David Getz was born January 24, 1940 and raised in Brooklyn N.Y. As a child he showed an exceptional talent in both music and art. His first passions, starting somewhere in early adolescence, were drawing and copying comic book art and studying Native American culture.
Dave started playing drums at the age of 14 and by the time he was 15 years old he was a member of the New York musicians union, local 802 and was playing professionally. He went to Europe and back when he was 19 with Rick Lundy and the Saints a Dixieland jazz group. That summer, when the Saints were not performing Dave hitch-hiked his way through Belgium, France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland. After High School Dave wanted to study art and was accepted into Cooper Union Art School in Manhattan. He graduated Cooper and decided to continue his studies in California. He waved goodbye to his family, to his friends in New York and drove his 1949 Plymouth almost nonstop to San Francisco (1960)In San Francisco in that early-sixties time Dave was at the center of the San Francisco underground. What began in that time and place was the seed that germinated into what became the counter-culture that would change the world.
Between 1960 and the time Dave joined Big Brother he didn’t play the drums that much. He painted and worked as a dishwasher and a cook and only played drums at the Art Institute parties with other artist/musicians.
In 1964 Dave got his Masters of Fine Arts degree from the San Francisco Art Institute and was the winner of a Fulbright fellowship for his paintings. He spent the next year living and painting in Krakow, Poland, a communist, iron-curtain country and it was in Poland that Dave started sitting in on drums in some of the underground jazz clubs.
Back to San Francisco and in the Fall of 65 Dave joined the faculty of the Art Institute as an instructor of painting. He was painting, showing his work and teaching.
Things were beginning to stir in San Francisco. LSD was opening minds. The ‘Free Speech Movement and the Freedom Riders were demanding change. Bands were starting up and playing a different idea of what music could be; the first psychedelic dances. Everyone is listening to Blues, Soul, Ragas and Free-Jazz. It becomes apparent that something is happening. In the winter of 1965-66 in a café downstairs from his loft while taking a break from painting, Dave met Peter Albin. Dave told Peter that he played the drums and had heard of the group that Peter played with, Big Brother and the Holding Co. One month later Dave became the new drummer for the group. Three months later Janis Joplin joined the band.
The time from 1966 through 1968 was an incredible time in the history of music and culture in America and the world; Big Brother was close to the center of it all. The Band with Janis was one of the greatest bands in the history of rock music. In late summer and fall of 1968 “Cheap Thrills” was the number one record in the world for eight weeks.1968 when Janis left Big Brother and the band broke up Dave became a member of Country Joe and the Fish, touring Europe twice and recording two albums , (Here I Go Again, Paris Sessions) with different ‘Country Joe’ bands.
The post-Janis reunion of Big Brother between 1970 and 1972 produced two albums for Columbia Records “Be A ,Brother” and “How Hard It Is”.
In 1975, Dave moved to Los Angeles where he met his wife, singer and actress, Joan Payne. For several years they wrote and performed together in L.A as part of a contemporary music ensemble called “Passengers”.
At the end of the 1970s Dave resumed his work as a visual artist but this time mainly as a printmaker. Working from his studio in Santa Monica he produced over thirty limited edition prints, hundreds of paintings, cast paper pieces, collages, and mixed-media pieces. His work was been shown in galleries all over the U.S.A. and has been acquired by numerous corporate and private collections. Many of his print editions can be viewed at www.Davegetz.com. In 1987, Dave, moved back up to the Bay Area and in the Spring of that year Big Brother had its second re-birth.
Today Dave Getz still lives in Marin County, CA. He is a father and grandfather and continues, as he has throughout his career to juggle art, music, teaching and his other passion, golf. He teaches and has taught both art and drumming at numerous schools including the College of Marin, Drake H.S., Novato H.S., and San Marin H.S. he has been on the faculty of Jazz Camp West and he currently teaches drumming at the Marin Community Music School. Dave also continues to pursue his work in the visual arts. In 2005 he was asked, along with eleven other Bay Area artists, including Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane, to each paint an actual violin. These were works of art and music and were auctioned for the Marin Symphony.
In 2010, Dave finally released a CD of his own music called ‘Can’t Be The Only One’. The title track being a song that Dave co-wrote with Janis in 1968 that was never recorded which features the vocals of the late Kathi MacDonald. The album has received high praise from everyone from Ben Fong Torres to Barry Melton. It is available from CD Baby, Amazon and the Global Recording Artists Label.