Bill Kreutzmann Reveals Taj Mahal Team-Up: 'I Want People to Freak Out'

"Nobody's going to fill in for Jerry Garcia. We've tried that. It's impossible."

Bill Kreutzmann playing drums
Anthony Pidgeon/Redferns
Bill Kreutzmann performs at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco, California, October 1st, 2010.
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Last week, the Grateful Dead's Bill Kreutzmann announced that he would be convening a new band, the Locknstep Allstars, to perform on September 5th at the Lockn' Music Festival in Arrington, Virginia. Now, he has revealed the band's lineup, which includes bassist Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers), keyboardist Aron Magner (Disco Biscuits/Conspirator) and guitarist Steve Kimock (Ratdog). They will play with a list of guests including Taj Mahal, Keller Williams, Papa Mali and Col. Bruce Hampton. Additionally, the live-EDM duo EOTO (themselves members of String Cheese Incident) will augment the star ensemble for a portion of the show and American Babies guitarist Tom Hamilton will sit in throughout.

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Kreutzmann tells Rolling Stone that revisiting the Grateful Dead's career and their attempt to make every performance different helped inspired these new collaborations. "With Locknstep Allstars and whatever I lock or step into after this, we're not trying to compete and we're not trying to recreate," says Kreutzmann. "We have to do better than that. We have a duty to the music to play these songs for a new generation, but we also have a duty to include the new generation in the music-making process."

Neither Taj Mahal nor Col. Bruce Hampton are strangers to the world of the Grateful Dead, sharing stages with the band as far back as 1968, but Kreutzmann points to younger artists like Keller Williams, Aron Magner and Tom Hamilton as the ones who are going to bring Grateful Dead music into its next chapter: "These players are reverent, and they are acutely aware of the giant's shadow. They grew up with this music and then found their own voices. And now we're forming new points on the continuum.

"Nobody's going to fill in for Jerry Garcia," he continues. "We've tried that. It's impossible."

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