Bill Kreutzmann will not join Dead & Company on final tour

Dead & Company including from left, John Mayer, Bill Kreutzmann, Bob Weir and Mickey Hart perform the song “Jack Straw” at Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Monday, June 11, 2018 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (Lori Van Buren/Times Union) Photo: Lori Van Buren/Albany Times Union

Dead & Company, the rock supergroup featuring former members of Grateful Dead, has announced that drummer Bill Kreutzmann will not join the band on what is expected to be its final tour.

In a joint statement released on social media Saturday, April 22, remaining members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and John Mayer wrote that the decision reflected “a shift in creative direction,” adding that the tour will proceed with Kreutzmann’s full support.

“Every day, things change,” the statement said. “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.” 

The band added, “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.”

Members of the Grateful Dead are pictured in this 1969 photo. After thirty years of making music, the Grateful Dead, once the house band of the 1960s counterculture, is breaking up. The move came four months after the death of its founder and guiding spirit, Jerry Garcia. From left in the back row are, Tom Constanten, Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzman, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, and Phil Lesh. Jerry Garcia, left, and Mickey Hart, right, are in the front row. (AP Photo) Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Kreutzmann, 76, was a founding member of the Warlocks, the Palo Alto band that later became the Grateful Dead. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and played in the Dead and the Other Ones, an offshoot of the Grateful Dead, before joining Dead & Company in 2015.

The drummer was forced to miss some Dead & Company shows in recent years due to COVID-19, and, in January 2022, had to withdraw from the band’s Playing in the Sand shows in Mexico due to an unspecified heart condition.

“I have a lot of music left in me and there’s no stopping me from playing it. I’ve never been one to obey orders or play by the rules but in the interest of longevity, I hope you’ll understand,” he said in a statement at the time.

Kreutzmann still has live dates scheduled with his side project, Billy & The Kids, including one on Thursday, April 27, in New Orleans.

Dead & Company’s final tour is scheduled to kick off at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on May 6 and end with a three-night stint at Oracle Park in San Francisco on July 14-16.

“Well it looks like that’s it for this outfit,” Weir said on Twitter. “But don’t worry we will all be out there in one form or another until we drop …”

Reach Aidin Vaziri: avaziri@sfchronicle.com


  • Aidin Vaziri

    Aidin Vaziri is a staff writer at The San Francisco Chronicle.

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