Mickey Hart is probably one of the most iconic drummers out there. Best known for being an original member of The Grateful Dead and now for his experimentation with sound alongside his group The Mickey Hart Band, he can't be stopped. However, he still wishes he had the chance to jam with one of the greats-Pythagoras.
TIMES SQUARE (TS): What do we have to look forward to from the show on May 10th at Stage 48 in NYC?
MICKEY HART (MH): Excitement, adventure, romance. You know, lots of grooves, make you feel good. Music has plenty power, make you feel good.
TS: How did you come to write a song for Hurricane Sandy Relief called Jersey Shore?
MH: Oh, the Jersey Shore. Well, it came about after an interview with Brian Williams and Bon Jovi and then ten minutes later the song came out and the band came over and recorded it and I was hoping that the people could get hope from this song. Even if it was one person getting through the night it was worth it. Also, giving to the organization on the ground, that we could pick up and help the people after this tragedy-so that was the story on Jersey Shore.
TS: Can you talk more about how you work with rhythm and sound and deconstruct it?
MH: Well, the things called sonification where you change one sound that is outside of your range whether it be above your range or below your auditory range into the range of human hearing and then make music of it. In my case, the last record was geared towards…..I concentrated on the epic events of the universe and onto black holes, galaxies, supernovas, planets and sun, the moon and the earth and now I'm into us. How fast, how loud, the way everything's in there connects us to the mind. The neuroscience of rhythm, of music, that's really what controls everything. Rhythm centers the brain so how it interacts with music sounds, vibrations interact with the brain is the most important thing in music now.
TS: What do you consider music therapy?
MH: Once you understand the brains resonance then you can change it. You can train it, you can get in sync with it, you can do things with it that you're not aware of doing now. So….we're close. We're getting closer and closer to figuring out why when I play a guitar or a drum helps someone with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. It reconnects them to the vibratory universe. We just don't know exactly how to repeat on a daily basis so it's not real medicine yet just therapeutic in some way. So, now we're trying to make science medicine where the doctor can prescribe.
TS: You're working on a new album with the Mickey Hart Band?
MH: Oh yes, a bunch of new songs by myself and Robert Hunter so they'll be a fresh batch of new creations. We're going to play them on the road and then we're coming back to finish the new recording which should be out by August.
TS: How has it been working with Robert Hunter again?
MH: I've always worked with Hunter, it feels great. You know, I mean, he's essential.
TS: What do you think is the power behind your collaboration?
MH: Well, we've known each other forty some odd years….forty six years. He kinda knows what I really like, he kinda knows what I can really get my teeth into and he's the best at what he does so we've always had a fluid relationship. What's it like working with him, what's it like working with Dylan, you know? They're in their own class.
TS: What was the most exciting part about playing with The Grateful Dead?
MH: Well, it certainly taught me about ritual and the power of one and the power of many and the power when a whole bunch of people believe in a common good there's a lot of life in all that. So, the Grateful Dead was about life and making a better life-not only the performers but all the people that came to listen to that kind of music. So, it brought a lot of good in to the world….it still does. People appreciate the effort.
TS: What does music mean to you?
MH: It means everything. Music is life. Without music I would not be whole. That's the short of the long of it. Music completes me. It makes me happy-it makes me healthy, it's everything. I mean, without music I wouldn't get that kind of exercise not just cerebral but also physically. I mean, it keeps me in shape being able to move up and down like that three hours a day-that's a really great workout.
TS: Is there anyone you really want to work with that you haven't had the chance to work with yet?
MH: Yeah, Pythagoras. Music is math. Pythagoras is the one that in 500 BC realized that the heavens were just a replication of music. Music was an imitation of miniature of what was happening in space. The planets rotating and everything-the universe became an instrument. He gave mathematical equation to all the moving orbs and that's when we got the octave, the fifth, the seventh, the scale from Pythagoras so music is vibrations of rhythms and rhythm is what you do with time. See, you break up time using rhythm-that's what Pythagoras….who would I like to have dinner with and play with? I would have to say the father of the science of music. I would treat Pythagoras really well.
TS: What do we have to look forward to from Mickey Hart?
MH: Well yeah, there's a lot of things but I think the most important-well, the tour is really important because that's where the music is birthed so a lot has gone into creating these zones, these soundscapes by and have fun with them so that's a big thing in the next record and also this DVD which will come out really soon. It's called Rhythms Of The Universe-and that is a thirty-five minute DVD of my sonification of the universe. It talks about a lot of things including Pythagoras-so that will be coming out. We're going to be doing that at The Smithsonian at The IMAX Theater in the fall. SO yeah, all kinds of stuff but its really the band and music that is my focus and trying to get a date with Pythagoras.
By – Megan Lohne