Dave Deporis, a well-known folk-influenced singer-songwriter, was killed on Wednesday in Oakland, The San Francisco Chronicle reports. Deporis was reportedly chasing a thief who had just stolen his laptop while he sat in front of a cafe in the Temescal district of Oakland. According to police, the musician grabbed onto the robber’s red Audi SUV as they drove away and was briefly dragged down the street and run over, sustaining injuries which led to his death.
Speaking to the Chronicle, one of Deporis’ close friends, Chris Vogel, said he thought that Deporis stored all of his recordings on the computer; another friend, Robert Martin, believed that it contained an unreleased new album.
Deporis was 40, and had been active as a musician since the 1990s. He was a well-known performer in New York City, famous for doing impromptu performances and asking for little to no money for his shows. As Pitchfork points out, Regina Spektor and My Brightest Diamond shared memories of seeing Deporis perform in The Sidewalk Cafe in NYC’s East Village, and Kimya Dawson shared a full set of his from the venue on Twitter. A memorial for Deporis will be held at Sol Gate Studios in West Oakland on September 9.
— regina spektor (@respektor) August 10, 2017
My tears overflow with the passing of the incredible @youhavepowers . #DaveDeporis was playing the Sidewalk Cafe in New York in 1999 and 2000 when I first started playing the open mic there. He wrote a song with a pencil in his guitar and I loved the song so much and wrote “Disappear” with a pencil in my guitar too but my song wasn’t as pretty as his. Ever. He raged. He wandered. He sang so pretty he could break my heart in half and soften the walls I’d built around myself.. I had so many hopes for him and for his music. He never put anything out cause he was always recording and re-recording and editing songs, changing them time over again… but in all their iterations they were beautiful. He was a punk. Other. A true original. He was my friend. I am so sad. See you in the spheres, dear David. #SwanKing ✨✨✨✨✨✨✨
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