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Mickey Hart

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Mickey Hart

Mickey Hart
Hart at the Web 2.0 conference in 2005
Background information
Birth name Michael Steven Hartman
Born (1943-09-11) September 11, 1943
Origin Brooklyn, NY, United States
Genres Rock, world music[1]
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Percussion
Years active 1960s–present
Associated acts Grateful Dead, The Other Ones, The Dead, Rhythm Devils
Website .net.mickeyhartwww
Mickey Hart leading a drum circle, February 2005

Mickey Hart (born Michael Steven Hartman, September 11, 1943) is an American percussionist and musicologist. He is best known as one of the two drummers of the rock band the Grateful Dead. He was a member of the Grateful Dead from September 1967 to February 1971 and from October 1974 to August 1995. He and fellow Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann earned the nickname "the rhythm devils".


Before joining the Grateful Dead, Hart and his father, Leonard Hart, a champion rudimental drummer, owned and operated Hart Music, selling drums and musical instruments in San Carlos, California.

Hart joined the Grateful Dead in September 1967 and left in February 1971 when he extricated himself from the band due to conflict between band management and his father.[2] During his sabbatical in 1972 he recorded the album Rolling Thunder. He returned to the Dead in 1974 and remained with the group until their official dissolution in 1995. Collaboration with the remaining members of the Grateful Dead continued under the name "The Dead", but the group has since stopped performing.

Alongside his work with the Grateful Dead, Hart has flourished as a solo artist, percussionist, and the author of several books. In these endeavors he has pursued a lifelong interest in ethnomusicology and in world music. His travels and his interest in all things percussion-related led him to collect percussion instruments, and to collaborate with percussion masters the world over.

Hart became interested in percussion as a grade-school student. A few months out of high school he discovered the work of Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji.[3] Olatunji later taught Hart and collaborated with Hart and the Grateful Dead on a regular basis.[4]

Hart was influential in recording global musical traditions on the verge of possible extinction, working with archivists and ethnomusicologists at both the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage at the Smithsonian Institution. He is on the Board of Trustees of the American Folklife Center and has been a spokesperson for the "Save Our Sounds" audio preservation initiative. He also serves on the Library of Congress National Recorded Sound Preservation Board and is known for reissues and other recordings with historical and cultural value.

In 1991, Hart produced the album Planet Drum, which remained at #1 on the Billboard World Music chart for 26 weeks,[5] and received the first ever Grammy Award for Best World Music Album.[6]

Hart has written books on the history and traditions of drumming throughout history. His solo recordings (featuring a variety of guest musicians) are percussive but verge on New Age. His enthusiasm for world music traditions and preservation and collaborative efforts is comparable to that of guitarist Ry Cooder.

In 1994, Mickey Hart was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Grateful Dead.[7]

In 2000, Hart became a member of the Board of Directors of the [9]

Mickey Hart (in background, playing drums) and Bob Weir (playing guitar) performing at the Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball during the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama, January 20, 2009.

Hart was also a judge for the 3rd annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.[10]

After the death of Jerry Garcia and the consequent dissolution of the Grateful Dead in 1995, Hart continued to play music with various groups including members of the Grateful Dead. In the 1996 Furthur Festival, Mickey Hart's Mystery Box played, as did Bob Weir's band Ratdog.

In 2005, Hart and the members of the band Particle joined to create the Hydra Project.

During 2006, Hart teamed up with fellow Grateful Dead bandmate Bill Kreutzmann, Phish bassist Mike Gordon and former Other Ones lead guitarist Steve Kimock, to form the Rhythm Devils, a nickname that refers to Hart and Kreutzmann's drum duets and improvisation. The band features songs from their respective repertoires as well as new songs written by Jerry Garcia's songwriting companion Robert Hunter. The Rhythm Devils announced their first tour in 2006, which ended at the popular Vegoose festival in Las Vegas, Nevada over the Halloween weekend.

In June and July 2008, Hart led the Mickey Hart Band on a US concert tour. The band consists of Hart, Kyle Hollingsworth on keyboards, Sikiru Adepoju on talking drum, Walfredo Reyes, Jr. on drums, and Jen Durkin on vocals.[11][12][13]

In 2010 Hart debuted "Rhythms of the Universe," a composition based on a variety of astrophysical data. The composition represents a collaboration between scientist and artist, using their own sophisticated tools. Hubble Space Telescope and rhythms derived from the cosmic background radiation, supernovae, quasars, and many other astrophysical phenomena. The work premiered at the conference "Cosmology on the Beach" in Playa de Carmen in January 2010.[14]

In April 2010, it was announced that Rhythm Devils will tour in the summer of 2010 with a new lineup including Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann (assorted percussion), Keller Williams (guitar, vocals), Sikiru Adepoju (talking drum), Davy Knowles (guitar, vocals), and Andy Hess (bass).[15]

The Rhythm Devils did only one show in 2011, at the Gathering of the Vibes Music Festival in Bridgeport, Connecticut. This version of the band was Hart, Kreutzmann, Keller Williams, Sikiru, Steve Kimock and Reed Mathis of Tea Leaf Green on bass.[16]

In 2011 Hart debuted a new version of the Mickey Hart Band.[17] This lineup included Tim Hockenberry (vocals, keyboards, trombone, saxophone, other instruments), Crystal Monee Hall (vocals, guitar, hand percussion), Ben Yonas (keyboards), Gawain Mathews (guitar), Sikiru Adepoju (talking drum, djembe, shakers), Ian "Inkx" Herman (drums), Greg Ellis (percussion), Vir McCoy (bass). The band played a few shows in August 2011 on the east and west coasts of the United States. In November and December 2011, the Mickey Hart Band did a 17-date tour with a slightly modified lineup. McCoy and Ellis were not in this lineup, and Widespread Panic band member Dave Schools joined the band as their bass player for the tour.[18][19]

On October 11, 2011, Smithsonian Folkways released The Mickey Hart Collection. Comprising 25 albums, the series includes music from regions that span the globe, including the Sudan, Nigeria, Tibet, Indonesia, Latvia, and Brazil.[20]

In August 2013, the Mickey Hart Band embarked upon a tour with the Tea Leaf Trio, which includes three members of the band [21]

On September 29, 2013, the completed version of his and [22]

Personal life

Mickey Hart, January, 2013

Mickey Hart was born in Brooklyn and grew up on Long Island attending Lawrence High School before dropping out as a senior and leaving for Europe.[23]

Hart has been married since 1990 to lawyer and environmental activist Caryl Hart, with whom he has had two children Reya and Taro.[24] Taro had his heartbeat recorded in utero and used as the basis for the album Music to Be Born By. His brother, Jerry Hart, is a radio talk show host[25] and social media business consultant[26] based in San Francisco. Hart is the only Jewish ex-member of the Grateful Dead.[27][28]



  • Drumming at the Edge of Magic: A Journey into the Spirit of Percussion (1990)
  • Planet Drum: A Celebration of Percussion and Rhythm (1991)
  • Spirit into Sound: The Magic of Music (1999)
  • Songcatchers: In Search of the World's Music (2003)



See also


  1. ^ Planet Drum - Mickey Hart : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic
  2. ^ Planer, Lindsay. "AllMusicRolling Thunder Review" "". Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  3. ^ Hart, Mickey, with Stevens, Jay, and Lieberman, Fredric. Drumming at the Edge of Magic, Harper, 1990. p. 127.
  4. ^ "African Music Encyclopedia". 2003-04-06. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  5. ^ "Smith, E. "Doc". "Planet Drum Comes to the Masonic", BeyondChron, September 22, 2006". Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  6. ^ , February 27, 1992"New York TimesThe Grammy Winners", "". New York Times. 1992-02-27. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  7. ^ List of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees
  8. ^ "Mission of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function". 2011-10-13. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  9. ^ "Past Music Has Power Awards Honorees". 2011-10-13. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  10. ^ "Independent Music Awards – Past Judges". Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  11. ^ , July 1, 2008"Billboard"Graff, Gary. "Hart: The Dead Happy To Rock Again For Obama", . Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  12. ^ , July 4, 2008"Daily Herald"Pizek, Jeff. "Mickey Hart: Unity, Healing through the Beat", . Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  13. ^ , May 23, 2008"Live Daily"Kilgore, Kym. "Mickey Hart Band Drums Up US Tour", . Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Need We Say More? > News > The Rhythm Devils Adds July Dates". 2010-04-12. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  16. ^ "The Rhythm Devils Setlist Gathering Of the Vibes July 24, 2011". Deadheadland. 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2011-12-02. 
  17. ^ "Mickey Hart band Debut Performance August 5, 2011 Napa Valley Opera House". Deadheadland. 2011-08-06. Retrieved 2011-12-02. 
  18. ^ "Dave Schools Joins Mickey Hart Band For Fall Tour". Glide Magazine. 2011-10-04. Retrieved 2011-12-02. 
  19. ^ "Mickey Hart Band". Retrieved 2011-12-02. 
  20. ^ "The Mickey Hart Collection in Rhythm with the World". 2011-10-05. Retrieved 2011-12-02. 
  21. ^ Smith, E. "Doc" (August 2, 2013). """Mickey Hart's "Superorganism. Beyond Chron. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ Needles, Tim. "Interview with Grateful Dead drummer & musicologist Mickey Hart". Short and Sweet NYC. Retrieved 18 January 2012. 
  24. ^ "Mickey Hart Interview". Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  25. ^ "Hart of Green will help you literally go green, travel consciously and live eco-friendly". Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  26. ^ "Jerry Hart". Jerry Hart. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  27. ^ "Jews mythologize Grateful Dead seder | j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California". 1996-03-22. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  28. ^ Brinn, David (May 20, 2013). "Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart to perform in Jerusalem".  


Further reading

  • Lavezzoli, Peter (2006). The Dawn of Indian Music in the West. Continuum. pp. 81–101. ISBN 0826418155

External links

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