Tonight, the legendary Grateful Dead percussionist Mickey Hart brings his band to Buffalo, NY at the Tralf Music Hall. He is currently out in support of his latest release “Mysterium Tremendum,” released in April 2012. This album is a combination of conventional musicianship, mixed with “cosmic sounds” as Hart has stated in the past, using electromagnetic radiation culled from our universe, and transformed into sound waves. On this latest effort, Hart once again collaborated with longtime Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, who penned lyrics for 7 of the 12 tracks on the album. Mickey’s 2012 touring band includes vocalists Crystal Monee Hall and Hart Band’s newest addition and multi-instrumentalist Joe Bagale sharing vocal duties. Ian Herman and one of Mickey’s regular band mates, Sikiru Adepoju join Hart’s percussive army, along with guitarist Gawain Matthews and keyboardist Ben Yonas. And finally, Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools is the last piece of this rhythm laden band put together by Hart for this tour.
The other day we had a chance to chat with Schools about this upcoming tour, Widespread Panic, and some of his early influences.
CC: What can we expect from the upcoming tour?
DS: Expect to be as surprised as we are are onstage each night. We never know what’s gonna happen next. Seriously, expect a great mix of Mickey Hart Band Mysterium Tremendum tunes and some Grateful Dead classics.
CC: Have you been a fan of the Grateful Dead for a while? As a bassist, whats your favorite dead song to perform?
DS: Been a Dead Head since I was twelve or so. Favorite bass tune? The Other One of course!
CC: What are some of the differences between playing with Widespread, and now with Mickey Hart?
DS: Anytime a bassist hooks up with a drummer there’s a special dynamic that occurs, unique to that combination. It’s always joyous. In Mickey Hart Band we have three amazing and unique drummers. It’s a fully pantry around here!
CC: Who were some of your earliest influences?
DS: Beatles, The Who, Sly, Zeppelin…John Entwistle was the bassist that blew my mind the most. Still does to this day.
CC: When you moved to Athens, did you pick up any influence from the scene going on there in the 1980’s?
DS: Great question. Being influenced by the Athens scene in the early 80’s was unavoidable. The town was so small and so college and arts oriented that everybody was pushing the creative envelope to the fullest. And they were doing it together as opposed to competing for the limelight. It was at this time that someone famously likened Athens to “Mayberry on acid.”
CC: When Mikey passed away, did the rest of Widespread plan to continue on after, or was there a time you guys thought about calling it quits?
DS: There were a lot of thoughts going around, but calling it quits was never one of them.
CC: Was Jimmy Herring thought of as a replacement guitarist before he finally joined the band in 2008?
DS: Jimmy was always considered family because of the tight relationship with Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit. It was an immediate thought that he would be the right guy to continue the evolution of WP.
CC: How long is the current Widespread hiatus expected to last?
DS: Oh, not too much longer. We can stand to be apart for very long. Brothers, ya know?
CC: What is your favorite Widespread, and non-Widespread songs to perform?
DS: My fave Panic tune is definitely Pilgrims, but I am also really digging some of the newer tunes like Dirty Side Down, St. Ex, etc….
I always enjoy playing tunes by our gifted songwriting friends like Jerry Joseph, Danny Hutchens, and Vic Chesnutt.
It’s been a really enjoyable process watching Mickey Hart Band evolve and push the Mysterium material to new places every night onstage.
CC: Do you have a favorite city, or favorite specific venue to play in?
DS: Kinda hard to top the natural beauty of Red Rocks, the Amazing acoustics of Radio City Music Hall, or the hometown familiarity and southern hospitality of Atlanta’s Fabulous Fox Theater.
Do not miss your chance to see Mickey Hart Band TONIGHT at The Tralf Music Hall, 622 Main St. Buffalo, NY 14202. The show starts at 8pm, with no opener, Mickey Hart Band will be performing 2 full sets! Purchase Mickey Hart’s newest Album, available now at iTunes.