Dead & Company Drummer Bill Kreutzmann to Skip Final Tour

According to Dead & Company, Bill Kreutzmann "is in good spirits, good health and he is not retiring." (Photo by Andrew Scott Blackstein)

Bill Kreutzmann will not be playing in the band when Dead & Company kick off their final tour on May 19 in Los Angeles. The group made the following statement about the 76-year-old Grateful Dead co-founder and co-drummer on Apr. 22: 

"Every day, things change. 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. Bill wants you to know that he is in good spirits, good health and he is not retiring.

"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 final tour will go on as planned with Bill’s full endorsement and support.

"See you at Jazz Fest!"

Dead & Company have two shows leading up to the tour: May 6 at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and May 9 at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

Plagued by injuries during last year's summer tour, Kreutzmann missed numerous shows and was replaced by Jay Lane, who most likely will sub for him during this year's finale. The band is ending their run that began following the Dead's 50th anniversary shows in 2016.

Last July 11, Kreutzmann posted at FB:

"Well, friends, I was hoping to be back in the saddle already, but since I’m not quite there yet, I thought I’d tell you exactly what’s going on. No more speculation or rumors. I’m okay! It’s not my heart. And I’m not retiring! As most of you know, I had a back issue that suddenly appeared in Boulder, but I nipped it in the bud. Just as I was ready to come back full-strength, I pulled a positive on an antigen test. Despite all the tour protocols that I took very seriously, it still got me. Darn it. My case was mild and — thankfully — I’m testing negative again. However my strength isn’t quite back to show level. But it gets closer every day. I miss seeing all of your faces. I haven’t thrown in the towel and I cannot wait for our joyful reunion. I love you all so much.”

Kreutuzmann helped found the Dead in 1965 in Palo Alto, CA where he was born on May 7, 1946. Originally known as the Warlocks, the group consisted of Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan and Dana Morgan (he was soon replaced by Phil Lesh). The Dead's second drummer Mickey Hart joined the band in 1967.

Kreutuzmann will probably continue to play with his side project, Billy & the Kids. He lives on Kaua'i.


2023 Dead & Co Tour Sched

5/19 - Kia Forum, Inglewood, CA 
5/20 - Kia Forum, Inglewood, CA 
5/23 - Ak-Chin Pavilion, Phoenix, AZ 
5/26 - Dos Equis Pavilion  Dallas, TX
5/28 - Lakewood Amphitheatre, Atlanta, GA
5/30 - PNC Music Pavilion, Charlotte, NC
6/1 - Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek, Raleigh, NC 
6/3 - Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow, VA
6/5 - The Pavilion at Star Lake, Burgettstown, PA 
6/7 - Hollywood Casino Amphitheater, St. Louis, MO
6/9 - Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
6/10 - Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL 
6/13 - Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, OH
6/15 - Citizen’s Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA
6/17 - Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY 
6/18 - Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Performing Arts Center
6/21 - Citi Field, Queens, NY
6/22 - Citi Field, Queens, NY
6/25 - Fenway Park, Boston, MA 
6/27 - Ruoff Music Center, Noblesville, IN 
7/1 - Folsom Field, Boulder, CO 
7/2 - Folsom Field, Boulder, CO
7/3 - Folsom Field, Boulder, CO
7/7 - The Gorge, George, WA 
7/8 - The Gorge, George, WA
7/14 - Oracle Park, San Francisco, CA
7/15 - Oracle Park, San Fransisco, CA 

RELATED: WIllie Nelson's 2023 Tour Sched


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.