David Gans (tnf) Sun 25 Mar 01 06:16
(Those of you who are readiing this on the web, if you'd like to ask a question or make a comment, please send email to email@example.com )
Mary Eisenhart (marye) Sun 25 Mar 01 08:51
And meanwhile... You've got several clips and one entire song from the CD available for download. What goes into the decision of which songs to sample and which to "give away"? Also, given all the current controversy over Napster and its relatives, and the range of opinion from artists on the subject, how comfortable are you with the reality that what you can produce in your studio at home, others can cheerfully copy for their buddies by the boatload? (Having once come across someone who should have known better blithely copying So Many Roads on his PC, I am not sure what has become of the time-honored Deadhead ethos of trade-the-tapes/buy-the- albums, but it's pretty clear that nowadays when you put out an album your audiences have lots of other options than actually paying for the stuff, so how does all that work out in real life?)
jeffpags (jonl) Sun 25 Mar 01 09:01
Email from jeff the cheff: hey Dave, glad to hear you'll be in N.E. next month, wish i still had the BREAD. That was the highlight of having the BREAD. c ya soon, jeff the cheff ===== N.L.T.D.B. . . . . . . , , , ~~~ ~~~ ~~~
David Gans (tnf) Sun 25 Mar 01 10:04
No more Grateful Bread? I'm so sorry to hear that, Jeff! I hope you have a great job cookin' somewhere! I had a swell time playing a show in Jeff's restaurant in Stoneham MA last spring.
David Gans (tnf) Sun 25 Mar 01 10:16
Mary, I'll save your questions about Napster and ethics for tomorrow, when I'll be settled in my next destination for a couple of days. Right now I'm stealing a few minutes of phone time from the fe4stival office here at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park. SpringFest is a huge success, in both creative and economic terms. I don't there was a sweeter place on earth than under the oaks and Spanish moss last night, with Donna the Buffalo plying their family groove on the main stage. The David Grisman Quintet preceded them, and they were splendid, too. I'll rave some more about Donna the Buffalo when I have some time to think. Meanwhile, look them up at <http://www.donnathebuffalo.com>. I just finished my mainstage set. The weather has been PERFECT until this morning, and the rain hit just as I took the stage. There were a few dozen hardy souls under umbrellas, and a few in rain slickers, but most of the crowd was either sleeping in or staying out of ther rain. I opened with an impromptu band, dubbed The Morning-After Mob, aka the Stupor Troopers: Cory Dwyer (Crazy Fingers, The Grass Is Dead) on fiddle; Bobby Miller, mentioned above, on mandolin, and Andy King on bass. We played a nice "Bird Song" as the rain increased in intensity, and then I played the rest of the set alone. Sometimes an adverse circumstance can inspire a powerful performance; this was one such occasion. I had a lot of fun up there, shouting down the rain and thunder, making sure those hardy souls out front were rewarded for their suffering. This was an occasion when it felt just fine to be doing a few Dead songs, and to do the songs of mine that refer to the Dead. And I dedicated "River and Drown" to the promoters, Beth and Randy Judy, because they have been so sup- portive of my career and because the inspiration for the song came right here at MagnoliaFest.
Phantom Engineer (jera) Sun 25 Mar 01 11:31
I'm sorry I wasn't able to stay for the final day of Springfest, David. It is always a joy to see you play, & it would have been nice to hear the Morning-After-Mob, despite the rain! It's interesting that "River and Drown" grew directly out of your experiences at Suwannee. I've always somehow associated the song with the place, though I don't think I knew that there was a direct connection. "A day by the river is a day well spent" indeed! I have a question that grows out of one of your earlier comments here, about your apprenticeship as a writer, linked with something that always amazes me. Learning how to evaluate one's writing with something approaching objectivity is an emmensely difficult thing, but it has always been an assumption of mine that the process of learning to be able to listen to one's music (and even moreso, one's singing) must be even more difficult. How have you gotten to the point where that is something you can do. Do you ever get to the point where you can listen to your own work as if it were someone else's, so that you can evaluate it? By the way, I listened to the new CD first thing this morning, & would encourage everybody to track it down. Be the first on your block!
Shaun Dale (stdale) Sun 25 Mar 01 18:57
I'm listening right now. I know you'd like to get a band into the studio, David, but this is probably a better disc to have for the folks at gigs, since it will reflect what they've just seen better than a full scale studio production with a band would, and will increase appreciation of both the gig and the CD as a result. At least that's the result I'd hope for you, so they'd get more folks to come along on your next trip through their town, until the audiences and venues were big enough to support a full time touring band. Or at least a part-time full touring band. I know you have other things to do.
David Gans (tnf) Sun 25 Mar 01 19:37
You have it exactly right, Shaun. This CD is a document of my current touring incarnation, and also a callng card for career development.
David Gans (tnf) Sun 25 Mar 01 19:50
I started trying to answer Gary's post <56> a couple of times but got knocked offline. Let me try again from the safety of the hotel room. >it has always been an assumption of mine that the process of learning to be >able to listen to one's music (and even moreso, one's singing) must be even >more difficult. How have you gotten to the point where that is something >you can do. Do you ever get to the point where you can listen to your own >work as if it were someone else's, so that you can evaluate it? I don't think it's possible to attain complete detachment, but it does get easier to assess my own work as I gain experience in judging the work of others. Or maybe I should say I have learned how to let go, at least to some extent. I don't know anyone who publishes anything who wouldn't like to go back and redo something. When Eric Rawlins and I made "Home By Morning" (see <http://www.well.com/~woodman/hbm.html> ) a few years ago, I wasn't playing and singing nearly as much as I am now. My voice is considerably stronger and my guitar playing more solid, and I am more confident in every way. I hear somem pesky intonation errors in my vocalon one particular song, and I also know I could do much better on just about every vvocal and guitar part. Ive heeard it said that art is never completed -- only abandoned. I know exactly what that means: you just have to let go of it at some point. The other night I sat right where I'm sitting now, holding the new CD in my hands, and I felt a little bolt of anxiety shoot through me. It was a very short time span from deciding to do it, through listening to many tapes (and collecing recommendations from my booking agent and several tape collectors), choosing the photos and designing the package, editing and mastering the material for the disc, to COMMITTING to it and sending it off to the pressing plant. When I started, it was just "something to sell on tour"; it is very much more than that, obviously, and there I sat with the finished artifact, wondering if I had rushed something into print that merited considerably more contemplation and labor. I decided it was okay, because my instincts are good, the music is good (though the performances and recordings are nothing like perfect), and it does make sense for me to have done this.
David Gans (tnf) Sun 25 Mar 01 20:11
> You've got several clips and one entire song from the CD available for > download. What goes into the decision of which songs to sample and which to > "give away"? Amazon wanted selections for which I controlled ALL the rights. That left out the covers and the co-authored pieces. On my own web page <http://www.trufun.com/perfectible> I offer up a few partial songs and one complete one; no particular line of thinking there, except that I thought it made sense to give tastes of several songs but only one or two whole ones. > Also, given all the current controversy over Napster and its relatives, and > the range of opinion from artists on the subject, how comfortable are you > with the reality that what you can produce in your studio at home, others > can cheerfully copy for their buddies by the boatload? I worry about it, same as everybody else. At the moment, I benefit from the exposure and promotion gained from the distribution of my complete shows in trading circles and of songs online. I don't think I have much cause for worrying about wholesale cloning of the CD, but there isn't much that can be done about it. I had a nice chat with David Lindley abut this a couple of weeks ago when I opened a show for him in San Francisco. He has pretty strong feelings about having his stuff pirated, and he makes it clear to his audience that if they want him to keep entertaining them, they have to be willing to pay for his CDs. I cracked Lindley up with my assessment of the Napster vs. Big Record Labels struggle. It's ike Gozilla versus Rodan, I told him, and either way, Tokyo is ruined. Most of my musicians friends have unsteeled, or nonexistent, relationships with the record business, and most of them sell all or most of their records directly to their fans at gigs or online or by mail. It would be nice to see some sort of artist-owned merchandising system come into existence, with or without online delivery. > (Having once come across someone who should have known better blithely > copying So Many Roads on his PC, I am not sure what has become of the > timehonored Deadhead ethos of trade-the-tapes/buy-thealbums, but it's > pretty clear that nowadays when you put out an album your audiences have > lots of other options than actually paying for the stuff, so how does all > that work out in real life?) I think there is a pretty big culture out there that sees the music as "free" because of tape trading, and has a paradoxical tendency not to value that music which they are expected to pay for. An act as blatant as copying a whole boxed set is often rationalied with a remark about how the record com- panies are ripping off the artists anyway, or he artist has made enough money already, blah blah blah. The technology trumps the morality, for sure. It's a huge question -- way too big to be tackled in this discussion. Anyway, I'm not doing anywhere near enough business to have a valid stake in the matter -- yet!
Mary Eisenhart (marye) Mon 26 Mar 01 06:21
So where are you off to today?
David Gans (tnf) Mon 26 Mar 01 06:41
Tallahassee! I've got two gigs in that city this week, and tonight I'll be rehearsing with the guy s I'm playing with tomorow night. Take it easy for a couple of days -- try to work on a song I started at Suwannee -- and then play Friday in Tallahassee, Saturday in Dunedin, then rush up to Atlanta to help Z93 with their broadcast of Ratdog Sunday night. I'll be performing on the air after that show, and then next Monday I've got a solo show at the Red Light in Atlanta. Then on to North Carolina. It's great to start the tour at Suwannee, where I got to hear so much great music, participate in many backstage jams, hang out with lots of great people, sell a few CDs, and be part of something that's growing more splendid every time. Put a guy in a good mood for the rest of the trip!
Infradibulated Gratility (ssol) Mon 26 Mar 01 07:06
A slight aside, connected to the Napster debate. Jaron Lanier (sp?) has a nice article on his work on a technology called tele-immersion in this months Scientific American. It's basically a tech that allows people to interact at a distance, as tho they were in the same room; sort of the next step after virtual reality, and much more compelling to one's senses. Looking toward uses for the tech, once it is mature (which it is not by any means), he sees it making possible Barlow's concept of setting recorded music free, and allowing artists to make a buck from live performance, interviews for hire, etc. Essentially, a musician could be hired out by multiple individuals to play their "parties" via tele-immersion. Tele-immersion might return us to the days of court musicians, where anybody who can afford it gets to be the King.
David Gans (tnf) Mon 26 Mar 01 07:23
Well, that sounds interesting. I wonder if it will ever be able to send enough information in both directions go give the performer a sense of there he's performing.
David Gans (tnf) Mon 26 Mar 01 07:23
Uh, WHERE he's performing.
Infradibulated Gratility (ssol) Mon 26 Mar 01 09:28
That's the whole idea. Lanier figures it'll be a decade before the computational and bandwidth issues are resolved to provide immersion for the masses, but they are on their way to solving those problems in current experiments on Internet2.
David Gans (tnf) Mon 26 Mar 01 13:03
TODD OAKS asks: >The track list on your Solo Acoustic-Live album looks like a nice set list >too, was that intentional, or not? Yes, I pretty much paced it to feel like one of my live shows. >What's the best way to combat massive amount of cigarette smoke in clubs, >and theater's? I don't smoke anymore, and have developed a bit of detest >for it. Good question! We are spoiled in California, where it's illegal to smoke in clubs, restaurants, etc. A vfew years ago, onthe Merry Danksters tour (with Chuck Garvey of moe., Peter Prince of Moon Boot Lover, Gibb Droll of the Gibb Droll band, et al.) I actually got up onswtage and asked the smokers to at least move to the back of the room and maybe smoke a little less often. They were reasoanbly responsive to this plea. Generally, though, you just have to suffer.
Mary Eisenhart (marye) Mon 26 Mar 01 13:31
The cover art on the album (small version at <http://www.trufun.com/cactus.small.jpg> ) is really lovely. As I understand it, the photo is the work of <reet>, so Rita, tell us a little about this picture!
A pretty bra and matching manatees (reet) Mon 26 Mar 01 19:09
On one of our first vacations together, David and I went to Joshua Tree National Park in the springtime. It was a wonderful trip. I have always taken a lot of photographs, when I was in art school I took a bunch of photo classes and used quitye a bit in my illustrations (I was an illustration major). Anyway, I am transfixed my light, sun and shadow and clouds. This particular day, the desert just seemed to be shimmering with light, and my photos from the day are many attempts at trying to capture that shimmer. That one little cactus was so perfectly outlined by the backlit sun and so perfectly framed by the rocks in shadow - the print really worked. I was so pleased with it (and one more) that I had them both enlarged and framed years ago. When david was casting around for cover ideas, the image of the solo cactus just sprang to mind. David will have to describe the way they tweaked it.
police riots (dwaite) Tue 27 Mar 01 04:44
can you go into the song list? Maybe why you included some of the songs? Buy the way. It's a great picture Rita.
Neil Glazer (neil-glazer) Tue 27 Mar 01 06:46
David, what instruments do you own/play, both on and off tour? For this solo acoustic tour, are you using one specific guitar, or do you have several that you can switch between during the show? Also, if you don't mind sharing with us, here's another question. You mentioned above how you'd like to start working more regularly with a band. Any ideas on how that band would take shape? More or less emphasis on acoustic or electric?
Phantom Engineer (jera) Tue 27 Mar 01 07:41
Like Dave, I'd be very interested in seeing you talk about why you chose particular songs for the disc (and why you chose not to include some, such as Like A Dog)
>Joshua Tree National Park in the springtime. Not just in springtime, but on a peak weekend of desert life following one of the wettest winters in many years. The whole place was burgeoning: there were "meadows" carpeted with tiny yellow wildflowers an inch or two high; every variety of cactus was pushing out some new growth; the 49 Palms Oasis was lush and flowing; there were bees everywhere. It was one of those moments when mother earth gets all voluptuous in places where there isn't usually so much going on. The original version of Rita's photo, which hangs on the wall outside her office on the second floor of our home, shows the backlit cactus and the subtlest of colors in the surrounding terrain. The digital enhancements were a gift from a friend: Earlier this year I did some work with an old friend, Ned Lagin. He's known in my community as a musician, who made a very interesting and challenging record called "Seastones" in the mid-'70s and did some touring with the Grateful Dead. In between sets of many shows in 1974, Ned took the stage with bassist Phil Lesh (and occasionally other members would join) for presentations of "cybernetic biomusic." In January, Ned asked me to help him restore some cassettes of music he had made with Jerry Garcia, David Crosby et al. in 1975. He appeared on the KPFA Grateful Dead Marathon in February and played some highlights from the tapes we had worked on. In the course of our conversations, Ned told me about his work in the visual arts, and by way of repayment for my help with his music he offered to help me with the graphics for my CD. Rita and I were unable to find the negative for the Joshua Tree shot, so I sent the print over (along with some other pictures, including the parrot shot that appears twice on the CD package) a day early so he could have them scanned by the time I got there to work. By the time I arrived, Ned had clipped out the backlit cactus and done a couple of colored and otherwise enhanced versions of it that could be dropped back into the picture, and he had used some of his Macintosh tools to bring out the subtle colors in the photo and saturate them in a most psychedelic way. I was thrilled! Ned also showed me how you can sample the color from a spot in the photo and use it elsewhere in the design: the two colors used in the type on the front cover are taken directly from the desert photo. Ned and I worked on the cover design together, too, but when I took it to Sara Glaser (SaraGee@aol.com) she had a few ideas of her own. But we did stick with the typeface Ned had offered. Ned Lagin has done some brilliant digital art and photography, too, none of which has been published as far as I know. I saw a lot of great stuff at his house, and I hope he makes it public some time. I am deeply thankful for the gift of his art work. I consider his contribution another lucky break in the process of bringing this CD to fruition.
>can you go into the song list? >Maybe why you included some of the songs? I think I've already covered many of the selections. One somewhat unexpected inclusion was "Elvis Imitators," which I heard performed by the late great Steve Goodman a few times. Turns out he cowrote it with Mike Smith, best known (I think) for "Spoon River" and "The Dutchman," which Goodman also covered. I had been thinking about doing "Elvis Imitators," and I had the lyrics with me, when one night at the Heartland Cafe in Chicago something happened that brought that song to mind. I don't remember exactly what prompted it, but it was some banter with the audience -- which happens a lot when I play the Heartland. It's one of my favorite venues ever <http://www.heartland- cafe.com/>. The song is weirdly apropos, in a really silly way. Part of my challenge as a performer is to step out from the shadow of my longtime association with the Grateful Dead, and to bust the assumption that what I do is play Grateful Dead music. I do play some, of course, but I'm not a "Dead cover band" by any stretch of the imagination. So that's why "Elvis Imitators" works for me, aside from the fact that it is a really funny song. The performance on the "Solo Acoustic" CD is from the Heartland April 10, 1999, recorded by Mike Wagner. Prompted, somehow, by the mention of "jumpsuits."
>David, what instruments do you own/play, both on and off tour? For this solo acoustic tour, are you using one specific guitar, or do you have several that you can switch between during the show? I only take as much stuff as I can carry through an airport, so that limits me to one guitar. The one I use on the road and on this CD is a Renaissance, built by the great luthier Rick Turner. I own one of his electrics, purchased 20 years when his company was called Turner Guitars. (Renaissance Guitars is based in Santa Cruz, California. I think this is still valid: <http://members.aol.com/rturnergtr/> My main acoustic guitar is a Martin D35 that I bought in 1973. I was never able to get a good sound out of it with various pickups, and I was nervous abut having it on the road. One day a couple of years ago I took my Turner Model 1 (electric) down to Rick's shop for some work, and while I was visiting with him I picked up one of these new acoustics. It was all over for me: I had to have one for the road. Turner designed several of the most popular and accurate acoustic guitar pickups currently on the market, and he is also a great woodworker. The Renaissance is a guitar designed by a master from the ground up to do this difficult thing: to sound like a great acoustic guitar in live, often loud, environments, without feeding back. The fact that it looks so great is a nice bonus, but the main thing is that it sounds like a great acoustic guitar when it's plugged into a sound system. I can hold my own onstage with a loud electric band, and when it's just me and the guitar I can be as subtle and sweet with that thing as it's possible to be. I'll still use the Martin for recording, of course. I also own a Baby Taylor, a less-than-perfect acoustic instrument whose principal asset is that it's small enough to put through the security devices at airports and into the overhead bin on the plane. I took it with me to France last year, and it will serve as the Vacation Guitar from here on out.
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