Local Musician Dave Deporis Died Trying to Save His Music

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Dave Deporis (Facebook)

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.