Former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart will tour with his new ensemble, the Mickey Hart Band, beginning with a May 9 show in Washington, D.C.
The new band will feature 1990s Dead singer/keyboardist Vince Welnick.
While Hart's most recent project, Planet Drum was chiefly rhythm-based, the new group will lean toward rock, with Afro-Cuban and worldbeat influences. The band's repertoire will include Dead staples such as "Fire on the Mountain," "Iko Iko" and "Friend of the Devil," along with Hart-penned tunes such as "Down the Road" and "Baba Jingo." Enhancing the unit's sound, Hart will play his Random Access Musical Universe.
"It's an electronic instrument with a physical setup," Grateful Dead spokesperson/historian Dennis McNally said of the RAMU. "It's got drum pads, which are connected to virtually all sounds. You can sample anything, and when you hit the pad, anything can come up breaking glass, tornadoes, guitars, you name it."
Hart was one half of the Grateful Dead's two-drummer rhythm section throughout most of their 30-year career. He shared percussion duties with drummer Bill Kreutzmann. An esteemed collector of rhythms, Hart also works with the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress and is a trustee of the American Folklife Center. Hart's 1999 book, "Spirit Into Sound," features quotes about music from prominent musicians, spiritual and political leaders and others.
After the Dead disbanded following guitarist Jerry Garcia's death in 1995, Hart formed Planet Drum and also toured with Dead bandmates Bob Weir, Phil Lesh and Bruce Hornsby, as the Other Ones.
An alumnus of San Francisco Bay Area rock band the Tubes and of Todd Rundgren's band, Welnick sang and played keyboards with the Dead from 19901995.
The Mickey Hart Band also will include Cuban-born singer/percussionist Gladys "Bobi" Cespedes, renowned salsa bassist Rahsaan Fredericks (Midnight Voices, Omar Sosa), singer/percussionist Humberto "Nengue" Hernandez (Mongo Santamaria), L.A. session drummer Rick Schlosser (Van Morrison, Rod Stewart, Dolly Parton) and Bay Area guitarist Barney Doyle (Merl Saunders, Darol Anger).
Mickey Hart Band tour dates:
May 9; Washington, D.C.; 9:30 Club
May 11; New York, N.Y.; Irving Plaza
May 12; Hampton Beach, N.H.; Hampton Beach Casino
May 13; Northampton, Mass.; Calvin Theater
May 14; Philadelphia, PA.; Electric Factory
May 16; Englewood, N.J.; John Harms Center for the Arts Concerts East
May 18; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Michigan Theater
May 19; Bloomington, Ind.; Mars
May 20; Chicago, Ill.; House of Blues
May 21; Minneapolis, Minn.; Cabooze on West Bank
May 23; Milwaukee, Wis.; The Rave at Eagles Auditorium
May 25; Indianapolis, Ind.; Vogue Theater
May 28; Cincinnati, Ohio; Electra
June 16; Marysville, Calif.; Sierra Nevada World Music Fest, Riverfront Park Amphitheater
June 18; Jacksonville, Ore.; Britt Festival Fairgrounds
June 29; San Diego, Calif.; Humphrey's Concerts by the Bay
July 1; Anaheim, Calif.; Sun Theater
July 8; Denver, Colo.; Lo Do Festival
July 29; Seattle, Wash.; WOMAD U.S.A., Marymoore Park