The Disco Biscuits have teamed up with two unlikely special guests for a headlining slot at this year's Gathering of the Vibes: The Grateful Dead's Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart. While next year will mark the Grateful Dead's 50th anniversary, this will be the first time the two drummers will perform together since 2011, when their project, the Rhythm Devils, went on indefinite hiatus. The Grateful Dead disbanded in 1995, following the untimely death of default band leader Jerry Garcia.
The Disco Biscuits with the Grateful Dead's rhythm section may seem like an unusual pairing at first, but the unexpected collaboration makes sense to the musicians. "I grew up on the Grateful Dead, so I'm particularly psyched to have both Billy and Mickey joining us," keyboardist Aron Magner tells Rolling Stone. "Though our music is quite different, the ethos is the same – both on the improvisational level as well as in the sense of community that our bands have created with our fans."
Although nothing has been worked out yet, fans can expect to hear material from both bands' catalogs. Talking to Rolling Stone from his home in Hawaii, Kreutzmann predicts that the adventurous combination of styles will create a space that will allow the two camps to do what they both do best – jam.
"It's going to get weird. It's going to get far out. And it's going to be something completely different," says Kreutzmann. "Exactly what all involved parties are known for."
While Deadheads hold their collective breath for news of any potential 50th anniversary activity, it is appropriate that the drummers will reunite at Gathering of the Vibes. The last time the pair performed together was also at the festival, three years ago.
"Any day playing drums with Bill is a very good day," Hart tells Rolling Stone. "The Disco Biscuits seem to prefer trance/space, moment music. Bill and I are quite familiar with the genre. Let the fun begin!"
The Gathering of the Vibes launched in 1996 as a way for Deadheads to come together and keep in touch, in the days and years after the Grateful Dead's breakup. It has since grown into one of the Northeast's largest summer music festivals and has diversified its lineup to include acts ranging from Jane's Addiction to Jimmy Cliff. More than 25,000 fans are expected at this year's event.
Other artists that will appear at the annual festival include Widespread Panic, John Fogerty, moe., Umphrey's McGee, Slightly Stoopid, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Maceo Parker, Ziggy Marley, White Denim and Dumpstaphunk. The Gathering of the Vibes will return to its home of Seaside Park in Bridgeport, Connecticut on July 31st through August 3rd.