David Gans (tnf) Sat 24 Feb 01 10:03
Yesterday I spent several hours with Ned Lagin working on the cover photo for the live solo CD I am about to release. We started with a photo taken by my wife, <reet>, at Joshua Tree a few years ago. We were just going to spiff up the picture a bit, but we wound up designing the CD cover: <http://www.trufun.com/cdcover.html>
Gail Williams (gail) Sat 24 Feb 01 10:43
That's gorgeous. That cholla cactus looks very green to me, I guess I am used to the golden kind. What a sensuous landscape.
David Gans (tnf) Sat 24 Feb 01 11:13
The glowing cactus in the center was artificially colored; everything else is just intensified.
the conspiracy is here! (jonl) Sat 24 Feb 01 14:42
Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 26 Feb 01 13:57
David Gans (tnf) Sun 4 Mar 01 13:23
GUILTY PLEASURES at the Paradise Lounge (11th and Folsom, SF) this Thursday, March 8, 6-8:30pm. No cover! David Gans, guitar and vocals; Patti Cobb, keyboards and vocals; Alyn Kel- ley, vocals; Steve Ramirez, bass; Mika Scott, drums and vocals.
David Gans (tnf) Fri 9 Mar 01 10:42
<scribbled by tnf Fri 9 Mar 01 10:43>
David Gans (tnf) Fri 9 Mar 01 10:43
Sunday, November 5 Phoenix, Arizona. Alice Cooper'stown The story on this place is that Alice Cooper wanted to open a club in his home town, but somehow found himself in partnership with investors who wanted a sports bar. Thus was born "Where jocks and rock meet." It's a sports bar with rock'n'roll memorabilia all over the place. Photo of Alice with Groucho Marx in the bathroom, next to one of Alice with Johnny Carson and several other stars. Autographed guitars in glass cases on the walls. And the help all wear little black triangles of Alice Cooper ghoul makeup under their eyes. Notice posted in the employee locker room states that the company recently instituted "random and for cause" drug testing. Before the show I was summoned to meet someone outside the venue. Mike George, drummer with Wailing Coyote, is "a friend of Vince Welnick's and Mickey Hart's." Vince is coming down to play two or three dates with Wailing Coyote next month, and can I say something about it on the radio? Blah blah blah, I will contact the local station about it if Vince wants me to, and are you staying for the show? "Can you put me on the list?" No problem. "I have to go over to The Hole to finish the deal for the show with Vince, and then I'll come back." Of course he didn't get back until after my set, because he had to put together a little flyer for the gig and get it printed so he could hand 'em out here. It was that kind of night. The stage is outdoors, facing across a narrow patio to the brick building, with a balcony bar above the main floor bar. There is also a portable bar on the patio. A barrier has been erected right in front of me spot just to the left of center stage -- under-age patrons on one side, drinkers on the other. Cloth banners form a roof of sorts. There were plenty of people in the area when I took the stage (accompanied by John, the Jerry of DSO, joining me for "Masterpiece" and, unplanned, "Mr. Tambourine Man"), but the majority of them were just standing there waiting. And drinking, most of them, of course. I don't like gigs where the bar is in the same room as the music. It means the room is filled with the sounds of drinkers drinking. It felt to me that maybe 20, 25% of the people there gave a rat's ass about my performance. Their attention was hard to connect with, given the amount of crosstalk and just plain blank indifference evident in a majority of the "audience." There may have been more people paying attention, I don't know. I couldn't get any traction at all. I could see people out there who were tuned in to what I was doing, but I couldn't connect with them. It wasn't even a matter of doing Dead tunes, either -- some of those weren't all that well-received, either. I wonder if the DSO crowd is too dogmatic for the liberties I take with the songs? Or is it just Phoenix? Or -- most likely -- the nature of the venue? I have managed to transcend the unfortunate design of a gig on many occasions, but I couldn't bear down hard enough to take command of this one. Drummer Rob asked me to play "Monica Lewinsky," which he had been waiting for me to bust out on this tour. I played it for him, earlyish in my set. Bad mistake. Even fewer people than usual seemed to know what I was singing about. I sang well, I played well. I have power and poise and a point of view. But tonight I didn't know what to play to get across, and I don't think I did get across to more than a handful of people. I had that sinking feeling a lot, in spite of the pleasure I was getting from the performance itself. We'll see how many names I got on my mailing list tonight. I joined the DSO for "Uncle John's Band" at the end of the show, but my guitar wasn't loud enough in the mix so I didn't really do much instrumental interacting. The vocals were nice, though -- Rob Eaton, Lisa Burlingame and myself.
David Gans (tnf) Fri 9 Mar 01 10:46
Monday morning, November 6 I paid more than $100 for a really shitty room at the Comfort Inn. No AAA discount, even. It wasn't until I got to the hotel and overheard a conversation at the front desk that I found out why: NASCAR race this weekend. Rates go back to reasonable on Monday. Listening back to last night's show in the van, I am remembering how desperate I felt during many of the songs. It didn't seem to me that the narrative was coming across at all -- lots of blank looks, which read to me as "waiting for a Dead jam." No song was short enough -- not a great feeling with it's just me and my voice and guitar. I gave John three choruses to solo over in "Mr. Tambourine Man," so he could get comfortable with the changes. He was doing pretty good by the third one, and his vocal harmony was pretty fine by the end, too. We'll do it again. My country-ish, key-of-G take on "Scarlet Begonias" should have slain this crowd. Instead, I got the feeling that I shouldn't be here opening for the Dark Star Orchestra, because this audience may be here for the replicant experience and not open to my interpretations. A depressing thought. I did "Monica" at the request of drummer Rob Koritz. Bad idea. Not even "Terrapin" seemed to get me any traction with this crowd. And when I'm singing "Terrapin" to a Deadhead crowd and wishing it was over already, you know I'm in a bind. I had to stop and tune after the first couple of bars of "River and Drown." Tuesday, November 7, 4:00 pm - backstage at the Belly Up The Dark Star Orchestra started out as a four-show run at Martyr's in Chicago, just for fun, and turned into this full-time deal almost in spite of itself. Mike Hazdra, the bassist, said the idea of playing a GD set from history arose from the competitiveness between the two guitarists, John (the "Jerry") and Mike Maraat (the "Bobby"). They went nose-to-nose over all kinds of musical matters, e.g. the right way to play this song or that song. They didn't set out to replicate the GD sound so faithfully, but this competitive authenticity thing led to the band becoming so attractive to the Deadhead audience. And the decision to play sets from history was a way of avoiding arguments over repertoire. * This morning, I encountered an anti-DSO thread in (I think) the Ratdog topic on DeadNet Central. I posted the following: I was skeptical about the DSO when I first heard of them. When I play GD- type music, the point is to NOT know where you're going when you take off in a jam. But that's not how everyone appreciates GD music, lord knows. Last summer I found myself in the dirt at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park in Ohio, surrounded by a few hundred very happy people dancing to the DSO. It was a 1978 set list they were doing -- NOT note-for-note, for god's sake, just song-for-song -- and it felt good to be there. And I spoke with a few audience members who told me they had never been to a Dead show and were very happy to have this opportunity to get a bit of the feeling they missed. I'm a musician, too, and it feels damn good to play these songs. For my ownself, just covering Dead music is not enough -- but I do have plenty of those songs in my active repertoire, and I play more Dead songs when I'm opening for the DSO than I do in other situations. No professional musician that I know -- and I know lots of 'em, including some legendary characters from the annals of rock -- limits himself to the music that pays his rent. My friend who is a bassist in a Zydeco band loves to jam on Dead stuff with me from time to time, for example. To assume that the DSO is only interested in replicating Dead shows is to deny those individuals their humanity. Trust me on this: there's more to these guys, jointly and severally, than what they do in their "day job." In that respect, they are just like you and me. They have a fun gig, playing music that makes themselves and their audience happy -- how can that be a bad thing? You want to dismiss them as Elvis imitators, go right ahead. But I warrant to you that the DSO knows the difference between what they're doing and what Ratdog is doing. There is room in the cosmos for both. * It's a beautiful fall day in Solana Beach. Last time the DSO was here, the whole staff of the club took a break to walk over to the beach and watch the sunset.
David Gans (tnf) Fri 9 Mar 01 10:48
Tuesday, November 7, 2000 Belly Up, Solana Beach CA Opening for Dark Star Orchestra Dire Wolf-> Rubin and Cherise-> Seeds and Stems Elvis Imitators Sovereign Soul-> Trying Down to Eugene Brokedown Palace Bird Song w/ Dark Star Orchestra Another desperate night. Nice bar, great monitors, massive apathy in the house. There were people hearing and responding, but they were far away. The dance floor was empty. People were coming in throughout my set, of course, but no one came down front. Not even the Dead songs seemed to get across. I blew a lot of the lyrics in "Elvis Imitators," which I shouldn't have done in the first place. I really wanted to do "Sovereign Soul," which I introduced as "my version of the national anthem," but to everyone except one or two people out there, I might as well have been singing in Greek. "Brokedown Palace" got people to quiet down and respond, but I was already crushed. I was also worrying about the election, as were many others. There was a TV on in the back (facing away from the stage, but still), and I had this dread that Bush was going to be declared the winner while I was on stage. "Dire Wolf" was dedicated to "the winning party." I got the whole band up there for "Bird Song," and of course that got the dance floor filled up and the whole house swinging. Everyone onstage seemed to like that one, too. Lisa joined in on the vocals. After the set, I told the band I want to start my set with them tomorrow night. Then Mike told me "Seeds and Stems" was one of his favorite songs, adding that his second favorite band in the '70s was Asleep at the Wheel." "My BROTHAH!" I hollered, and shook his hand. John likes some of that country-ish stuff, too. Before long I had a nice little list of songs to do with the DSO (one drummer, we decided, just to keep it light and swinging). Lisa will sing "You Ain't Woman Enough to Take My Man," and we'll do "Sing Me Back Home," too. I will do ANYTHING except take that stage by myself at the start of the show tomorrow night in LA. Tonight I felt FLOP SWEAT. I was playing well, and there were people listening, but the room as a whole was unconcerned. I made some bad choices, though I executed very well, but I think it's also true that there was nothing I could have done on my own that would get me across. It's a terrible feeling, and humiliating before my fellow musicians -- even though they were complimentary and sympathetic.
David Gans (tnf) Fri 9 Mar 01 10:48
And now I'm REALLY depressed: During DSO's set break, Bush was declared the winner by whatever network was on the TV in the bar. And there I was in the band room, listening to a construction worker friend of Mike's jabbering about how he likes working on government projects more than private housing. Yes, prisons. Of course. The election doesn't depress him, because he expects that tax cut any second now. And his wife went off into non-sequitur land: "In Texas, if you introduce a woman as your wife three times, you're legally married," she said. "And you know what else? The law says you have to have windshield wipers in Texas, but you don't have to have a windshield!" I wanted to scream at both of them. Out in the bar, over by the TV set, I talked with a 23-year-old woman who voted for Nader. This was the first election she'd really paid attention to, and she was really truly planning to vote for Gore - "the better of the evils" -- but there in the booth, she had to go for Nader. Hard to argue with her, really: how proud could I be of any effort to inculcate this bright young person with the cynicism and bitterness that fogs my own view of the political scene?
David Gans (tnf) Fri 9 Mar 01 10:49
When the band came offstage between set two and the encore ("U.S. Blues"), we talked about what to play. Someone suggested "River and Drown," which we had rehearsed in soundcheck. Scott said, "Let's do a Dead song." Someone nominated "Like a Dog," but Scott said that wasn't a Dead song. I had to agree. Someone else called for "Uncle John's Band" -- "God damn, well I declare!" -- and I agreed. This was the kind of night where lines from the songs took on new meanings. "Better get back to Tennessee... Al," and so forth. As the band headed back out to the stage, Scott said, "Let's do the originals in your set, to showcase your songwriting. Bring us out for a whole chunk of your set." Fine with me! I intend to hit the stage with the DSO tomorrow night in LA, and in Santa Cruz and San Francisco, too. So they did "U.S. Blues," announced the original date of the show they'd just performed, and then introduced me. We did a nice, energetic "Uncle John's Band," which gave me a bit of that guilty pleasure and drove away some of the unfavorable sensations of my earlier set. Nice to play for a jammed dance floor. After it was over, Tom Bellanca complimented me on my solo performance. It was nice that he remembered to do so several hours after the fact. And after another guy engaged me in a conversation about the absence of the GD Hour from the San Diego airwaves, another fellow accosted me to say thanks for The Persuasions. That was nice. * Back at the hotel at 3:00 am, I cringe as I turn on CNN. To my astonishment, the graphic on the screen says "Presidential race too close to call."
David Gans (tnf) Fri 9 Mar 01 10:49
Wednesday, November 8, Los Angeles MUCH mo' bettah! I started with the band at the Roxy, and it made a huge difference. There may have been other factors, but opening with a band instead of solo is definitely the way to go. Like a Dog-> Bertha River and Drown Sitting in Limbo Sing Me Back Home Down to Eugene Shut Up and Listen Like a Dog-> Bertha and River and Drown were with Scott, Mike, John and both drummers (and Lisa on Bertha); Rob joined us for Limbo and Sing Me Back Home (the three-part harmony with Rob and Lisa was exquisite); Scott and drummer Rob departed for "Sing Me Back Home," and Rob told me later it's because he had only played it once or twice and wanted to enjoy it as a listener tonight. The audience was up on its feet for my whole set, including the two solo numbers at the end. After my set, Scott told me he really enjoyed the opportunity to play original material with me. Before DSO, he said, he was in several bands at once, and he misses the non-Dead stuff. He seems interested in doing some more of this; I think I would be, too, if there were a commitment to do some work on my material -- or at least to play with me in the opening set. I will not start the show alone again on this tour. Later in the evening a guy came up to me with some very kind words about my appearance at 14 Below in March. He praised the many aphorisms in one song ("Trying," maybe?). And someone else complimented my on my lyrics (and Hunter's) in tonight's show. I sang "Franklin's Tower" with the band at the end of the evening. Got some nice feedback on that, too.
David Gans (tnf) Fri 9 Mar 01 10:50
Thursday, November 9 - the DSO tour's night off I had a fine time at the Ashkenaz. Started out shaky -- my fingers just wouldn't behave on "Echolalia" (I have a theory about that) -- but from "Down to Eugene" on out I was in good shape. The audience was small, compared to the nearly-full house later, but they were _listening_. I thought they were a little too polite, but I was distracted by a lot of stuff going through my head as I played. The Ashkenaz is where the Berkeley "Deadheads" organized a boycott to get rid of me so they could have Dead tapes every Thursday. That really hurt, and it really stuck with me. I couldn't entirely put down some fears about being very ill-received when I took the stage. I was in good voice. After the opening song, my guitar playing did not fail me. I did not make a set list ahead of time, but I did come up with a good solid sequence of songs that did not overplay the Dead connection in any way. I think "Terrapin" was the only GD song I did, actually (I'll get the set list from one of my friends who taped). Some things worked better than others, of course. When I left the stage, I didn't feel all that great about the reception I had gotten. And I was sort of embarrassed to hear Gordon up there raving about me making waves across the country (I don't remember his exact words, 'cause I was making my way into the band room as he spoke). But all through the evening, people -- friends and strangers and admired professional musicians -- said very kind things to me about my performance. Some of the kindest words came from Eric and Suzy Thompson, whose opinion means a hell of a lot to me. I was also delighted that Greg Anton invited me to join his band for "Gomorrah." I came very close to doing that song in my own set. It was fun to be up there with that great band and that fine lead singer. The Nelsons had invited me to join them for "Kerouac" (bassist Bill Laymon's song) when I saw them in Florida a few weeks ago, so I arrived prepared for that one. Then they invited me to help out on "Cumberland Blues," too. I shared a mike with Bill on "Cumberland" and I shared a mike with Nelson on "Kerouac," and I thought about the long strange trip from 1972 to last night. I have been a fan of David Nelson since "Powerglide," and there I was on stage with him as a friend and (almost) peer. That was cool. So I survived my return to the Berkeley stage.
David Gans (tnf) Fri 9 Mar 01 10:51
Friday, November 10, 2000 - Palookaville, soundcheck In typical "2B1" fashion, the schedule is fucked up here. Palookaville has scheduled this show for 9:00 to 1:00 -- barely enough time for the '73 show the band has selected -- so Scott asked me to play half an hour or so between sets. Funny that the promoter managed to get my name on the poster for the month but didn't bother to adjust the start time accordingly. Rob and Lisa are up for doing "Sing Me Back Some" again, and John wants to play his mandolin with me tonight. We we'll have some fun anyway. Eaton has a beautiful red Gibson ES-345 SV, just like the one Weir was playing in '72 when I became a Deadhead. He's playing it through a vintage Super Reverb with a tie dyed grille cloth, too. This is going to be a fun night for me as a listener. After the show It really was a peak performance. The place was full, and no one was expecting this live music interlude. We hadn't even rehearsed the first few songs on the list (John Prine's "Please Don't Bury Me" was on there, too, but I skipped right past it somehow), so I was up there planning to bear down on my part and _lead_ the band through these unfamiliar changes. They were right with me, and the energy was great from the start. This is the coolest "Down to Eugene" ever -- also, not coincidentally, the first one I've ever played with a band. I gotta get me a band.
David Gans (tnf) Fri 9 Mar 01 10:52
Sunday, November 12, 2000 - home at last! Things really picked up as this tour progressed. We all got to know each other a little better, kicked song ideas around, and played our asses off on stage. There were plenty of people in the house when I took the stage with the full band at the Fillmore last night. We eased into "Like a Dog" with a sweet little jam. "River and Drown" was solid and powerful. Lots of people dancing. These guys are mostly Chicagoans, and we discovered a mutual affection for John Prine. We talked about doing "Please Don't Bury Me" in Santa Cruz, but I skipped it (subconsciously or otherwise, I don't know). I had the lyrics to "Spanish Pipedream" with me, so we did that one last night instead. I really want to record some of these songs with these guys, and they all seem interested in doing that, too. Rita thinks I should record "River and Drown" with the DSO, too. Depends on what I'm trying to do. If I'm putting together a demo, then I already have a presentable version of "R&D" that I did with SCI in January. If I'm looking to do something releasable -- and I *need* current product to sell on tour -- then it would be great to work up a bunch of tunes with the DSO and record them in Chicago in January. I've got leads on three different record label or production deal possibilities. The material available for a rough demo took a huge leap in quality this week, with the first-ever band arrangement of "Down to Eugene" (and god DAMN, it's a sweet feel they bring to the song), several takes of "Like a Dog" to choose from, plus three stunning takes of "Sing Me Back Home" (not an original, but I sing the daylights out of it) Rita pointed out on the way home that I've been saying "I want to record with these guys" quite a bit lately. I feel that way about Crazy Fingers and Blueground Undergrass for sure. (Last night I was thinking it would be fun to do "Trying" with BGUG.) My big dream of recording a CD with lots of bands backing me up is an expensive one, and maybe it's too much to expect of a first album. I can much more easily see raising the money to make a CD in one place with one group of musicians -- and the DSO is off in the first two weeks of January, so it might even be possible to make the time to do it if I can raise the necessary bucks. It also says something about my increasing power as a performer. I am doing great when I play solo, but this thing really stands up and roars with a band.
Linda Castellani (castle) Fri 9 Mar 01 19:11
David, I have a question about this: > The Ashkenaz is where the Berkeley "Deadheads" organized a boycott to get rid > of me so they could have Dead tapes every Thursday. Get rid of you how? When?
David Gans (tnf) Sat 10 Mar 01 10:16
In 1998. I got an anguished email from a guy who said Berkeley NEEDS the Dead every week, and if I wouldn't voluntarily withdraw from my one Thursday a week they would organize a boycott. I don't know whether the poor attendance was a result of my own marketing failures, the weakness of the band's music, or an organized boycott by the community, but I was outa there within a couple of months.
Linda Castellani (castle) Sat 10 Mar 01 10:55
What was it you were doing, is the part I'm not clear about...
David Gans (tnf) Sat 10 Mar 01 12:46
I was playing live music one Thursday a month; the Grateful Dead DJ night was happening all the other nights. my correspondent wanted me to stop playing on that one Thursday so there would be Grateful Dead tapes every week.
Linda Castellani (castle) Sun 11 Mar 01 09:43
Geeze! That's terrible. No wonder you felt that way when you first started playing that time.
David Gans (tnf) Mon 12 Mar 01 10:06
I have been off the road for four months. Today I go to Albuquerque for a day and a half -- a good way to start getting my head back into Road Mode.
Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 12 Mar 01 13:32
Infradibulated Gratility (ssol) Wed 14 Mar 01 14:05
And, have a ball!
David Gans (tnf) Mon 19 Mar 01 15:23
NEW LIVE CD: "Solo Acoustic," on Perfectible Recordings. Track list, cover art, sample audio, etc. at http://www.trufun.com/perfectible. All shows are David Gans solo acoustic unless otherwise noted: March 22-25: Suwannee SpringFest at the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park, Live Oak FL. David Grisman Quintet; Peter Rowan's Texas Trio; Donna the Buffalo; Blueground Undergrass; John McEuen and Jimmy Ibbotson; Vassar Clements; Guy Clark; lots more. Great venue, great music! DG will play solo and also in a special "Salute to the Psychedelic Cowboy Bands" with Mark Van Allen, Randy Judy, et al. Tuesday, March 27, 9pm: Om Lounge, 1026 N Monroe St., Tallahassee FL. With Brian Burgess and a jam session. 850-577-0017 Friday, March 30, 9pm: The Warehouse, 706 W. Gaines Street, Tallahassee FL. With The Grass Is Dead and Stonehouse. (850) 222-6188 Saturday, March 31, 9:30pm: The Pharm, 941 Huntley Avenue, Dunedin FL. $6. 727-735-9019 Sunday, April 1: DG has along drive from Tampa, but if he gets to Atlanta in time he will join The Dunhams in hosting Z93's live broadcast of Ratdog from The Tabernacle. And AFTER the Ratdog show, the Dunhams will broadcast live on Z93 from The Cotton Club (downstairs from the Tabernacle) and DG will perform live. Monday, April 2, 8:30pm: Red Light Cafe, 553 Amsterdam, Atlanta. $7. 404-874-7828 Wednesday, April 4: David will appear on the air on WNCW Spindale NC (streaming live on the web at www.wncw.org) all day to help with their "sound investment" fund-raiser Friday, April 6, after the Ratdog show: Grey Eagle, 185 Clingman Ave., Asheville NC. $7. 828-232-5800. All ages! Saturday, April 7: Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate Street, Greensboro, NC. $5. 336-275-2754 Sunday, April 8, 9:30pm: Fat City, 3127 N. Davidson Street, Charlotte NC. With Nth Degree. $5. 704-343-0240 Tuesday, April 10, 10pm: Cumberland's, 26 Cumberland Street, Charleston SC. $5. 843-577-9469 Thursday, April 12, 10:30pm: The Pourhouse, 224 S. Blount Street, Raleigh NC. $5. 919-821-1120 NOTE: MEMBERSHIP REQUIRED! You must become a member at least three days ahead of time! Thursday, May 3, 9pm: Tribeca Blues, 16 Warren Street, New York City. With The Electrix. $10. 212-766-1070 Saturday, May 5, 8pm: Goddard College Haybarn Theater, 123 Pitkin Road, Plainfield VT. Free to Goddard students, $5 to the public. 802-454-8311 Wednesday, May 9, 7:30pm: The Turning Point, 468 Piermont Avenue, Piermont NY. $7.50. 914-359-1089 Thursday, May 10: Stanhope House, 45 Main Street, Stanhope NJ. $10. 973-347-0458. Chris Hartford, David Gans, and The Sarahs. Saturday, May 12, 7pm: Silk City, 435 Spring Garden St., Philadelphia PA. $5. 215-592-8838 Thursday, May 31, 9pm: DG opens for Wake the Dead! at the Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley. $9. 510-525-5054 Saturday, June 9, 9pm: Stormy's Off Broadway, 132 W 2nd Street, Chico CA. $8 advance, $10 day of show. Wednesday, June 13: Music and talk. Newport Performing Arts Center, Newport OR. $10. 541-265-ARTS Friday, June 15, 7pm: Windows, 1021 NE Grand, Portland OR. With Freak Mountain Ramblers. Ticket price TBA. (503) 235-2100 Saturday, June 23, 5pm: Nelson Ledges Quarry Park, 12001 Rte. 282, Garrettsville OH. With Dark Star Orchestra. Saturday, July 21: Sunshine Daydream Music Festival, Terra Alta WV. DG will play several shorts sets throughout the day. 304-789-2292 ** MANY MORE DATES TO BE ANNOUNCED! check http://www.trufun.com/gigs.html for news as it happens.
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