Our Friend of the Week – Dale Geist
Dale is a longtime friend of GP + AP. We think of him as the Bob Dylan of Facebook since he enviably posts such honest, gritty, wry, and sardonic vignettes of his life as a dad, dude, husband, songwriter, and digital genius. His intelligence, compassion, and ridiculously high cool quotient make him the perfect FOtW for our first music issue.
Your City: Sonoma, CA
Your What: “My new song, ‘Grip,’ about a decent guy who finds himself at the breaking point, looking at a stack of bills that’s bigger than his paycheck.”
FRIEND OF THE WEEK: 11 QUESTIONS
WEBSITE: DALE HENRY GEIST
1. Nickname: My buddy David Thom calls me “Hoss.” My wife calls me “Honey,” but I’m trying to get her to use “Hoss.”
2. What’s your short story? I had a small-town, middle-American upbringing in upstate New York. I was shy and bookish, but those books, and my sister’s record collection, gave me a glimpse of another world, so when I was 19 I dropped out of college and went looking for it. A few years later I ended up in San Francisco with a degree in filmmaking, a fascination for authentic American culture, especially roots music, and a songwriting habit that I couldn’t quit. Filmmaking turned into multimedia turned into video games turned into web development, all of which have underwritten the other two obsessions. Along the way I picked up a wife and a couple kids, and we live in Gourmayberry (aka the town of Sonoma) with dogs, cats, goats, chickens…
3. What’s your jam? “It’s All Right, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding),” by Mr. Bob Dylan.
4. What motivates you? I am driven (relentlessly, fatiguingly) by some kind of innate desire to become a better person in every possible way, but especially to discover and embody my most authentic self; I have faith that that’s what the world needs from me. The clock, the calendar, the certainty of death is what motivates me. I’m a load of fun that way.
5. Who do you think you’d have great friend chemistry with? I’d *like* to think I could be great pals with Pete Seeger, Tom Smothers, Henry Miller, Allen Ginsberg, Woody Guthrie, or Walt Whitman. I actually *do* think I could be pals with Richard Linklater, as he seems to be drawing directly from my life in his films.
6. What qualities do your favorite friends have in common? They’re insightful, they’re creative, they’re struggling to make sense of things, and for some reason they let me hang out with them.
7. What’s the smartest, most inspiring, awesome thing you’ve read, watched, or listened to? I guess it would have to be “Highway 61 Revisited,” the 1965 album by Bob Dylan. The first thing that grabbed me was the *sound* of it – raw, keening, funky – and then comes that voice, like a handful of pebbles thrown at the window of your conscience; then you start to hear the words, written in acid, blood, and nectar, speaking in code directly to your soul. I’ve never gotten over it.
8. What whets your appetite? Swimming in a lake, playing with my sons, jamming with friends, Giants on the radio, driving the coast highway, trying a new local beer. Having a new song by the tail, trying to hang on and see where it wants to go. And sex. (Or does that just go without saying?)
9. What’s next on your To Do List? Finish up this new batch of songs that all deal one way or another with the friction (sometimes all-out war) between being a good citizen and pursuing liberation, then raise money to record the fuckers and put out a CD.
10. How are you friends with Gina + Amy? I met Gina when we were both working for a little multimedia shop in San Francisco in the mid-90s. I was a great admirer of her intelligence, initiative, goofy sense of humor, and beauty. I remain so. I met Amy some years after that, when the two of them were running Splendora and I sought their advice on a business venture. That venture never got off the ground, but the meeting was worth it because I got to know Amy.”
11. What’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Don’t take yourself too seriously. From my mom. Because I take myself too seriously. I forget this advice daily at minimum, but it remains spectacular advice.