The Shaman and the Group Mind: A Psychic Digression With Mickey Hart
Rings on her finger and bells on her toes
DNA: If we presuppose that the Drum is an instrument that elicits trance and can create the environment for time travel, in the sense that it could physically move you to another time, where would you put yourself.
Mickey: I would go back to the Paleolithic. I’m a big fan of first man; I would have liked to have seen what it was like when we first came together as humans. I’ve already experienced the fifties and the sixties; I know what that’s like. Either that or the turn of the century, those are two times that hold great interest for me: The dawn of the Industrial age and the dawn of man. I would also like to go back to Congo Square at the turn of the century. About 1890 New Orleans, that is a fascinating time, for it is the birth of music in our country. Ya know, I would really like to see some Temple caves about 9000 BC as well.
DNA: What I find interesting about Congo Square and your thought about it being the birthplace of our music. Couldn’t’ it be argued that at that time there was great divine intervention and that all our music, Blues, Jazz, Rock and Roll comes from the Spirit World.
Mickey: Absolutely. It was where the Spirit Music of Western Africa came and hit our shore. At the end of the Haitian Revolution at the end of the 1700’s, it ended up in Congo Square, and that was it, baby. That’s where it all started. That’s when the slaves were given back their instruments to play on Sundays. That was the only day they were allowed to go into trance. Where do you think we got Rock and Roll, Big bands and Jazz? It all that came through Haiti and eventually to New Orleans. The birthplace of the cool.
DNA: Is cool more than attitude?
Mickey: Attitude is a big part of it. But they also brought the instruments and the most powerful rhythms on the planet. All of the vodon stuff came with it.
DNA: I find it interesting that if you see divine providence in the thousands of year preceding New Orleans, whether Mohammed, Jesus, Moses or what have you, spirit came in words. But then suddenly it descended through rhythms and it is music that has been the backbone of the last 110 years.
Mickey: Words do not entrance you on a physical level, they can on a mental level. It’s about the vibration.
The sky was yellow, the sun was blue
DNA: Well let me ask one final question here.
Mickey: This is the strangest interview I’ve had for while, but it’s nice. I’m OK with it.
DNA: Well I followed you around for so long, this is my shot. Twilight Zone episodes, when are they coming back?
Mickey: Shit, I have no idea.
DNA: I know you pioneered 3D holographic sound for those episodes and now with DVD and home sound systems, the full effects can really be seen.
Mickey: I spent three weeks in a row at the University of Illinois, at Northwestern, trying to make sound move in mono. We had a giant computer that did create sound that had movement in a holographic way. After I did get vertical and horizontal movement, CBS didn’t follow through on the transmission, so it became a mute point. Wow, I had forgotten all about that. I spent three weeks in this little room. Every time I made an update, it took all night for the computers for the main frame computers to crunch it. I had to do it all in little pieces. The theme is actually holophonic. It works great in 5.1.
DNA: When it was first on, I would sit an inch away from the TV set and listen for the sound to move.
Mickey: For a while there we got it to the point where the sound seemed like it wasn’t coming out of the speakers. It was so time consuming and costly back then. It was the first of it’s kind. I really like the episode called Grandma, written by Harlan Ellison. I was the music designer and the set designer on it. I worked on 79 of those episodes. Wow, man thanks for reminding me, we should re-release those suckers.
(All lyrics from Scarlet Begonia. Author Robert Hunter. Copyright Ice Nine Publishing)
DNA is an International Journalist who lives in Northern California with his wife and three cats. He recently ran for Mayor (again) and is getting involved in the Green Party.