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  • The Grateful Dead drummers

    I recently was at an event where the Grateful Dead were played. I have not heard them, or listen to them, and quite some time. I had a phase in my past where I was a dead head.

    It occurred to me that even though I was a drummer back then as well I had actually never really paid much attention to the drumming in the band. So some interesting things pop into mind when I heard the Grateful Dead recently:

    The two drummers and the band, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, seem to be rarely spoken about in the drumming world. What are your opinions- Is it because they are not spectacular drummers? What is your opinion about the drumming level? Do you think one is better than the other? Very good drums? Mediocre?

    Another thing occurred to me the other day-these two seem to play together quite well. I would think that to be very difficult-meaning having two drummers. I do not think I would be very comfortable having another drummer playing along with me. Would you? What is your opinion about the whole two drummer thing in general? Where else have you seen it work well?
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  • #2
    mickey hart has written a couple of good books about drumming and life, and the G.D., recommended. The one is called DRUMMING AT THE EDGE OF MAGIC, and the other one isn't called that......
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    • #3
      I picked up a 'mickey hart's planet drum' CD the other day, it's really good stuff. Mickey Hart is a big supporter of world music and percussion. I have never gotten into the 'Deads music, so I can't comment on the drumming.
      "To play without passion is inexcuseable"

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      • #4
        I love Planet Drum. Mickey Hart also did a CD with Kodo called Mondo Head. Brilliant stuff.

        I really like Mickey Hart as a drummer but, like audiopat, never really cared for the Grateful Dead.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by gurumystic View Post
          ...I would think that to be very difficult-meaning having two drummers. I do not think I would be very comfortable having another drummer playing along with me. Would you? What is your opinion about the whole two drummer thing in general? Where else have you seen it work well?
          I've always liked 2 drummers. Battlescar, Rush and Max Webster, immediately comes to mind. Very powerful. Trading 2's, 4's, 8's, 16's etc., with another drummer is excellent practice for your internal metronome and you'll both, almost always, learn something new or different, good or bad, no matter what your skill levels. I don't know why you'd not be 'comfortable', it's an excellent way to learn new things and you have the option of 'coasting' once in a while that you don't have with 1 drummer.

          Cheers,

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          • #6
            My friend Robert owns a store in San Rafael CA called A Drummers Tradition. I met Bill Kreutzmann in there a couple of weeks ago. I never followed the dead so I didn't know who he was. Robert says he is a very good drumnmer and not talked about as much as Mickey Hart. He was great guy with a lot of energy.

            The Planet drum with Zakhir Hussein is great. Zakhir lives in my town and I tried to hire him once for a green convention to play with my singer Sukhawat Ali Khan. He is considered by many to be the best tabla player in the world.They told me he was already booked for a year at $8000 a night!

            Peter

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            • #7
              finally!

              I have just been waiting for a topic like this!

              I have gone through a Grateful Dead phase myself years ago, mostly because of my Dead-Head buddies, and I have heard a boatload of the Dead over the course of years on bootlegs and CD's. I was a drummer before ever listening to them and have listened to them objectively as such. With that said...

              I like Bill better. If never Mickey never joined GD, I really wouldn't have minded that much. There was a point where Mickey left the band (long story) and it was just Bill. I thought he kicked ass all on his own.

              I have seen Mickey's band Mystery Box several times. They are good, but definitely different than the GD. Planet Drum is an album I've had for years and don't plan on letting it go. Great stuff indeed.

              At times they sounded really good playing together, and other times they just didn't mesh and sounded really loose and crappy... "baggy as a wizard's sleeve" as MisterMR once said to describe sloppy drumming (thank you, Martin). Maybe it was the drugs, who knows. They both seem like cool guys no doubt. I still think I like them as separate entities though.

              As for drum duos... Bill Bruford and Pat Mastelotto were superb together in King Crimson. They are were a shining example of how cool having two drummers in a band could be. "Tight as a fish's arse" (thanks again, Martin) is one way to describe them.

              I think Zappa has employed two simultaneous drummers before, though I don't recall off hand which recordings might demonstrate that.

              Double drumming has it's pros and cons. In one regard, you can get more experimental with a supporting beat from the other drummer. On the other hand, it stands out more when one of the drummers falters in tempo, even just a little. I think it can work, and it works amazingly when it does, but it definitely would take some discipline (inside KC reference ).
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              • #8
                Originally posted by mbejackson View Post
                I've always liked 2 drummers. Battlescar, Rush and Max Webster, immediately comes to mind.

                Cheers,
                Since when does RUSH have 2 drummers? I guess i am out of touch.

                I liked some of GD's music. I must say the largest party I've ever gone to was a "dead" concert in Seattle. It spilled outside and lots of the deadheads started a massive percussion exibition on the Statuary artwork while dancing naked and taunting the police. LSD seems to have that effect on me....er..I mean....them.
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                • #9
                  Rush had two drummers, just at different times...
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lucastc View Post
                    Rush had two drummers, just at different times...
                    Well, I knew that, but that's not exactly what the OP was talking about. I was pretty sure they never had 2 drummers playing at the same time on stage.
                    8 piece DIY Acrylic http://www.quartzpercussions.com/, 2x2Box DrumIt5, Gen16 4xDCP, Acrylic&Gen16 Conversions http://stealthdrums.com/Home_Page.html, Sleishman Twin-QuadSteele hybrid http://drumagination.com/ , Gibraltar&DrumFrame rack, DW9502LB, Midi Knights Pro Lighting http://jeredsystems.com/index.php
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                    • #11
                      I must say the largest party I've ever gone to was a "dead" concert in Seattle. It spilled outside and lots of the deadheads started a massive percussion exibition on the Statuary artwork while dancing naked and taunting the police. LSD seems to have that effect on me....er..I mean....them

                      Well fulrmr! A bit of the "sordid past" makes it public, ay?...

                      Hee...sounds like you and me would have been mates!

                      First time I ever saw (2) drummers in unison, was on MTV -

                      It was 38 Special, "Hold on loosely"...hmph...surprised I remember that...
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by fulrmr(Daniel) View Post
                        ...I was pretty sure they never had 2 drummers playing at the same time on stage.
                        Well - with Peart, it just sounds that way...
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by fulrmr(Daniel) View Post
                          Since when does RUSH have 2 drummers? I guess i am out of touch.

                          I liked some of GD's music. I must say the largest party I've ever gone to was a "dead" concert in Seattle. It spilled outside and lots of the deadheads started a massive percussion exibition on the Statuary artwork while dancing naked and taunting the police. LSD seems to have that effect on me....er..I mean....them.
                          Those crazy hippies.

                          Actually though, I used to tote an Ashiko with me to concerts and commonly found drum circles to jump into in parking lots and campgrounds... sometimes playing drums until the wee hours of the morning. Good times.

                          Since the topic is GD, does anyone else think Bob Weir should just start wearing glasses and finish the Jerry Garcia transformation already?
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                          • #14
                            2 Drummers? Adam and the Ants
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                            • #15
                              I just read on another forum that slipknot uses 3 drummers? Any truth to this?
                              8 piece DIY Acrylic http://www.quartzpercussions.com/, 2x2Box DrumIt5, Gen16 4xDCP, Acrylic&Gen16 Conversions http://stealthdrums.com/Home_Page.html, Sleishman Twin-QuadSteele hybrid http://drumagination.com/ , Gibraltar&DrumFrame rack, DW9502LB, Midi Knights Pro Lighting http://jeredsystems.com/index.php
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