Posts Tagged ‘Bill Kreutzmann’

Dino English on the Grateful Dead’s drummers

Saturday, February 8th, 2020

Last week on Tales from the Golden Road we had a caller asking about drumming – a topic about which this guitarist isn’t nearly as well-informed as I’d like. Later in the program we got a call from Dino English, one of Dark Star Orchestra‘s drummers, adding lots of useful information to the topic. And this week, Dino sent me some more info by email to share with the world.

Here’s Dino:


Just to continue the drum discussion… listening to Betty Board of 10-2-77 off archive…

So this Betty board has Billy snare, kick and toms mostly on left while Mickey snare and toms Mostly on right. Betty [Cantor-Jackson], as well as Dan [Healy], would place stuff as if you were looking at the stage for the most part except Jerry and Bass generally up middle with keys on one side and Bob guitar on the opposite. In this case the keys are hard left, Bob fairly hard right.

First song, Casey Jones, if you put the phones on, you can clearly hear both drummers hitting the back beat at the same time. Both of them hitting the backbeat at the same time happened quite a bit … especially in the 70’s before Mickey started going more world beatish in the 80’s where he would hit a back beat on the toms more. He did do it in the 70’s as well but it was especially prominent after Mickey moved his big Tom to left and right above his snare is the later 80’s

On Jack Straw on this recording you can hear Mickey play backbeats on the toms as well and some snare back beats here and there.

Brown Eyed, on this recording, you have them both hitting back beats on snare.

Even though they are playing similar parts, it still adds to the over depth of the texture.

And of course in general, Mickey was the primary tom fill guy, while Billy driving the groove. Quite often they would trade up who is on hi hats and the other would play ride. But there was certainly times when they both played hi hat or ride at the same time.

They would sometimes fill at the same time as well with a similar rhythm (such as 16th note theme) or quite often Mickey would start and Billy would finish.

But yes, it was all in the purpose of serving whatever song it was they were currently playing. And giving each other space. They were clearly playing together rather than what quite often happens when you get two drummers together where one or both of the them wants to turn it into a drum battle while shitting all over the music.


And I should also throw in that on occasion, the channels accidentally got switched by the tapers if they got a board feed and mixed up right and left inputs. Then you’d have Billy on the right and Mickey on the left. But that’s clearly a mistake, as you can hear it if you dial into the same show with an audience recording where the right and left is clear.

And also you can tell it’s wrong by just knowing how they mixed. Both Dan and Betty have told me they mix as if looking at the stage. They both have their differences of how extreme things are panned. Dan tended to go extreme hard left and right with snare kick and hats and the overheads would work as a unifier of sorts with Billy’s right overhead and Mickeys left overhead being almost center (from the perspective of looking at the stage).  … while Betty would not quite pan the snare that extreme. 

I’ve tried to point this out to Charlie Miller at times (with varying results).

On a side note, Dan would make some exceptions. He would hard pan Mickey’s floor toms hard right when if looking at the stage they would be center. He said he did this because the floor toms took up too much sonic space.  

One thing that often seems to be true as well with all this stuff… there are always exceptions to the case. These are all things that developed over time and as with the music, very rarely would things stay the same. 

(added later)
I should mention the cowbell since it can be a pretty predominant part. On many tunes Mickey would often play the cowbell and toms as a textual thing while Billy held down the beat with a kick, snare, hi hat thing. That would be a classic example of them playing very different parts. Examples of this would be Let It Grow or Scarlet > Fire. 

Rosie McGee photo for KPFA auction

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Bill Kreutzmann, 1985 – photo by Rosie McGee

Auction begins now and ends at noon PST on Wednesday, February 1. Bidding begins at $100. Bid by posting in the comments section below, and please keep coming back to top competing bids!

Proceeds go to KPFA

Dead to the World 2/24/10: BK3 live

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Playing in the Band
Ramble On Rose
– Grateful Dead, Road Trips vol 3 no 2 (11/15/71 Austin TX)

Eyes of the World
Chains of Life
Brown-Eyed Women
BK3 live in the KPFA performance studio

This program will be available in the KPFA archive until March 10

It’s a fund drive, so please make a contribution to KPFA by visiting the station’s web site.

BK3 with Tara: videos

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Tara Nevins of Donna the Buffalo is on tour with BK3. Dr. David Berger pointed me to these videos:

If You Only Could

He’s Gone

That’s all I’ve watched so far. There are more!

BK3 + Tara Nevins!

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

This just in:

Tara Nevins [of Donna the Buffalo] will be a special guest performing with BK3 on upcoming dates.

BK3 is Bill Kreutzmann‘s trio. As a founding member of the Grateful Dead, Bill has played drums at every one of the Grateful Dead’s shows. Hutch Hutchinson (Bonnie Raitt) and Scott Murawski (Max Creek) will be joining on guitar and bass.

29 Portland, ME Port City Music Hall
30 New Haven, CT Toad’s Place
31 Hunter, NY Mountain Jam

3 Richmond, VA The National
4 Carrborro, NC Cat’s Cradle
5 Charleston, SC Music Farm
6 Live Oak, FL Wannee Festival

Bill Kreutzmann Trio news

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009


Bill Kreutzmann, Grateful Dead drummer for the band’s entire thirty-year career, tours this summer with his potent new trio project, BK3. For the summer run, BK3 features bassist James “Hutch” Hutchinson (Bonnie Raitt) and guitarist Scott Murawski (Max Creek). This BK3 announcement comes as Bill is wrapping up a highly anticipated Dead reunion tour. An art exhibit, The Art of Bill Kreutzmann and the Grateful Dead, has popped up in various cities along The Dead tour, including a showing at Café Le Cave in Des Plaines, Illinois on May 4th and 5th.

With BK3, Kreutzmann finds himself lined up and locking into a powerful new wave of musical freedom. In all its lineup variations (Phish bassist Mike Gordon and Allman Brothers bassist Oteil Burbridge have both done gigs with BK3) Kreutzmann is thoroughly enjoying making music with such great players, and is driven by musical chemistry that is simply “over the top.” This run of shows, which begins on the east coast on May 29th and includes festival stops such as Mountain Jam Festival, Oregon Country Fair, and All Good Music Festival, is the first with Hutch Hutchinson on bass.

The list of currently confirmed tour dates for BK3, Bill Kreutzmann featuring James “Hutch” Hutchinson and Scott Murawski is as follows:

May 29 Port City Music Hall, Portland ME
May 30 Toad’s Place, New Haven CT
May 31 Mountain Jam Festival, Hunter NY
June 03 The National, Richmond VA
June 04 Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro NC
June 05 The Music Farm, Charleston SC
June 06 Wanee Music Festival, Live Oak FL
July 10 Oregon Country Fair, Veneta OR
July 12 All Good Music Festival, Masontown WV

KBM at Magfest

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

This is from Dave Roberts, of Crawfish of Love fame, reporting on his experience hearing Bill Kreutzmann at MagnoliaFest with his trio, KBM (Oteil Burbridge on bass, Scott Murawski on guitar). Posted with his permission, of course.

I only got to see The Dead 25 times in my life. Although I became an immediate fan in 1967 upon seeing Harry Reasoner interview the band on national television, I never got to actually see them play live until April 1978 in Jacksonville. My last Dead show was St. Petersburg, October 88, Weir’s birthday. Both my alpha and omega live Dead experiences were replete with many moments of what one now-exiled Grateful Dead scribe called “being lost in that divine sparkling oak grove…,” or in other words, those segments of Dead tunes where the structure of the song has been platformed into a launchpad for Neptunian mental exploration. For me, the weirder the better. Deadheads called it “Space.” I called it Manna.

My Dead live listening pattern consisted of patiently waiting for verses and choruses to end so the needly searching of Jerry’s guitar could propel Phil’s bubbling low end and Bobby’s odd, beautiful backwardish chording over the rhythm section (two of the master rhythmists on Earth) which stirred the whole beautiful stew into unknown vistas and corners with their four arms and four legs conducting the mad, insane, beautiful orchestra on stage in front of them. Those were the moments I waited for… being lost in that divine sparkling oak grove of my mind… while The Dead played snake music for my mental landscape. That’s why I never danced at Dead shows. I couldn’t. I was traveling.

Until last Saturday night, I hadn’t had an opportunity to revisit my beloved sparkling oak grove since St. Pete of ’88. That’s twenty years. The Grove was always the place where I could shed my stress and daily tensions like nowhere else. The Grove was where I could just close my eyes and let The Boys lay down the magic carpet for me and just wash, wash, wash the crap out of my brain. And it could only happen at a live show. Had to be live. Like psychotherapy. On the moment.

This is why I approached co-promoter Randy Judy with thankful tears in my eyes last Sunday morning to tell him how much KBM’s set from the previous evening meant to me. For three hours the night before I was able to go back to that Grove I’ve been locked out of since ’88, and God knows I needed re-entry on an emergency level, and needed it soon. Life hasn’t been kind lately. KBM came to my rescue.

My favorite Dead period came before I ever saw them. 1973/Wake Of The Flood era shows top the list, with 1972 and 1974 coming next. Of course, Mickey was out of the band for most of that period, but Kreutzmann was there. Not just there, but THERE. Damn, on those tapes from ’73-74 he wasn’t just drumming, he was multitasking as Sparkling Oak Grove Inducer/Accelerator as he progressively stepped on the gas propelling the vehicle. He played like he had seven arms and five legs. His snappy snare synchopations mixed with his dancing drumstick-tipped cymbal work mixed with his bass drum accents always adding counterbeats to the already swirling snare work made me smile and smile and smile and smile AND I’LL BE DAMNED IF LAST SATURDAY NIGHT I DIDN’T SUDDENLY FIND MYSELF FOR THE FIRST TIME IN TWENTY YEARS smiling and smiling and smiling again…. and I didn’t even have to wait for verse/chorus this time to board the spacebus.

The crowd at Magfest gave Kreutzmann a huge wave of love as he settled behind his drums Saturday night, and Bill seemed genuinely grateful for this show of appreciation. I had positioned myself sidestage with a clear view of Kreutzmann, right next to Oteil’s amp. Just watching Bill warm up with a few trips around his drumkit flashed the door open to The Grove. Fuck. There was that snare sound. Damn. There were those familiar cymbal pings. I could tell magic was about to take place. And it did.

The band kicked off with Scarlet. Bill just settled back in that posture I remember from the Dead days… back straight, trunk of his upper body acutally quite still, head tilted slightly back and eyes closed, tight-lipped grin on his face. But from note one and not ending util note last of the final tune, Kreutzmann’s arms and legs and writs and ankles bounced and blitzed and caressed and crashed and slashed and flashed and PROPELLED ME DEEPER AND DEEPER INTO MY BELOVED DIVINE OAK GROVE and I realized I WAS BACK HOME and I realized IT’S STILL OUT THERE and I realized I’M STILL BASICALLY O. K. and I realized The Grateful Dead has not gone out of my life forever and I was weeping with joy less than two minutes into tune one because I realized what was happening.

Jerry’s death definitely ended that particular avenue to The Grove forever. No other guitarist I’ve heard yet can take me to The Grove. But Jerry’s guitar was not the ONLY key element to The Deads ability of Grove Transportation. Bill Kreutzmann’s drumming was JUST as pivotal to The Dead’s magic as Jerry’s guitar. What made me so happy Saturday night was the realization that Bill still carried the magic with him. Not to disparage, but I’ve seen and enjoyed Ratdog twice and they couldn’t transport me to The Grove. I saw Lesh and Hart and Weir at a different festival but they could not transport me to The Grove. That’s because Bill Kreutzmann was not in the mix. I discovered Saturday night that Kreutzmann has The Key. And Magnoliafest brought The Grove back into my life at a much needed time. Thank you Beth Judy and Randy Judy for that One Kind Favor again. Each March and October for the last twelve years you have uplifted our lives with some absolutely breathtaking festivals. I always say “this one was the best” after each festival, and I mean it each time. Thanks you guys… this one was The Best.

And thank you, Bill Kreutzmann. You played like a man possessed with an evangelistic passion for percussion. You sent timeless rhythms out into those magic oaks surrounding the amphitheatre Saturday night, and those notes will linger in the Spanish Moss hanging from those trees. Since I only live an hour’s drive from the festival site, I often go down to the Spirit of The Suwannee park during the year when it’s peaceful and quiet and stand in that empty amphitheatre playing past Magfest and Springfest sets through my memory. Now I’m REALLY loaded, pun intended. Thanks, Bill.

Patiently awaiting Next Bus To The Grove,
David Roberts,
Crawfish of Love,
Jacksonville, Florida

Kreutzmann trio tour dates!

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

From GDTSToo:

Bill Kreutzmann with Oteil Burbridge, Bass and Scott Murawski, Guitar
will play the following shows:

Wednesday, May 28 at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel, Providence, RI.
Doors open at 8:00 PM. Show time is 9:00 PM.
All ages welcome. This is a General Admission show.
Mail order tickets are available at $18.00 per ticket.
Thursday, May 29 at the State Theatre, Falls Church, VA.
Doors open at 7:00 PM. Show time is 9:00 PM.
Age limit: 18 and older. General Admission.
Mail order tickets are available at $24.00 per ticket.
Saturday, May 31 at the Recher Theater, Towson, MD.
Doors open at 8:00 PM. Show time is 9:00 PM.
All ages welcome. General Admission.
Mail order tickets are available at $24.00 per ticket.
Thursday, June 5 at the Roxy, Boston, MA.
Doors open at 8:00 PM. Show time is 9:00 PM.
21 and older only. General Admission.
Mail order tickets are available at $20.50 per ticket.
Thursday, June 6 at Toad’s Place, New Haven, CT.
Doors open at 8:00 PM. Show time is 9:00 PM.
All ages welcome. General Admission.
Mail order tickets are available at $18.00 per ticket (price?)
All these shows are for will/call only.
A few more shows with this band will be posted soon.
First post mark dates for the 5 shows in his post will be
Wednesday, May 7 through Monday, May 11.
As per usual mail order will remain open for these shows
beyond those dates.
Tickets for all shows with Bob Weir and RatDog, and
Mickey Hart are still available.

The Crew of GDTSTOO
May 6, 2008

Bill Kreutzmann’s new trio

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

I haven’t talked to Bill to confirm this yet, but I am told they’re calling it THREE. It’s Bill Kreutzmann on drums, Oteil Burbridge on bass, and Scott Murawski on guitar. More news when I get it.

This just in from my favorite festival:

“We are so excited we can hardly contain ourselves! As longtime Grateful Dead fans, bringing the newly-formed Bill Kreutzmann Trio to you at MagnoliaFest 2008 is beyond exciting! And when we discovered one of his partners in the trio is none other then our very own festival favorite Oteil Burbridge, that made it even more perfect for Magfest! Check out the the website of 3rd trio member, Scott Murawski (Max Creek) for some incredible live BKT music. The music is from one of their first shows, and you just know that come October it will be peaking underneath the live oaks at the Suwannee.”

MagnoliaFest is October 23-26, 2008 at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida, just a few miles south of the Georgia line. Other cool stuff is in the works for this year’s fall favorite, too.