Mickey Hart is one of my heroes. My long-standing love affair and experience with the Grateful Dead that began in 1980, and the fact that we share a common name certainly have something to do with it, but I am in awe of Mickey for the body of work he has put forth and paid forward outside of the Grateful Dead. Few may really know the extent of it, and I don't pretend to know anything more than I have read, heard, or seen, which admittedly is not much, but what I have is quite inspiring and motivating.
Rhythm for Life is a nonprofit he founded over a decade ago promoting drum circles for the elderly as a result of witnessing his grandmother with Alzheimer's disease response to him playing for her. I saw a piece on CBS Sunday Morning several years back when he was first forming Rhythm for Life where he personally shows up in senior centers and plays drums with them and it was awesome to see how alive the group became with just some rhythm and some love.
"Drumming At the Edge of Magic" is a book he wrote with Jay Stevens that was really the result of his obsession to learn everything about the history of drumming that took over him in the early seventies. It is one of the books I constantly go back to for the wealth of information it not only relays about drumming, but about human evolution and the mysterious nature of sound and some of the many ways we all communicate with each other. The content of the book is rich and deep, a lot of the history coming from Joseph Campbell, who not only Mickey got to know, but who also he says inspired him to write this book. Check it out sometime, and get yourself a copy.
I know I will share more about Mickey Hart and his work as it reflects and demonstrates his spirit of oneness and inspires the creative process within me — thank you Mickey (if you happen to read this) and stay tuned, peace.