Log for The Artist Shop IRC Chat with Mickey Hart on October 11, 1998


Session Start: Sun Oct 11 16:43:11 1998

<WotanCCC> To send a question to our guest use the following format;  Type /msg AskMickey Your Question Here.  You can send your questions at any time.

<WotanCCC> Welcome everyone.  We will be starting soon.  So this would be a good time to put on a Planet Drum CD, grab some popcorn and a drink.  We will be speaking with Mickey Hart of Planet Drum.

<WotanCCC> Ok folks, Mickey is here and we're just about ready to start.   And here we go.

<WotanCCC> ******************************
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> . Welcome to todays
<WotanCCC> . Artist Shop
<WotanCCC> . Featured Artist Conference
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> . An afternoon with
<WotanCCC> . Mickey Hart
<WotanCCC> . of
<WotanCCC> . Planet Drum
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> . Presented by
<WotanCCC> . @Music and TalkCity
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> ******************************

<WotanCCC> Mickey Hart, legendary percussionist of The Grateful Dead, The Rhythm Devils, The Diga Rhythm Band and, most recently, Planet Drum, has recently released his latest Planet Drum Project, Supralingua, on Rykodisc.  This is an incredible new release and a follow up to his Grammy winning 1991 album, Planet Drum. Re-defining the term "global fusion," Supralingua's extremely rich palette of sounds boldly leads world music into the new millennium. This album also includes a free second CD with ambient & trance remixes by Loop Guru, Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto, Richie Hawtin (Plastikman), and The Eye (Crooklyn Dub Consortium).

<WotanCCC> It also features a video interview with Mickey Hart on the making of Supralingua with performance excerpts that is playable on both Macintosh and Windows systems!  Having recently finished touring with The Further Festival, Mickey is now embarking on a Planet Drum tour that began at the end of September.

<WotanCCC> Mickey, thank you for joining us today.

<MickeyHart> Well, hi, world!

<WotanCCC> I'll start with the first question today...

<WotanCCC> You have said "Supralingua is a new experience, an adventure into rhythmspace..". How do you feel Supralingua is different from your grammy award winning Planet Drum recording?

<MickeyHart> Oh, many, many ways.  Firstly there's the electronic component which is the severe vocal and percussion processing. ..  Back then there was no RAMU, my digital processing station. Back then we were just entering the digital domain.   And this CD has what we call the Supralingua, vocalizations that have no specific meaning in languange and go beyond language...Phonetics....sounds....Poetry from a different place.

<MickeyHart> BTW, if people asking questions could also let me know where they're from, geographically speaking, that would be neat.

<WotanCCC> And now some questions from our audience.....

<AskMickey> skybird13 says: How did you come up with the name of your new CD, Supralingua?

<MickeyHart> It's really Supralinguam from the Latin. I just shortened it because it sounded better.  But Supra means above, beyond...from the latin. And it was a concept.  I might at that when I was young I listened to a lot of rain forest music and I felt they were singing in the supralingua.  Of course they weren't, but it always fascinated me. the mystery of it all...not being able to understand what they were saying.  I always wanted to attempt a project in the supralingua....

<MickeyHart> There were words to these songs by Robert Hunter, but they didn't fit the supralingua concept.  Two of those songs, Baba Jingo and Banyan Tree, became 'Other One' songs which we performed this summer.

<WotanCCC> We are speaking with Mickey Hart of Planet Drum.  To send a question to our guest use the following format;  Type /MSG AskMickey Your Question Here.

<WotanCCC> The video on the "second" Supralingua disk is really a great addition. Did you enjoy making it? And can you tell us about the other cuts on that disk?

<MickeyHart> Well, I enjoyed making the video, yes, of course. It allows people a glimpse of our 'planet'.  Now, as for the remixes, I'm a big fan of modern electonic music. Loop Guru, one of my favorites as well as Meat Beat Manifesto.  I thought it would give the music another life in a different genre.  More for the younger folks dancing in the clubs and I understand it has been well received.  so it allows the music to mutate yet again...which I really enjoy!

<WotanCCC> Thanks Mickey. And now for some more audience questions....

<AskMickey> songstress says: Who has left the greatest impression on you and did it change you in any way?

<MickeyHart> The 'greatest' impression on me...wow.

<MickeyHart> All through my life I've met great teachers who became my mentors and heroes.  I would have to say Gene Krupa changed my life when I heard him first drum. Alla Rahka, Ola Tunji, and many others have influenced me on the musical side... I was a great friend with Joseph Campbell, the mythologist, who was a great influence while I was doing Drumming at the Edge of Magic and Planet Drum.  Also I have to mention Fred Lieberman, a great ethnomusicologist. There's so many people who have touched me deeply over the years. Too many to mention.

<MickeyHart> But I've always thought of myself as a student, never a master.   Therefore I was always in the hunter gatherer mode in whatever pursuit.

<WotanCCC> It seems that evolution and growing is a persistant theme in your work.

<MickeyHart> Yes, it does seem that way. I constantly scan for the good in things and I love music in the power of vibration and rhythm.  And this love of music thing is a process. And in the process, one thing leads to the next.  Music is never ending. It goes on forever.  And the search, the journey, it the marvelous part.   Of course, the moment of creation is the centerpiece in all of this.  That marvelous moment of transformation when all things come together, the bells start ringing and you've just birthed something of great beauty. And that's the payoff.

<WotanCCC> Thank you...

<AskMickey> phunkydrmmr says: mickey, im a drummer and i wanna here your thoughts on the drumbeat being able to bring the soul in and out of the body...

<MickeyHart> It's the rhythm, stupid!


<MickeyHart> Drums have the best way to lay down the rhythm. Which creates trance.  Drums and trance link us to our personal rhythm.  No two rhythms are alike. To connect to your own personal rhythm world empowers you.  The idea is that when you entrain with your own personal rhythm, you enter a meditation, a concentration...And this is the medicine, this is the strength. This is what releases the adrenaline. And allows for this spirit world to come into view.

<MickeyHart> Now the Shamen uses the drum to connect to this world.  This is where possession trance comes in.  For those who are really interested in this subject, Rouget's Music and Trance says it eloquently.  But the use of the drum seems to be essential for trance.

<WotanCCC> For more information on Supralingua and other Mickey Hart Recordings, please visit the Artist Shop web site @  http://www.artist-shop.com   and Mickey Hart's web site  @  http://www.dead.net

<AskMickey> amaris says: The oddest thought occured to me during the show last week: What if there was no music? (God forbid) What would you be doing?

<MickeyHart> Ahh, I never thought of that. Good question.

<MickeyHart> But I can't imagine a world without music.  You've asked the unimaginable question. It's not possible. It's a necessity of life. Without music, no life.  Every culture on this planet has music. There is no culture without sound.   So music is not a luxury, it is a necessity.  I'd like to think that music, perhaps, is one of the primary forces in the creation of the human process.

<MickeyHart> I mean when we first came out of the myocean and gathered in groups in the temple caves, we gathered around the fire pits, sang our songs, danced our dance, became socializing human animals.  We grouped for the first time always using music as our badge of identity.

<WotanCCC> Perhaps a bi product, or a indicator of evolution?

<MickeyHart> Yes, it has a direct link to our evolution. It's not an accident that we have music.

<AskMickey> trendsetter says: Mickey, you've mentioned "global fusion" can you explain what it is, what it means ?

<MickeyHart> Well, there is no 'pure' music anymore, music without outer influence.  And with the advent of radio and phonographs the music wraps around the world. So you could be in a camel caravan........when I was in a camel caravan in the 70's, the camel drivers were listening to Kiss.  The Kyoto Monks were listening to the Stones, the Beatles, the Dead.  So it's important that music does change and fuse with other music.  This serves a need in the community.  This is the most important thing. Without a need in the community, music dries up, dies, becomes superfluous.

<MickeyHart> The yearnings of a young man or woman, the youngsters growing on the streets have very little bearing to the people on the same streets 100 years ago. Their hopes and dreams are different and that's where music comes from.  A place deep down inside. Your subconscious, your soul.  Each community needs their music which becomes their badge of identity.  Each community needs a music and each music needs a community to serve.  When a community loses it's music, it eventually will die. And when a music loses it's community, it loses a need to be made.  So this word, fusion, is more than just a random mixing of styles around the world. It's a new language, a new blend for a new day.

<MickeyHart> I might like to add that I work both sides of the fence here.   As a musical archeologist and activist working in the Library of Congress and Smithsonian to preserve these musics for those that want to know and practice these cultures.  These indigenous cultures. And to look ahead and make new music.  So I look in both directions simultaneously. I look to the past and I honor it.  And I look to the digital domain. I appreciate those forms. I'm a modern artist.  And that's what art is supposed to do. Art should mirror the soul.

<AskMickey> hot-guy-for-you says: I am a beginning drummer, how can I find my personal rythym?

<MickeyHart> Well, got to find the right drum! And then you've got to sit with it and make the first sound and the second sound.  Get a good teacher.  A drum circle is a good way to find your rhythm.  The idea is to find a rhythm of your own. And don't give up.  Treat it with respect. It's not just beating something up. It's turning spirit into form. A good hand drum is the perfect way of doing it.  Finding someone in your community that has that spirit might help you on your journey.

<AskMickey> starman says: What changes have you seen in drumming styles over the years? What changes do you see for the future?

<MickeyHart> Well, it's far reaching.  I find that solo styles, the soloists becoming less relevant.  And the group experience becoming the potent force in modern rhythmic excersion.  Sometimes listening to these great soloists is as exciting as listening to paint dry.  The pure technique masters is a rarified style.  To me and my fellow planet drummers, the rush of group rythm is an unbeatable high.  So, it's the participation in the rhythm that gives the energy.  For the soloist, it's more of an ego thing and does little to uplift the consciousness, than does a group of people playing in time or listening to them.  The abstract or primal instinct of group drumming...the soloist is more of a head thing. whether sharing with the masses of 200 or 2,000 has a greater emotional content.  So on a greater scale, I see that as emerging in the coming year where the primacy of the group rhythm will be well noted.   The group connects us more as humans than the spectacle of the solo drummer.   Sometimes it seem a remnant of a bygone age.

<AskMickey> jahluv31 says: will planet drum be touring regular and will zakir be there the whole way? we love you!!

<MickeyHart> Planet drum will be touring regularly, but Zakir will not be there.

<AskMickey> sandman says: Mickey, welcome back to Talk City! Tell us about your new project, Planet Drum!

<WotanCCC> Can you take the bot for now?

<AskMickey> jen12 says: do you have any plans to do anything like the dylan and the dead stuff, guests like clapton or something

<MickeyHart> No.

<WotanCCC> Who are your favorite contemporary musicians?  Is there anyone out there doing work that really impress' you?

<MickeyHart> Not particularly. The people who impress me are mostly anonymous to most people and they live in countries far away. Most are anonymous artists which, if I told you they're names, you would not know them.

<MickeyHart> But the people who impress me the 'most' are the people I'm playing with right now.  Of all the people in the world Giovanni Hidalgo is pound for pound the most potent rhythmist on the planet and I have the good fortune to be playing with him on a nightly basis. I would rate him numero uno!  In spirit, technique, and power.

<AskMickey> amaris says: Future... Will Mint Juleps be involved?

<MickeyHart> Mint Juleps will not be involved. That was a moment in time, a transition period in my education.  Although a wonderful experience, it will never be repeated.  In general, I try to keep moving, never repeating anything twice. I just have a thing about that.

<WotanCCC> What exactly is R.A.M.U., and how does it fit in the Planet Drum universe?

<MickeyHart> RAMU is like a digital work station. It means random access musical universe.  It is made up of high performance samplers, computers, signal processing. It is an automated work station containing all my percussion collection that I've sampled over the last 25 years.  It's a huge database and it's MIDI.  I access it using pads and keyboards.  On the current planet drum tour, Rebecca Mauleon shares RAMU with me. We both access it.  RAMU has grown in stature and power over the last 2 years with the advent of the digital technology.  It's a dream instrument for any percussionist or anybody who wants to explore music in the digital domain.  Also vocals and be processed through RAMU. It's a live music instrument as well as a potent force in the studio.

<AskMickey> rms1912 says: At what point in your career did you realize what an impact your music was having on society all around the world?

<MickeyHart> I guess the Grateful Dead made me think about this group rapture thing seriously. Once I saw all those people at the moment in rapture, I knew it was a powerful energy I was dealing in.  Before that it was a personal thing. It was me getting off in my personal world n the performers head which all musicians feel. That's the attraction of music.  But when I saw what the music was doing for so many, I gave more serious consideration to what I was devoting the rest of my life to.

<AskMickey> stardust says: Mickey, I've heard that you had written music for relaxation during childbirth. Can you tell us how you did it, what it was like?

<WotanCCC> Interesting.  For more information on Supralingua and other Mickey Hart Recordings, please visit the Artist Shop web site @  http://www.artist-shop.com  and Mickey Hart's web site @ http://www.dead.net

<MickeyHart> Well, that's where it all starts. I wanted to facilitate the birth when Taro's mother became pregnant.   I wanted her to concentrate on the task at hand.  I wanted the sterile hospital room to disappear and give her focus. And to give her relief in the birthing process.

<MickeyHart> I tried everything, Mozart, Miles, Dead, nothing worked.  In the ninth month I thought, "It's the heartbeat, stupid!"

<MickeyHart> So I took her into the Dr.'s office and recorded Taro's heartbeat.   I took that back to the studio, put it on the multi track and overdubbed a few incidental instruments to it, very repetitive, very trancelike.  I then made a continuous tape of that and brought it into the hospital where Taro was born, which facilitated the birthing process. She was concentrating on his heartbeat while in labor.

<MickeyHart> He's now 15 and plays the drums like mad!  And still wonders why I put his naked body on a CD even though he was only a few days old, "But Dad, I'm naked!"

<MickeyHart> The blueprint for rhythm is already laid in the womb. The mother's heartbeat is 130 Db.  So there's a rhythm world in the body before he even comes out to another rhthym of this world.  So we're imprinted for rhythm before we leave the womb.  It plays an overwhelming role in our lives, even before we're born.   Music To Be Born By it was called.

<AskMickey> owl42o says: do u think Jerry is watching us? and i wanted to say that your music has inspired so many to give love and be in tune with life. i adore what you have done and for sharing it with the world.... God Bless you~

<MickeyHart> Well, I don't know if he's watching or not, but he lives in my heart and soul.  And I know he's touched many others.  Deeply.

<MickeyHart> So his spirit is here. That's something that can never leave. As long as you remember his deeds, that person is still here. When a person's deeds are forgotten, then all is lost.  So the idea is to remember until the next generation what you have seen and heard.  And the feelings that were part of your experience listening to the music.

<MickeyHart> I have a set of his prints in my home.  And as I walk around my house I look at them and touch them sometimes thinking of him.  They seem to speak out to me, besides the music.  So I think that perhaps these are the eyes that we watch each other through.  Perhaps.

<WotanCCC> Can you tell us about your upcoming DVD release and your new releases on The World series?

<MickeyHart> The DVD, well, this is a religious experience. Consider the geography of it all. 6 points discreet surround sound.  Five full range speakers and a sub below 100 cycles!  Taken from Supralingua, Indoscrub and Endless River will be the first 5.1 surround sound single in the stores in one month.  It's a whole new world!

<MickeyHart> Afterwards I went back to the studio and mixed a live Other Ones record in stereo. It was like going to Elba!  An Island in exile.   5.1 allows the listener into the soundworld of the performer for the first time. 

<WotanCCC> Its sounds like a really exciting idea.

<MickeyHart> As opposed to film where the film is the primary source and the music and surround is the after thought. In this medium the sound is the primary source and the visual is a screensaver.  In film when you put things to the rear speaker and dialogue in the front, it's distracting.  So, in this bizarre way we've inherited from the film industry this potent sound world!  We'll take it and run with it.

<MickeyHart> Regarding the World series, From the library of congress endangered music series we have Aruban and West African music that will knock your socks off.   The next releases will be very potent so STAND BY!!!

<WotanCCC> And now the last question of the day...

<AskMickey> pheeebs says: What was the most important thing you learned about being a musician while being wih the Grateful Dead?

<MickeyHart> The most important as a musician. Wow!

<MickeyHart> Well, the bottom line is love.  That's the most important thing you can have for your music and the brothers and sisters you make the music with.   And for the people who come to hear your music.  It's the most important thing.  Never take it for granted.  Music is a miracle, it's magic.  That energy is not to be trifled with.  It's to be honored and treated as a gift.

<MickeyHart> I've been taught it was a privelege to be a musician and I've played with the best - the Grateful Dead.  In the Dead the notes weren't always as important as the feeling with which you played them and the conversation of life.  If you don't love what you're doing and who you're doing it with, Don't do it!

<MickeyHart> Joseph Campbell had a catch phrase - Follow Your Bliss!  So I guess in one sentence, that pretty well sums it up.

<WotanCCC> Mickey I want to thank you for a great conference today.  You've been a great guest and we've all really enjoyed your answers.

<MickeyHart> Oh, well, good. I finally got going there. I had a good time. Call me again sometime, I'll be up for it!

<WotanCCC> Looks like our time is up...  I'd like to thank everyone for joining us.  Mickey, we appreciate your taking the time to  come and chat with us today, and hope you'll  come back to Talk City again soon!

<MickeyHart> I'll do that

<WotanCCC> To purchase Planet Drums "Supralingua'", or for information on other Artist offerings, please visit The Artist Shop Online at:   http://www.artist-shop.com and Mickey Hart's web site  @ http://www.dead.net

<WotanCCC> Finally, thanks to the Artist Shop for working with us on this conference. We especially appreciate the efforts of Gary Davis in giving us the opportunity to speak with Mickey.  Thanks again Mickey...and thank you to everyone that joined us today.

<WotanCCC> ===========================================
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> Next on our Featured Artist Series:
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> . Thursday, Oct. 15th at 6:00 pm pt / 9:00 pm et
<WotanCCC> . Rhino Records "Nuggets" release party.
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> . Thursday, Oct. 22 at 6:00 pm pt / 9:00 pm et
<WotanCCC> . The Candyskins
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> . Stay tuned for more fine
<WotanCCC> . Artist Shop / @Music productions
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> ===========================================

<WotanCCC> Everyone have a good day.

Session Close: Sun Oct 11 18:12:56 1998


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