Oakland Singer Songwriter Dave Deporis, 40, lost his life last week while trying to recover his music from a thief.

According to friends, Deporis’ music — including his most recent recordings from a New York studio session — was on his laptop. A thief snatched the computer from a cafe table where Deporis was working near 42nd and Telegraph Avenue in Oakland.

Deporis gave chase, grabbed hold of the car into which the thief took off, and ended up being dragged along behind the vehicle for 200 yards. Caught under the car, he suffered traumatic injuries and was pronounced dead last Wednesday.

Friends of Deporis erected a memorial of stacked rocks, candles, and a metal sculpture of a man playing the guitar.

The East Bay Express reported that Councilman Dan Kalb called Deporis’ death heart wrenching.

Musicians who knew Deporis, like singer songwriter Regina Spektor, posted their remembrances on social media.

KQED reached out to Brooklyn record producer Gabriel Galvin, a childhood friend of Deporis. Despite Deporis’ folk-tinged voice, Galvin said at his core, the musician was a punk rock artist, and that although he performed alone with his guitar, he had always envisioned the songs being performed and recorded with a band.

“Every time he actually went into a studio to record a record, he would try and put a band together,” Galvin said.

Galvin said that at the time of his death, Deporis was focused more than ever on getting his new material released and had been taking his laptop with him everywhere to work on it. Galvin said the new album was supposed to include electronic elements and synthesizers and “weird ambient atmospheric nuances.”

Other friends of Deporis have started a GoFundMe site to raise money to release a posthumous collection of Deporis’ songs.

Ian Petrich, a friend of Deporis who started the fundraiser, said Deporis’ family possesses three albums worth of the late musician’s recordings that will be woven together into a compilation album, to be released on CD and vinyl. The album will be curated by his family and friends.

Galvin said the late musician’s work may not be completely lost as he believes Deporis made a backup.  He said last time he saw Deporis in New York in April shortly before returned to California, he had an external hard drive with him. For those organizing an archive of his music, that external hard drive would be an important find.

A public memorial for Deporis has been scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 9 at Sol Gate Studios in West Oakland. Details about this and other events can be found on this Facebook page.

Local Musician Dave Deporis Died Trying to Save His Music 17 August,2017Penny Nelson

  • Stacker

    The “crime” of stealing a laptop is actually no crime at all. In fact, there is no such thing as personal property in the Socialist state we all yearn for here in California; a condition that cannot be achieved as long as people continue to insist that material things, such as Dave’s prized laptop, can be “owned” by any single individual. And as for “his” music, it really cannot be owned…at least not be any one individual, but rather, by society.
    Sadly, if Dave would have simply smiled at the person (who really just wanted to use the laptop and perhaps enjoy “Dave’s” music) and shared that which cannot be “owned” anyway, then he would be alive today. Such a shame.

Author

Penny Nelson

Penny Nelson  is based in the Bay Area  and has worked at KQED in many capacities since 1996.  Prior to working in San Francisco, she worked at WHYY.  At KQED, Penny is an anchor, host, producer and editor.

Author

Kevin L. Jones

Kevin Jones reports on the Bay Area arts scene for KQED. He loves his wife and two kids, and music today makes him feel old.

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