Wednesday, July 06, 2005


When I got in my car this morning for my 30-40 minute commute to work, I was in one of those moods where I needed some serious Drums. I needed The rhythm Devils to pound their way into my brain. As I'm headed down I-270 towards my office in Virginia, I crank up the Drums from the 12/28/79 to '11', and my day is now ready to begin.

The Drums segment was a highlight of a Grateful Dead show for some, a good time to take a piss-break for others. I personally enjoy just listening to what Billy and Mickey could create purely out of thin air night after night. In a previous post, I expressed my love for Mickey's Beam, but over the years, they were able to do things with a variety of percussion instruments that very few others have even tried to replicate.

Early on, a Drums segment was common, even during Mickey's hiatus from the band (1971-1974). It wasn't until 1979 that the 'Drums/Space' segment became a standard, free-flowing, improvisational mid-second-set ritual. Billy and Mickey were never afraid to push the limits, employing about every piece of percussion imaginable.

This was not your average concert drum-solo either, not a chance to show off what they could do behind a drum kit. Rather it was almost a religious, even primitive exploration of rhythm. Whether it was reaching into African influences, using various MIDI/electronic effects, tapping on the 'Tar', or pounding on 'The Beast', they were truly the most creative and innovative drumming duo in Rock & Roll history. It's that spirit that gave me inspiration when I needed it this morning.


At 8:04 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Do you have a copy of "The Rythm Devils Play River Music - The 'Apocalypse Now' Sessions"?

I have a vinyl copy from the same time the movie came out, but have never seen it on CD.

At 8:47 PM, Blogger Ben said...

I've read about it, but have never seen or heard it myself. Any chance it could be on They have alot of studio session recordings there. I'll have to check myself, and maybe 'google' it too.

At 8:43 AM, Anonymous jonathan said...

I have to be in the right mood for drums, and in an even different mood for Space. It's definitely the kind of thing that's much cooler in person than it is on tape, but sometimes, you're right -- it's just the thing to get you going.

12/28/79 is one of my favorite shows, btw. :-)


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