7Walkers.comThe surviving Grateful Dead members have reunited on occasion since frontman Jerry Garcia's death in 1995, but lately the band mates have been focusing on various other projects. Founding Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann says, for his part, he'd be glad to join musical forces again with the other key Dead members -- singer/guitarist Bob Weir, bassist Phil Lesh and percussionist Mickey Hart -- but he admits, "It hasn't been talked about."
Speaking recently with ABC News Radio, Kreutzmann insists, "I'm totally open to doing that…And I believe Mickey is too," adding, "I think the other guys would be too if it was put together properly."
According to the drummer, the only member who likely wouldn't be into taking part in a reunion is Lesh.
"I'm not really sure how much more Phil wants to play, really," he says. "He's got that nice club [Terrapin Crossroads] in San Rafael, California, now. And that's a cool thing…He gets to play, have musicians come and play there. So, I'm not sure that that could happen."
Meanwhile, Kreutzmann says he's really enjoying playing with his current group, 7 Walkers, an outfit that mixes a bit of swampy New Orleans flavor into its rootsy jam-band sound. As much as Kreutzmann loved being a part of the Dead, he admits that there's a bit less tension amongst his new band mates.
"There's no competition in the band, for sure, and there's no big egos," he explains ABC News Radio. "Everybody's there to play music together, and that really feels good. There's no politics or anything."
7 Walkers' current lineup includes singer/guitarist Papa Mali, bassist George Porter of the famous New Orleans group The Meters and longtime Willie Nelson sideman Matt Hubbard. The band's concerts feature a mix of originals, Grateful Dead tunes and covers of other artists the group members admire. Kreutzmann tells ABC News Radio that he believes Garcia would have given the group a thumbs-up.
"Jerry's that spirit that says, 'Are you having fun doing it? You're having a good time? You're putting out something creative?' Then he loves it," the drummer notes. "He would be encouraging." He also says he thinks that Garcia and Papa Mali "would have got along really good."
7 Walkers' self-titled debut studio album arrived in 2010, and included several collaborations with famed Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. Kreutzmann reports that the group now is almost ready to put out a follow-up record, although this one will be a live effort.
He says the next album will feature the best performances from shows the group played at Tipitina's in New Orleans, the Brooklyn Bowl in New York City and Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.
As for when the album might be released, Kreutzmann says, "I think within the next few months, would be my best guess. It's all recorded, we just have to sit down and mix it."
Fans anxious to hear some music from 7 Walkers can still catch them in concert this year. The band currently has two gigs on its schedule -- an October 12 appearance at the Harvest Fest & Freedom Fair in Monticello, New York, and an October 13 performance at the Family Roots Fall Fest in Logan, Ohio.
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