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Mickey Hart

Rick Coates - August 15th, 2011


There is no “mailing it in” with Mickey Hart, the percussion guru of the
Grateful Dead, who could easily cash in year after year touring and
playing the hits of his former band.
“What’s the point of always doing the same thing? I don’t eat my favorite
meal everyday; I explore different foods in search of my new favorite
meal, and that is my approach to music,” said Hart. “My whole life I have
constantly been exploring different types of music, even during my
Grateful Dead days.
“Sure I have a great appreciation for that music and being able to be a
part of creating that music,” he added. “I am sure all of us will get
together again in the future and revisit it, but for now I am focused on
my current projects as I know the other members are busy with their own
projects.”
At 67, Hart is as energized now as he was 45 years ago when he joined the
Grateful Dead. His current project is the Mickey Hart Band and he will
test the musical waters this weekend at the 9th Annual Hoxeyville Music
Festival (45 miles south of Traverse City, just off M-37 near Wellston).
“I am not touring, just doing a few dates to see what works and what
doesn’t work with this new project and band,” said Hart. “I will do a full
tour next summer, but for now I am just doing a couple of club dates,
theaters and music festivals. I was impressed with what I saw last year at
Hoxeyville so I wanted to come back and let them be among the first to
hear my new project.”

BAND BACKGROUND
It has been 16 years since Jerry Garcia passed away and since that time,
Hart has toured with his former Dead bandmates as The Other Ones from 1998
- 2002. In 2003 the band changed its name to The Dead. They decided to
take a hiatus in 2009.
Last year Hart visited Hoxeyville with his band, The Rhythm Devils (a name
Jerry Garcia gave the duo one night when he looked back at them and said
“you guys are the Rhythm Devils). That band included his Grateful Dead
percussion mate Bill Kreutzmann.
“I am excited about this new project on several fronts,” said Hart of his
latest group. “Certainly the musicianship and I know the people of
Michigan are going to be equally impressed with the band I have assembled.
Musically I consider this to be the best work I have done in my 50-plus
years of performing.”
A strong statement coming from a musician whose work with the Grateful
Dead landed him in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“Again, I think if you say your best work was that from the past how can
you grow as a musician or a person? I believe that each project I am
working on is and will be my best work. You have to or you are just going
through the motions.”

NEW STUFF
Hart will release a new CD early next year, his first studio work in five
years since he produced the Grammy winning “The Global Drum Project.” He
doesn’t want to give too much away about what to expect from his new CD,
but points to his musical research as the foundation for the project.
“Over the past several years I have I been working with leading scientists
from NASA and other institutions to capture raw light waves from space and
then transform those light waves into sound waves. Afterwards, using those
sounds to compose universal music. I have started with the sounds of the
Big Bang from 13.7 billion years ago and continued my personal
investigation through our current time,” said Hart. “Basically I am
exploring what the universe sounds like.”
Hart enthusiastically furthers his point.
“Music is a universal language, every culture and society has used sounds
and rhythms throughout its history. It is only natural to believe that
this inspiration for all of this came from the sounds created by the
universe,” said Hart. “I firmly believe that like water and air we need
music to survive, it is what defines and it is part of what makes us
human.”

AROUND THE WORLD
Prior to searching space, Hart explored and captured music from
cultures around the world. That work will now be recognized by the
Smithsonian with the release of “The Mickey Hart Collection’” this
October to preserve and further his endeavor to cross borders and
expand musical horizons.
“The Mickey Hart Collection” will begin with 25 albums drawn from “The
World,” a series Hart curated that incorporated his solo projects, other
artists’ productions, and re-releases of out-of-print titles. Six of the
25 albums form the “Endangered Music Project,” a collaboration between
Mickey Hart and the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress,
which presents recordings from musical traditions at risk.
“This is a real honor because the Smithsonian will be around for future
generations so I consider this to be my best honor of my musical career,”
said Hart. “Grammys and other awards tarnish after awhile they end up in a
closet and they really mean little in the bigger picture.”
For now that bigger picture for Hart is exploring the musical offerings of
the universe where he believes the opportunities for discovery are
infinite. Festival-goers this weekend to Hoxeyville will be among the
first to hear Hart’s discoveries. For more information on Mickey Hart go
to
www.mickeyhart.net or follow him on Twitter.




 
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