For all those who believe in destiny, the five men who comprised the Grateful Dead did not choose to meet during the late ’60s in San Francisco but were drawn together by some divine force. A force so intense that even fans become entangled in the threads during live performances. Other members would come and go, but the main lineup of Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart helped shape a genre and a generation.
Only the passing of Garcia in 1995 has tested the group’s resilience. They have disbanded for short stints, but much like a mother walking her child through an amusement park, these four share an inseparable bond. With The Dead on hiatus, Lesh and Weir are currently touring and curating festivals as Furthur, while Kreutzmann and Hart continue their reputation as the Rhythm Devils.
Drawing their name directly from a Garcia jam-session joke, the Rhythm Devils agree there is an otherworldly chemistry when their creative minds are in sync. The duo first began expanding its sound during the Grateful Dead’s signature “Drums” segments, and Hart would continue developing his understanding of global percussive traditions, winning a Grammy for Planet Drum.
Much like Furthur, Kreutzmann and Hart have surrounded themselves with great musicians. The current lineup is completed by Nigerian talking drum master Sikiru Adepoju, Back Door Slam’s Davy Knowles (guitar, vocals), and Gov’t Mule’s Andy Hess (bass). Keller Williams (guitar, vocals) makes his first run as a Devil, joining the band during the first half of its newly announced summer tour. The second half will be fronted by The Mother Hips’ Tim Bluhm (guitar, vocals).
According to Hart, the 2010 incarnation of the Rhythm Devils is guaranteed to be unlike anything that’s come before. Several Dead tunes will be restructured, but expect for each member to have their opportunity to shine. The sets will also include new material written by legendary songwriter Robert Hunter, another extended Dead family member. As the consummate improvisor, Hart says of the upcoming shows, “There are places and sounds still unknown and unborn that we will no doubt visit.”
Looking at the current schedule, hopefully the Devils will visit places a little further East. Set to begin July 16th in Arcata, CA, all the summer dates stay far west of the Mississippi, except for an appearance at Gathering of the Vibes. But don’t fear West Virginia, New York, Vermont, or Tennessee. Part two of the tour will be announced during the upcoming weeks. The current dates are listed below, and we’ll be sure to update the list as more information becomes available. Tickets for all the announced shows are most easily purchased here.
Rhythm Devils 2010/2011 Tour Dates:
07/16 – Arcata, CA @ Arcata Theatre
07/17 – North Plains, OR @ String Summit
07/18 – Jacksonville, OR @ Britt Festival
07/22 – Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
07/23 – Steamboat Springs, CO @ Steamboat Springs Concert Series
07/24 – Driggs, ID @ Spud Drive In
07/25 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Red Butte Garden
07/27 – Flagstaff, AZ @ Orpheum Theatre
07/28 – Tucson, AZ @ Rialto Theatre
07/29 – San Diego, CA @ Soundwave
07/31 - Bridgeport, CT @ Gathering of the Vibes
01/04-09 -Fort Lauderdale FL @ Jam Cruise 9
01/09 – Fort Lauderdale FL @ Revolution