Tag Archives: Grateful Dead

Mickey Hart & Zakir Hussain reunite for Global Drum Project

Over three decades as the innovative percussion engine of the Grateful Dead, Mickey Hart's ear for global sounds brought numerous unpredictable guests to the Dead's stage performances.

Hart's 1991 release Planet Drum was the natural outgrowth of this adventure, showcasing his gift as a supreme catalyst in convening the world's finest percussion talent for a dazzling collaboration – including Indian tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, who is an international phenomenon in his own right.  Zakir began his career as a child prodigy has gone on to win many awards, founded his own record label Moment! Records, and starred in two documentaries, 2003's "The Speaking Hand: Zakir Hussain and the Art of the Indian Drum" and 1998's "Zakir and His Friends."  Planet Drum was recorded in Hart's Sonoma County home and studio, with the Dead's legendary crew turning virtually every room in the house into a work zone for each musician.  The album won the first-ever Grammy for Best World Music Album, spent an unprecedented 26 weeks at #1 on the Billboard chart, and sells as a perennial favorite to this day.

Fifteen years have passed, and the friendship and musical partnership of Hart and Hussain, which began in the early 70s with their world fusion experiment Diga Rhythm Band, has continued to flourish.  Their 2006 Planet Drum reunion tour was immensely well-received and germinated the idea to revisit "Planet Drum"

Hence this fresh collaboration of tranced-out grooves, elegant electronic programming and hypnotic tuned percussion that is the Global Drum Project. Masterfully produced by Hart and Hussain, the Global Drum Project once again enlists the great partnership of Sikuru Adepoju (Nigerian talking drum) and Giovanni Hidalgo (congas), as well as Taufiq Qureshi (brother to Zakir Hussain) on percussion & vocals, Niladari Kumar on sitar, Dilshad Khan on sarangi, and sampled vocals by the late, great Olatunji.  Global Drum Project will be in stores October 2nd, 2007. The ensemble will again tour the U.S. this fall in support of the release.

In addition to Global Drum Project, Shout! Factory will be reissuing a series of catalog titles that will be made available digitally in October, and physically released in 2008.  The titles include Diga Rhythm Band (One of the first "world music" recordings, a crystalline, remixed celebration of drumming and percussion featuring Hart, Hussain, nine other rhythmatists, and Jerry Garcia on two tracks), At The Edge (Companion to his acclaimed book debut, Drumming at the Edge of Magic (Harper San Francisco 1990), this exploration of the music of primeval man unfolds a serene soundscape of tuned percussion, ambient natural sounds, and guitar treatments by Jerry Garcia), Mystery Box ( An effervescent, pop-inflected album, full of breezy songs with layered vocals by England's Mint Juleps – and a vocal debut by Mickey Hart), Supralingua: Hart continued to push the "tribal space" boundaries of percussion and sound, beyond his Grammy-winning Planet Drum, with some of the same stellar guest personnel.

Dead roadie’s story to big screen

From Variety.com

Michael Grais will adapt "Home Before Daylight," an autobiography by a longtime Grateful Dead roadie, for the bigscreen.  He's also producing.  Project will trace the music- and drug-filled exploits of the Bay Area band, which mingled with the likes of Ken Kesey and Jefferson Airplane during its heyday and developed a devoted following on the concert circuit well into the 1980s.

Grais ("Poltergeist") is producing with tome's author Steve Parish, who has already garnered the support of Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir and Jefferson Airplane's management.

Grais, who previously produced the music bio "Great Balls of Fire," first saw the Dead perform while working at the Fillmore East as an usher in 1970.

"It was the longest night of my life because they played all night," Grais said, "which is what they used to do."

He said he and Parish immediately bonded over music — it helped that his wife used to be a backup singer for Jackson Browne and Tom Petty. He and Parish have already spent a month in Northern California hashing out the adaptation.

Parish said he wrote the book because, though there have been many books published about the Grateful Dead, none "were from the inside. They were not about the fun we had.

"There has never been and probably never will be another cast of characters like the Grateful Dead."

Others have talked about adapting his 2004 tome into a movie, but Parish said he shares a rapport with Grais.

Parish said Weir — "a good friend" — has agreed to serve as music coordinator for the project, which will include other music of the era.  And the manager of Jefferson Airplane, another longtime pal, has also pledged rights to its music from the era.

Parish, who joined the band as a troubled teen, worked with the Grateful Dead and the Jerry Garcia band for 35 years.

Grais is also writing a movie based on Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying" for Chuck Gordon's Daybreak Prods.

Birthday memories and flying hot dogs

Another birthday is lurking around the corner for me.  It has me recollecting all of these inevitable occasions to date and wondering which ones will stand the test of time to eventually become classified as the best of the best.

Easily, the last twenty birthdays of my life have been spent seeing live music.  This time around, it falls on the second day of July.  Since a popular summer holiday is always nearby, it’s always been pretty easy for me to get festive.  

To date, there are only a couple of these celebrations that stand out as unforgettable.  A favorite birthday of my childhood was at age 8.  (My parents were 26 at the time).  My father had earned a work bonus of a week’s rental of a cabin on a lake, choosingto use it over the first week in July.  My parents planned to combine my birthday party with a July 4th party, so my dad carefully boxed up his Akai reel to reel and speakers into our 1968 Cherry Red SS Imapla, grabbed the wife, kids and dog, and we were off.  

A large gathering of family and friends came out to enjoy the waterfront property and celebrate.  As I recall, they were blaring the likes of Grand Funk Railroad, The Guess Who, Steve Miller Band, and Three Dog Night.  Kegs were flowing and I can remember everyone really taking in the gorgeous day.  At dusk there were not too many kids my age left at the gathering. 

My younger sister and I were kicking back after a long hot day in the water and enjoying some potato salad when we looked up and noticed my dad's best friend was getting pretty loaded.  We were giggling at how loud he had become and were mocking his attempt to communicate some “adult idea” he had.

Before we knew it, he entered and then came out of the cabin running, buck naked.  He circled the entire parameter of the property with beer in hand and everyone was laughing with (at?) him for his choice to streak the party.  I guess in 1974 that was a hip thing to do.

My six year old sister and I had never seen an adult do such a thing.  It was hard to forget for the remainder of that summer, and more than once we laughed at the thought of his sunburned back and lily white butt running around, Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein" serving as a soundtrack. 

After that, I think my favorite birthdays were spent seeing the Grateful Dead.  Quite often July 2 would be near the kick-off date for an entire summer tour.  The year I turned 23 was when I decided to hit the road and see an entire summer tour.  (I did two more entire summer tours after that as well). 

This first year stands out for me because I chose to fly – one way – from Minneapolis to Foxboro, Massachusetts and get myself home by way of ridesharing my way west to Alpine Valley in East Troy, WI.   My college roommate met me there with my car and I drove us back to home to Minnesota.  All rides that summer were, of course, arranged from the parking lot.

I vividly remember getting off of that airplane and feeling so open to whatever the road was going to bring me in the weeks to come.  I met a lot of great people that summer and truly enjoyed the freedom of traveling solo, moving about as I wished and not really ever feeling alone a single moment of it.  I had no trouble finding a ride from show to show and even less difficulty finding conversation from town to town.  

The music that was played that summer was spectacular fun witness.  There are few bands out there whose music helped define and shape my youth the way the Grateful Dead’s did.  I feel honored to have jumped on the tail end of their career and experienced them live the way they were meant to be experienced.  I intently explored their music with about as much passion as anyone could.  

The birthday kick off show in Foxboro was one of my favorites of the run because of the company I kept that day.  I remember thinking that Boston must be a really cool place to be in summer and vowed to come back.  The single most random birthday oddity occurred at the end of the day and is something I will never forget. 

I was walking out of the stadium floor area while talking with the random hippie dude who joined me for the second set.  Suddenly, out of no where I got nailed with a hot dog. 

Just like that. 

A friggin big ol’ hot dog with ketchup (no bun) hit me right in temple. 

Mortified, I looked at the hippie as he looked back at me and said “I hate it when that happens.”  We looked up and examined the bleachers above where it came flying, and laughed hysterically for a few minutes, trying to pick out just which Jersey boy was guilty.  We gave up, and parted ways.  I never saw that guy again.  I’m not sure if I will ever laugh that hard again in my life.  

My next birthday lands on a Monday and I have to work.  I of course didn’t let that stop me from planning a live music journey near the date.  If there is one thing you can count on in Seattle on the fourth of July, it's rain.  Being the summer celebrator I am, I have decided to hit the road, find some heat and get myself to Kenny Brown's Hill Country Picnic in Potts Camp, MS. 

I’m hopeful the event will provide me with just the right amount of warmth, joy and celebratory libations to mark the year as special.  

This year I anticipate some down home fun to call my own.  I don’t think I will see any Southern streakers, and I sure hope I don’t get hit with any flying picnic food, but I know something random and odd will happen just the same.

San Fran acts old and new to play Sing Out for Seva

An all-star cast has been announced to take part in Sing Out for Seva, in honor of Wavy Gravy's 71st Birthday.

On May 18, 2007 at The Grand Ballroom in San Francisco, CA, local acts old and new (and other assorted musicians) will honor Wavy Gravy, including Mickey Hart and Friends, Chris Robinson and his "Wooden Family," Zero, Tea Leaf Green, and Sikiru Adepoju.  Special guests are also anticipated.

Tickets are $50 and are available at www.ticketmaster.com and www.GDTSTOO.com  A limited number of VIP tickets are available through Seva Foundation.

Visit www.seva.org/events.php for more information.

The Rhythm Devils take flight this fall

The Rhythm Devils have confirmed a string of dates this fall at theatres across the country.  The new super-group which features Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann of The Grateful Dead, Mike Gordon of Phish, and the ubiquitous Steve Kimock first came together this past spring in New York City.  After a mini-tour in August that included The Gathering of the Vibes Festival, The Rhythm Devils are poised to return to the road this October leading up to The Vegoose Music Festival.  The October dates will also feature vocal sensation Goapele and talking drum master Sikiru Adepoju.

In August, the band debuted new original material penned by Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter including “Fountains of Wood,” “The Center” and “Who Do You Think You Are.”  The group also dipped into the Grateful Dead songbook highlighted by “The Other One,” “Sugaree” and “Comes A Time.”  In the spirit of collaboration, The Rhythm Devils have welcomed many special guests at their recent appearances including Bob Weir, Charlie Musselwhite, Babba Maal, Angelique Kidjo, Stephen Perkins, and the legendary newsman Walter Cronkite.

Hart and Kreutzmann's remarkable cohesion, synchronicity, and driving power became a hallmark of the Grateful Dead's sound for over thirty years, earning them the nickname The Rhythm Devils.  The percussive duo's sole release was The Apocalypse Now Sessions for which they were recruited by director Francis Ford Coppola to bring together the myriad sounds and colors for the legendary film.

Both men have kept busy over the years participating in numerous projects from the Grammy winning percussive super-group Planet Drum which brought Mickey together with Zakir Hussain and many of the world's best drummers, to the one-off power trio SerialPod in which Kreutzmann collaborated with Trey Anastasio (Phish) and Mike Gordon.    Steve Kimock appeared in both The Other Ones and Zero while Mike Gordon has clocked in the better part of the past twenty years with Phish.  This marks the first time that Hart, Kreutzmann, Gordon, and Kimock have toured together as an ensemble.

One of the R&B world’s freshest commodities Goapele, will also be joining The Rhythm Devils for their extended October run.  Goapele has released two critically acclaimed albums via Sony/Columbia and is ready to expose her wonderful talent to a new audience.  Sikiru Adepoju has collaborated with Mickey Hart in past incarnations of Planet Drum.  Sikiru is known as one of the most accomplished Talking Drum players in the world and brings his uncanny sensibilities to the Rhythm Devils mix.

The Rhythm Devils kick off their fall tour on October 17 at The Sunoco Theatre in Harrisburg, PA before heading to The Starland Ballroom in Sayersville, NJ.  Stops in Ohio include Columbus’s Promowest Pavilion, Toledo’s Stranahan Theatre, and The House of Blues in Cleveland.  The band will hit the Midwest with a special show at The Chicago Theatre on October 24 and The Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee on October 25.  The tour wraps up at The Vegoose Music Festival on October 29.  Tickets for all shows will be available through GDTSTOO at www.gdtstoo.com.  Check out www.rhythmdevils.net for photos, mp3s, and the new Rhythm Devils online store.

10/17/06        Harrisburg, PA          Sunoco Thr.
10/18/06        Sayersville, NJ         Starland Ballroom
10/19/06        Columbus, OH            Promowest Pavilion
10/21/06        Toledo, OH              Stranahan Thr.
10/22/06        Cleveland, OH           House of Blues
10/24/06        Chicago, IL             Chicago Thr.
10/25/06        Milwaukee, WI           Riverside Thr.
10/29/06        Las Vegas, NV           Vegoose Music Festival