And play suggestive instead of just on it?
Yeah‚ definitely. And really just play from your heart‚ your pure heart. Let the music play you. You know? Throw away the judgment‚ like‚ "We're playing too fast or too slow or…." Nah! Get rid of that mindset and judgment about the music and let the music play you. And that's what I love about this band.
It's interesting with Scott - he's such a wonderful guitar player. He'll take a solo in a song and you'll think it's over and I'll say‚ "Man‚ that was hot." And then he'll just keeps building on it. And building and building. And that's just wonderful for me. On top of it‚ Oteil is right there every second. So … yes‚ it's working quite nicely.
You see‚ this is a dream for me. I miss the freedom of the Grateful Dead. And I feel like the last few years of the Grateful Dead wasn't truly free. I mean‚ sometimes it was -- it just had to be -- but not always. With this band‚ it feels truly free.
That's great. So‚ where do you go when it's really happening?
I get out of "Bill." I let the music play me. I don't know where I go. It's definitely not a programmed place. I have no idea where I go when I play music. I'm not me anymore when I'm playing music. You know? I don't use my mind to play music.
What do you see?
I see multicolors. Yeah‚ mostly colors.
Right‚ colors and shapes. Is that directly related to the other art you create‚ like your digital art pieces?
Yes‚ they have to be‚ because they come from the same creative place. The thing about digital art that was so fun for me was the discovery. I thought‚ I have so much fun playing drums‚ why not open up and do something else? So‚ I always saw colors while playing‚ so it's definitely related.
Well‚ on the other side of it‚ do you find creating art in that different medium does something for your drumming?
Yes. But I still feel that it all stems from drumming. The colors aren't there first -- the drumming starts it. It comes from being in a trance.
I know this band originally started with Mike [Gordon].
It did. Mike is the curator. [laughs] That's what we call him.
So‚ Oteil was a good recommendation‚ huh?
Oh‚ yes‚ 100-percent good recommendation. Did you hear about the gig we did in Costa Rica?
Yeah. Sounded like a great time.
It was such a fun gig. That was the first time I met Scott‚ and I had so much fun playing with Scott and Mike. Afterwards I asked Mike‚ "Can you do a couple tours this year?" And he couldn't commit because he's got his own band. So‚ I went home and said‚ I better think about this. I wasn't sure if I felt like auditioning bass players‚ and then I said‚ Wait‚ I have a better idea. So I went back to Mike and said‚ "Mike‚ who do you think would work?" That's why we call Mike the curator. He put Scott with me and now he put Oteil with me. He has wonderful insight‚ and I can't thank him enough.
Cool. You did some sessions for Mike's new album [The Green Sparrow] How was that?
I did a couple of songs. That was a lot of fun.
With Chuck Leavell?
Yes. It was a great time. I hadn't seen Chuck in a long time‚ and he's a great guy. And he's such a great player. You know‚ this is a three-piece band right now‚ and it might stay that way‚ who knows. But if we were to add players‚ I'd ask Chuck to play. I'd also ask the percussionist from String Cheese Incident‚ Jason Hann. That would be my band.