RIP: DAN AUERBACH
Dan Auerbach was an accomplished musician who played 14 different instruments, mainly mandolin family, banjo, guitar, pennywhistle, and Irish frame drum. He loved music and loved playing music with others, always encouraging them to express themselves and increase their own abilities. He consistently contributed to the music scene wherever he was located. In the last 36 years, living in Thousand Oaks, he played in sessions, composed, taught music. He set up and maintained his website The Tune Spectrum, which features transcriptions of over 1,000 tunes of a variety of genres, each tune with MIDI file and many having links to exceptional YouTube performances.
As an engineering student at UC Berkeley in the 1960s, he pretty much abandoned his technical classes and instead taught himself music and played on the radio on programs such as Midnight Special ok KPFA.
When it was “be drafted or enlist,” Dan joined the U.S. Army and was stationed in Fort Carson, Colorado during the war in Vietnam as a radar repairman. There, when not on duty, he often played traditional music in the local coffee houses
He attended San Jose State College and received Masters in Electrical Engineering (magna cum laude), music, and sculpture. His music mentor was Dr. Heckbert.
While in San Jose, he played upright bass in an all-girl jazz band to help pay for school. And, he ran a traditional music group, the Coyote String Band.
He led a band, PRISM, that played many kinds of music and played in the L.A. Coliseum.
Dan discovered Scientology in 1969. He was invited to join the personal staff of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, in 1970. In 1971, Dan went to live on their ship, the Apollo, when it was primarily located in Morocco, Spain and Portugal. In addition to his main duties, he musically entertained guests coming onboard. As crew, he also learned ship handling and celestial navigation and became Officer of the Deck of his sea watch. From 1971 to 1975, he interacted with musicians in Portugal, Spain, Morocco and the Canary Islands, including playing concerts.
In 1975, Dan became part of a music and dance troupe The Apollo Stars, run from the Apollo which performed on many islands in the Caribbean.
He met Cassandra, his future wife, when she came onboard in 1975. They played music together starting in 1977, and were married in 1979.
They moved to Florida in 1975 and mainly did music informally for several years.
He joined and participated in the Guild of American Luthiers from 1980 on.
Dan moved to California in 1984.
In 1985, he won 1st place, Advanced Mandolin, at the Topanga Fiddle and Banjo Contest.
Starting in 1986, he was involved with the California Traditional Music Society, helping with their concerts, jams and their teaching festival, Summer Solstice Traditional Music and Dance Festival, until it ceased to exist.
He designed and built the first inside-tunable bodhran. Dan started making and selling them, label “Mountanbrook.” When mass-produced tunable bodhrans started to become easily and cheaply available, he stopped making his own.
Dan started attending Lark in the Morning Music Celebration in the Mendocino Woodlands State Park in 1997 and went regularly until 2009. There, he taught beginning bodhran one year and gave private help on mandolin and guitar as requested.
In 1997, he played back-up on self-titled “Sheer Pandemonium” CD. Here’s a set, with Dan playing cittern:
and one with a waltz which Dan composed called “Valse Happening”:
After retiring from the aerospace industry in 2009, Dan taught music privately at his home.
Dan started attending the sessions at the Celtic Arts Center in North Hollywood and performing in the Céilís and participated until the 2020 COVID shut-down.
During his time in California, he also attended Irish sessions in Santa Barbara and Ventura. He and his wife headed up sessions in Agoura. Then, they held sessions at his home in Thousand Oaks in 2019.
In January 2020, there was a 79th Birthday Party for Dan at his home, with many musicians in attendance.
Keep the music happening! Please check out and utilize The Tune Spectrum, Dan would have really appreciated it.