Dave Kerzner on Kevin Gilbert

Dave Kerzner remembers his old friend Kevin Gilbert:

Here’s the background of a virtual “Thud Reunion” that happened on the songs “Theta” and “My Old Friend” from New World/New World Deluxe Edition. Back in the 90s I used to play with a brilliant artist named Kevin Gilbert and his band called “Thud” which also featured Nick D’Virgilio on drums. While I’ve worked with Nick again since, I had not played with Thud’s shredding guitarist Russ Parrish (aka Satchel from “Steel Panther”!) and genius tabla player Satnam Ramgotra since then. Flash forward 18 years and we’re all playing together again on my album on a song I dedicated to Kevin. That was something very special and meaningful to me and I think to them too. Kevin was a virtuoso musician and exceptional lyricist. He sadly passed away at an early age not more than a year or so after we all played together. But, his music lives on and is worth checking out! Here’s a song called “Joytown” which not only has myself, Nick and Satnam on it but I do a little keyboard solo on the Wurlitzer EP (a sound I used on Theta/My Old Friend) with a little funny shout out from Kevin. The lyrics of this song (and all of his songs) are clever, quirky and unique. When I wrote the words for “My Old Friend” I stretched myself to “Kevinize” it a bit in his honor.

Playing with him and just knowing him raised the bar for lyric writing and music recording for me. He’s been a big influence in many ways. I’ll never forget the speech he gave to me about singing my songs. It only took me another 18 years to release them! Here’s “Joytown” by Kevin Gilbert, performed by “Thud” Live at the famous Troubadour in West Hollywood, California in 1995.


“My Old Friend” — @DaveKerzner on Kevin Gilbert

Dave Kerzner tells the story behind “My Old Friend,” a song on one of the best albums of the year:

Here’s a song I wrote and dedicated to Kevin Gilbert. It’s called “My Old Friend”.


The song features the first reunion of my fellow “Thud” bandmates Nick D’Virgilio and Russ Parrish since we last played together with Kevin in the mid 90s. On the Deluxe Edition of “New World” there is a trippy intro piece called “Theta” that also features Durga McBroom (of Pink Floyd fame who knew Kevin back in the Toy Matinee days and he produced her first demo… btw Guy Pratt, also from Pink Floyd, played on that Toy Matinee album as well) and Satnam Ramgotra on tabla who played with Thud on the Kashmir single as well as on songs like “Joytown” and “Waiting” which can be heard/seen on the “Kevin Gilbert – Live At The Troubadour” DVD. Also joining us on the track are Fernando Perdomo on bass + backwards guitar and Maryem Tollar with an exotic Egyptian vocal solo. I sing, play keys and acoustic guitar on this one.

The story of the song is about the main character of “New World” meeting up with a mysterious Shamen-like apparition in the desert where a grand perspective and vital wisdom is shared. I purposely wrote the words a bit more toward Kevin’s style. The music has hints of our old “Thud” live band sound, particularly with the creative contributions of Nick, Russ and Satnam. However, the Doors, Nick Drake and Peter Gabriel are as much of an influence in this piece. Hope you like it. Here’s the Standard album version to listen to off of my Sonic Elements bandcamp page.

The lyrics:

“My Old Friend”

Hello, my old friend
From the other side of the end
You’ve come to visit me again
Poetic license to pretend

Hello, to the shape unknown
Waiting dauntless on my own
Bare and fragile flesh and bone
I am eager to be shown

Give me reason, give me art
Unearthly wisdom you impart
Crossing over, shaking hands
With someone who understands

Hello, my old friend
From the other side of the end
We both took that drive
To an unexpected curve
With hollow people
Who’ve got a lot of nerve
Restrained what we deserve
In a cloud you observe

Give me reason, give me art
Unearthly wisdom you impart
Crossing over, shaking hands
With someone who understands

Give me courage, give me grace
Spin the dogma that I face
I am tuning to the signs
Etching truth in cosmic lines

So long, my old friend
One day we shall meet again

I also can’t help thinking of Pink Floyd when Dave sings, “Hello…”!

Dave adds:

I’ll tell you something I like about this song (and especially the version on the Deluxe Edition that has the intro piece I mentioned). Because it reunites me with Nick, Russ and Satnam and we’ve only improved as musicians over the years since (not that these guys weren’t ALWAYS amazing but they certainly haven’t lost it that’s for sure) it has the feel of something NEW with that band. It’s impossible to do any new songs with Kevin unfortunately (I wonder what music he’d be making if he were still around today). But, the other players in that band have a distinct character and artistry to their playing and it’s nice for that chemistry we have to shine again, even if just for this moment. It’s deep. I’m very honored they came on board for this. It means so much to me.