  He strikes me as a decent businessman.  We had a nice chat after the
show, and he was very positive about my appearance.  I did better this time
than last time, and Tony took note of the extremely positive reaction of the
crowd.  He will definitely have me back again, and soon.  And I will be glad
to play there.  The stage sounds great, the room is nicely laid out with a
balcony that goes all the way around, and the fans here are great.

This morning, Tom cooked up a big huge breakfast and sent me on my way.  It
was a pleasant two-hour drive to Nelson Ledges Quarry Park, halfway between
Youngstown and Cleveland.  I'm sitting on the side of the stage, waiting for
anyone who knows what's going on to show up and tell me what to do.  I'm 50
yards from a lake, where many young hippies are swimming, lolling on rafts,
or relaxing on the beach.  Behind me and off to the right (behind the stage)
are many campgrounds and vendors.  Kids and hippies are all around.

John Mullins, the bandleader and the promoter of this event (first annual),
just came by in his bathing trunks to greet me.  He says there are lots of
people out in the woods who will not be visible but who will be out there
grooving to the music.

The show starts around 3, and I go on second.  And then I'll play with the
Mullins Band, too.  There's a lovely breeze, the sunshine is filtered by a
slight haze dotted with big, billowy, unthreatening clouds, and I'm all set
to have a pleasant day and a great gig.

The sound guy just introduced himself. Another fan. Cool!
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #95 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Wed 26 Apr 00 10:49
    

Sunday, August 29, 1999, 9:30 am EDT

An interesting thing happened at Nelson Ledges last night.  Friday night in
Pittsburgh, someone asked me to play "Scarlet Begonias."  I said it wasn't a
song that really worked as a solo acoustic number, and I sang a couple of
lines in goofy voice, fingerpicking in E.  Got a good laugh, too.

But yesterday afternoon, I was warming up behind the stage while an excellent
guitarist named Paul Brown was working out on some standards onstage.  I
found myself trying "Scarlet," and I'll be damned if it didn't seem too work.
So I opened my set with it: "Scarlet Begonias" in E, with a sort of hard
rockabilly feel.  It worked rhythmically, but I may decide to do it in G for
the sake of the vocal; the feel will change because the the chord voicings
and open strings will change.

It was fun and interesting to have this little throwaway turn into a useful
development!

The rest of the set went well, too.  I actually ran through the setlist from
the night before and made a list of stuff I wanted to do today, including
several things I like but haven't been doing for whatever reason.  I've been
off the road, and mostly offstage, for three months, and I'll be on the road
more than home for the next two.  It's a chance to develop some new ideas.

I found myself pushing the higher-energy stuff, even though it was a lazy
summer day and there were only about 50 people out in front of the stage.
There were lots of people out on the lake, lazing on rubber rafts, and the
promoter told me there were tons more hanging out at their campsites in the
woods.  It was rather odd playing for invisible people, but the ones I could
see were VERY responsive, so I took that to mean the ones in the distance
were pleased, too.  (And after the set, lots of people made positive
comments.  One said, "I wonder how good your music will sound when I'm not
listening to it out on the water"!)

After my set, I wandered around visiting with people (including Jack Jackson,
an old friend who moved back to Dayton from the Bay Area nearly 20 years ago,
and who has come to nearly every gig I've played in Ohio), searching in vain
for some decent food, and enjoying the splendid countryside.  I spent about
15 minutes just starting up into the sky just before dusk: one of those huge
billowing cumulus clouds that I've flown over so many times was rising up out
of the steam and wood smoke, glowing bright orange in the late-late-afternoon
sun.  I watched as the light got redder, and then the earth's shadow overtook
the cloud and the sky began to darken. A great Midwestern sky!
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #96 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Wed 26 Apr 00 10:49
    

Show review from the net, posted with permission:


David Gans - Columbus, OH (Little Brothers) 9-2-99

First let me say the crowd for this show was a tapers dream--sitting quietly
at the tables near the stage. I got the feeling that David would've liked
more crowd participation but everyone appeared to be attentive and enjoying
themselves. I had never heard David's music before so I had no preconceived
notions of the songs, so the first few acclimated me to David's basic style.
I immediately recognized the Scarlet Begonias, which was a real thrill to
hear acoustic. It came off flawless, despite having been relatively new in
the repertoire.

Another one of my favorites was Seeds and Stems, called out when David asked
for requests. This song really showcased the quality of David's voice to me.
I also enjoyed Jacqueline, and closed my eyes to imagine hearing it while
getting rowdy around a campfire sipping Irish whisky. Loved the Attics as
well, as I always thought it was Robert Hunter's most beautiful tune.  Next
it was time for John Mullins to join in.  They played the Eagles "Peaceful
Easy Feelin'", really doing it justice. I know David and John had played
together on occasion in the past, which really showed as they complimented
each other nicely--both vocally and musically. Arlo Guthrie's "Comin in to
Los Angeles" followed by "Teach your Children" really showed a lot of
diversity. Unfortunately David's request for the crowd to sing along elicited
little participation.

I got a big chuckle out of "Monica Lewinsky"--which David referred to the
"history lesson" for the night.  "I Bid You Goodnight" was faster paced with
a spooky feel to it--a great change !!  This is a must hear !!  We got a nice
long encore beginning with "Normal", a commentary on a hippie wanting to
settle down. "Born to be Wild" > "Dear Mr. Fantasy" > "Thunder Road" flowed
seamlessly to wrap it up. I particularly enjoyed the enthusiasm and emotion
David reflected in Thunder Road. Overall quite an enjoyable show, I recommend
catching one of David's show whenever he is playing anywhere near you.

Sean Cheadle
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #97 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Wed 26 Apr 00 10:50
    

Friday, September 3, 1999, 5:15 pm CDT

I had three days off, which I spent in a Motel 6 in Amherst, Ohio, the
turnoff to Oberlin.  After leaving Nelson Ledges and spending the night at a
hotel provided by the promoter of that event, I drove into Cleveland and kept
going west toward Oberlin, because Jesse Jarnow is the only person I know in
the area who is in town (my other Cleveland friend, Chris Szalay, has been in
England with Kesey and Freddy and the bus).  I had dinner with Jesse on
Sunday, and we went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday (accompanied
by Mark Louis, a WELL person I'd never met before, who just moved to the
area).

The Motel 6 at Amherst was $44 per night and the room was reasonable, and
that's a hell of a good rate, so I camped there for the duration of my down
time. The phones would only dial local calls -- so very "local" that calls to
Oberlin, eight miles away, would not go through.  There was no Earthlink
number nearby, so I actually wound up using my Working Assets Long Distance
account to dial in.  I was surprised that it worked, actually, and I'm hoping
I don't get dinged too badly when the bill comes in.

Tuesday was a big boxed set work day, from early morning until very late at
night. I finally emailed the liner notes, personnel and selection notes to
Geoff Gans at around 2:30 am local time. I also got some laundry done, down
in Oberlin, and I did take a reasonable dinner break. But it was a long, long
day of writing, editing and talking on the phone.  So on Wednesday,  I took
it easy until it was time to go into Cleveland and meet Dave Ruch, who was
driving in from Buffalo to play the gig with me.

The call came from Dave, about an hour from town, and I hit the road.
Wilbert's just moved, on very short notice, to a new location that turned out
to be right across the street from Jacobs Field (home of the very hot
Cleveland Indians) and the Gund Arena. With a ball game and a concert
happening right there, I found myself plunging into a serious traffic jam.  I
followed the cop's instructions, crawling along at a few feet per minute, and
wound up paying $20 for "event" parking a couple of blocks from the gig. I
pulled out my guitar and my box of CDs and my yuppie road case (a wheeled
carry-on suit- case from Land's End) and hoofed it over to the Diamondback
Brewing Company, the new home of Wilbert's.

There was Dave Ruch, getting his guitar out of his car, which was parked at a
meter right in front of the Diamondback.  "Free parking after 6," he said
cheerily. He was appropriately sympathetic when I told him what I'd paid for
my much less convenient spot.

We schlepped our stuff into the brewery and asked for directions to the club.
On the second floor we found a large space in the process of becoming a night
club, with a huge musical mural on one wall that had a hole punched in it and
speaker wires coming out.  We were greeted by a very nice young woman in a
black Wilbert's t-shirt. She handed us menus and promised to return shortly
with information on what was available to us for dinner.  When she returned,
she wasn't looking very good. "I'm sick," she explained, as she ran away to
heave again. This is the second time in two weeks I've arrived at a gig in
time for the puking.

Ann got our order in to the kitchen between trips to the bathroom. She was
lucid enough to let us know that she's a bass player in real life and that
she was waiting for someone to relieve her so she could go home.  Then she
went and stretched out on the stage while Dave and I got our instruments out
and started running through tunes. We joked about music curing her ills, but
this was some kind of virus that was beyond the reach of our magic.

Man, it was nice to be playing with Dave again. It's interesting how strongly
bonded we feel, considering that our mutual history includes only that week
we spent together on the first Merry Danksters tour, and one or two more very
brief musical encounters. Dave was coming to grips with the horror of chronic
 tendinitis at that time, and his ability to play with us diminished
considerably over the course of that short tour. He was so freaked about the
threat to his livelihood that he was unable to sleep, and by the last day he
was hallucinating; Topper took him to the hospital to see a doctor and/or a
shrink, while the rest of the troupe soldiered on and dedicated the show to
Dave.

We saw each other again at the Gathering of the Vibes a year later. Dave was
unable to participate in the second Dankster tour, because he wasn't able to
play more than a few minutes without pain and the risk of further disability.
But we had formed a very strong friendship in that first week together, and
we stayed in touch. We had talked about doing an acoustic tour of the
northeast earlier this year, when Dave was able to play again, but we
couldn't get anyone interested in booking us.

As is my custom, I send out junk email before I go out on tour.  I was
thrilled when Dave wrote back asking if I'd be interested in jamming with him
in Cleveland. Being a Californian, I had no idea that Buffalo and Cleveland
are close enough together to make it a reasonable journey for him. "I would
have thought Pittsburgh was closer," said, and Dave instructed me to look at
a map.  I'll be danged: it's a pretty straight shot from Buffalo to Cleveland
along the shore of Lake Erie, while the Pittsburgh run is longer and less
direct.

So there was Dave. I had FedExed him a CD of an April live show, and he
studied it at home and en route. We made a huge list of stuff we wanted to
do, and ran through quite a bit of it before the show started.

Dave also told me he'd followed the links on my gigs page to discover that
the Mullins Band drummer, Steve Frye, is an old college chum of his (they
went to school in rural Ohio, not far from Columbus).

Several people who had come to my last Wilbert's gig came in well before show
time to hang out and drink, and a few more came in as showtime approached.
The management was understanding about the size of the crowd: their move
happened on such short notice that they hadn't had time to do a mailing. We
commiserated about the lack of support from WNCX, my Cleveland affiliate
(Wilbert's doesn't advertise with them, apparently, and that is where
"support" begins and ends in this business).

I made it my business to deliver a "you should have been there!" show to the
couple dozen who were in attendance. I had a couple of requests from
enthusiastic fans when I hit the stage. I also had Cat Stevens on my mind,
having spent the last day or two driving around listening to a dreadful-
sounding audience tape that Tom Donaldson had given me for the road trip.
"Moonshadow" was one of the songs Matt Zarb and I had done together at Heron.
As I listened to this early-'70s show, from a tour I believe I saw at the
Berkeley Community Theater, I was reminded of the unabashed spiritual
seekerism of the material; after singing "Moonshadow" at Wilbert's, I talked
a little about how important Cat Stevens had been to me in my early days as a
troubadour, and I told what had happened to him: not long after he stopped
being someone whose records I bought as soon as they came out, he changed his
name to Yusuf Islam. And a few years after that, he became a total
embarrassment by signing on to the Iranian fatwa against Salman Rushdie.
That's a weird way to lose a musical hero, innit?

The seven songs I played solo flowed together nicely.  I played "Mason's
Children" for Jesse, and it rolled forcefully into "Brokedown Palace," which
I dedicated to Dick Latvala as has been my recent practice. I followed that
with an unlikely selection, introducing in as "a song about those big changes
that happen which are beyond your control, when all you can do is learn how
to live again... the loss of a hero, or a leader, or a friend..."  "Leave Me"
was very well received at the time, and I got some very nice compliments
after the show, too.

Then it was time to bring Dave up. We didn't do all the stuff we had written
down, but everything we did worked beautifully: there were surprising
sequences, beautiful jams, telepathic handoffs, and lots of just plain
pleasure. I was kind of surprised that the audience didn't demand an encore
-- I guess there just weren't enough of them to create critical mass. People
came up to us afterwards with very enthusiastic reactions, so I know it
wasn't a problem with the performance!

Dave came back to my hotel with me after the show and we had a great long
talk about working together. We talked about our friendship with Gibb Droll,
another of the Merry Danksters with whom we both formed strong bonds. When I
saw Gibb in Berkeley last month, he mentioned a desire to form an acoustic
act with an emphasis on vocal harmony -- a change of direction for him, away
from the Stevie Ray Vaughan guitar-god approach he's taken for most of his
career -- and Dave and I figure in his plan. He had told me on the phone a
while ago that he was getting into Willie Nelson and other country-type
songwriters, which is a development I endorse heartily!  That also brings him
closer to the territory that Dave Ruch and I have in common, too -- so in the
morning, Dave and I left a message on Gibb's answering machine, initiating a
dialogue about finding a time to get together and see if the trio has some
potential. I am planning to visit Gibb in Kitty Hawk at the end of my next
tour, and Dave may come down for that session -- or I may try to get a few
extra bucks out of Randy Judy so I can bring Dave in for MagnoliaFest: with
three full days on site, we could do some public picking together and also
some serious woodshedding.

Dave and I also talked about touring opportunities with other acts. He's a
fan of Donna the Buffalo, with whom I have become friendly in the last couple
of years. I helped them find some gigs in California this month -- which I
can't open for them because I'll be elsewhere -- but I think they might be
someone we could talk to about letting us open some shows.  Likewise
Strangefolk, who Dave and I both love as musicians and as people.  And Dave
thinks Topper would be seriously gung-ho about any act that Dave and Gibb and
I put together, Danksters or otherwise.

Playing with Dave really made me want to play with people again. Playing with
the Mullins Band at Nelson Ledges, and having John Mullins join me for a few
songs in my set that day, was also fun. But with Dave Ruch, I really have the
feeling that there's a musical kinship that deserves nurturing. We both felt
it right away on the first Dankster tour, and I felt it powerfully as hell on
stage at Wilbert's that night.

My own sense of my progress was reinforced by the feedback I got from lots of
people on this tour. These were four VERY successful gigs for me, musically:
my guitar playing is solid, both in the high-energy rhythm stuff (e.g. Rubin
and Cherise, which is a major powerhouse for me right now) and on the more
delicate and risky stuff -- the soloing and (best of all) the jamming.  I've
been starting "River and Drown" with a gentle improvisation, building both
tempo and harmonic complexity in an unhurried progression to the song itself
-- and that idea worked even better with Dave on board. Dave was very
complimentary in his assessment of my performance before he joined me, and
his observations underscore my own. Mullins, too, praised my increasing
strength as both a guitarist and a vocalist. I know what still needs work (my
vocal intonation was shaky at times), and I also know that my musicianship
has risen to a new level, even after taking three months off from regular
performing.

A note about Rubin and Cherise: last night at Columbus I struck a deep,
powerful emotional vein about halfway into the song. What that song means to
me in my own private life suddenly became clear: it's my reminder to myself
that I am a committed husband. The temptations of the road will not get the
better of me. I have not been tested all that much, but I do get horny and
fantasize a lot when I'm surrounded by gorgeous young hippie girls.

After breakfast, I said goodbye to Dave Ruch, jumped in my rent-a-car and
popped his new cassette into the tape deck. Nice collection of Americana,
aimed at kids - he sells lots of 'em to the teachers he runs into in the
course of his work playing music in schools. Dave also gave me a CD of The
String Brothers, a swing duo he recorded direct to DAT with a friend.

I drive south on Ohio 58, through Oberlin one more time and past miles and
miles of corn, fields of green produce I couldn't identify from the road,
farmhouses surrounded by vast and well-trimmed lawns, rows of sunflowers in
full grin, etc. A very pleasant, leisurely drive. At Ashland, Ohio, I
reconnected with Interstate 71 and headed on down into Columbus.

On the way in, I listened to WCBE. I was delighted when the afternoon DJ
announced a ticket giveaway for our show -- and then she played a cut from
the new Mullins Band CD followed by "Crazy Crazy Crazy."  Then she gave away
another pair of tickets.

Shirley Siegel's directions turned out to be inaccurate. I followed them
exactly, crawling through traffic near downtown Columbus toward I-70, even
though I recalled that she lived north of town. I headed west on I-70 as
directed, and when I found myself five miles outside of the city limits, I
knew I'd been misguided. I got off the freeway and then found out that the
eastbound on-ramp at that interchange was closed due to construction.  So I
had to go another ten miles or so out into the Ohio countryside before I
could get myself on the road back into town.

I drove over to the venue, Little Brother's, and dialed John Mullins' number.
He was on his way over to his girlfriend's house, not too far from Little
Brother's, and he gave me directions  to meet him there. Chris's roommate let
me in, and I had a chance to plug in my computer and check my email and the
private Boxed Set conference. I returned a couple of calls and sent email to
Shirley Siegel explaining that I had gotten lost and that I had been offered
lodging here at Chris's house, and thanking her for her offer of hospitality.

"I hope you're not allergic to cats," said Chris when I walked in. "We have
seven, and more on the way."  She then disappeared into the guest room where
I had been invited to spend the night, emerging excitedly a moment later to
announce, "High Street had her kittens!  There are four of them!"  Well, one
of the babies was stillborn, but there were three brand-new kittens right
there among the shoes in the closet of the spare room. Joy!

John showed up after a few minutes and invited me to hang out in the basement
for a while. There was a new Spiderman cartoon on the tube, pipeloads to
consume (I abstained), and a stick of Nag Champa incense to combat the
powerful stink of multiple cat boxes. We talked a bit about what songs we'd
perform when he joined me in my set and when I joined the band in theirs.

Eventually it was time to go to dinner. Chris works at Lindey's, an upscale
spot in the German Village (?) district that attracts a lot of state-capitol
big shots.  The work uniform is black pants, white shirt and a tie, so when
Chris showed up as a customer in a red tube top and skirt with her midriff
showing, she took a very good-natured ribbing from the mostly gay staff. Our
waiter took great care of us, and a large, haunted-looking Latino bus boy
greeted Chris by saying, "I am ready to work."  And work he did: he kept our
water glasses filled to the brim at all times, stopping by any time a glass
was even an eighth of an inch down. It became a bit of a joke for the three
of us at the table. The meal was excellent; I had a decent Caesar salad and
grilled halibut served atop a mountain of lobster-basil whipped potatoes. For
dessert, we shared a vanilla bean creme brulee with a perfect top. Everything
was half price except the wine.

We went back to the house to get our instruments and stuff, and I drove John
over to the venue in my red rent-a-car. Setup and sound check were
interminable, but I amused myself with some reading; later, when people
started showing up, I engaged in some schmoozing. Jack Jackson was there from
Troy, with two members of the band he's been working with. Strange guys, but
damn, a loyal supporter is a loyal supporter!

When I mentioned Dave Ruch to Steve Frye, he get really excited. Dave's the
guy who turned him on to the Dead, and to marijuana, too, I think. I told him
about his wife, Sam, and their baby, Peter. We spoke very fondly of our
mutual friend, and I insisted that Steve take the String Brothers CD. I
didn't have my computer with me so I couldn't give him Dave's email address
or phone number, but I promised to send Steve's info to Dave so they could
get in touch.

I had a request for "Willin'," and another for "Every Night," so I led off
with 'em. I transposed "Willin'" to E, which worked out well on the guitar
and gave me some fun low notes to hit. My guitar work on "Every Night" was
strong and fluid, as was the vocal. I extended my crooning at the end, and
drifted into a brief improvisation that led me into an old instrumental that
I made up back around 1973 and haven't played much. Felt good - and now I
have to give it a name!  After once through those changes, I noodled for a
few seconds trying to think of where to go, settling on "Scarlet Begonias."
I had been thinking of trying it in G, but here I was in E, looking for
something upbeat. It worked well, but I think it'll sing better in G; I hope
the guitar groove works as well as the E version does. My strap came loose in
the middle of Scarlet!  I had to stop just before the bridge, reattach it,
and then finish the song.

There were lots of people in the audience who had been there the first time I
played here -- and not just Mullins Band fans, either. They were attentive
and responsive, but a little on the polite side.  As has been the case in all
four shows on this tour, I found myself leaning toward more upbeat stuff --
"Stillhouse" again, and "Hooker River," and a raging "Rubin" that included
the personal epiphany I mentioned earlier; the energy peaked in the last
bridge, and I sang the last verse in a very quiet groove, which flowed
sweetly into "The Minstrel."  I honored requests for "Seeds and Stems" ("That
wasn't me," Jack Jackson hollered after someone else called for it. It's one
of Jack's standard requests). Someone asked for "Jacqueline," and I said,
"That's hard to do alone" - and then proceeded to do it, and (surprisingly)
to do it justice. I just have to leave out the riffs except at the beginning
and end.

After delivering "Attics" to a hushed room, I called Mullins up. We started
with "Peaceful Easy Feeling," with John playing rhythm and singing lead; I
had a blast singing harmony and playing fills; I delivered a solo unlike any-
thing I've ever played before -- I haven't listened to the tape yet, but my
sense of it was that I managed to keep it together even though I was at the
very edge of my skills. I hope it sounds as good on playback as it felt in
real time. We followed with "Coming into Los Angeles" and a very nice "Teach
Your Children."  I thought I'd leave the stage after that, but John made me
continue -- and from then on, the audience was extremely demonstrative. I
honored requests for"Monica" and "Pancho," and I rolled the latter right into
"I Bid You Good Night."  Had good fun on the vocal, too.  They wouldn't let
me leave the stage after that, so I sang "Normal" (which got great laughs)
and finished with "Born to Be Wild->Dear Mr.  Fantasy->Thunder Road."

Hanging out between Mullins Band sets, John and I were shooting the shit
about various songs and he mentioned "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes."  I thought it
might be fun to try performing it, but he countered with "Guinnevere."  He
had gotten the tuning and tablature from an old issue of Frets magazine. So
before the electric set started, John and I went up there to do "Guinnevere."
 I called out to the audience, most of whom were out in the bar or around the
corner my the pool table. "We need your support," I said. They started
cheering and clapping. "No, no, no!" I teased. "We need your ATTENTION!"  So
they started moving closer, and some people even sat down on the floor in
front of the stage. John did a fine job on the guitar part and the lead
vocal, and I had a blast doing the harmony - sometimes covering Nash's part,
and sometimes going into some fresh new spaces of my own. It was sweet, and
it was well- rewarded by the audience.

The Mullins Band set was energetic. I like John's songs a lot, though I can't
make out the words too well. He has a gruff voice that often reminds me of
John Hiatt's, and his melodies and grooves are charismatic. I think he needs
a stronger lead guitarist, though: Chris's stuff is pretty pedestrian, with a
straight Dickey Betts Les Paul sound. John broke a string during "The Ballad
of Sam McKully," the song I had heard on the radio in the afternoon. The band
kicked into a cool jam while he replaced the string, and they cut right back
to he song when John was ready.

John called me to the stage for the last few songs of their first set. We
started with "Lyin' Eyes," followed by "Friend of the Devil."  Both worked
well and made the crowd very happy.  Next up was "River and Drown," which
worked out better this time than it did at Nelson Ledges. I had told Steve,
"More tribal" -- which was actually the wrong thing to say, because what the
song really needs is a strong backbeat. Every band I've played this song with
seems to have a hard time with it: it's almost as though it's TOO simple. I
guess there's an extra bar of E at the end or something, but people seem to
come at it timidly, tentatively. This was an improvement, but I still haven't
really heard it played the way I know it can be played.  It's up to me to
lead the band, and to find the right language with which to explain it.
Anyway, several of the Mullins Band family praised the performance, and a
couple of people mentioned that it had been stuck in their minds since they
heard it last week.

After "R&D," John called an audible: "For What It's Worth" instead of "Almost
Cut My Hair."  They have a cool arrangement of it, with tacets in the chorus,
which caught me by surprise. Not a lot for me to do in that song, but I
played along, took a short solo, and enjoyed myself thoroughly.

I enjoyed the Mullins Band's second set, and their encore, Paul Simon's "Late
in the Evening."

After an interminable hangout/loadout, we made it back over to Chris's house.
A party ensued -- on the front porch -- and I hung in there even though I was
pretty tired. It finally broke up around 4, and I went right to sleep in the
guest room.

My sleep was disturbed when the light came on in my room, and I opened my
eyes to see John Mullins, stark naked, a foot and a half in front of my face,
lifting the flap of my backpack -- which was on the chair right next to the
bed -- and starting to pee into it!  That happened to me once when I was a
kid: I woke up in the morning and found a puddle of pee in my black plastic
desk chair. Clearly John had sleepwalked into my room instead of the
bathroom, which is right next door, and mistook my backpack for the toilet.
He stopped peeing, and moved into the bathroom, and then came back to get my
backpack. "You stopped me just in time," he said. Well, not really. A minute
or two later, he brought my pack back into the room, pulled out the insert
and my spiral notebook and my little half-size portfolio.  Then he picked up
my jeans and started to leave the room!  "What the fuck are you doing now?!"
I shouted. "I'm gonna take my pants and -- "

"Those are MY pants," I said, grabbing them back.  Obviously he was doing all
this in his sleep. For a moment I thought/hoped it was a dream I was having,
but no such luck.

Chris poked her hear out the bedroom door to see what was going on. I pushed
John out of the room and closed the door, looked at the clock -- 6:30 -- and
went back to sleep.  it took me a few minutes to calm down, but I finally
managed it.

I woke up around 9:30 am, showered, dressed, inspected the damage (the
notebook wasn't peed on; the bag itself was sort of damp). Thank god my Power
Mac wasn't in there when the golden shower came down. I put everything back
together, gathered up my shit, and headed for the car. Chris's roommate,
Paul, woke up while I was getting ready. He offered me a bagel, but I just
wanted to get the hell out of there. Paul offered to buy a CD, but I insisted
on giving him one in return for his hospitality.

The rest of the trip was uneventful.  I stopped at Cracker Barrel for some
breakfast. The bag didn't stink, at least, though I suspect I'll be tossing
it when I get home.

I somehow doubt John will even remember that this happened, and I also doubt
I will mention it.

Fucking weird.

I stopped at a rest area near Pittsburgh to rearrange my stuff, put my long-
sleeved shirt on, pack up my cassettes, stuff some dirty clothes into the box
with my unsold CDs, etc., so when I got to the airport I'd be ready to turn
in the car and schlep to the plane.

United got me on an earlier flight to O'Hare, but there was no earlier flight
to Oakland, so I grabbed some Chinese food and then sat around for two hours
writing up my adventures. We boarded the Oakland flight, pushed back from the
gate, and then sat on the goddam runway for 90 minutes because of some
weather problems elsewhere. Air travel sure has been a pain in the dong
lately.
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #98 of 232: Scott Underwood (esau) Wed 26 Apr 00 10:59
    
Um, I think I would mention it, but that's me. Fuckin' weird is right.
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #99 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Wed 26 Apr 00 11:31
    
He called me up later to apologize profusely.
  
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #100 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sat 29 Apr 00 09:20
    

Tuesday, September 7, 1999 11:00 am

HUGE FUN with the Reptiles in Placerville over the weekend!  We played at our
friends Rich and Sue's house, for a reunion of a great group of people I met
when I moved to Berkeley in 19783.  <fiddle> and <shmo> were terrific, and so
was the rest of the band.  We should play more often.
  

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