Grateful Dead Duo Hitting The Road As The Rhythm Devils This Summer
"The music is quite different," says Kreutzmann. "It's real groove-based. It has lots of percussion and electronics. It's very danceable. It's gonna be quite a mix up there."
Hart says, "This music will take you to a very special place, I think. It's like a super friendly rhythm snake that has wrapped itself around the world a few times and now it's coming our way. It's electric; it's got rhythm, has words and flies. It's the Rhythm Devils."
Joining Hart and Kreutzmann in the Rhythm Devils for this tour will be Nigerian talking drum master Sikiru Adepoju, returning from the last RD tour in 2006, Back Door Slam's Davy Knowles (guitar, vocals) and Andy Hess (bass). Plus one-man-band Keller Williams (guitar, vocals) makes his first run as a Devil, joining the band on select dates, as does The Mother Hips' Tim Bluhm (guitar, vocals).
The Rhythm Devils name has its origins in the late '70s. As Hart explains, "I remember Jerry looking at Bill and I one time. He shook his head and just said, 'You guys are Rhythm Devils.'"
But the 2010 incarnation of the Rhythm Devils is guaranteed to be unlike anything that's come before—the dynamic mix of the musicians' individual but complementary styles and approaches is sure to lead to some serious sparks. "It's a great combination," says Hart. "You have the deep trance music from Nigeria and West Africa that Sikiru brings to us and there's Davy who at any moment just might rip the sky apart with his guitar and Andy Hess is a real gem of a bass player. Joining us for the first part of the tour is the 'one man band' Keller Williams and on the second part of our tour is Tim Bluhm, who will bring his ferocious California guitar style and beautiful vocals to the mix."
While both Hart and Kreutzmann promise that the music will be percussion-driven, another factor contributing to the Rhythm Devils' special mojo is the troupe's repertoire: Not only will they be reconstituting some familiar Grateful Dead tunes in their unique way, but the Devils will also be performing numerous tunes written exclusively for them by Robert Hunter, the legendary songwriter whose collaborations with the late Jerry Garcia provided the Dead with their most beloved and durable material.
"Robert Hunter is a major force in all of this. He has written his heart out in these new songs," says Hart. "There will also be enormous, exciting electronic sections of pulsing, throbbing, beautiful zones. There are places and sounds still unknown and unborn that we will no doubt visit."
Friday, July 16 Arcata Theatre Arcata CA with Keller Williams