JFS #188 The David Kemper Interview



My guest today is a rarified drummer that can vacillate effortlessly between the studio and a live setting.

It's not your typical live musical setting. Often there are beatniks and lifers who come to the shows to grab the essence of the live music experience. The one were time and place seem to stand still as even those with anticipatory tendencies are hanging on every note, lyric and fate. Doing this in Casino's and Community Colleges and renovated Cathedrals and Roller Rinks. Flying from LA to SF for a weekend at the Keystone in Palo Alto or the Paramount Theatre in Seattle....then it's back to the studio.....

Playing gospel sessions with Michael Omartian swinging the band on a White Horse, always trying to drive the music forward, studying and trusting.

Other sessions follow pre click track with Kinky Friedman, live touring with Brian Garofalo and Joan Armitrade and like Ed Greene and Ndugu Chancler, Jim Keltner, Earl Palmer and James Gadson  he knew how to hold it down in all music because he came up not knowing anything about anybody else. He met people in person connected musically.

The lack of interconnection made it so that if you were hip to music you kept seeing the same cats. No emails or texts or tweets just the human connection- con alma.  2nd Chapter Acts or Linda Ronstadt or Larry Marshall.


There's no way for me to formally communicate with Jerry Garcia and John Kahn. They got up and exited this planet quite some time ago.

In 1982 The Jerry Garcia Band was looking to find a steady date. Kreutzman was filling in and so was Errico but they wanted someone a little more permanent.

Who's the hot guy in town Kahn asks to Michael Stewart. Why don't you look into my guest Stewart replies. He's busy. But still able to fly to Keystone Palo Alto where the irascible Steve Parrish is there to greet him with a Russian Lullaby and the best sounding drums this side of Kat Man Du:

My guest held the drum chair with The Jerry Garcia Band for 10 years. A period of time that featured  missions in the rain and slouching towards Gomorrah, appearances and roller rinks in E. Setauket  NY and 24 minute Shining Stars to younger audiences whose brains were addled with potent marijuana and psychedelia.

His drumming style is contagious and his connection with Garcia and Kahn is evident when there might be a lull my guest picks it up with some White Horse gallop that perks up Jerry and there is instant unanimity on stage.

He joined the band at the height of Jerry's drug addiction....some might say he would rather be high than on stage playing. My guest can attest to the fact that even in this precoma period Jerry gave it his all and enjoyed challenges from band mates....if you were going to challenge him you better be ready to get pushed back on....my guest did that time and time again until he got that call from the aforementioned Parish about where he wanted his drums sent. As quickly as the liftoff was was as abrupt as the landing.

But my guest just dusted himself off and continued on with Bob Dylan.

Señor David Kemper welcome back to the Jake Feinberg Show....



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