Hey Now!

David Gans Live Chat 3/18/02 11PM ET, 8PM PT

The Grateful Dead Forum was pleased to host a special live chat in the GDF Conference Room with David Gans, producer of the Grateful Dead release, Postcards of the Hanging.

David Gans is the noted host of the Grateful Dead Hour radio show, author, and musician, and also has produced or co-produced several albums. Examples:

Copyright 2002 GDForum.com and AOL, Editing courtesy of Tom Thornton of Northwest Virtual Tours

Geoff Gould: OK, let's go - Tonight I'd like to welcome David Gans to the GDF Conference room. I'm Geoff Gould, your GDF sysop. Welcome David.

David Gans: Hi, Geoff.

GG: David is the producer of Postcards of the Hanging, the new GD CD of Dylan tunes, and we'll discuss that, and plug David's tour as well and...give away some posters!

DG: Posters? Cool! I haven't seen 'em yet. Cover art, I presume?

GG: so, ready for some questions Dave?

DG: I'm ready.

GG: let's talk about the blithering generalities of selection criteria first.

DG: BLITHERING GENERALITIES? I resemble that remark!

GG: me too

DG: But seriously...The most important criterion is the quality of the performance. We were lucky to have a lot of very good recordings from the late '80s, when the Dylan material was in regular rotation.

SRGayle: "She Belongs To Me" was one of my favorite Jerry moments...why did you pick the one you did ?

DG: There were a few really good ones, but that and Greek 6/15/85 were tops. There were technical problems with the Greek version, so we went with the one I liked the best anyway.

GG: you know, why does a song get chosen in general? Are you subject to prior Dick's Picks? Or does this stand alone?

DG: The answer is, SORTA. There is a GREAT "Visions of Johanna" on "Fallout from the Phil Zone," so I figured that song was covered and went for "She Belongs to me."

GG: so, I got a lot of email at first about "why no Knockin'?"

DG: There are 13 Dylan covers in the GD canon; we couldn't do them all.

Reidfarmer: What started the disc rolling, so to speak?

DG: "What started the disc rolling?" I have been wanting to do this record for several years.

DG: I did a 3-part GD Hour Dylan-covers series a while back and then pitched this to the GD. It took a couple of years to get on the calendar. Bob Weir was very supportive of the project.

JKelly4000: David, any comments or reactions from Dylan himself on the project?

DG: Bob Dylan hasn't said anything directly, but he has been very supportive of this project. I worked closely with one of his managers, who saw to it that we had permission to use a track from the 1987 rehearsals.

GG: Did Phil approve of your Phil choice?

DG: I didn't ask him.

GG: Well, barring distractions, let's start at the beginning; why start with Masterpiece?

DG: "Why start with masterpiece?" well... it's a great song, and a great ix (by Jeffrey Norman), and since we had more ballads than upbeat tunes, I thought it would be nice to start with that one. Sets the sonic tone for the disc, and there are lots more Weir songs on this than Garcia songs, so it just made sense to start with Masterpiece.

Preeceracing: David, what's your opinion on the record?

DG: My opinion on the record? I'm thrilled with it! It was a privilege to work on it with David Lemieux and Jeffrey Norman, and mastering engineer Joe Gastwirt.

Ripple1969: ya in the queen city yet dave?

DG: What is the queen city? Charleston>? Yes, Im in Charleston.

Ripple1969: cool, wanna grab a beer later?

DG: I'm in for the night, Ripple. See you at Cumberland's tomorrow night.

KDenero: how do u like Donna the Buffalo

DG: KDenero asks about my favorite band on earth, DONNA THE BUFFALO! But let's talk about Postcards first...

GG: Yeah, if you guys want any posters! So, David, play god and give away a poster.

DG: Sweeney wants me to gve away a poster. I choose KDENERO!

GG: Forgive my ignorance here, but my mind is numbed from shipping CD's all day. Any Greek cuts? I remember you playing some Baby Blue from a Greek show on the GDH years ago that was very beautiful

DG: Stuck inside of Mobile is from the Greek. A great venue!

Boxofphil: Didnt jerry cover masterpiece with JGB before bobby?

DG: I think JGB did cover Masterpiece. But this is a GD record. I hope someone will do a Garcia does Dylan collection some day.

Media69: Any word on a new View from the vault?

DG: I don't know aything about View fro the Vault plans.

GG: I think there will be another VFV this year, but no details yet

Media69: Believe it or Not is a Brent song, right?

DG: No, Media69, "Believe It or Not" is a Hu nter-Garcia song.

SRGayle: What sort of access to what sort of recordings did you have to select from ?

DG: SRGayle, I had total access to the vault, abetted by David Lemieux. David actually made several of the selections -- he would make CDs for me of many versions of the songs, but the ones he said were best turned out to be the best. Bob Weir also made some choices -- I'd send him a CD with two or more possibles for each song, and he called me with his opinions. There were no fights -- everyone pretty much agreed on everything.

Magooshoes: :-( WHCN in Hartford, CT dropped the GD HOUR :-( Any plans to join another CT station?

DG: We are hoping to fnd another Hartford station, Magoo. Email me - david@gdhour.com -- for more on that.

Preeceracing: WPLR

Magooshoes: WPLR is adding it? When?

DG: No news on WPLR, Magoo -- we're working on it. Email me.

C djustpanic: Alot to laugh a train to cry is a great version so glad you chose that one.

DG: I love that "Train to Cry" with the Allman guys.

GG: I'm listening to it now - it's so tasty!

Reidfarmer: How many times did they do Train To Laugh?

DG: They started doing it more frequently in the early '90s.

Media69: Why is there nothing represented from the Hornsby era, I loved the accordian touches, esp baby blue.

DG: You ask an important question, Media69. I wanted the CD to have a unified sound, as much as possible. That's why all but one of the tracks from from the Brent era -- that and the fact that we had lots of multitrack recordings to choose from and few (if any) ultitracks from the post-Brent years.

GG: there's some killer keyboard on this disc

DG: Yes, Geoff -- Brent and Jerry interact beautifully in ssveral places.

Media69: Is there a NY outlet for the GD hour? I havent heard it since the old days of WNEW.

DG: WFUV has the GD Hour in NY

GG: so, let's talk about the bonus disc for a minute. Just so everyone knows, all the GDF orders have the bonus disc.

DG: Yes the bonus disc! I swiped that idea from Bob Dylan, who offered a second CD with two very old recordings in the first edition of "Love and Theft" (which is a GREAT record, btw). I asked the folks at GD records, and everyone liked the idea, so I asked Bob Dylan's guy if he would support it, and he said yes. So everyone agreed.

GG: why the two Q cuts?

DG: Two Q cuts is just a COINCIDENCE, I swear! :^)

SRGayle: I have some friends who are huge Dylan fans who don't care for the Dead...can't wait to play this for them !

DG: SRG, I think the Dead have always been one of Dylan's best interpreters.

KDenero: Too bad they don't know what's good

DG: Well, maybe this CD will help people get it about the Dead.

Ripple1969: Dave, what's your feeling on passing around a petition to get GD hr he in Chas?

DG: Ripple, I'm all in favor of it of course. Let's talk about it tomorrow night.

GG: to those of us who don't keep track of statistics, what's the rarest cut on Postcards?

DG: The RAREST cut on Postcards? In terms of tapes in circulation, I have no idea. In terms of performance, it's Ballad of a Thin Man. The Dead only did that tune twice.

GG: It certainly sounds rare.

Media69: David, any chance of more frequent releases from the GD vault?

DG: BI have nothing to do with vault releases, Media -- you'll have to ask David Lemieux or someone else in the GD organization.\

KDenero: We will c u at Suwannee with Donna the Buffalo.

DG: Springfest -- a great scene!

Preeceracing: David, do you think I can grab a poster?

DG: Geoff, give Preeceracing a poster, please!

GG: Pree, you were the first one here tonight!

Boxofphil: David did you guys go over the "watchtower" from 8-23-87 angels camp,ca w/ carlos santana?

DG: I don't think there is a board tape of that Santana Watchtower, but it sure is a good one!

Magooshoes: Was that the same Santana show with the "Schoolgirl" that you played ?

DG: yes, magoo, I think so.

Jcotsman: Did Jerry ever indicate what his favorite Dylan song was?

DG: Not to me, But we had a few conversations about Dylan, and Jerry was a great fan -- and clearly had a deep affinity. Let me plug another item: CONVERSATIONS WITH THE DEAD, being reissued next month, has some interviews with band members. Jerry says some very cool stuff about Bob Dylan in there.

Media69: I always loved that version of Forever Young, with Neil Young, from 91.

GG: Media, you mean from Polo Fields?

DG: That "Forever Young" was in my GDH Dylan special. I liked that one, too. 11/3/91 at the Bill Graham memorial. A sweet moment.

Media69: Come to think of it, would love to know if that show exists on cdr, wrong forum for that I guess

DG: I am not the one to ask about tape trading, media69.

SRGayle: Do you think Dylan will listen to this disc ? Any feedback from him in the selections ?

DG: Not directly, Steve. But his manager Jeff Rosen was a very enthusiastic collaborator.

Shaw93: why not some pre-70 baby Blue's

DG: We listened to a mess of early "Baby Blues." I wanted to use a 1972 performance, but there were technical problems.

Reidfarmer: How about a disc of just Baby Blue? <g>

DG: Heh! All Baby Blue, all the time!

SRGayle: Is Jeff Rosen a Deadhead ? Dylan ?

DG: I don't know if Rosen is a Deadhead. I think Dylan is, on some level.

C djustpanic: what do you think of Dylan's last two efforts? i love em!

DG: I *love* Bob's last couple of albums.

SRGayle: I saw Dylan at the Bill Graham Civic last time

DG: I was on tour when Bob played in SF last time. I hated to miss it!

GG: Bob's a hoot. When he opened for Phil a while back, he just cracked me up

Boxofphil: David Kemper is awesome

DG: Kemper just got FIRED from Dylan's band! People seem to like the new guy, tho.

Shaw93: Bob has gotten killer with age!!

DG: Bob DYLAN, and Bob WEIR, too. Ratdog is BLAZING these days.

GG: Ironic how the title is "Postcards" and Bobby blows the lyrics to my favorite verse (TS Eliot)

DG: We tried to avoid any lyric flubs, Geoff, but it's almost impossible to find a "perfect" performance. In fact, the "Desolation" we used is MISSING A VERSE!!!!!

GG: well, there are so many, nobody will notice! ;-)

Nurse kacy: well allow me to say, as I often dew...God Bless David Gans....

DG: Aw, Nurse, that's sweet!

Preeceracing: What can we expect for future releases from GD?

DG: I don't know, preeceracing. I am not privy to their plans.

KevinCBear: Hey, David, how old were you when you first started playing the guitar?

DG: Kevin, I was a musician from grade school (clarinet), and started guitar at age 15.

GG: hey David, before we give out another poster... let's hear your current favorite ice cream flavor!

DG: Ice cream? Not on my diet! But, uh... I never met an ice cream I didn't like!

KevinCBear: Rainforest Crunch! (Bring it back!)

DG: Is Rainforest Crunch out of print? :^)

SRGayle: David...what Dylan song do you wish the Dead had covered, but didn't?

DG: Steve, I think SENOR was a great Dylan cover by the JGB. I wish the Dead had done that one. But hey, there are so many great Dylan songs -- they could have done almost any and I woulda been thrilled.

SRGayle: Senor..yes ! It appears on my own "Dead/Jerry Do Dylan" tape (along with "Positively 4th Street")

DG: The Dead and Dylan rehearsed "Senor" together, but it wasn't solid

DG: enough to release.

Shaw93: Do you think gdlive and other download groups have hurt the dead??

DG: I have no opinion on that, Shaw. I think tape trading and stuff have been good for the culture.

Preeceracing: David, are you going to be adding any more dates to your tour?

DG: I am adding more dates to my tour all the time. I go out for two weeks max at a time, then go home to my bride and cats for a while. Then I go out again. The schedule is always current at http://www.dgans.com/gigs.html

Preeceracing: Consider Toad's Place in New Haven or Webster Theatre in Hartford.

DG: I would love to come to Toad's, but I am not as well-known in the northeast as I am in other regions.

Boxofphil: Are you planning on HSMF this summer David?

DG: Box, I am waiting to hear fro the High Sierra people. I sure hope so! I love it up there and I got an encore last time. If you like High Sierra, Suwanne is a great scene. www.magmusic.co - I'm going there at the end of this week.

Boxofphil: its only a hour from me, so its conveniant

DG: You live near Quincy, Box? LUCKY YOU!

KevinCBear: Is High Sierra the one usually held around the 4th of July?

DG: Yes, Kevin.

C djustpanic: Ever go to Telluride Bluegrass Dave?

DG: No Telluride for me, but I'd love to play there some time.

Shaw93: What would your ultimate release be, the end all to be all??

DG: Oh hell, I don't know, Shaw. It's all good --well, most of it anyway :^)

SRGayle: What other Dylan covers do YOU do ?

DG: Steve, I do "masterpiece" a lot these days, and I am thinking about learning some of the more recent songs. I don't perform as many Dylan songs as I'd like to. I am planning to remedy that. His stuff is so great on so many levels.

C djustpanic: Is there a she belongs to me on there?

DG: Yes, panic, there is. 9/15/85.

Boxofphil: one of my favorite dylan songs that he covers is Sylvio, thats a Robert Hunter song right?

DG: Silvio is a Hunter-Dylan song, yes. Dylan set two Hunter lyrics to music, and that's it as far as I know.

KevinCBear: I loved the songs you did with DSO at the Fillmore! Very sweet!

DG: Thaks, Kevin -- DSO is doing a REX FOUNDATION benefit at the Warfield on April 13 -- I hope you can make it.

GG: so David, about your CD?

DG: Geoff asks about my CD, SOLO ACOUSTIC. I regret to say there are no Dylan songs on there, but I do cover "Terrapin" and "Brokedown Palace." And I have a song I wrote with Robert Hunter on there, too! It's called "Shut Up and Listen." I have been using a digital assistant on tour lately, so I call my stuff "SOLO EOECTRIC" now. My current "Terrapin" is much more impressive :^)

Reidfarmer: Ever thought of doing the "Ivory Wheels On A Rosewood Track" bit?

DG: I do think about performing more of Terrapin. I might even try to set some of the unset lyrics.

Jcotsman: DG, your Terrapins really are quite moving. I know a couple non-heads that asked me "what was that one song...

DG: Thank you, Jcotsman! Nice to hear. I love singing that song.

GG: Click on the "gans gear" button at right to order by the way [shameless plug]

DG: GANS GEAR! I like the sound of that :^)

C djustpanic: I loved hunters zero period

DG: I liked the Hunter-Zero collabortion, too. Hunter is writing with Greg Anton's new band, Gregg's Eggs, too. Watch for a CD of Gregg's stuff soon.

KevinCBear: Any chance Hunter will make it to the bay area soon?

DG: Hunter is touring -- I think he'll play at home after he's wared up on the road a bit.

Boxofphil: what about Barlow writing with SCI, that should be interesting

DG: Yes, Barlow and SCI -- should be interesting.

BGP219: I hope "postcards" is all I think it'll be

DG: Postcards has gotten good reviews so far, Rolling Stone gave it 3.5 stars.

GG: I've enjoyed listening to it; Baby Blue on right now, fitting close (before the odd Dylan tune) To all of you who ordered from GDF, they all shipped today!

DG: GG in the shipping dept!

GG: we made the UPS guy come back for a second helping

Shaw93: What this world needs is more Gram Parsons!!!

ns1053: Yes to that, Shaw! I have been doing "Sin City" a lot lately.

NoJryNoFun: I like Sovereign Soul...

DG: Robin, you are kind! I wrote that song just before my wedding -- not what I was expecting to write on that occasion, I must admit!

GG: David's such a sappy guy, that's what I like about him! ;-)

DG: I am a sap!?

GG: sappy just means you have a soft side

Preeceracing: David, what bands have you been listening to often when you are off of work?

DG: Preccreacing, my two favorites right now are DONNA THE BUFFALO and RAILROAD EARTH. Another favorite band just broke up: Blueground Undergrass. And Bob Dylan is way at the top of my personal charts right now.

GG: BU was cool. I like the new Kodo/Mickey Hart CD

C djustpanic: Concious Evolution


BGP219: When wasn't Dylan on top of the list?

DG: Dylan lost me in 1986, on that tour with Tom petty. He was so out of it. But in 1995, a friend of mine said GO SEE BOB, and he was right: I have been a born-again Dylan fan ever since!

Shaw93: Will there be anymore vault parties, they where always a blast and fun time to get together.. ie with Slipknot

DG: I enjoyed those vault parties, but I don't think they made the clubs any money so they stopped wanting to do them. There are local GD tape parties all over the place, which is very cool.

Preeceracing: What can you tell us about the new Phil and Friends album?

DG: I don't know anything about it, Preeceracing

DG: Whew, this time has just FLOWN by.

GG: any last questions before we go? Any last plugs David?

DG: PLUGS! Come hear me play live! Schedule is posted at http://www.dgans.com/gigs.html

Preeceracing: If you ever come to CT, I'm sure to check you out David.

DG: Ihope to be back in the northeast this summer, Preece.

Magooshoes: Thanks for tonight, and for all you've done to keep the Dead alive, David!!

DG: It's a privilege to do this, Magoo.

GG: Ok, so before we run out of posters, I'd like to thank David for coming tonight. y'all remember to support the GDF and get yer Postcard right here!

NoJryNoFun: Thank You David ...You are a good soul.

DG: <bluch> AIYEEE!!!! I MEANT "BLUSH"

GG: Thanks for coming, and help save 710!

DG: Good night, all! Thaks for being here!

GG: We bid you goodnight. Release the hounds.