By David Gans

My contributions to this year’s WALL OF NEWS will focus on photos and stories from my new book, Improvised Lives: Grateful Dead 1972-1985. Signed copies are available now from

SEVA press conference 12/26/79

I was among the journalists invited to a press conference at the Oakland Auditorium before the Grateful Dead’s performance of December 26, 1969. This was the announcement of the SEVA Foundation; speakers included Bob Weir, Wavy Gravy, Ram Dass, and founder Dr. Larry Brilliant.

SEVA began with a program of eye surgery to cure blindness among inmproverished peoples in Asia and elsewhere. According to the website, “90% of vision impairment can be prevented or cured. In fact, more than half of the world’s blindness is caused by cataracts, a condition that can be reversed with a 15-minute surgery costing only $50…. Seva programs have helped 46 million people see clearly again.” Members of the Grateful Dead have performed countless benefits for Seva – as have countless other musicians, largely thanks to the power of Wavy’s Rolodex.

Link: Seva.Org

David Gans is one of the best-known media guys in the Grateful Dead world as well as an exceptional interpreter of GD music; he has performed with Phil Lesh, written songs with Robert Hunter, and played with many of the best-known jam band musicians around. He started as a journalist at BAM, the California Music Magazine, and wrote for many music magazines in the ‘70s and ‘80s. In the mid-’80s he helped with the KFOG Deadhead Hour, which became the nationally-syndicated Grateful Dead Hour, still airing from coast to coast. He’s also co-host, with Gary Lambert, of the Sunday-afternoon talk show Tales from the Golden Road on SiriusXM’s Grateful Dead Channel. He’s the author (with Blair Jackson) of This Is All A Dream We Dreamed, An Oral History of the Grateful Dead, and Improvised Lives: Grateful Dead 1972-1985, a book of his photos and stories. He will perform at Skull and Roses.