Thursday, January 12, 2006

David Gans: Professional Deadhead


Professional Deadhead will play Charleston show

Special to The Post and Courier

Over the course of the Grateful Dead's 35-year career, the band spawned one of the most dedicated fan bases of all time. Deadheads span several generations, and their pursuit of the band meant that many fans made a living out of loving the Dead. Though it was hardly a conventional living, it was still a living.

David Gans may very well be one of the few professional Deadheads out there. Gans has been an author, releasing his first book, "Playing in the Band: An Oral and Visual Portrait of the Grateful Dead," in 1985. He's a full-time disc jockey, hosting "The Grateful Dead Hour" weekly in syndication on radio stations in more than 30 states. Gans also has functioned as a record producer by working on several Grateful Dead vault releases.

The album "Stolen Roses" was a Dead tribute record, "Might as Well: The Persuasions Sing the Grateful Dead" is an a cappella tribute and "Postcards of the Hanging" is a record of Bob Dylan songs the Dead performed. Gans also has co-produced recent box-set releases including the five-disc set "So Many Roads" that spans 1965 to 1995 and has been certified gold. He recently worked on the release of a Jerry Garcia studio box set called "All Good Things: Jerry Garcia Studio Sessions."

"It's all been a pleasure to do," Gans said in a recent interview about his work revolving around the Grateful Dead. "There's just so much great music by that band, and it's been great to be able to get to explore their music."

But Gans is also a musician in his own right. He began playing in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s before getting sidetracked on a long, strange trip. He has a handful of releases on his own, offering solo acoustic work, being backed by a full band and experimenting in a solo setting with looping and sampling technologies.

"I've been writing music for a really long time," Gans said. "I never really intended to be a full-time Grateful Dead music person, but it turned out to be a really fun way to make a living. I always had intended to make a living playing my own music, so when the opportunity came up, I decided I had to get out there before I was too old.

"I'm not like a Grateful Dead cover act. I have my own music and my own stories to tell. I'm very proud of my own stuff, and I'm not just for Deadheads only. I'm interested in that music, but it's not part of my whole story."

Gans is on tour with Mark Van Allen of Blueground Undergrass fame and Ralph Roddenberry, a Georgia-based musician.

The touring trio, which makes a stop at The Pour House on James Island tonight, will feature solo sets fronted by Gans and Roddenberry, with Van Allen accompanying on pedal steel guitar. The trio also will perform a set together and likely could touch on a wealth of influences and cover songs.

"We'll have no trouble coming up with tunes to play," Gans said.

If you go

Who: David Gans w/ Ralph Roddenberry and Mark Van Allen
When: Tonight

Tickets: At the door
Cost: $6

Info: 571-4343

This article was printed via the web on 1/12/2006 2:30:48 PM . This articleappeared in The Post and Courier and updated online at on Thursday, January 12, 2006.


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