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Mickey Hart Dissects Relationship with Phil Lesh in Unearthed Audio from 2000 Interview

Rob Slater | July 12, 2017

Over the course of more than five decades together, its understandable that life in the Grateful Dead hit an occasional rocky moment. This is one of those times. 

In a new episode of "Dave's Old Interview Tapes," IndyStar reporter David Lindquist unveils some interviews from his past. Subjects have included Dave Grohl, Guns N' Roses and others. This new episode focuses on Dead & Company, specifically Mickey Hart and John Mayer. Lundquist notes he interviewed Hart both in 1998 and again in 2000, with his Mayer interview coming on his cusp of stardom in 2002. 

While Mayer's interview was certainly tame for his past standards, Hart's 2000 interview caught the drummer particularly fired up on that day as he got into his relationship with Phil Lesh. "You don't want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with you," Hart said of his then-relationship with Lesh. "There's life after Phil, believe me."

"Phil's world is a very strange world and I really don't want any part of that kind of strange," Hart continued. "We really don't have much in common anymore. He doesn't have anything in common with anybody. He's just in the Phil zone."

Hart wrapped up his rant by noting, "He doesn't talk to anyone in the Grateful Dead. He's totally alienated everyone in the band." 

While Hart did say that he would certainly say hello to Lesh if they bumped into each other on the street, it seemed at the time that the relationship was quite strained, and a quick dive for perspective will tell you why. Lesh departed his bandmates in The Other Ones around that time, which surely created some tension, and this is also on the heels of a fairly public spat over the Dead's vault that led to the bassist creating some distance between himself and the other members of the band. 

"He's got his priorities," Hart said of Lesh around the time. "I'm not sure what they are." 

Brothers fight, and fighting is okay from time to time. Sometimes its even healthy. Listen to Hart's comments in 2000 around the 16:30 mark.