Oakland musician Dave Deporis died on Wednesday evening after being robbed, as reported by Pitchfork. According to Police and eye witness accounts Deporis was sitting outside a café in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland when someone stole his laptop, with the perpetrator fleeing in a car. Deporis chased after the car, grabbed onto the side of it and was dragged down the street until he slipped underneath the wheels of the car and was run over, sustaining fatal injuries. He was pronounced dead upon arrival to the hospital.
According to friends, Deporis kept much of his music on his laptop, including an unfinished album of new recordings, which could explain why he darted after the robber and chased down the getaway vehicle despite the dangers of such an action.
Deporis was a local musician who had been a bit of a vagabond, spending time in Florida and in New York, establishing himself there and befriending artists such as Regina Spektor and Kimya Dawson along the way.
He was known for his folk influenced singer-songwriter style and his knack for performing impromptu live performances. Many musicians have paid tribute to him, including DM Stith, Spektor, and Dawson. Deporis’ friends and family will be holding a celebration of life for the late musician on September 9th and the family has set up a Gofundme page to fund an album of his recordings for a wide release.
So far no arrests have been made in connection with the robbery.
— regina spektor (@respektor) August 10, 2017
Now everything you ever were. Swirling in it all as always.
Forever in peace Dave Deporis. Thanks for the music. ❤️https://t.co/b2AJhX1hcS
— Kimya Dawson (@mrskimyadawson) August 10, 2017
‘Row Row Row’ exposed his prowess: a song with more ideas grown to full than are contained in most careers.
— DM Stith (@dmstith) August 10, 2017
RIP Dave Deporis, one of the most special ones. If you were in the LES music community in the early 2000’s, you were in love with Dave.
— Wesley Verhoeve (@wesley) August 10, 2017
Here’s my take on recorded music. There’s music that sounds pretty good. That is, it’s professionally done, well crafted, in-tune —made by folks that know what they’re doing. I accept that it’s, for lack of a better description —pretty good. Then there’s stuff that just plain sucks. I can hear it, and after about four seconds (literally, sometimes less), I know beyond a doubt that it’s just fu$%ing horrible; terrible lyrics, no groove, and so un-masterfully wrought that it begs to be turned off or burned; which ever can be accomplished more quickly. But then, there’s music that comes from the unknown. Music with a strangeness that is at first, both annoying and arresting, music with a depth which proves that it issues from the mind of someone who has known pain and hope and unthinkable sorrow —someone, in other words, who knows a bit about life, and not from the outside, but from the core. Dave is that musician. – Peter Himmelman