david gans

The B List: 10 Favorite Grateful Dead Books

[Originally Published March 26, 2009]

I’ll never forget the day late Grateful Dead keyboardist Brent Mydland passed away in 1990. I was playing hockey at Camp Westmont when a bunkmate’s brother came down the hill to tell us Brent had died. Now, I’ll be honest – I didn’t know a thing about the band at the time, but I wanted to find out. One of my Deadhead counselors turned me onto David Gans and Peter Simon’s well-written biography of the band, Playing in the Band, and I was immediately fascinated by the history of the band.

Over the past twenty years, I’ve read a number of books on the Grateful Dead and some are spectacular and some aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. The latest tome on the band – Peter Conners’ Growing Up Dead: The Hallucinated Confessions of a Teenage Deadhead – is available now at Amazon.com and in honor of what looks to be a terrific addition to a Deadhead’s bookshelf, I’ve put together a list of my ten favorite books on the band…

10. Skeleton Key – David Shenk, Steve Silberman

I’ll never forget David & Steve’s book as the first time I ever saw the phrase 4:20. Skeleton Key offers bite-sized tidbits on phrases that are part of the Deadhead vocabulary – such as 4:20 – among its 400 pages of history, lore, and interviews about the band.

READ ON for nine more of Scotty’s favorite books on the Dead…

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Cover Wars: Sultans Of Swing Edition

This week, we have the long overdue Cover Wars debut from legendary British rockers Dire Straits. Sultans Of Swing was the band’s first single off their first album, which was self-titled and released in 1978.

Cover Wars

In The Fender Stratocaster Handbook: How To Buy, Maintain, Set Up, Troubleshoot, and Modify Your Strat, Mark Knopfler shares how Sultans Of Swing almost had an entirely different melody, funny to think if the song would have still been popular with the alternate structure. Knopfler says no.

I originally wrote Sultans Of Swing on my National steel guitar, open tuned. Same lyrics, but a different tune. Since I can’t remember it, it was completely unremarkable! When I got the Strat and plugged it into an old Vibrolux, it became something else.

Check out the rest of that page over on Google Books for some funny quotes from Mark as he discusses the pros and cons of music theory.

The Contestants:

Agents Of Good Roots: Here’s a blast from the past in the jambands department. Fans of the Dave Matthews Band might remember these guys as the band that Dave shared some stage time with in the mid 1990’s. Source: 2-5-2000


READ ON for the scoop on the rest of this week’s contestants…

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David Gans: Dialed In (INTERVIEW)

David Gans knows his Grateful Dead: The radio show he hosts, the beloved “Grateful Dead Hour,” is still broadcasted on KPFA 94.1 in Berkeley, California and syndicated nationwide. However, the show itself is but the tip of the iceberg in Gans’ music career.

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