From today's Leah Garchik--
" A little bit later, Mickey Hart stood next to his works - paintings, bonsai, prints and most important, wood sculptures - at the opening of "The Tao of Wood," at Dennis Rae Fine Art. Drums were played in the window; further into the gallery, a band of musicians and pals - Bill Walton, Zakir Hussain, Carolyn "Mountain Girl" Garcia, Barry "The Fish" Melton, Sammy Hagar - greeted each other with expressions of awe at Hart's output.
Hart stroked and tapped Ramrod, a 250-pound piece of wood found on land previously owned by the Mendocino Redwood Co. It is 8 feet by 4 feet, in a sort of standing shape determined by nature: growth and ants and wood rot. "You don't want your imprint on the thing," said Hart. "These insects are the great architects of this. This is really their creation."
He "can't tell the sound," said Hart, "until I clean it up and explore the journey, to hear its song." You beat it to make music? I asked. Wrong question. "I don't beat it," said Hart, "more coax the sound, caress it ... find its capabilities."
Working with the wood was "a way of mourning Ramrod," said Hart, referring to Lawrence "Ramrod" Shurtliff, the late crew member ("roadie") of the Grateful Dead. "He was the soul of the Grateful Dead."
5 hours ago