Musician, author, philanthropist and visual artist. Mickey Hart's creative reach is wide and his commitment to rhythm is unquestionable.
As drummer for the Grateful Dead, Brooklyn native Mickey Hart used music to create a solid foundation for himself. Years later, as author of several books on the history and ritual of drumming, he used that foundation to expand into the world of literature. Today, he has teamed up with Los Angeles-based art team SceneFour to continue that thread into the art world with "Drum Ki", his new fine art collection.
Years after The Grateful Dead stamped their infamous logo on the Sixties with the help of a traveling multitude of dedicated fans, Mickey continues to innovate. Mickey’s continued interest in the combining of music and literature led him to create 1991's Planet Drum album, which earned him Billboard's #1 slot for 26 weeks as well as the first Grammy awarded for the category of Best World Album. In the fall, Mickey will be releasing the second album in two years as the leader of the Mickey Hart Band. He also recently created Rhythms Of The Universe, an unprecedented collaboration between him and Nobel Laureate George Smoot, based on astrophysical data that seeks to tell the history of the universe from The Big Bang to today.
Dedicated to expanding creative realms and possibilities, Mickey Hart now unveils Drum Ki, a collection of rhythm on canvas. As one of the pioneers in this new fine art medium, Hart is the first drummer to expand beyond a traditional drumkit utilizing djembes, congas, tar, and the beam (a Pythagorean mono chord Mickey designed) to create the art.
A new medium in visual art is underway - rhythm on canvas. With Drum Ki, Mickey Hart is taking hold of this groundbreaking medium with a collection of eight fine art pieces that showcase his rhythms in visual form.
Like a painter using paint brushes, Mickey is using an assortment of drumsticks and gloves that light up in various capacities to build the visuals in the collection. For the rhythms featured within Drum Ki, Hart utilized a variety of percussive instruments to create the work. The instruments utilized include djembes, congas, tar, the beam (a Pythagorean mono chord Mickey designed) and the Beast, Mickey’s famous drum kit, which he played in the Dead.
All pieces in the highly limited Drum Ki Collection are numbered and signed by Mickey Hart.
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Mickey Hart joined the Grateful Dead in September 1967. His interests in polyrhythmic rudiments and exotic percussion were integral to the band's arrangements in the period that archivist Dick Latvala would subsequently characterize as the "primal Dead era" of 1968-1969.
During his sabbatical, he released the album Rolling Thunder in 1972. Two additional solo albums (including an ambient music project that was envisaged as the soundtrack for The Silent Flute, a screenplay co-written by Bruce Lee, James Coburn and Stirling Silliphant that was ultimately filmed in 1978 as the David Carradine vehicle Circle of Iron) were completed but rejected by Warner Brothers due to the label's increasingly strained relationship with the Grateful Dead. Hart's home recording studio proved to be a haven for the more idiosyncratic endeavors pursued by various band members, and he continued to collaborate with his former bandmates on various projects, most notably Robert Hunter's Tales Of The Great Rum Runners (1974) and Ned Lagin's Seastones (1975).
He returned to the Dead for their final pre-hiatus concert in October 1974 (much to the initial chagrin of Kreutzmann, who soon reconciled with Hart) and was formally reinstated by the beginning of the group's 1976 tour. He remained with the group until their official dissolution in 1995. Hart's collaboration with the remaining members of the Grateful Dead has continued with The Other Ones, The Dead and Dead & Company.
Alongside his work with the Grateful Dead, Hart has performed as a solo artist, percussionist, and the author of several books. In these endeavors he has pursued a lifelong interest in ethnomusicology and world music.