Mickey Hart at 70: Across the Universe (From The Archives, 2011)
RR: It is interesting what you are saying about creating new music, specifically in terms of what you also did with the Grateful Dead. Many times, I would skip ahead on tapes of a live show so I could hear the “Drums” passage—there was patience to tell a certain story that was being told within those sequences that you played with Billy [Kreutzmann], and there were, obviously, no words, no lyrics, just a piece of rhythm, or almost a chunk of history being conveyed through music.
MH: Once you start to use words and literal translations then you go some place specific. The idea was not to do that, it was never rehearsed. We never even talked about it, so it was really moment music. That was why it was self-formed, and that’s why it will always stay that. It didn’t crystallize anything; it just left up to the imagination, not only ours, but yours. That was what that the Rhythm Devils was all about.
RR: And you’re still doing that to this day.
MH: Oh, yeah. That’s what this new creation is all about. I throw things at the band that they have no idea are coming. They don’t have any idea, but they’re young, they’re corruptible, and they smile. I have aligned myself with people that are not really jaded, not carrying a bunch of baggage, and they actually like what I do. They think it’s really great, and they can’t wait to hear what the next night is going to bring. But I don’t tell them. I just make it happen. I bring it up on my computer, and they don’t know what part of the universe they are going to, so that’s a great adventure for me and for them. I like to see how they react and how I react. Sometimes when you get too jaded, you start thinking of music in different terms, and not experimenting as much. This band is not about that.
PART V – Across the Multiverse
Before you can share your music with others, you must reach for it inside yourself, in solitude. It is a form of meditation that sometimes takes many hours and sometimes comes in a flash. – Mickey Hart, Spirit into Sound: The Magic of Music, Hart and Fredric Lieberman
RR: What happened before the Big Bang, and how would you play that?
MH: Nobody really knows what happened before the Big Bang, and there is no way to measure it yet, so we’re getting back to where we will be able to find out what happened before the Big Bang. Right now, the common wisdom is that there was nothing, and the Big Bang happened everywhere. That’s what physics and science say. So you can speculate about anything, about any theory you want. Was there something before the Big Bang? Perhaps. Eventually, we will be able to know that, but right now, the only thing that we do know is when the Big Bang was created and how it was created. We’re getting to the point where we can actually identify the matter, the actual matter, physical matter that created the universe and that’s that Higgs Boson, which is being looked at in France at CERN in the cyclotron. We are getting closer and closer to identifying it every day, and that will happen quite soon. When we know that, then we will be able to find out if there is a multiverse, if there are other universes out there similar to ours or different that are operating at the same time like a parallel universe.
Are there other universes like our own? We don’t know that right now, but we will. It seems to reason, to my reason, that there is, and that there could be a multiverse, there could be another universe existing outside our perception, a parallel universe. The wormholes and all of this we know of that have different perceptions of time and space that you go through and there are different realities to them. These theories are yet to be totally proven, but we’re starting to know that they exist. That’s where science is now.
This is what’s exciting. This is the frontier in music. There are two frontiers for me—this one that we’ve been talking about—universal music—and the other is music as a healing agent for the human condition. Music therapy—how music can reconnect a person’s neurologic function, their brain function, and allow them to be able to experience music as a medicine, very much like a drug. We use it in cases like dementia, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s, or autism, where the connections have been broken. For one reason or another, they’ve been injured—whether it be a war, or a fall, or some neurologic mishap. The vibrations that are apparent in music reconnect those broken connectors, and they allow them to function again. That’s the second most interesting frontier of music.
Besides playing live, which is the get off, I’m used to it because I’ve been put on this planet for that reason. I love to play music and people love to listen to music and that’s the way I make a living. But these other frontiers—and I’ve been doing that for a lot of years—kind of spring out of that—the performance aspect of it allows you to play with these songs, to explore the universe and what made us us and what created us. These wave forms are still washing over us, influencing everything—the tides, the heavens, the revolutions of the planets, being able to enhance consciousness, elevate the consciousness, or be able to reconnect with things that are diseased or not working in the body—that’s music medicine, music as therapy. Those are the two big frontiers. I know how to play now. I know how to perform and I love it and I will continue to do that, but these other two fields are tangential in a big, big way. Yet, these are the real frontiers of this century.
RR: You used the word “jaded” before. What is very refreshing is that you are still seeking, you are still exploring, and you are still trying to get through barriers to understand things and how they work, and that is downright inspiring to me.
MH: MH: Aw, shucks. It’s not like I can really help doing what I do. I can’t imagine doing anything else. (laughs) But, yeah, I appreciate that. I really do. I don’t get puffed up by any of that because, you know, it’s the work I love to do. Yeah, I mean, I couldn’t imagine doing anything more worthwhile because music is such an important element in the existence of humans. The human brain is coded and wired for sound. We’re not wired for math, we’re not wired for science, we’re not wired for geography, but we’re wired for sound. It’s human-specific. It’s human designing; it’s part of the way we’ve evolved as a species, so it’s just one of those natural things. Luckily, I fell into music through fate or DNA, which I believe mostly it was all about because my mother and father were musicians, so I’m coded for it, as well, through my DNA. It’s just what I do, and I’m really glad that I can be of service, not only to myself, I can be very selfish about it, but it makes me extremely high and it makes me extremely happy. When I do this, it makes me feel that my life is worth living, and all of the above. It is very gratifying on a lot of levels and it also brings a lot of joy to a lot of people. I don’t see people walking away hitting each other, or being mean and hateful. I see them filled with pure energy. And, yeah, that’s a great thing. I also make my living making music, so it’s a profession, it’s a joy, and it’s a service to provide. It’s everything. It makes me very, very happy and very satisfied. I feel great about where I am now in life.