Grammy award winning percussionist Mickey Hart
is a pivotal innovator, scholar, and influencer in percussion and rhythm. Best known as a drummer in the renowned expedition into the soul and spirit of rock and roll, The Grateful Dead, the multi-Grammy award winner is also an energetic painter, accomplished writer, restless explorer, and an acclaimed expert on the history and mythology of drums. A true original armed with an inventor's audacious curiosity, Hart boldly seeks to break the rhythm code of the universe and investigate its deepest vibrations.
Hart's visionary body of work combines music, science,
and the visual arts.
On the music side, Hart's fascination with rhythm has driven him to seek sound in unexpected places. Hart collaborated with astrophysicists to create music that reflects the origins of the universe. He recorded vibrations from the Golden Gate Bridge -- which he described as a giant wind harp -- and collected data from stem cells, heartbeats, and brainwaves in order to produce compositions with them. These pursuits culminated in two recent recordings, Mysterium Tremendum (2012), music using sounds sourced from the cosmos, and Superorganism (2013), with sounds sourced directly from electrical signals in Hart’s brain.
A collector at heart, his writings have also documented a lifelong fascination with the history and mythology of music. Hart’s books include "Drumming at the Edge of Magic," "Planet Drum," "Spirit into Sound: The Magic of Music," and "Songcatchers: In Search of the World's Music." On the science side, Hart's ongoing research has led him to explore how his own brain cells respond to rhythm. Working with Dr. Adam Gazzaley, a leading neuroscientist at UCSF, the two are seeking ways to identify rhythms that can stimulate different parts of diseased and damaged brain.
On October 11, 2011, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings released the 'Mickey Hart Collection' to preserve and further the Grateful Dead percussionist's endeavor to cross borders
and expand musical horizons.
Hart’s near-mythic career spanning 50 years recently achieved another pinnacle, reaching new generations in a series of record-breaking shows. In the summer of 2015, Hart joined the surviving Grateful Dead members -- Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, and Bill Kreutzmann -- to create the historic Fare Thee Well shows. The Grateful Dead 50th anniversary celebrations proved to be among the most successful events in the history of live entertainment, with the three final nights at Soldier Field in Chicago smashing attendance records.
Today, Hart continues his long, strange Grateful Dead trip with Weir, Kreutzmann and now John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti in Dead & Company. The new superband launched a nationwide tour in October 2015 -- playing sold out shows at Madison Square Garden and more -- and garnering widespread praise from music reviewers, deadheads, and new fans. “Hart and Kreutzmann got a chance to take center stage, hypnotizing the crowd with a 10-minute riff on drums and percussion leading up to the big finale,” noted USA Today.
“Underneath the world’s extraordinary musical diversity is another, deeper realm,” said Hart about his lifelong quest to explore rhythm. “There is no better or worse, no music versus folk music, not distinctions at all, but rather an almost organic compulsion to translate the emotional fact of being alive into sound, into rhythm, into something you can dance to.”