Posts Tagged With: grateful dead

Mickey Hart Accelerates Next Stage in Music’s Evolution

Throughout a career spanning over 50 years, Mickey Hart has been an innovative and inspirational leader in musical research and performance.   Known as “The Rhythm Devils,” Mickey and Bill Kreutzman were the driving force behind The Grateful Dead – particularly during their extended jam experiences.  It is only fitting that Mickey’s latest venture – Mysterium Tremendum – is ground-breaking and entertaining at the same time.  Mickey and his band weave together a host of musical styles and influences, including world music, electronic wizardry, hippie rock, and psychedelic trance.

In this article I will personally review Mickey’s latest CD project.  I will include selected lyrics – written by Dead lyricist, Robert Hunter.  After that I will summarize some other CD reviews, as well as reviews of the band’s live performances.    I have abstracted  some recent interviews with Mickey and several band members – bassist Dave Schools and producer/keyboardist Ben Yonas.  After that you can read about some of Mickey’s innovative, interdisciplinary research projects, as well as some of the awards he has received.  He is truly an interdisciplinary musical scholar who has written some really fine books.

I find the fact that Mickey has been a lifelong musician, who has also explored cutting-edge science to be personally and professionally very inspirational and unique.  I just spent almost three decades in academia earning degrees in Biology, Journalism, and Sociology (Ph.D. Iowa State University in 1986.)   I worked as a Professor of Sociology and Food Science at North Carolina State University from 1987 – 2010.  For the last 15 years I have again been playing a lot of music (guitar, mandolin, and percussion) – something I had done a lot between 1965 and 1980.

Click Below to learn “all you need to know” about Mickey Hart’s life-long and continuing contributions to the evolution of music (and society.)

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Categories: Musician Tributes, Visionaries | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Pigpen was the Heart and Soul of the Grateful Dead

Ron “Pigpen” McKernan was born Sept. 8, 1945 and died from alcohol abuse on March 8, 1973.  His father had been a San Francisco radio DJ who played deep blues, soul and R&B, which greatly influenced his son. Ron had always had a wild streak, but was also known to be a really nice guy.  He could definitely play harmonica and and sing the Blues better than most white kids.  In fact, even growing up in the San Francisco Bay area he proved to be a true rebel, with an attitude and approach to the world that inspired many people (especially wanna-be hoods like me.)  He thrived off of African-American culture – just like his contemporaries Brian JonesJim Morrison, and  Janis Joplin did.  In many ways, Pigpen is the forgotten Grateful Dead co-founder – just like Brian Jones became the forgotten founder of the Rolling Stones.  Both were treated quite badly at the end by their respective band mates who were in their defense young and ambitious at the time.

Jerry Garcia was quoted saying that without Pigpen the band never would have made it.  He was the the Dead’s front man because of his passionate voice and willingness to face the audience – while Garcia and Weir were still shy bout singing in public.  He knew how to really work a crowd into frenzy.  Like Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin he avoided psychedelics but drank more than he should have.  He did quit drinking and ate well for an extended time before dying of cirrhosis.  In the case of the early live Dead shows (pre-1972) Pigpen acted as an anchor to his flying off into space band mates (particularly during the early “acid tests” where the band played a lot of covers that Pigpen liked to sing.  He also was, according to Jerry, “The heart and soul of the Grateful Dead.”  This article collects and edits damn-near everything that is currently on the Internet – including media stories, song lyrics, quotes from Jerry and friends, as well as my enhancements of the best pix of Pigpen on the web.  Enjoy and tell your friends because Pigpen deserves the same recognition that have been paid to Jim and Janis, not to mention while considering the history of the Grateful Dead.  Click Below to learn about his contributions, roots, lifestyle, and unfortunate early death.

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Categories: Musician Tributes | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Wit and Wisdom of Jerry Garcia

One of my favorite BLOGs are the tributes that I pay to musicians and others who have had an enormous influence on my life. This BLOG was originally posted on May 17, 2007 at my MySpace Blog. Hope you enjoy the lessons and love!! Continue reading

Categories: Musician Tributes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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