And the ironic thing is now you're getting pats on the back from the exact corporations and people you avoided becoming.
To tell you the truth‚ that doesn't impress me. I'd rather have a good friendship hug from a Deadhead than a pat on the back from some corporation [laughs]. I've totally believed the band was more important than us.
I was recently talking with Jason Hann (String Cheese Incident/EOTO). He said when you give that love to your fans‚ it always comes back tenfold.
It does. He knows how it works. He came to my house once and we all jammed for hours. His eyes were rolling in the back of his head.
You played Gathering of the Vibes this summer‚ the night before Furthur performed. Have you seen them yet?
I haven't. I haven't really got much interest in them. They sound just like the other bands out there doing it. What do you call those bands that copy other bands? Anyways‚ I don't feel they're doing anything really new with their music. We play Grateful Dead tunes in 7 Walkers and Rhythm Devils‚ but with our own take on everything. We don't play them slow‚ we play it loud and up-tempo. The saddest thing is that they hired a guitar player that's not Warren Haynes. It's too bad. They should have hired a great solo guitar player.
At the All Good Festival last year‚ I remember you said some interesting things to JamBase about Dark Star Orchestra ("I think if you're going to spend that much time on music you should work on your own music.").
I really felt bad after I said that. They have the right to approach me the way they want to. For me to say they aren't doing their own thing‚ that's making a judgment. I'm not God. I can't make judgments on people. I wish I could take that back. I forgave myself for making that statement. What I really wanted to say is that I wouldn't have done it that way. Not to say that it's good or bad.
How's your relationship with Bob [Weir] and Phil [Lesh] these days?
We saw each other at the [San Francisco] Giants game for Jerry's birthday. We talk on the internet all time. We have our Grateful Dead meetings‚ too.
Good terms?
Yeah‚ definitely.

Your website states‚ "Through the Eyes of a Drummer." What are you seeing?
It's about music and it's about everything. I'm a staunch enviromentalist. Paul Watson is the captain of the Sea Sheppard‚ which is a group who goes down to Antarctica in September to stop the Japanese from whaling. It's a very high risk level. They put their asses on the line. The Japanese and their government kill as many whales as they can and they mostly kill Humpbacks. That's the whale we have here in Hawaii. It infuriates me that the country can think they can kill this smart being‚ something that doesn't cause war‚ something for meat. And these Japanese ships advertise on their ships that they are "science research." Big giant letters on the side of the ship in English letters. Then they sell the meat in Japan and all around the world. You can't kill those animals. I've been in the water swimming with them. Tons of dolphins. Tons of whales. There is no way I could ever think about ever killing something like that. Basically you're killing yourself and these people don't know that. It's all about greed‚ man. They want money. They want fancy cars. Fancy this or that. And‚ it's really sad. That's not the highest standard of living by any standard.
You played with Phish at Red Rocks last summer [2009]. There was a rumor I came across that you may have been under psychedelics during that performance.
No. A lot of people say I am. I'm under the influence of a high mind.
Do you ever dabble with psychedelics anymore?
No‚ not anymore.
Hawaii is enough of a drug.
Yeah. Yeah it is.
What's your legacy as a performer?
Just playing music people liked. Making people happy.
When you're reunited someday with Jerry and the rest of the boys at the Great Gig in the Sky‚ what will be the first song you play?
How about "Stella Blue." Then I think "Bertha." "Sugaree"… I like them all. "Turn On Your Lovelight" and "Good Lovin'."