The Bill Kreutzmann Interview

Of all the individuals who passed through the ranks of the Grateful Dead, drummer Bill Kreutzmann certainly stands out, but not in a flashy, promotional way. In the public eye, it may be that others in the Dead — certainly Jerry Garcia, along with Phil Lesh, Bob Weir and Mickey Hart — have a higher profile. Yet, when it comes down to who was integral to the music, attitude and spirit of the Grateful Dead, Kreutzmann’s contributions are undeniable.

From the Acid Tests and Woodstock to "Touch Of Grey," Kreutzmann firmly held down the floor and provided the heartbeat. The spotlight on him and Hart (aka the Rhythm Devils) as the percussive undertow of the Grateful Dead became more intense with each passing year. But after Jerry Garcia’s passing in 1995, the drummer left the music scene to enjoy a Dead-free life in Hawaii.

Today, he still calls Hawaii home, but music has circled back around to his court. Only now Kreutzmann likes to mix it up with a variety of different musicians. During 2009, even as he joined Lesh, Weir and Hart for another Dead tour, he ventured out to play gigs with BK3, a power trio he formed with bassist James “Hutch” Hutchinson and guitarist Scott Murawski. He's also collaborated with Chris Brown and Papa Mali. The Rhythm Devils, the name he and fellow Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart gave themselves in the 70s, is also an active group these days.

Kreutzmann gets into all of it — the music he's making now, milestones of the past, strange encounters with Mick Jagger and Neal Cassady, and other artistic, spiritual and philanthropic endeavors to occupy his time.

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