Mickey Hart explores rhythm of the universe

It's not much of a stretch to say Mickey Hart performs every day in one of the most popular shows on the Strip.

The drummer, best known for his long run in the Grateful Dead, did a new soundtrack for The Mirage volcano show in 2008.

"I still care about it. I check in on it all the time and make sure it's running at peak strength," says Hart, who is back in town for another reason Saturday, debuting a new album with his Mickey Hart Band at the Hard Rock Cafe.

"It's got an enormous sonic payload. They just let me do pretty much what I wanted to do on it, so this is a mission accomplished," he says.

But now he's on a new mission: "Gather the light waves, radiation from the different epic events of the universe ... and turn those light waves into sound waves, and use them in music."

Hart's book and album "Planet Drum" explored the rhythms of the Earth. But for his new album, "Mysterium Tremendum," due in April, "now we're talking about songs of the universe. What tunes all these stars, galaxies and planets are playing."

Astrophysicists have helped him use an algorithm that processes information from radio telescopes around the world and "sonify" it. "I'm trying to have a conversation with these vibratory impulses that started 13.7 billion years ago," Hart says. "Any rhythmist could not turn their back on this story. It's just too sexy. Too important.

"It's really noisy up there," he adds.

But do these rocks rock? Don't worry; Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter provides the words.

"In the Grateful Dead we had to have songs in order to improvise. Same thing with this band. The form is very similar."

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.