The Writings & Music of David Gans
THE PERFECTIBLE STORY
In 1996, when Eric Rawlins and I were making our first record, after each take we would discuss whether it was worth keeping and/or did we want to do another? Over time, our verbal shorthand for a keeper take was, “it’s perfectible.” And when it came time to release the album, we decided to name our label Perfectible Recordings. The album Home By Morning, released in 1997, was PERF-01, our first release.
Since then, Perfectible Recordings has released more than a dozen full-length discs of Gans-related material.
“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
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. His performance style makes extensive use of looping and electronics to bring the sort of shimmery elastic feel required to do this material justice.
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.
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.
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!
About David Gans
Musician • Author • Singer/Songwriter • Radio Producer
Author of the definitive book on the evolution of The Dead.
David's Official Biography
David Gans delivers literate, improvisational folk-rock with looping in a “solo electric” setting. A solo Gans show is likely to consist of several elements: country-blues-style fingerpicking; loop-based improvisations created live in the moment; sweetly-sung ballads, original or borrowed; Grateful Dead songs reinterpreted to suit his voice and guitar; wry observations of the music-festival subculture and the larger world; soulful and passionate political commentary; favorites from the folk-rock canon of the last 50 years. Mix and match – it’s never the same show twice, but it’s always worth a listen.