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Widespread Panic's Dave Schools Discusses Mickey Hart's Sounds of Space

Posted: Jan 11, 2012

Dave Schools Discusses Sounds of Space

This evening I conducted an interview with Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools. Schools called from his California home to discuss his participation in the Mickey Hart Band, Hart's new solo album, the Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic's upcoming Wood Tour as well as other topics. I'm in the process of transcribing the entire interview now, but I thought I'd publish an excerpt regarding the origin of Schools playing on Hart's Sounds of Space sessions.

Here Schools reveals the genesis of his involvement with Mickey Hart's latest recordings: "World music has always been at his fingertips. I went over to his place and there were these long groove jams and I played over them. There were some strange sounds. I asked Mickey, 'What are these things?' That's when he took me aside and told me about the Sounds of Space.

"You can probably read about this more concisely, but the long short of it is Mickey was perusing the web and came across a story about George Smoot. Smoot had radio telescope signals of planetary bodies. Mickey wondered if there was any way he could sonify these signals. Sonify is a word Mickey's kind of coined that translates to sound. These radio telescope signals are basically white noise. He engaged the help of several people and they created a template and sonified the sounds of space; everything from The Big Bang, to our sun, to nebulae, distant stars and all kinds of stuff.

"He found they had a sonorous quality. He digitized them, and was able to put them into particular keys--so that's what I was hearing. I was hearing pasted together rhythms and grooves from these sounds of space. So, I disappeared on a Panic tour for six months and came back and the songs were short--maybe 12-minutes long. So, I was laying down bass parts. Steve Kimrock has played some guitar parts.

"I go off and do another Panic tour. I come back last spring in 2011, and I get called in for what I think is a recording session, but it's a rehearsal session with a band. Now, there's songs where Robert Hunter has written words for the music!"

All for now. In the coming weeks I'll publish the Dave Schools interview to coincide with Widespread Panic's upcoming Wood Tour. Until then...

James Calemine


The Six Degrees of Swampland: Widespread Panic

Grateful Dead: Dick's Picks Volume 34

2010 Dave Schools Interview

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billypanic says...

ooooo.....you big tease.....more later:)...I can't wait

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