Bill Kreutzmann (born May 7, 1946 in Palo Alto, California) is an American drummer who played with the rock band the Grateful Dead for their entire thirty-year career. Kreutzmann started playing drums at the age of 13, despite having been told by his sixth grade music teacher that he couldn't keep a beat. As a teenager, he met Aldous Huxley at his high school, who encouraged him in his drumming.
At the end of 1964 he co-founded the band The Warlocks, along with Phil Lesh, Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and Ron "Pigpen" McKernan. Their first real gig was May 5, 1965, two days before Kreutzmann's nineteenth birthday. During the band's early days, Kreutzmann sometimes used a fake draft card with the name "Bill Sommers" to be admitted to bars where the band was playing, since he was underage. In November 1965, the Warlocks became the Grateful Dead.
Meeting fellow percussionist Mickey Hart in the fall of 1967 would have a big impact on Kreutzmann's career. Hart soon joined the Dead, making it one of the first (and few) rock bands to feature two drummers. The two percussionists' remarkable cohesion, synchronicity, and driving power became a hallmark of the Grateful Dead sound, and earned them the nickname "the Rhythm Devils". Their lengthy drum duets were a feature of nearly every show from 1978–1995, and are documented in a number of recordings by the band. Kreutzmann remained with the Grateful Dead until its dissolution following the passing of Garcia in 1995, making him one of four members to play at every one of the band's 2,300 shows, along with Garcia, Weir and Lesh.
There is a road, no simple highway, between the dawn and the dark of night, and if you go no one may follow, that path is for your steps alone. Ripple in still water, when there is no pebble tossed, nor wind to blow.
To seek the sacred river Alph, to walk the caves of ice, to break my fast on honey dew and drink the milk of paradise... I had heard the whispered tales of immortality, the deepest mystery, from an ancient book I took a clue.