The Music Never Stops
“This is the culmination of a shift in creative direction as we keep these songs alive” Grateful Dead members and John Mayer say in statement
“Every day, things change. After many long discussions and some good old-fashioned soul searching, we are letting you know that our brother Bill Kreutzmann will not be joining us on our final summer tour. Bill wants you to know that he is in good spirits, good health and he is not retiring,” Dead and Company’s Bob Weir, John Mayer, Mickey Hart and Kreutzmann wrote in a joint statement posted Saturday on social media.
“This is the culmination of a shift in creative direction as we keep these songs alive and breathing in ways that we each feel is best to continue to honor the legacy of the Grateful Dead. The final tour will go on as planned with Bill’s full endorsement and support.”
Kreutzmann’s history with the Dead dates back to when he was a founding member of the Warlocks. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee also took part in post-Grateful offshoots the Dead and the Other Ones before joining his longtime bandmates and Mayer in Dead & Company in 2015.
In recent years, however, Kreutzmann has been forced to miss some Dead and Company shows due to Covid and, in January 2022, an unspecified “heart condition” that forced him to pull out prior to the band’s abruptly canceled Playing in the Sand shows in Mexico.
However, Kreutzmann’s exit prior to Dead and Company’s final tour doesn’t appear to be health-related: According to Jambase, Kreutzmann’s other project Billy & The Kids is scheduled to perform shows next week. Kreutzmann’s own website was (and still is) promoting Dead and Company’s 2023 tour, so it’s unclear what sparked the “shift in creative direction.”
Dead and Company’s last hurrah begins May 6 at New Orleans Jazz Fest and continues through the summer before the band hits the end of the road with a three-night stand at their hometown San Francisco’s Oracle Park.