inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #176 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sat 18 Nov 00 11:22

Thursday, July 13, 10:30 am EDT

The crowd was pretty thin at Lynagh's when I started, but I was in the zone
from the first note. Something about the way the sound man had things set up,
I think -- it drew me into the room, making me sing with extraordinary power
and subtlety.  I felt in complete command of my voice and guitar, and the
material chose itself wonderfully.

On the way to the gig I heard Bob Dylan's "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" and the
amazing new song "Things Have Changed," and so I was in a Dylan mood as I
warmed up for my set.  I had thought of starting with "Mr. Tambourine Man,"
but instead I reminded myself of "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight," which I eased
into with an instrumental and then sang all the way through, segueing right
into "Attics of My Life."  The room was quiet, and I riveted every soul in
there from my first note and kept them pinned throughout.  More people came
in, and I just recruited them as they arrived.

Everything about this set was extraodinary.  I played unprecedented solos,
introduced new themes where tere had only been plain vamps before; all the
intros and linking jams of the A minor suite were new and born solid, and the
sequence of Pancho and Lefty-> I Bid You Good Night-> Leave Me-> Things We
Said Today ->I Bid You Good Night-> Box of Rain designed itself and unfolded
beautifully. Box of Rain, whichPhil Lesh sang to his dying father in 1970,
was for my father-in-law.

My wife is in Camarillo with her father right now.  Paul is almost 95, and
dying of a lung tumor.  It's a very tough spot, because we want him to live
longer but we want his suffering to end.  He is not quite ready to let go. In
the middle of "Lady of the Well,"  I got this strong bolt of fear that Paul
was dying at that very moment.  I burst into tears in the middle of the song,
fought to stay in control, and directed the energy into my performance.

I called Rita after my set, and she said it had been a rough couple of hours
but Dad was still with us. The moment when I got that message was definitely
a scary one at the other end of the country.

There were missed chords and intonation errors here and there, of course, but
I really felt that this set was a breakthrough. And lots of people inthe
audience gave me the sort offeedback that indicated they Got It, too.

Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2000 18:33:55 EDT
Subject: Lexington KY show


I am the guitar player of Green Genes and just wanted to thank you for your
music and overall kindness.  I also wanted to thank you for the fun jams you
did with our band.  It we a very special experience as a fan of your radio
show and one who respects highly your knowledge and taste of good music.  I
had no idea you were such a great player and singer yourself.  The improve
jams and guitar interaction were super fun.  If you have a tape of that show
please send me a copy.  I will give you my address again in case you lost it.

Thanks much

Don Rogers
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #177 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sat 18 Nov 00 11:23

Friday, July 14, 8:00 pm CDT

High Times' WHEE (World Hemp Expo e-something) at Rainbow Farm Campground ust
outside Vandalia, Michigan. I was the first performer of a three-day weekend,
and there weren't very many people on the premises yet. (They wanted me to
play on Saturday, but we couldn't make it work with the rest of the tour.)  I
guess there were a couple hundred in earshot, but most of them were in tents
across the clearing, over in the bazaar, and up in the woods.  No matter!  I
had a blast!  Everyone was smoking pot and getting ready for a big weekend,
and the weather was just perfect. The sound system was great, and everyone
was really nice to me as I set up my stuff and warmed up.

I had ninety minutes or more, and no audience feedback to deal with -- though
I heard lots of applause from the distance after a song, and even the house
sound guy applauded quite a few times.  I was totally at ease, totally happy,
and right in the groove again.

I had intended to do more originals, but I'm not unhappy with the mix of
stuff I did.  The Dead songs were very much appreciated by this crowd, and I
was happy with the flow and the spontaneous sequencing of stuff I've never
done in that order before.

I had been listening to a sweet 1987 Uncle John's Band in the car on the way
over, so that's what I opened with. The segue into Blue Roses was smooth and
comfy.  I wasn't really intending to run Born to Be Wild into Thunder Road,
but there it was, and it came out strong and clear.  In between River and
Drown and the Minstrel, I told the audience, "Here's another river song; this
one's dedicated to the memory of Jerry Garcia." People stopped walking across
the field and listened.  I had thought I'd do something more intertwingled
when I started Wharf Rat, but it wound up being three whole songs tied
together rather than anything more clever. Popstar was especially strong.

I had thought I'd do Seeds and Stems, Panama Red and maybe Henry, but the
Cody needs an audience to talk to, and I never got around the the Rowan.
Henry was okay coming out of Trying (and I ended it with the Trying riff,
too), but the vocal was uninspired; that song needs some hot leads to make it
worthwhile. Stillhouse was something of a thematic outgrowth of Henry, and
Every Night happened because the title caught my eye on the song list at my
feet. With no dance floor to appease, and a lovely breeze and the sun in my
face, I just responded to whatever blew across my mind.  This version of I'll
be Your Baby Tonight" was solid, but not as jammy as the one I did in
Lexington. Felt good to sing it, though. Desert of Love was well-received,
judging by the whoops and clapping I heard in the distance when it was over.
Attics was welcomed. I didn't have those themes and melodies in the A minor
sequence this time, but the grooves were solid and the transition to Terrapin
was unexpected and well-executed. I muffed a few spots in Falling Star, but
the sound of it floating across that meadow was delightful. Normal got some
good laughs from the group that had gathered on the hay bales that covered
the cables running from the stage to the sound booth. I vamped a bit more
than usual at the start of Down to Eugene, enjoying the Jorma groove, and
then I roared right into Scarlet Begonias and than Monica Lewinsky. I
dedicated Brokedown Palace to my father-in-law, explaining that I was happy
to be there in Vandalia but my heart and mind are in Camarillo supporting in
in his struggle. It felt good to close with Sovereign Soul, and I wondered
again why I don't do that song all the time.

One reason I was in such a good mood: this afternoon I got email from Robert
Hunter, explaining that he's been reading my online journal "with great
interest and empathy" and offering me a lyric to set!  It's called "Like a
Dog."  I barely had time to glance at it before leaving for the gig, but I
left Rainbow Farm right after I got paid and came back to the hotel to work
on it.  In the car on the way home I thought about a major-key, shuffley
upbeat thing, but I didn't have enough of the words to know the meter; when I
got home and looked it, it was obvious that that groove wasn't the one. Still
under the influence of "Things Have Changed," which I heard on the way to
Lynagh's on Wednesday night, I tried a latter-Dylan-esque B-minor groove
which works like a charm.  The bridge is pretty weird, melodically and
harmonically -- I will have to play it a bit to see if it really works.  It
is unusual, for sure.  Maybe I'll try the song tomorrow at Nelson Ledges.

I feel like emailing Hunter back and saying, "Okay, that one's done.  Got
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #178 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sat 18 Nov 00 11:23

Sunday, July 16, 10:00 am

Long haul from Vandalia to Nelson Ledges, but I got there in plenty of time.
The Dark Star Orchestra people and all the local staff were warm and

The plan was for me to play a full set before the DSO and a set between their
two sets. The DSO wanted to jam with me, so I got the idea of recruiting them
to do "Like a Dog" with me in the middle of my opening set and then finish
with me.  I showed the chords to John, the guitarist, backstage, and then ran
it down for the keyboardist, Scott, who wrote down the changes for himself
and the bass player.

The setting was lovely. Off to the right is a large lake which was a
limestone quarry until the hit a spring at the bottom and the pit filled up
with water -- drowning quite a bit of heavy equipment, which remains down
there to this day.  Like last time, there were lots of people in the woods
and on the water -- but unlike my last appearance, there were lots of people
right in front of the stage, digging what I was doing.

This was a seriously Dead-oriented scene, so I didn't shy away from that
material. But neither did I avoid my own.  Looking at the list right now, I'm
slightly surprised to see that all I did was Dead stuff and originals (Bobby
McGee qualifies as a "Dead" song to this crowd, though my arrangement is more
like the original than the GD's).  I had people up and dancing from the
opener, "Rubin and Cherise," and I got really enthusiastic reactions to my
own stuff, too.  I love seeing the faces of people as certain lines of
"Trying" go by -- what a gem that song has turned out to be.

After 45 minutes, I invited the DSO to join me, and we KICKED ASS on "Like a
Dog." The F#m wasn't as solid in the vamp as it needs to be, but they got
most of the changes and the weird between-verses jam on F-F#m is quite
promising.  Just before we started, I told the band we'd be rolling into
"Bertha" off one of those G chords -- and that's what we did.  I took 'em
right into "Uncle John's Band" from there, and they did a fine job on it.  At
the end of the UJB jam, instead of doing the a cappella chorus and reprise, I
took the jam into a new, understated place -- getting the DSO into an
uncharted space -- and then launched into "Morning Dew," an act of pure vocal
self-indulgence for me that was also a huge crowd-pleaser.  The whole thing
was a blatant GD indulgence, and entirely appropriate in this situation. Felt
good, too.

The DSO's show for the night was May something, 1978.  There's something
weird about John's vocal imitation of Jerry -- why would a robust man in his
30s deliberately sing like a man who smoked all his life and couldn't sustain
a note? The band carries the appropriate gear for the era they're cloning --
Scott played an electric piano and didn't sing, and they brought Lisa
Burlingame along to do her Donna imitation. Again, I' rather hear a band take
this stuff in their own direction, but I made peace with the DSO when I found
myself enjoying the hell out of the replicant atmosphere.  Clearly they are
giving the world something it wants -- people are flocking to their shows,
and they do a really good job of replicating the musical atmosphere. There is
an obvious desire for this -- the weekend campout music party with vending, a
safe place to be high, and that music.  So what the hell?

After the first DSO set I took the stage again, inviting Lisa to join me for
Cassidy. Again, I felt completely at ease.  Cassidy was graceful and
sweet,and Lisa and I blended nicely. I jammed for a while, and smoothly
rolled into "Every Night," which I imagine was brand new to the vast majority
of the audience, much too young to have been Beatle fans and not yet born
when _McCartney_ came out. And then I jammed a little more, easing into
Attics. Down to Eugene was hugely popular, and I was delighted with the
attention that I retained through An American Family. I wasn't sure when the
set was going to end, but I could see that Normal was a peak so I quit while
I was ahead.

While I was wandering around in the crowd I got lots of nice comments from
people, many of whom were familiar with my radio work, books, etc. but had no
idea I was a musician. They liked what they heard. I collected a lot of names
for the mailing list, and I will get a lot of word-of-mouth from this gig,

Time to schlep back to Chicago. If I have enough energy I'm going to go over
to the Boulevard Cafe to participate in a Dead night jam, and I'll try "Like
a Dog" again. Fly home Monday afternoon.

This was a totally successful tour. I played and sang well at every gig.  I'm
on a roll!
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #179 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sat 18 Nov 00 11:24

Wednesday,  July 26

I have been working on "Shut Up and Listen" every night, staying up late.
It's a tough one.  Trying to make that bridge sing is a bear.  And I am not
at all sure this is a song I am going to want to perform regularly: it's
nothin' but an extended scold of an unruly audience, after all.  Hunter is
making me a mouthpiece for HIS frustration with playing in clubs.
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #180 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sat 18 Nov 00 11:24

Saturday, August 12, 2000

I saw Pete Sears at the Flying Other Brothers rehearsal, along with Jorma and
G.E. Smith.

I had shown "Down to Eugene" to Mike Falzarano in Brooklyn in May, and he
thought it was pretty cool.  I never got arund to sending him a copy of the
song for Jorma -- but when I saw Jorma today, he mentioned it to me.  So I
sat down and played the song for him, and he reeally dug it!  In fact, he
made me show him the fingering on that F chord, and he was quite impressed.
"That's real finger-style guitar," he said.  He made sure I had his address
and asked me to send it to him on CD so he can learn it.

"Falzarano wasn't sure you'd dig the lyrics," I said.  "I think the lyrics
are great," said Jorma.
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #181 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sat 18 Nov 00 11:25

Sunday, August 13, 2000

I had a lovely day today, too.  Stayed up til 4:00 in the morning at my 30-
year high school reunion, yakking with a bunch of really bad kids who grew up
to be really cool adults.  Got up and hung out with them some more, then
drove through the redwoods to San Gregorio to play a 25-minute set on a
lovely hillside full of people, breezes and amber waves of grain.  Then the
Flying Other Brothers joined me on stage for an enjoyable performance of "Mr
Tambourine Man."  Then I drove up the coast and across highway 92 and up 280
into SF to open the Musicians for Medical Marijuana benefit. They opened the
doors just a few minutes before my set started (because of course the three
full-band sound checks took a while), but people were really respectful and
quiet -- I never felt that I could have been a Steely Dan CD in the
background for all anyone cared.  I played I Bid You Good Night-> Like a
Dog-> Brokedown Palace (dedicated to Dick Latvala), Normal, Down to Eugene,
and (requested by Vince Welnick) Black Peter into Blue Roses.

The San Gregorio set (a coastal protection benefit headlined yesterday by
David Lindley and today by Box Set) was all originals except for Rubin and

Both sets felt great.  Solid playing and singing, great focus, and really
upbeat feedback from crew and audience at both gigs.
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #182 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sat 18 Nov 00 11:26

Saturday, August 19, 2000

I have taken the plunge: fingerpicks!

It's been fun to rediscover fingerpicking, which I used to do all the time
but let slide for many years of mostly electric playing.  When I was hanging
out with Jorma last week I watched him closely for a while, and several times
since then I have sat around for more than an hour, just improvising finger

Today I walked past Univibe on my way to lunch, and I went inside and bought
three different thumb picks and a couple of plastic finger picks.  I remember
having metal ones that pretty much molded to the appropriate shape after a
while, and I'll probably get some of those asap.  But for now, it was fun to
come home and pick with 'em after 20 years or so of not using them.
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #183 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sat 18 Nov 00 11:27

Wednesday, August 30, 2000

Charlie Miller has been distributing my shows in the tape trading community.
Every now and then he reports back with comments he's gotten on my stuff:

>Here are some of the comments that I received after I offered up that live
>CD of you. I thought that you would like to see them. The comments are com-
>plete, nothing has been edited.

>I really love his work & have been fortunate enought to see him 3 times. --
>Phil Peters

>I have really enjoyed what little I have of his shows. The new Hunter song
>is especially intriguing. -- Michael Labinski

>I was exposed to David and his music this year...really LOVED it!! -- Greg

>I would love to get the David Gans CD, as everything I have from him is
>sweet. -- JGREGL

>i have a little of David and i must say i really enjoy the listen...  like
>everyone says he has that voice and he plays quite well... his music to me
>hits home... i love it --
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #184 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sat 18 Nov 00 11:28

Monday, September 4, 2000

I am on this fingerpicking thing like a demon!

I had a great time at the Hog Farm PigNic.  I played at 12:15 on the smaller
"Wavy Gravy stage" in front of the main stage.  Plenty of people on hand for
my set, and lots of good response in real time and from people coming up to
me after the set, all weekend long.

Down to Eugene Normal Desert of Love-> An American Family Like a Dog->
Terrapin-> River and Drown Rubin and Cherise-> Seeds and Stems

Sunday morning I sat on a stump for more than an hour playing my guitar and
working on this new fingerpicking piece that just started coming out of me
when I started practicing with the thumb pick.  (I am gonna buy some metal
finger- picks and see if I like 'em -- right now I'm using the thumb pick and
my fingernails, which feels great).  I've had the basic theme of this piece
for a couple of weeks, but yesterday it expanded handsomely in a couple of
new directions.  Now it's evolved enough to be something I can take onstage
and just improvise with.

I was really absorbed in my playing, not too aware of anybody standing
around, but at one point I saw a pair of feet a couple of yards away; I
looked up and saw that it was Greg Anton, digging what I was playing.  I
grinned, said, "Good morning!" and went right back to concentrating on what I
was doing.

Later I spent another hour, sitting on a log bench in the center of the ring
of tepees, working out with the thumb pick some more.  I played my new piece
(which I want to name in honor of my father-in-law, since I worked on it down
there at his house while he was dying and it made him smile); jammed on "Dark
Star" with a drummer named Tofu, and also worked up a more aggressive
approach to "Shut Up and Listen."  Hunter seems to really want me to make it
strong, so I'm gonna give it a try.
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #185 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sat 18 Nov 00 11:29

Friday, September 8, 2000

Last night I jammed with my 21-year-old niece, Caitlin, who lives in Madison
WI and plays bass in an Irish drinking band called The Kissers.  She also
plays other gigs, and mixes sound.  I've heard her on tape before, but this
is the first time we played together.

We played with Patti Cobb, keyboardist in the Sam Pointer Band, with whom I
have done a couple of gigs this year, and her husband Bruce on drums.  No
announced repertoire -- we just got together and played.  Johnny Cash songs
(the Kissers do an all-Johnny Cash show from time to time, with Caitlin
slapping standup bass), a bunch of my songs, and a random selection of other

Caitlin is a good player!  Quick on the uptake and sensitive to the dymamics
and tone.  And she held her own in the conversation, too -- no eager-kid
action from her, no condescension from the oldsters.

I'm really glad we did it, and I look forward to playing with her again.
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #186 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sat 18 Nov 00 11:30

Sunday, September 10, 2000

Bought myself a leetle tiny acoustic guitar to take to France.  It's a Baby
Taylor, a lovely little mahogany number.  Rik Elswit set me up in a little
room with half a dozen different versions and I played 'em until this one
sang to me.
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #187 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sat 18 Nov 00 11:30

Friday, October 6, 2000
WNCW's Mountain Oasis Music Festival, Hendersonville NC

Down to Eugene
Sovereign Soul->
Rubin and Cherise->
Autumn Day->
Wharf Rat->
Monica Lewinsky
Shut Up and Listen

Saturday, October 7, 2000

I had no trouble with my voice last night, which is surprising since I feel
like shit and I have a bad sore throat.

I'm in Atlanta now, and I'm expected over at the harvest Fest.  I've already
missed Donna the Buffalo's set (and Tom Gilbert had invited me to jam), but
I'll see them at MagFest and I'm much better off resting.  Blueground
Undergrass is expecting me to jam, but I may not make it over there.  I'm
bummed, 'cause I'd love to se Peter Rowan, tony Rice and Vassar Clements.
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #188 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sat 18 Nov 00 11:31

Sunday, Otober 8, 2000
Harvest Festival, near Atlanta

Down to Eugene
Blue Roses->
Brokedown Palace
An American Family
River and Drown
Like a Dog->
Mason's Children
Sovereign Soul->
Tear My Stillhouse Down*

* with Joe Craven (fiddle) and Bobby Miller (mandolin and vocals)
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #189 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sat 18 Nov 00 11:31

Sunday,  October 8, 2000

<comet> asked me whose song "Echolalia" is.  My reply:

Mine.  Inspired by an afternooon hanging out with Jorma (during which he paid
me the supreme compliment of askingme to show him how I finger a chord in my
song "Down to Eugene"), I started using finger picks again after a layoff of
20+ years.  "Echolalia" just sort of composed itself while I was working out
with the picks.

I wanted to name the piece after my father-in-law, because I worked on it
while I was in suthern California during his final illness, but the title
"Echolalia" is appropriate because just about every phrase comes out in
matched (or nearly-matched) pairs.
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #190 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sat 18 Nov 00 11:32

Thursday, October 19, 2000

In the air over Albuquerque, en route to Jacksonville via DFW.

I was in seat 10-C, on the aisle at the bulkhead in the front of the coach
section, when the flight attendant said something I didn't quite catch and
motioned for me to follow her into first class. She then handed me a boarding
pass with someone else's name on it. By the time I figured out I was the
beneficiary of a case of mistaken identity, the door was closed and I was
ensconced in a window seat in first class.

Nice way to start a tour.

So then I got to Dallas and learned that the Jacksonville flight was delayed
by more than two hours due to equipment problems in LA.  So I got to JAX,
took the shuttle to Alamo, was offered a brand new van for the same money as
the mid-size car, and schlepped out to Lake City FL. I was in bed by 3:00.
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #191 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sat 18 Nov 00 13:21

Saturday, October 21, 9:30 pm

I came back to the hotel to take a nap, clean up and change my guitar strings
for the morning.  I'm planning to go back for Little Feat, but I might give
up and go to sleep instead.

Yesterday I played a "dance stage" set with Glass Camels. They asked me to
show them some originals, so I taught them "Honeydew" and "River and Drown."
Our set went something like: Honeydew-> Mississippi Halfstep-> Dark Star;
They Love Each Other; River and Drown-> One More Saturday Night; Eyes of the
World. Somewhere in there was "Hot 'Lanta" by the Allman Brothers, too.  I
really enjoy jamming with these guys -- they're all really good listeners.
The jams were dynamic as hell. Paul Wells is a really good partner -- picks
up ideas quickly and sends them right back. The rest of the Glass Camels jam
with equal alacrity.

Merl Saunders invited me to join him for "Franklin's Tower"during his closing
set on the main stage Friday night. His new guitar player showed me where the
modulations are, so I didn't get caught flatfooted like the last time I
played with Merl. It went very well -- I alternated lead vocals with Merl and
played some solid guitar stuff as well.

Today I was the host for four hours of dance stage stuff, with Live Roots,
Crawfish of Love, Crazy Fingers and Glass Camels. The musical quality varied,
but the fun level was high. I plugged my Turner into an amplifier rather than
into the PA, so I was able to play it more like an electric -- and it worked
fine. I feel really confident about my playing in ensemble contexts, and I'm
hungry for more opportunities to do that.  I'm really looking forward to the
Dark Star Orchestra tour.
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #192 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Mon 27 Nov 00 20:27

Sunday, October 22, 2000
MagnoliaFest, Live Oak FL

Friend of the Devil *
Elvis Imitator
Shut Up and Listen
Sovereign Soul->
Down to Eugene
Like a Dog->
River and Drown->
Autumn Day
Tear My Stillhouse Down **

* w/ Rev. Jeff Mosier (Blueground Undergrass), banjo + vox; Bobby
Miller,mando + vox; Bubba Newton (The Grass Is Dead), bass

** w/ Bobby Miller, mando + vox
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #193 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Mon 27 Nov 00 20:27

Monday, October 23. Chillin' in Thomasville GA

Sunday was my mainstage set at MagnoliaFest. I am moving up in the ranks of
performers there: my name was in larger type -- same size as Blueground
Undergrass! -- this time, and my time slot was early-afternoon rather than

Just before my set, I sat in with The Grass Is Dead for "They Love Each
Other." Great fun to sing that song in an upbeat bluegrass style.  The Grass
Is Dead is an acoustic offshoot of Crazy Fingers and another Miami band;
we're going to look into the possibility of touring the southeast in the

I began my set with help from three friends: Bobby Miller on mandolin and
vocals, Bubba Newton (The Grass Is Dead and Crazy Fingers) on bass, and Rev.
Jeff Mosier of Blueground Undergrass on banjo and vocals. I kicked off
"Friend of the Devil" at a nice, non-frenetic pace, and everyone played and
sang sweetly. I'm not thrilled with my guitar solos on playback, but the
other guys sounded good. From there, not working from a written list, I
played Echolalia, Elvis Imitator, Shut Up and Listen, Sovereign Soul->
Trying, Down to Eugene, Like a Dog-> Terrapin-> River and Drown-> Autumn Day,
and (with Bobby Miller) Tear My Stillhouse Down.  Very well-received.

Later I sat in with Blueground for "Big River," playing Johnny Mosier's
electric guitar. Then Dave Hendershott (of Live Roots) went up to sing
"Henry" with them, and I stepped up to sing harmony. Johnny Mo didn't know
the changes, and when he saw me signaling the chords to him, he handed me his
guitar. I also sang harmony on "Glendale Train" with Randy Judy and

After the show I was raving with Blueground's steel player, Mark Van Allen,
about our mutual love of psychedelic cowboy music. We hatched a plan to put
together a set for SpringFest, with Mark and me and Randy and some other guys
to be recruited later -- do some Airmen stuff, some NRPS, some Gram/Burritos,
etc. We might even try to get Billy C. Farlow to come down from Birmingham --
wouldn't that be a thrill?
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #194 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Tue 5 Dec 00 14:06

Friday, October 27, 2000 - 2:30 am EDT

Finally, a place to play in Tallahassee!

This afternoon I played a free gig on the campus of FSU. No one was there
when I started, but as my scheduled hour drew to a close there were a couple
dozen people hanging around in the middle distance, so I stretched it to an
hour and a half.  Beautiful sunny day, not too hot and just breezy enough to
keep the direct sunlight from burning in.  I felt completely free to play
whatever I wanted. Nice souns system, too, so I could hear myself very

It's been a while since I played a full-night two-set show. The Warehouse is
a nice wood-walled room in the back of a pool hall, and the same sound system
(and the same nice guy running it) as I played through in the afternoon.
There were a few people in the room when I started -- with Gary Burnett and
Doug Oade right in the front row, I felt totally at ease and welcome.

I started with "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight," 'cause Gary had been playing
obscure Dylan treasures after dinner at his house. When I did it in the
spring, I sang it in E; tonightI put it in C, and rolled into "Seeds and
Stems" (with a shorter-than-usual rap in the middle, for some reason). I was
figuring on a long warmup, since the audience was filling up slowly but
surely as I played and I wanted to save the most important stuff for the end
of the set.

I sang "Desperado," surprisingly. Nice to come back to that song with so much
more power in my guitarand voice. It didn't feel like a cheesy cover; I
delivered it with authority and style.

I was wandering in the direction of "Thunder Road" when I remembered Gary
asking me not to play it the last time I was in town. So after playing one
bar of the intro, I veered off into "Mr Tambourine Man" instead. That was fun
-- nice dynamics. And after the set, a young woman told me it was the best
version of that song she'd ever heard, so I guess it was a good substitution.

By an hour os so into set 1, the place was pleasantly full and there were
quite a few people dancing. Not just to Dead songs, either. I was closing
with "Normal," but with a dozen or more dancers I threw in a few extra verses
and a bridge, and when they were still going strong I segued into
"Jacqueline," with whistling and quasi-scatting to keep it going. Nice strong

Second set peaked with "The Nightmare" -- a really long version, with two
third verses and a jam between the fourth verse and a repeat of the fourth
verse. I ended with Rubin andCherise. I almost played "Blue Roses" a second
time, but I just used the intro riff to end "The Nightmare" instead.

Encore was Big River -- fingerpicked, slow, to appease a persistent
requestor. I didn't want to do it a la Dead, 'cause that's no fun at all
solo. I sort of meandered around among two or three different bluesy feels,
and I can see developing this version into something. I followed that with
Blue Umbrella -- long time since I sang that one, and it felt sweet and right
here -- and WSFAPLU with Detectives thrown into the middle. That was a
pleasant surprise, and a strong ending.
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #195 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Tue 5 Dec 00 14:07

Sunday, October 29, 2000, 9:00 am EST

Friday night at the Pharm was a real treat. Same noisy bar as last time, same
pool table -- but a lot more people at my end of the room, people who paid to
hear me perform.  And I gave 'em a formidable performance. There is so much
more going on in my guitar playing these days, my connection to my repertoire
is so fluid, my command of my voice so dynamic.  The tape will show quite a
few missed chords and briefly spaced-out lyrics, but they were the kind of
errors that happened because I was thinking too far ahead and enjoying the
feeling a bit too much. The spirit was solid, and the audience was really
with me. Again, I found myself looking out at a good number of dancers - and
not just on the really upbeat stuff.

Saturday night in Miami was another matter altogether. Tobacco Road is a bar
and restaurant, seriously into pumping out the beer in several locations.
There was some confusion aboout who was setting up where -- the white boards
inside the building listed DAVID GANZ as playing upstairs on the stage in the
bar and Crazy Fingers on the veranda -- but that didn't really make much
sense, since the full PA was up there in the bar and there really isn't any
place on the "veranda" for a performer or band of any size to face an
audience.  So of course I was the one who wound up outside, playing through a
brand-new but pathetic toy PA, facing a small number of interested patrons
while a much larger number of random Halloween party revelers raged off to my
left (and a few sat on the bench directly behind me).

This was music as commodity, paid for by the hour. Crazy Fingers and I were
hoping to play together, but what the management really wanted was
overlapping music in two spaces, to keep the patrons circulating and the beer

The special was Beck's in a one-liter ceramic mug, $10 and you keep it
(refills $6). The air smelled of seared beef, spiced with drifting wisps of
cigarette and cigar smoke. Overhead, very large jets flew very low on their
way to landings at MIA -- nicely timed for the ballads a lot of the time,
too, of course.

I did go upstairs and plug in with Crazy Fingers (Corey had kindly brought an
amp for me), and we did a really tight Big River->Black Peter; they launched
Playing in the Band (with drummer Peter Lavezzoli singing), but I was due
downstairs so I unplugged as they rolled into the jam.

This was one of those situations that was so laughable-cryable that I had no
choice but to sink my teeth into it and kick some ass. There were a handful
of people definitely there for me -- including Barry and Chris Barnes, in
whose guest room I am typing this journal entry, and the hyperenergetic
Michael Gouker, who brought his family to Tampa Friday so he could attend my
show in Dunedin and take them to Busch Gardens Saturday, after which he made
the 5-hour drive back to Miami, parked his family at home, and made it to the
gig in time for Rubin and Cherise. There were lots of other nice folks who
were there mostly for Crazy Fingers but happily spent their between-sets time
with me. My favorite was a guy I remember from the last time I sat in with
Crazy Fingers, up in Pompano Beach -- a large, shaved-headed guy with a
sweaty, ecstatic mien who danced the dance of depiction, acting out the
lyrics with his hands and sometimes with his whole body. He gave my
performance his rapt attention, until Crazy Fingers started again upstairs
(we had negotiated a schedule with less overlap, so I had 45 minutes between
one-hour sets (three of 'em); 45 minutes into my set, I watched the exodus of
Deadheads from my area into the bar and up the stairs to the showroom).

The bartender was really strict about my start and stop times.  This was
really not a musical venue. What the hell -- I was paid money to be there,
and I had access to an audience that was pretty happy with what I was doing.
This was my fourth show in three days, and by the time it was over I had
delivered ten hours of music in three cities. My fingertips were howling and
I had a few achy tendons, but my voice held up well and I had reached deep
into my active repertoire -- and beyond, reviving some (nowadays) rare items
such as Hooker River and Scene of the Crime.  Scene of the Crime was a very
happy accident, arising from a jam out of Cassidy that used the Line 6
digital delay in a very nicely rhythmic way. I didn't use the delay so much
in Miami because I didn't really have the leisure and peace to work with it
as I had had in the surprisingly quiet Pharm. Last night at Tobacco Road I
was able to put across a surprising number of ballads, but the ambient noise
level was ridiculous and the tendency was to keep things moving and not stop
to tweak the knobs.

Daylight Savings Time ended at 2:00 last night, in the middle of my third
set, so I have an hour head start on my long drive back to Jacksonville
today.  I am going to get to sleep early, take my van back in the morning and
get on a 7 :30 am flight home.
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #196 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Wed 6 Dec 00 15:57

I've got a gig in SF Thursday, December 21, 6-8:30 pm at the Paradise Lounge.
We're calling it GUILTY PLEASURES.  It's me and Patti Cobb (keyboards and
vocals), Alyn Kelley of Mary Schmary (vocals), Mika Scott on percussion, and
my brilliant and talented niece, Caitlin Oliver-Gans (bass).
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #197 of 232: Gail Williams (gail) Wed 6 Dec 00 16:17
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #198 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sat 9 Dec 00 10:07

Monday, October 30, 2000, 9:36 am CST

I fell asleep while watching "The Practice" last night and rose before the
5:45 am wake-up call. Turned in the van, got chuttled to the Jacksonville
airport, got aboard the 7:15 flight to DFW. Moderate squalling-baby action,
loud snoring across the aisle -- no problem. Wrestled with the data port on
pay phone at DFW without succeeding in connection; lost $3.75 into a web
browser that got me nowhere at all (I'd complain to the credit card company,
but why bother for $3.75?  I'll bet that make quite a bit of money that way).

A guy just got on the PA here at Gate E-33 to anounce that there's a
mechanical problem with our aircraft.  They're looking at am 11:30 departure
(scheduled time is 10:05); their "irregular operations team" is looking into
some other possibilities. We'll either get out earlier on a different plane
or at 11:30 or so on the original one.

What a pain in the ass. But they're more professional about it than ______,
so far.

Also: cel phone doesn't work at my present location.  Jeez.


They got the part replaced and we were in the air about a half hour later
than scheduled.  Whew!  Home now, and sleepy.
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #199 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Sun 14 Jan 01 12:57

Friday, November 3, 2000
Wool Warehouse, Albuquerque
opening for Dark Star Orchestra

Elvis Imitator->
Mason's Children->
Attics of My Life
Down to Eugene
Rubin and Cherise->
Autumn Day
Blue Roses
The Nightmare->
Stella Blue
*Like a Dog->
*Brokedown Palace

* w/ Dark Star Orchestra

There was maybe a third of a house in place when I took the stage, and they
were frighteningly polite. They reacted very kindly, especially to the Dead
material of course, but they were also receptive to my originals. There were
more people in the house by the time I finished.

I liked the way the material flowed. I didn't string things together as much
as usual, mindful of some feedback I got a few weeks ago about not letting
the audience react to my stuff.  I also resisted the urge to go into Dead
songs at several junctures -- and Mr. Tambourine Man, at one point, too.
"Stella Blue" presented itself at just the right moment, and I went for it,
with happy results. The whole set felt a bit understated, despite very high
energy peaks early ("Mason's Children"), mid-set ("Rubin"), and late
("Nightmare"). I will probably go for higher-energy stuff tonight.

I worked on the vocals of "Brokedown Palace" with Rob Eaton and Lisa
Burlingame before the show, and although everyone knew we were going into
"Brokedown" after "Like a Dog," no one seemed to be expecting me to jump-cut
-- which I instantly regretted. I should have let that G ring for a while
while the groove shifted. I also should have discussed the "Brokedown" groove
with the rhythm section, because it came out like one of those latter-day
Dead plodders instead of the more swinging and spiritual version I do in my
solo sets. Still, it felt good to do it.

I took "Like a Dog" at a much slower pace than usual, leading into it with a
nice jam to get everyone settled.  Mike, the bass player, wasn't ready when I
started -- for which I apologized later -- and but everyone fell into the
song nicely. I took a solo while Mike was getting ready, and then I turned it
over to John when the whole band was on the job.

We had to get out of Albuquerque at 8:00 because the drive to Tucson is eight
hours. I got up before the alarm, ate my room service breakfast (ordered the
night before), and finished packing. While I was waiting for the call from
the DSO entourage, who were staying at the Ramada a few blocks away, there
was a bulletin on TV saying there was a fire at that hotel -- which was
believed to have been caused by someone cooking in a room. I was alarmed,
thinking the DSO was either involved or at least delayed by it. Fortunately,
the phone rang two minutes later and they were on the way to get me.

The drive was magnificent, through intermittent heavy rain. I had a bench
seat in the van all to myself, with Scott Larned behind me and Rob Eaton in
front of me -- both snoozing -- sound man Cameron in the far rear ("the
lair"), guitarist John Kadlecik riding shotgun and Debbie behind the wheel.
She's John's girlfriend, but I gather she was on board as a roadie before
hooking up with him. I got about half way through Levon helm's autobiography
-- great reading for a rock'n'roll tour -- in between having my breath taken
away by the geology of southern New Mexico and Arizona. And the skies! We saw
quite a few rainbows, including a couple of huge, full-breadth doubles.

John asked me if I knew "Willin'." "Of course," I replied. We messed around
with it while the sound crew was setting up, and three other DSO members --
drummer Rob Koritz, bassist Mike Hazdra, and keyboardist Scott Larned --
joined in. I asked them individually if they'd like to play it with me, and
they all agreed.

Everything was behind schedule here, and the staff here at the Rialto were
hard to find. I went across the street to the Congress Hotel and ordered
take-out food, which took a very long time to get. Lisa and Pete sat down at
a table and ordered dinner, and while I was waiting we talked about what song
Lisa might sing with me in my set (we settled on "The Wheel").

When I finally got back the the theater with my (worth-waiting-for) dinner in
hand, Scott informed me the band wouldn't be able to play with me after all
(we had talked about doing "Like a Dog" into "Terrapin") because their dinner
(from the same place) was delayed and wouldn't be delivered until near the
end of my set.

I started with "Willin'," with John and Mike and Scott and eventually Rob the
drummer. I wanted to go into "Uncle John's Band," but I didn't want to
shanghai the musicians. So I paused a little after "Willin'," and then when I
saw Scott get up from his piano bench I eased into UJB. John seemed confused.
Mike was ready to attack his dinner, which had arrived. So I spoke into the
mic, saying "These guys will be back a little later." John, still looking a
little confused, put down his guitar and left the stage. I proceeded with
"Uncle John's Band."

It was hard to see the house because of the spotlights, but I could see
several dozen people in the room. I knew there were many more out in the
lobby, and my plan for UJB was to attract them to the theater proper. I think
it worked.

I played:

Uncle John's Band->
Blue Roses->
Wharf Rat feint that only I would have recognized->
Sitting in Limbo
I Can't Sleep->
Mason's Children
An American Family->
What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love and Understanding?->
Brokedown Palace
River and Drown->
The Minstrel->
Box of Rain

It was an interesting adventure in balancing instinct and reason: I strung
things together in interesting ways, and I also wound several songs down
where I would traditionally have segued into something else; I played a lot
of Dead AND a lot of originals, and I changed my mind at the last second a
few times to  create novel combinations.

After "Limbo," which faded nicely to a quiet conclusion, I spoke the audience
about our pleasant drive in from Albuquerque, thanking them for the rainbows.
"Normal" was well-received, and someone called out for a Steve Goodman song
so I launched instantly into "I Can't Sleep." I wasn't able to make much of
the response I was getting, but I didn't prolong this song: instead of a
second bridge, I jumped right into a very strong "Mason's Children." But
rather than jam into something else, I ended after the second bridge and
caught my breath before noodling my way into "An American Family."

I was aware of the DSO eating their dinners offstage to my right, and I
wondered if they were as riveted to my performance as they damn well should
have been. BUT: I didn't play to them, I played to the people in front of me.
They were Deadheads, these people in front of me, and I gave 'em what they
wanted AND what I wanted to give them. I played a great fucking set, and I
can't wait to hear the tape of it. My guitar playing was solid, powerful and
inspired throughout this set; my singing was strong.


Now I'm in my bed at the Comfort Inn. This is a pathetic room, a fey room:
The phone's dial tone is weak and I can't get my modem to connect; the remote
control's nearly-dead batteries only send a signal after several tries; the
bathroom light is as dim as an overcast twilight; and the electrical sockets
can't hold on to my cell phone's power converter: it falls out of every
socket I try to plug it into.
inkwell.vue.51 : Diary of a troubadour
permalink #200 of 232: David Gans (tnf) Wed 7 Feb 01 17:58

 Saturday, February 10 at 9:00 pm

 Stormy's Off Broadway
 132 W. 2nd Street
 Chico CA


 $8 in advance, $10 at the door, available at the venue or by mail from
 Single-Malt Productions, 120 W. 2nd St., Chico CA 95928.


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