AFROPOP - Mickey Hart and Planet Drum: In The Groove
July 26, 2022
Mickey Hart and Planet Drum: In The Groove
I first interviewed Mickey Hart about the Grammy Award-winning Planet Drum project back in 1991 at the time when the Grateful Dead was in its glorious final years of relentless touring. The band ceased to exist in 1995 when Jerry Garcia died. Ever since members have toured under various names, most recently Dead and Company. But back to 1991, the idea for Hart’s Planet Drum band was to gather a summit of world-class percussionists: Zakir Hussain of India, Giovani Hidalgo of Puerto Rico, Sikiru Adepoju from Nigeria, and of course Hart, with his enthusiasm for emerging sonic technology and his wide-open Grateful Dead spirit. I remember asking Hart why it was that at Dead shows, when the olbigatory “Drums” segment began, the audience always sat down—kind of the opposite of what you might expect. He spoke about the sensibilities of the band’s mostly white audience and about the sonic exploration that was so crucial to those segments of the show.
Now, 31 years later, Hart is releasing a new Planet Drum album called In The Groove and this time, the whole point is to make dance music. I reached Hart in his California studio to talk about the new project.