For a guy who was not all that long ago described as “semi-retired,” Bill Kreutzmann seems to be everywhere these days. No sooner did his BK3 trio peter out than a new band with Papa Mali, 7 Walkers – a fierce little unit spawned from a place where psychedelic Dead meets the spiciest, unruliest New Orleans funk and R&B – came to the fore.
[Photos by Andy Hill]
And wouldn’t you know it, neither unit will be Kreutzmann’s main focus this summer. That’d be the Rhythm Devils – Kreutzmann and brother in arms Mickey Hart – back on the road with a retooled lineup that features percussionist and longtime associate Sikiru Adepoju, as well as Keller Williams, singular as ever, bass ace and former Gov’t Mule anchor Andy Hess, and, most intriguingly, Back Door Slam frontman and shredder Davy Knowles.
Hidden Track briefly caught up with Kreutzmann as the Rhythm Devils tour prepares to get underway.
HIDDEN TRACK: You’ve got so much going on at the moment and plenty of projects, from Rhythm Devils to 7 Walkers. What’s top priority these days?
BILL KREUTZMANN: Right now it’s Rhythm Devils, 100 percent. I’m just focusing on that. I like to focus on one band at a time.
HT: Fair enough. You have a new and interesting lineup for Rhythm Devils, for which I guess Davy Knowles is the wild card. Can you talk a little bit about how you and Mickey put this lineup together?
BK: Well, it’s true, when playing with different musicians, the more people you play with it, the fresher it makes it. The driving force in the Rhythm Devils — from the Devils, meaning me and Mickey, — is to have new players. The one we work with all the time is Sikiru, he’s a master drummer from Nigeria, but the new energy with different people is exciting. I’m looking forward to rehearsal.
READ ON for more of our interview with Bill Kreutzmann…