Farewell Rhythm Devils
I just recently finished my portion of the Rhythm Devils tour. Just in case you don't know, this band consists of Mickey Hart on percussion, Bill Kreutzmann on drums, Sikiru Adepoju on talking drum, Andy Hess on bass, Davy Knowles on guitar and vocals, and me on guitar and vocals. Due to prior commitments, I will be unable to be a part of the 2nd leg. Fortunately, Tim Bluhm from The Mother Hips was chosen for the midwest/east coast run. I'm a huge Tim Bluhm fan. He wrote "Stunt Double", which I recorded on the Grass record. The Mother Hips make great music. My favorite record of theirs is called Later Days. Perhaps you've heard my cover of "Gold Plated" or "Do it on the Strings”. Those plus "Stunt Double" came off of the Later Days record. I'm looking forward to hearing Tim, a true California guitar player and singer, sing and play this true California music. It’s going to be good. Check your computers. See when and if the Rhythm Devils are coming near you, then make a plan to go. You won't be sorry. A lot of people don't know what to expect. Being that the drummers are from the Grateful Dead, people may expect lots of drums/space. Not the case. What you will get is groovy drum based music with lyrics penned by Robert Hunter and Mickey Hart. You will also get a healthy dose of Grateful Dead material as well. Go see this band. The energy is super positive and California is represented. West side. My last eight shows with the band were really good. I felt like we turned a corner after the first 3. And once we got to Denver things just seemed to click. I feel like we achieved Mickey’s vision of throbbing together as one musical tribe. My favorites were the Dead songs. Everyone likes to hear songs they know. And when we went into a Dead song, the crowd would light up. I don't mean spark doobies and such (which they did, which is a given at these types of shows), but instead, their eyes and faces would light up as they sang every word back to me. These people and I share a fascination with the Grateful Dead and I felt truly connected with them. Most of the audience was older Dead heads, which gave me great pride to see them sing and dance to this music. One highlight for me was show number 7 in Salt Lake City. For some reason, I got to make the set list. Red Butte Garden is a really cool amphitheatre. The sun was high when we went on. Some complained of the heat and the altitude. I got Grateful Dead flashbacks when we took the stage to open with Sampson and Delila. It was surreal to play that song with Bill and Mickey behind me to say the least. The vibe was great at just about every show. But Salt Lake I feel was my favorite. Speaking of vibes, my portion of the tour ended at Gathering of the Vibes. Bill had flown in 2 awesome fire dancers from Hawaii. So, the show ended with fire dancing as well as Stanton Moore, Jay Lane, Chris and Andy from Umphrey’s McGee, and the drummer from Assembly of Dust; all sitting in on drums and percussion. There was a large representation of Grateful Dead music at this festival by way of Dark Star Orchestra on Thursday and Furthur on Friday. Both bands apparently played a lot of the same songs. Some say Furthur did that on purpose, but I truly feel it was a coincidence. Needless to say, Mickey and Bill went for more of a Rhythm Devils experience with 4 out of the 11 songs on the list being Dead songs. I got to sing 3 of those songs. “Cold Rain and Snow”, “Uncle John's Band”, and “Fire on the Mountain”. I love Gathering of the Vibes. Ken has done an amazing job with that festival. They have always been very Grateful Dead friendly and I appreciate that. A big fat HUGE thank you to Bill and Mickey for giving me an experience with the Rhythm Devils that I will remember for the rest of my life. Thank you.