2009-02-12

Dave Wopat -- Undercover agent?

Back in the early 90s, Dave Wopat, was driving around the country in a small station wagon playing music at college campuses and other venues. I saw him when he came to Carroll College. It was really nice, low key show. I bought a copy one of his tapes.

I think it was called 5 Songs. Or something like that. One side, as I recall, was labeled 5 Songs. The other side was labeled 5 More Songs. I think there were 13 on the tape. It was mostly covers of lite rock. That cassette got quite a workout in my tape deck.

Unfortunately, I lost a case of 12 tapes on a trip and that tape was in that case. I've made some half-hearted efforts to replace it since then, but I haven't had much luck.

And here's where it gets interesting -- Google is failing me.

If the names sounds familiar, it's because his brother is Actor/Singer/Broadway dude Tom Wopat. Best known for his work on the Dukes of Hazzard, the past 20 years of his career have been surprisingly diverse.

But his roaming minstrel brother seems to have disappered. There are no references to him on Wikipedia or on Tom's website. MySpace is no help. Amazon lists nothing. And the Google search returns just a few mentions of his name, and those are people who also saw him perform at colleges in the 80s and early 90s.

That may not have been a superstar career, and it was before the Internet reached a mass audience. But still. He apparently made his living as a professional musician, went back to the same places several times, recorded a album (which was not as cheap and easy back them), and must have had some fans. It's odd that there is so little of him on Internet.

My working theory is that music was just a cover career. He was actually working for some shadowy governmental organization. He travelled around the country singing at night and taking on missions during the day. And one day he had an especially important mission. He had to "disappear." His handlers took him off the road and proceeded to wipe out his existence. They erased online entries and databases. They convinced his family not to talk about him. They even followed me just so they could recover that cassette, which must have had state secrets encoded into it.

I guess now that I have given voice to this national secret, I should keep my eyes open for unmarked vans...

33 comments:

Dan Brantley said...

I think it is highly suspicious that barack Obama and Dave Wopat have never been seen together. Never at the same place at the same time....
Hmmmm...

Cromely said...

@Dan Brantley: That's it! His brother's royalties funded his entry into Chicago politics and switching his birth certificate from Wisconsin to Hawaii!

EastCoastLife said...

Happy Valentine's Day!

Shinade said...

You know you just may be onto something here. I hadn't given it any thought at all until now.

So what led you to suddenly revive the missing actor/singer/possible spy?

Emmmmmmmmm.....just wondering here???

Cromely said...

@Shinade: Facebook has me reminiscing about college too much lately. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Butterfly Man said...

I knew Dave back then (only a handful of us were recruited by NACA) ... while most of our "work" is still classified, I can assure you that indeed the end does justify the means.

P.S. be assured that no animals were hurt in the process.

Anonymous said...

I saw him at my college, too. ALSO got his tape (yes, it was 5 songs, and 5 more songs, and had 13 total, including "Starlight", which was my personal favorite) Like you, I lost my copy along life's road, too. And have been unable to find anything about it anywhere. Still look once in a while, though.

Jessica said...

I was just searching for him, too. This was one of the first links that came up. I wanted to get a new version of his tape. I played it till it died. Hope he (and his music) turn up somewhere. It would be cool to see his show again, too.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I have several of his tapes (including 5 songs). Good stuff. Any website that updates his career or offers cd's?

Maggieliz said...

I saw him at college in the early 90's and also lost that fabulous tape. I'd give up my third-favorite body part to get it back - his rendition of McDonald's Girl cracked me up.

Also - he was awesome.

Hope his shadow career was lucrative.

Anonymous said...

I have also seen Dave Wopat at a college, I think in '89. I am pretty sure I still have his tape. "Starlight" is definitely my favorite. I'll go hunting for it and add another comment if I find it for anyone who's interested in getting a copy made.

Anonymous said...

dave wopat is alive and well and living quietly in maryland . . .

Anonymous said...

Actually his goal was to infiltrate the marxist underground of liberal universities :) that's why he only played schools. Sure miss him though, great tape, great show. I will not rest till I find the truth!

McVal said...

I just happened upon this, doing a search for dear old Dave too! He lives in Lebanon, Oregon. At least he did in the early 2000s. I actually called him and talked with him to find out if he had any new tapes!
I had hired him 2 or 3 years in a row when I was in college as part of our activity committee. around 1985 - 1988. LOVE his songs! Dave - if you're still out there... put out a cd!

rennratt said...

I, too, saw Dave while in college and purchased his tape. I played it until it died.

I am obviously the random one in the crowd; "McDonald's Girl" was my favorite song.

wantonbanter said...

I, too, saw him 3 times at a college in south west Missouri. I got 2 copies of the tape as they got a lot of play time. Neither has survived this long. I was looking for a copy of the McDonalds girl lyrics for a friend and this blog is the only thing that mentions Dave Wopat

Anonymous said...

Hi there. For those of you looking for his tape. I never saw him but got a copy of a copy of a copy of his tape. I too played it till it died. I have been trying to see if he still made a copy and would make a CD. Well, ready for the cool part of this post? I was afraid that my CD would wear out and I knew the tapes were going the way of the dinosaur so.... Yes I made a digital copy. If I get permission from Dave I would love to share it with you.

Anonymous said...

Dave came to University of Minnesota Morris in January of 1988 if I recall correctly. I bought his tape for $5 and loved it.

"That's why I hate the beach boys" was a fun song that gave me a lot of smiles through the early 90's.

Remember them?

"I don't tan, I burn

And I buy my clothes at Sears."

J. Kempf

Anonymous said...

First of all, great article! I totally agree with everyone out there who said what a great performer Dave was (still is?). I too loved his tape, and Starlight is indeed one of the sweetest songs ever. Heard him at Lawrence University twice in the 90's, and I only wish I could hear of him still out touring and performing to appreciative audiences! Where are you Dave?

Anonymous said...

I am glad i'm not the only one who has been searching for Dave and his music. I saw in back in 88/89 at Penn State's Beaver Campus and had his tap (5 songs). Sad that my car tape deck ate the tape in 91. I have spent more than a few hours looking for a site for him, ec and ZILCH! If anyone knows if he has a site, etc please feel free to email the details to exv451 at hotmail dot com as I would like to know if he still plays/records, etc.

elizabeth said...

i haave a cassette tape by tom simon called dreams on the shelf, 1986. dave wopat did the vocals.
out of spokane wa at the time. the surviving members of the album pplay now or affiliated with the spokane community college jazz department. or were in the 80's i would like to find him too. why no more music?

Anonymous said...

He married a woman with money and hasn't worked since. Lives in Maryland.

thesacredclown said...

I remember him playing at Sam Houston State in Texas. Yamaha gear mostly.
I even had a poster of him.
Made me want to do the same thing.

Jen Ifer said...

01-07-12 I have it! Right now copying the cassette to MP3. Yes - this is the Dave Wopat cassette tape we've all been coveting for years.

Yes this thread is old - but just found it and decided to let you all know that hopefully in a couple of hours I can get this music to you!

Laura said...

Jen Ifer- were you able to upload the Dave mp3s? Where are they?

Sean said...

Please post the Dave Wopat mp3s! I've been singing the 'Be Prepared' song all night!

Sean said...

Please post a link to the Dave Wopat mp3s! I've been singing the 'Be Prepared' song all day!

Missy said...

Like so many I caught Dave Wopat's show while in college at Ball State University and wore my tape out. But McDonald's Girl ("and money did exchange hands") and The Boyscout Song both play through my vocal chords. Did anyone ever figure out where we can get a new copy?

Unknown said...

I also heard him play at Hanover College in the late 80's. I still have the cassette tape. I converted some of my tapes to mp3's but then my parent's tape deck broke. Didn't get this one done yet, that's why I'm googling for him now and found this thread.

Unknown said...

Anyone who has a cassette tape player and an iphone can create a digital copy of his songs. Just play the tape and record it using the voice memo app on your phone. Then you sync your phone into iTunes and the tracks appear under the voice memos. They can then be burned to a cd.

Anonymous said...

Dave wolpat is a muslim busy setting up shria law courts in the US!

Anonymous said...

Dave, the diesel VW Rabbit is long dead, but I think you're still alive in MD. How 'bout some new tunes? Or even put the old ones out there for folks to enjoy. I'm on the road and I don't know where I'm gonna be tonight.

Anonymous said...

He sang me a song once...in a ski resport bar. He probably met his wife at the same place. Unfortunately, I didn't have any money...