Island Men's Journal Article

Book Review

DRUMMING AT THE EDGE OF MAGIC: A Journey into the Spirit of Percussion by Mickey Hart and Jay Stevens, Harper Collins, $26.95

- A review by Craig Knight

Drumming At the Edge of Magic is far more than an autobiography of a man best known as the percussionist for the GRATEFUL DEAD. This is a story that captures life played out in the rhythm of myth and the beat of music as old as humanity. Hart takes us not only on a journey of his life as a percussionist, but into the life of percussion itself. From Bullroarer to Tar to Damarus (that's a drum made from a human skull), the reader is presented with the epic of the drum as core instrument for music ancient and modern. Hart's entrance into the saga of the drum life was through the door of "rudimental drumming" - American military drumming. Both his parents were drummers. His dad, Lenny Hart, hit the rhythmic road when Hart was still a kid and never came back. Mickey recalls the painful influence of sporadic encounters with Lenny. He later found a healthier father/friend in Joseph Campbell. Campbell not only affirmed his efforts at developing a history of percussion, but directed him to the power and energy of the myths supported by percussion. In Drumming At the Edge of Magic, Mickey Hart completes the first part of a history of the drum. Another book is in the works. What makes this book a stimulating adventure is the way in which he discovers how his history has been shaped by the beat of the drum. Hart's journey into manhood has a distinct rhythm. This book invites the reader to discover his own rhythm for the journey. You might want to also pick up a copy of a companion album that Mickey produced in conjunction with this book. The album is entitled Drumming at the Edge. May the beat be with you.


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