by Ross CAT

by Ross CAT

     RHYTHM OF THE HART….The MICKEY HART BAND will be “Truckin” into town this Thursday as part of the Labatt Blue Light Thursday in the Square Concert Series.
is best known as one half of the dynamic GRATEFUL DEAD drumming duo which also features the great BILL KREUTZMANN.
While those credentials alone are monumental in their own right, HART a Professor of Percussion is also an author with four books to his credit documenting his fascination with the history and mythology of music.  HART is a longtime social activist serving on numerous committees including the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging as well as being appointed to the Board of Trustees of the
American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

     The MICKEY HART BAND is in the midst of a twenty city summer tour featuring songs from their recently released DVD the RHYTHM DEVILS Concert Experience.
The enchanting double disc is set in an enticing hard bound booklet featuring the lyrics to seven brand new songs penned by ROBERT HUNTER a longtime collaborator with the late great JERRY GARCIA. HUNTER is also recognized as an official non-performing member of the DEAD and was acknowledged as so at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductions ceremonies in 1994.
     The double disc includes a vividly tantalizing concert performance filmed in Chicago & New Jersey during the 2006 Fall tour; also included are special features that take you behind the scenes in the studio and front row for the tour rehearsals.
Rock Rapport had the honor to speak with legendary GRATEFUL DEAD Hall of Fame drummer MICKEY HART as he was getting prepped to hit the summer tour circuit.
Ross CAT- Hello Mickey greetings from Buffalo, I know the Deadhead community marked their calendars when this show was announced as part of the Thursday in the Square Concert Series.
     To this day DEAD fans still reminisce about the immortal experiences shared at Rich Stadium with the band.

Thank you so much, boy we really do have some great memories from those Stadium shows, I can’t wait to get back and play again for the faithful fans in Upstate
New York.
     Ross CAT-
First of all congratulations on the new DVD, it’s truly stimulating both musically and visually.  It’s very impressive the way you’ve incorporated the live set with the video enhancements; it helps tell a story within the songs.  Seems you’ve spared no expense from performance to production right on through to the packaging.
Thanks so much, as for the stimulating part you’ll have to blame JEFF GLIXMAN for that.  He really is a genius; he’s created a brilliant experience out of what was basically just concert footage and transformed it into something really stunning.
     Sometimes just watching concert footage can be somewhat boring, I mean how many angles can you watch a guitar player; what
JEFF did was add another element of visual components.
      It really made the final product so much stronger; it allows the imagination to fly to places so that the music is a subtext in some cases.
     As far as the packaging we are extremely proud of it, I think it may be the best packaging I’ve ever seen.  I think the guys who put this together deserve a Grammy.

Ross CAT-
Tell us about the experience of sharing the stage again with BILL KREUTZMANN your longtime GRATEFUL DEAD percussion partner; watching the DVD it certainly seems like a joyous adventure for the entire band.
Oh my God, BILL is just the best, for me it’s like home when we share music together.  BILL is a monster drummer I’d even go as far as saying he’s the best drummer I’ve ever heard.  When we play together it’s like an amazing creature, we really are as one on stage.
Ross CAT-
While you’re out on the road in support of the new RHYTHM DEVILS DVD, this summer’s tour will be with the MICKEY HART BAND which includes a stellar line-up of musicians: Guitarist STEVE KIMOCK, Bassist GEORGE PORTER, Jr., Drummer WALLY REYES, Talking Drum Master SIKIRU ODEPOJU and the vibrant vocals of JEN DURKIN.
Yeah, I’m really proud to share the stage with this phenomenal group of musicians I’m on the road with now.
     The original concept was formed around the songs that ROBERT HUNTER wrote.  The RHYTHM DEVIL’S was never built to be a forever thing; this band is an extension of the beautiful gems that HUNTER had written.
     This current line-up takes us on a whole new adventure; in the meantime BILL KREUTZMANN is doing his trio thing while MIKE GORDON (PFISH) continues to create his wonderful music, everybody is out there exploring their own niche.

     Ross CAT-  
As you mentioned this project finds you working once again with the tremendous writing talents of ROBERT HUNTER along with guitar extraordinaire STEVE KIMOCK both of whom have a long standing tenure in the GRATEFUL DEAD family.
     The concert features brand new songs written by HUNTER and yourself what was the inspiration for the new material?
MICKEY HART- Basically I told him what my vision was musically and that I needed some of his juice, some of his magical HUNTER dust.  I sent him over the music and he sent me the lyrics, naturally it was more complicated then that but that’s how it worked this time around.
     The whole process really only took about three weeks but it was magical to be part of him honing his craft observing him doing what he does best.  ROBERT has this gift of making even the most difficult things seem easy, there is always a positive energy and flow in his writing which makes it just a joy to be part of as a musician.
     I have to mention what a tremendous job the pipes of JEN DURKIN has done in transcending these lyrics, she’s really made the songs her own.  She can really belt them out for such a tiny little Mama, she just comes straight at ya like a runaway freight train.

     Ross CAT-
As I mentioned you’ve been a strong advocate for numerous worthy causes throughout your storied career; one foundation that I found to be extremely interesting is the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function; give us some insight on what that’s all about.
To put in plainly it’s about Music and the Brain; you’re right in the fact that it’s probably the most cutting edge thing going on in music today.
     It’s not the art of Music it’s the Science of Music, Rhythm and Music affect the Brain.  At the Institute we work with the motor impaired, people who suffer from Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinson’s; we set up drum circles and study their Brain wave functions.  What we are trying to do is crack the code sort of a Rhythmic DNA, we try to reconnect or stimulate those lost connections through Rhythm.
     To me it’s one of the most fascinating frontiers in Music from a scientific aspect; anyone interested in learning more can do so at, Director Connie Taimino does an outstanding job at the Institute.

     Ross CAT--
One of the highlights of the summer tour will be 10,000 Lakes Music Festival in late July, the festival includes PHIL LESH and FRIENDS any chance of a jam that weekend?
MICKEY HART- Te be honest I really hadn’t even looked that far ahead on the tour schedule, I didn’t know that Phil was going to be playing there as well.  I certainly hope we get to see each other and if we play on the same day I don’t see why not.
     Ross CAT-
Lastly MICKEY the Rock Rapport recently spoke with a mutual bud the RED ROCKER SAMMY HAGAR; he mentioned that you where a huge influence in getting him back on the “Bad Motor Scooter” following his initial departure from VAN HALEN, tell us about that experience?
MICKEY HART- I just love that guy he’s so full of positive energy, his zest for life is contagious.
     The first time we ever met I didn’t even know SAMMY, I knew the name but not much else; we hit if off instantly and found a collaborative chemistry brewing.
     We really had some wonderful times hanging out and working together on the “Marching to Mars” record.
     We’d just get down and jam; I’m extremely proud to have co-written such a beautiful song like “Marching to Mars”; SAMMY is really an interesting guy, I really love him a lot.

     Thanks to MICKEY HART for the insightful conversation; special Thanks to Wendy Brynford-Jones of Hello Wendy PR and Marketing for hooking us up.
     Be sure to check out for a copy of the new DVD and upcoming tour dates.

*************PEACE & HARMONIES******************

Artist Profile: GRAFFITI

     THE WRITING’S ON THE WALL…..One of Western New York’s richest attributes is its music community; while obvious names like the GOO GOO DOLLS and BILLY SHEEHAN standout, it’s the wealth of stay at homegrown talent within our region that is all to often taken for granted.
     Two musicians who epitomize that Buffalo blue collar “Dedication” are Buffalo Music Hall of Fame guitar genius
MICHAEL HUND (  and Multi-award winning singer/songwriter LANA MARIE (
The Rhapsodizing Rocker with the unmistakable Golden Locks and the “Pretty Baby” with the peerless pipes are true quintessential musicians, honing their craft by day and storming stages both locally and nationally by night, playing over two hundred fifty shows a year.
     The potent pair have been performing and collaborating together over half a decade in several different incarnations; initially stripping it down with the award winning duo of LANA & HUND before HUND would eventually weave his way into the web of Buffalo’s favorite Rock ‘n’ Roll party band
has made his mark nationally over the years with  recording stints in Los Angeles and New York City; he’s also shared the stage with national recording artists the likes of  PAT TRAVERS, DIERKS BENTLEY, BOBBY KIMBALL (TOTO), KENNY CETERA (CHICAGO), GARY MALABAR (STEVE MILLER BAND) and JOE BONAMASSA to name just a few.
     Eventually HUND would find his way to the “Distant Lights” of
Nashville recording with renowned songwriter/musician GREG CROWE (
     It would be there in the Country Music Capital of the world that HUND’S undisputable talents would be rightfully recognized as he was signed by CMG Records signifying the birth of GRAFFITI.
The zealous string sage would again tap into the explosive chemistry shared with sultry songstress LANA MARIE; rounding out the GRAFFITI line-up is a resounding rhythm section featuring thunderous drummer JOE SUPLICKI coupled with the brisk bass lines of PAUL MORDAUNT.
wasted no time gettin’ there “Groove Thang” on for their new label, simultaneously releasing their self-titled disc accompanied by the mesmerizing instrumental release of “Distant Lights” in the summer of 2007.  Both releases have been flying off the shelves locally and are available at all Record Theatre locations as well as online at (
     The band is set to ride that summer wave once again with their third studio release “Rock ‘n’ Roll Day Care this Thursday July 10th also available at the aforementioned locations.
     The eleven new GRAFFITI tracks are a diverse mix of music accentuating the cohesiveness between LANA & HUND that has developed through their relentless touring.
     HUND’S distinctively unique playing style powered by the torrid passion LANA MARIE inspires shines through on “I’m Coming Home” and “Not 4
     Instrumental track six “Bom Chicka Wah Wah” finds HUND just down right showing off his dexterous mastery of the guitar.
will be taking “Rock ‘n’ Roll Daycare” out on the road this summer mark your calendars to witness
Western New York’s premier live band.
     *July 12th
Niagara Falls, NY)… GRAFFITI will be going “Hog Wild” as they headline the New York State Harley Owners Group 20th Anniversary Rally at the Seneca Niagara Casino…For more information on the event call (716)877-7231 or (716)434-4012.
     *July 26th (N.Tonawanda, NY)….If you love “Rock ‘n’ Roll” then this is one show you won’t want to miss.  GRAFFITI will amply fill the opening slot for the First Lady of Rock JOAN JETT & BLACKHEARTS at the
Labatt Blue Lite Gateway Park Concert Series.
AUGUST 22nd (Buffalo, NY)…GRAFFITI
will headline Opening Night of the 5th Annual BUFFALO NIAGARA THUNDER MOTORCYCLE RALLY at the brand new location at 301 Ohio Street in downtown Buffalo. 
For more information and directions go to (
     *August 29th-30th (
Dover, Tennessee)….CMG Recording Artist MICHAEL HUND & GRAFFITI have been invited to perform at one of the largest outdoor Music Festivals of the summer.  Make the Rock ‘n’ Roll roady this Labor Day Weekend to the RROLL OVER DOVER Music Festival.
will join music legend ARLO GUTHRIE along with over 40 amazing acts including BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO, TINSLEY ELLIS, NICK STERLING
     Visit for more band information and directions to this enormous event. Hope to see you there.

**********PEACE & HARMONIES***********

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