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David Gans’ ‘It’s a Hand-Me-Down’ Hits the Streets on Nov 27th
David Gans puts spin on Grateful Dead music, taking it furthur

David Gans has a wonderful way of getting to the emotional center of Grateful Dead songs. He has very much his own twist on these world treasures and yet pays proper homage to the elements that made them great.
Jeff Mattson, Dark Star Orchestra


Oakland, CA
Perhaps the foremost interpreter of Grateful Dead music today and an accomplished guitarist, singer and songwriter in his own right, David Gans now shares with us his own well-crafted and heartfelt interpretations of some of the Grateful Dead’s best songs on It’s a Hand-Me-Down, due out November 27th on Gans’ Perfectible Recordings label. The album is available on pre-order now on FestivalLink.net and Amazon and will be ready to check out on those along with iTunes on Black Friday!

Gans approaches Grateful Dead music with a unique range and a rare degree of mastery on multiple levels: as a noted writer (his most recent volume, This Is All a Dream We Dreamed: An Oral History of the Grateful Dead [Nov 2015], co-authored with Blair Jackson, presents the definitive story of the Grateful Dead in their own words), commentator, and radio-show host he has introduced, contextualized, and exposed Grateful Dead music to generations of Deadheads and casual fans. As a musician, singer, and impresario he has brought the music to life in solo and ensemble configurations. As an interviewer and documentor, he has chronicled the Grateful Dead experience from a kaleidoscopic array of perspective, as an insider, an outsider, and a songsmith.

It’s a Hand-Me-Down sets some of the Dead tunes Gans most enjoys performing in a “solo electric” context closely modeled on his performance style, making extensive use of looping and electronics to bring the sort of shimmery elastic feel required to do this material justice.

“The idea was to make a record that sounds like my performances: guitar and vocal, with some additional layers of guitar made possible by the Boss RC-30 Loop Station which allows me to record the chord changes of a song so I can play a guitar solo on top of them. It also makes it possible to create multi-layered performances of composed and improvise music.”

“Lazy River Road” and “Attics of My Life” are the simplest: one guitar, one voice. “Ship of Fools,” “Loser,” “Stagger Lee,” “Black Peter,” and “Brokedown Palace” feature guitar fills and solos over the chord changes, exactly as presented in his live show with the help of the looper (but for this project recorded in separate passes, to take advantage of the editing and mixing capabilities of multitrack recording). “Deal” is “realistic” until the end, when a third guitar joins in to spice up the coda. Some sections were edited to eliminate repetitive stretches of loop development. In “Wharf Rat,” this leads to a moment in which four guitars appear simultaneously, in four takes, initially expecting to use just one, but liking the intersection of all four.

DavidGans_PhotoCredit_EBB ESKEWFor this collection, David has chosen songs whose lyrics and melodies he has explored deeply and inhabited in performance. “Songs I cover from the Dead or other artists tend to tell a piece of my own story. It might just be one line or part of a line in a song that resonates in my own little atomic structure, and I don’t always recognize the connection at first. But eventually I find the resonances. I do the songs that I feel are appropriate for me,” says Gans, “and I’ve adapted them to my own style. I’ve changed the key, changed the phrasing or the groove.”

Over the decades, the Grateful Dead have inspired a lot of cover bands, impersonators, and even reenactors capable of recreating specific renditions in precise detail; Gans is doing something different. He has taken from the Dead their approach to music itself, making it live again but in a different realm–one populated by Gans’ own lyrical landscape– “taking it for a walk in the woods” (as Dead guitarist Bob Weir puts it), and making each performance fresh and unique.

Without any urge to duplicate, and no desire to be thought of as the “next Jerry”, Gans is mostly doing what he loves best: playing music and having a ball. “Playing this music is incredibly fun. I’ve always enjoyed getting together with people and jamming, and if you’re into it, this music is deeply enjoyable music to play.

You see and hear this in David’s approach to his own original material as well, and when he returns to these timeless gems from the Dead’s repertoire, the tradition winds on a sort of recursive, fractal, moebius-strip dimension; remaking the old and familiar into something new, fresh, and… familiar. It’s terrapins all the way down!

David brings a unique mix of experiences to this project. Most Deadheads first discovered Gans through his radio show or his writing, but music has always been central, the constant drumbeat organizing his many hats, with the Dead’s music specifically woven through much of it and mingling with his own.

None of this was planned. David never set out to become a professional Deadhead or a DJ. Another page he took from the Grateful Dead book was this model of improvising your own life, and staying open to a serendipitous build-up of events and circumstances that led David on his path.

This is also David’s way of celebrating the ever morphing and shifting cultural legacy of the Dead. Each generation experiences the music differently, but draws from the same cultural pool… telling and retelling of the stories, and David Gans is a master storyteller.

It’s A Hand-Me-Down Track Listing
Stagger Lee  4:02
Lazy River Road  5:45
Ship of Fools  4:06
Loser  6:54
Looks Like Rain  6:33
Wharf Rat  7:22
Stella Blue  6:03
Black Peter  6:34
New Speedway Boogie  5:40
Deal  3:58
Terrapin Station  7:26
Attics of My Life  4:53
Brokedown Palace  5:04

All songs by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter
except “Looks Like Rain” by Bob Weir and John Barlow
Ice Nine Publishing (ASCAP)

David Gans – guitars and vocals

Produced by David Gans & Jeremy Goody and recorded by Jeremy Goody at Megasonic Sound, Piedmont CA, except: “Lady With a Fan/Terrapin” and “Looks Like Rain,” produced and recorded by Jim LeBrecht at Berkeley Sound Artists; and “Stella Blue,” recorded by Arnie Brown at The Jam Room, Howell NJ and mixed by Jeremy Goody at Megasonic.

Mastered by David Glasser at Airshow Mastering, Boulder CO

Instruments by Renaissance Guitars (Rick Turner), Mario DeSio, C.F. Martin & Co. (And two borrowed Taylors on “Stella Blue”)

For more information, tour dates and other news from David Gans , please visit www.davidgans.com, Facebook, and Twitter.com/davidgans.

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Frank Ruggiero with the Boone Mountain Times posted a second, longer and more in depth article detailing his recent interview with David Gans:

David Gans Playing in the Band

By Frank Ruggiero  in the Boone Mountain Times

The music never stopped for David Gans.

A celebrated radio host by day and singer-songwriter by night, Gans is a storyteller 24/7, a member of the old school who sees music beyond the notes.

“I think music can change the world,” he said. “I came up in that day, and I still believe that. I’m not a heavy-handed political commentator … but one of those people who uses music to inspire people to be healthy and kind.”

As host of radio’s nationally syndicated The Grateful Dead Hour, Gans has delivered inspiration for 25 years. Celebrated as a “singer-songwriter-guitarist-radio producer/host-author-journalist-record producer-photographer,” Gans’ many talents fit together seamlessly.

“I was a musician from the time I was a kid,” said Gans, 56, adding that writing was always a driving force behind the sound.

Though always a writer, time spent in the ’70s as a musician-of-all-trades in San Francisco’s Bay Area led to life-changing opportunities in the writing world, when Gans took jobs for magazines like BAM and Jann Wenner’s Record. “All of which were great ways to find out more about music and meet people in this business,” he said.

This spawned a 10-year tour in the music news industry, an experience that enriched his own perspective of music through myriad interviews with such stalwarts of rock as Tom Petty, Rod Stewart, Pat Benatar, Leo Fender and the Grateful Dead.

This latter encounter prompted an enduring (and career-defining) friendship with America’s preeminent jam band, its all-encompassing approach toward music a perfect fit for Gans’s musical philosophy.
As a fan of the Dead, Gans sought out those stories in particular and, in 1977, scored an interview with rhythm guitarist Bob Weir.

“They recognized that I knew what they were doing and understood, so I made friends with various band members and other members of their team and family,” Gans said. “Just by being a supportive journalist, I was welcomed into their world.”

Gans offered readers a vivid glimpse of this world in 1985, when he and co-author Peter Simon released the book, “Playing in the Band: An Oral and Visual Portrait of the Grateful Dead.”

That spring, Gans promoted his work on a San Francisco radio program, The Deadhead Hour, putting together a set of defining songs to musically illustrate his work, when he realized this was something he really enjoyed. Gans took the helm that year, and The Grateful Dead Hour was born.

“By then, I had sufficiently warm relations with various parts of the Grateful Dead world, that when the opportunity came up to syndicate the show, I took it,” Gans said.

But not without a blessing from the Dead.

“I started getting requests from other stations, asking if they could carry the show, too,” Gans said. “So, I went to my friends in the band and asked, ‘What do you guys think?’ They said, ‘It sounds like a good idea for everybody; just go for it.’

“None of this was by design, intention or even planned – it just happened. I had developed such relationships with these guys that I could get their support when I tried to do something. They trusted me, and (bassist) Phil Lesh made that explicit at one point: ‘You don’t have to call me to ask for permission to do this or that – if it’s worth putting on the air, we trust you.’ And that was a great feeling.”

Broadcasted on at least 82 stations, 75 radio and seven Internet-based, The Grateful Dead Hour features music from and inspired by the Dead, woven together with Gans’s firsthand stories from the Golden Road and interviews with musicians and other Grateful Dead luminaries.

And when it comes to the Dead, there’s never a shortage of music.

“I’ve been doing radio for the Grateful Dead for 25 years, and there’s never been a single moment in that whole time where I didn’t have a wealth of material to choose from … It’s a completely well-stocked pantry of great music – delicious and largely nutritious, too.”

And for Gans, music is a key ingredient and part of this complete breakfast.

“Music is my life, man,” he said, citing a talent that flourished from age 6 with the clarinet to guitar at 15 and beyond. “I guess I have some natural affinity for music, a good ear for learning melodies, picking up chords … I’ve always been driven to express myself that way.”

Gans came of age in the time of singer-songwriters, visiting music halls in San Jose, Calif., to sing the likes of John Denver, Cat Stevens, Jackson Browne and John Prine.

Growing up with songbooks from The Beatles’ “White Album” and Crosby, Stills and Nash’s self-titled album, Gans aimed to master the singer-songwriter dynamic. But in college, his roommate and songwriting partner introduced him to the Grateful Dead, “and that completely blew my world wide open,” Gans said. “But the thing that grabbed me (about the Dead) was the songwriting, a great catalogue of American music those guys put out.”

He calls it a musical university, one in which a student could spend the rest of his life exploring.
“But also bear in mind, I’ve been writing songs since I was 16,” he said. “So, I’ve never completely surrendered myself to being a fan of something else. Even though I’d been earning my living putting Grateful Dead music on the radio for 25 years, it was never more important than pursuing my own songwriting.”

In 1997, he released Home by Morning, a duet album featuring Gans and singer-songwriter Eric Rawlins, which was followed the next year by the well-timed single, “Monica Lewinsky,” by David Gans and the Broken Angels.

Five solo albums would follow, but Gans relishes his live performances the most, particularly the degree of spontaneity involved. At a Bears Picnic Festival in Pennsylvania, Gans wound up sitting in with just about every band there. “It was fun, and it’s nice being that kind of musician who people welcome into their sets as guests, which means I can pick up guests to play with, as well.”

One such guest was Phil Lesh, and Gans is considered responsible for rousing the world-renowned bassist from retirement.

“He had not played much … since Jerry (Garcia) had passed (in 1995),” Gans said. “I was working on a benefit … in the Bay Area, putting together a Grateful Dead jam for this event, and asked if he’d come and sit in.”

Lesh agreed, and the September 1997 show promptly sold out. David Gans and Broken Angels with Special Guest Phil Lesh played a couple more benefits, this time for Lesh’s Unbroken Chain Foundation, featuring a group of musicians unique to each performance.

“He liked the idea of a rotating cast of musicians, so he started doing the same thing under Phil Lesh and Friends,” Gans said. “He saw something he liked, then went and did it himself with some world-class collaborators.”

“World-class” is a fitting term for Gans’ own collaborators, including the New Riders of the Purple Sage, the late Vassar Clements, The String Cheese Incident and Peter Rowan. Gans recently joined Rowan’s younger brothers, Chris and Lorin, in Rubber Souldiers, a jam tribute to The Beatles.

“It’s a labor of love,” he said. “We call it a Beatles jam band, taking their songs and kind of stretching them out, because here’s the thing – The Beatles wrote some amazing songs with amazing melodies, chord changes and kick-ass grooves, and then they quit after three minutes. Come on, man, take that song and stretch it out and let people dance a while.”

But Gans’s solo shows promise dancing aplenty. Using a looping device, he’s able to accompany himself, as it were, by building simultaneous layers of guitar work. “It’s a way of allowing myself to improvise with myself,” he said.

Having originally intended the loop to serve as a rhythm guitarist, allowing him to experiment and improvise on lead, Gans realized its full potential.

“Take ‘Cassidy’s Cat,’ a whole bunch of themes from Grateful Dead songs I intertwine, put together in a fresh way,” he said.

His repertoire includes beaucoups of looping figures of his own device, though Gans also performs what he calls “the straightforward stuff,” having generated 40 years’ of songwriting material.

“I play a fresh set list every time, working from my own repertoire of original material and covers from others,” he said. “It’s a real-time performance, interacting with the audience, what feels right, what seems to get their attention. In other words, I’m doing it live like the Grateful Dead taught me, and telling stories, too.”

Gans’ own story continues, naturally, through song. He’s releasing a new single, “Life is a Jam,” this spring, soon to be available for download at www.dgans.com. His last full album was 2008’s The Ones That Look the Weirdest Taste the Best, but for now, he plans to make music single-mindedly.

“It’ll be interesting to try doing things one song at a time for a while,” he said. “We’re at a moment in the history of music when all the old institutions are falling apart, so we have to find new ways to do things.

“Rejoice, rejoice; we have no choice, but to carry on.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www2.mountaintimes.com/entertainment_focus/David_Gans_Playing_in_the_Band_id_001237

By: Frank Ruggiero
Published: 8:38 AM, 04/29/2010 Last updated: 9:45 AM, 04/29/2010

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David Gans is starting off this weekend with a his run of Shows in North Carolina. He starts off at the Shakori Hills Festival in Silk Hope. Then he heads over to Asheville, Greensboro, Boone, and one secret surprise show that has not yet been announced. Check out this article from a recent interview with Ryan Snyder from Yes! Weekly in Greensboro:

‘Dead Hour’ DJ and guitarist gets a little help from friends for NC shows

By Ryan Snyder

Yes! Weekly

Songwriter, DJ and Deadhead David Gans trips out east for a run of fullband shows (photo by Bob Minkin).

It’s been a long, strange trip for David Gans. The quirky, inventive guitarist and songwriter has affixed innumerable other designations to his name over his 40-year career, all in the course of just trying to write a few songs and play a few shows. Among them are writer and author — Gans was a music journalist who wrote for several San Francisco publications in the ’70s and has published books on the Grateful Dead and the Talking Heads. But Deadheads who like their doses — the musical kind mind you — straight from the heart know Gans as the founder and still-host of the long-running and widely syndicated “Grateful Dead Radio Hour.” Gans has been in the booth for over 1000 broadcasts and as of a recent YES! Weekly interview, was working on episode no. 1127, but his journey into the booth doesn’t quite play out like one might expect.

Gans saw his first Dead show in 1972 at the behest of his then roommate and songwriting partner and it was only a few months later, he said, that he started to get a handle on what the band was doing.

“I grew up on the Beatles and was a big fan of early ’70s singer/ songwriters, the acoustic pop/folk/rock back then. The Dead expanded my horizons, so I began to get more into playing guitar and improvising,” Gans said. “It also just made me realize that songwriting could be literature. You could write stuff with depth to that that took a little more work to engage it than the pop stuff that just kind of tells you everything it knows in the first couple of listens.”

A few years later, while promoting his book Playing In the Band in 1985, Gans went onto a local radio show to produce a series of documentaries for the station and eventually began contributing regularly. They eventually asked him to take over the show and after other stations expressed interest in carrying it, it led to the “Grateful Dead Hour”’s eventual syndication.

“Without ever making a plan to do so, I sort of wandered into this thing of being the producer and host and still am 25 years later,” Gans said. “I never lost interest making my own music or all the other music out there in the world, but it became a pretty fun way to make a living.”

Though he insists that he never became a full-blown Deadhead, the band’s influence is felt all throughout Gans’ own music, from his ragged, witty Americana lyrical repertoire to his brazenly adventurous solo stage act to the Dead covers he weaves into it with regularity. Gans has become both known and celebrated for his live looping techniques, playing the role of his own rhythmic accompaniment, but for an upcoming trek to the Southeast for a string of shows, Gans will be meeting up with a few friends from North Carolina for a somewhat rare run of full-band shows on the East Coast.

Among them are Donna the Buffalo keyboardist and Greensboro resident Dave McCracken, Donna the Buffalo and Acoustic Syndicate bassist Jay Sanders, Virginia Daredevils mandolin player Bobby Miller, Biscuit Burners steel player Bill Cardine and Blue Rags drummer Mike Rhodes, who Gans has never performed alongside. With such a talented cast behind him, Gans will be setting his loop station aside for this occasion for obvious reasons, though he will be teaching a looping clinic this Saturday afternoon at the Shakori Hills Festival. [Gans and Friends performs on Wednesday, April 28th at the Blind Tiger]

“When you’re playing with a looping device, it’s like playing with a musician who’s a real dick. It can’t hear you and it can’t adjust,” Gans emphasized.” When you’re playing with a human, nothing’s perfect of course, but everybody listens to each other and the feel for what you’re doing sort of adjusts. It’s also just much more fun when you’re playing live to have others with you.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.yesweekly.com/article-9235-dead-hour-dj-and-guitarist-gets-a-little-help-from-friends-for-nc-shows.html

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