Grateful Dead Drummer Bill Kreutzmann Exits Dead & Company Final Tour

The drummer, a founding member of the legendary rock band, has been jamming for Deadheads since 1964

John Mayer, Bill Kreutzman and Bob Weir of Dead & Company in Concert at Madison Square Garden
John Mayer, Bill Kreutzman and Bob Weir of Dead & Company in Concert at Madison Square Garden (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Dead & Company have announced longtime drummer Bill Kreutzmann, a founding member of The Grateful Dead, will not be joining them on their final tour. 

In a post on the band’s Instagram Saturday, Kreutzmann, along with bandmates Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and John Mayer, said the drummer will sit out their final summer tour. 

“Every day, things change,” the band said. “After many long discussions and some good old-fashioned soul searching, we are letting you know that our brother Bill Kreutzmann will not be joining us on our final summer tour.”

A founding member of The Grateful Dead, Kreutzmann formed the group alongside Weir, Jerry Garcia, Dana Morgan Jr. and Ron McKernan in 1964 when they were initially known as The Warlocks. The drummer has had health issues in the past, though the band made it clear he is not hanging up the sticks for good. 

“Bill wants you to know that he is in good spirits, good health and he is not retiring,” the band said in the post.

Dead & Company, an offshoot of the original eclectic rock band with a devout following to this day, was formed in 2015, bringing together founding members of the band and weaving in Grammy winner Mayer. According to the post, the decision for Kreutzmann to bow out of their final tour was completely mutual. 

“This is the culmination of a shift in creative direction as we keep these songs alive and breathing in ways that we each feel is best to continue to honor the legacy of the Grateful Dead,” the post read. “The final tour will go on as planned with Bill’s full endorsement and support.”

The band’s final tour will begin at the New Orleans Jazz Fest in Louisiana on May 6.