Why Is Bill Kreutzmann Not Playing With Dead And

Known for redefining rock with the help of his legendary drumming skills, Bill Kreutzmann is one of the founders of the hit 60s band, Grateful Dead. Ever since the original group dissolved, Bill has been touring with another spin-off band named Dead And Company. The rock group confirmed the dates for their final tour but also revealed that Kreutzmann will no longer be a part of it.

Originally named William Kreutzmann Junior, the drummer was born in California on May 7th, 1946. Bill first started working as a musician at the age of 13, and He recalls playing for many groups until he was invited to join The Warlocks in the year 1965, which was later renamed The Grateful Dead. Bill performed for the Deadheads for almost three decades until it eventually had to be dissolved in 1995 due to Jerry Garcia’s death. Despite that, Bill continued playing his drums, and the remaining members of the group were even awarded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2007.

After Grateful Dead, Bill started playing in a trio group named Backbone back in 1998. Kreutzmann later started producing music with “The Other Ones,” which was a new band created by the ex-members of Grateful Dead, mainly Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Phil Lesh. Mickey and Bill were a duo that was loved by fans as they would always synchronize perfectly with each other. 

When John Mayer rediscovered Grateful Dead’s music, he decided to start afresh with the ex-members of the band, which included all members of The Other Ones except Phil Lesh. Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti were added, and the band was named Dead and Company. Bill joined the group in 2015 and was seen on all tours that took place in 2015-2020. 

Why Is Bill Kreutzmann Not Playing With Dead And Company?
Bill Performing For Grateful Dead (Credits: Grateful Dead’s YouTube)

Bill Kreutzmann & Dead and Company

John Mayer could be considered the founder of Dead and Company as he was the one who presented the idea to Bob Weir after meeting at an interview on The Late Late Show. Formed in August 2015, the first performance by the rock group was seen on October 31st, 2015, in NYC. Fans were happy to see their favorite musicians performing again, and the band had a successful start. 

Donna Jean Godchaux joined the members of the music group in 2016 at one of their shows. Later in the year 2017, Dead and Company announced yet another tour that was set to cover around 15 places. Their powerful performances received good responses from both their fans as well as the ex-members of Grateful Dead, such as Phil Lesh.

The city tours were taking place regularly until John Mayer had to be hospitalized due to an unforeseen health emergency that caused them to be postponed. Again during the beginning of the lockdown, Dead and Company decided to cancel the tours that were to cover around 14 locations. Bill Kreutzmann himself faced a health issue back in October 2021, which they stated was not Covid-19. They had to call in a substitute named Jay Lane in place of Kreutzmann, and since he has already played with the band before, we may see him performing once again in the final tours.

Why Is Bill Kreutzmann Not Playing With Dead And Company?
Kreutzmann At a Dead And Company Concert (Credits: Dead and Company’s YouTube)

Why Is Bill Kreutzmann Not Playing With Dead And Company?

In April 2023, the rock band posted an update that revealed that Bill Kreutzmann would not be a part of their upcoming final tour. As surprising as it was, the post was later reposted by Bill on his Instagram, showing their fans that the decision was mutual. The latest and last summer tour by Dead and Company is set to start on May 19th and will end by July 16th, 2023. Although no clear reason has come forward from either Dead and Company or Kreutzmann, the statement hints that they were going through creative dissimilarities while deciding the future of the band.

Dead and Company and Kreutzamann probably had been facing some creative differences which were non-negotiable. The statement suggested that they had thought this through and had many long discussions before arriving at the heartbreaking conclusion. Some fans speculated that Bill’s health could have been the issue, but that was clarified in the statement as well. Back in January 2022, Kreutzmann had to miss performances after suffering from heart disease.

Kreutzmann may be absent from the Dead and Company Tour but you can catch him performing with his band Billy & The Kids in the upcoming months. Seeing Bill’s energy and love for the music despite his age gives the remaining deadheads hope that they’ll be witnessing Kreutzmann’s performance once again.

Also Read: What Happened To Eric Church? The Country-Music Star’s Near Death Experience

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