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Bob Weir

A founding member of the Grateful Dead, Bob Weir's musical legacy (separate from its cultural implications) will be of an utterly strange rhythm guitar player and songwriter who grew up in one of the most lasting outside bands of the 1960s. Playing with the Dead until their dissolution following the death of Jerry Garcia in 1995, Weir has since made his musical homes in Ratdog and the Other Ones.

Born in 1947 and adopted by a rich California engineer, Weir's intense, undiagnosed dyslexia gave him trouble at school. He was labeled a troublemaker and shipped off to boarding school, where he met future songwriting partner John Perry Barlow. After being kicked out of the school, Weir returned to the Bay Area, where he bummed around the burgeoning folk scene and came into contact with musicians like Jerry Garcia, New Riders of the Purple Sage founder David Nelson, and Jefferson Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen. A series of jug bands eventually morphed into the electrified Warlocks who, in turn, became the Grateful Dead following a series of gigs at Ken Kesey's Acid Tests.

Weir developed his odd rhythm style playing between the sweet, articulated lead guitar of Jerry Garcia and the avant-garde bass lines of Phil Lesh, who joined the Dead as a newcomer to his instrument after studying trumpet and serial music with composer Luciano Berio at Mills College in the early '60s. The Dead's sound, a psychedelic hybrid of genres, was developed through endless improvisation. Weir's role as a rhythm player was to give force and color to the developing music. Like a jazz guitarist, Weir was often not evident in the mix, but still a profound shape on the sound.

Weir's earliest songwriting efforts mirrored those of Garcia and Lesh, though less successfully. By the early '70s, he had crossed paths with Barlow again and the two began their creative relationship in earnest. Soon, Weir was producing songs in his own distinct style -- a blend of Americana and the odd voicings he specialized in. As the health of Dead frontman Ron "Pigpen" McKernan waned, Weir found his rich baritone increasingly at the center of attention and developed a stage personality to match it. His first solo album, Ace, released in 1972, featured Weir backed by the rest of the Dead.

Through the late '70s, and especially during the Dead's year off in 1975, Weir toured and recorded with a number of groups, including Kingfish and Bobby and the Midnites. Kingfish was by far the most successful of these efforts. Listened to in retrospect, Bobby and the Midnites sounds grounded in the period. More importantly, though, Weir's guitar style was developed in specific response to the situation of the Grateful Dead and rarely works successfully without his counterparts in Garcia and Lesh.

The Dead remained Weir's primary gig through the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s, touring incessantly and finally scoring success with their 1987 album In the Dark. As Garcia's dependence on drugs increased, Weir found himself increasingly in the position of de facto bandleader. When Garcia died in 1995, Weir had recently formed the Ratdog Revue (soon shortened to Ratdog), with bassist Rob Wasserman (with whom he had been playing duo shows since the late '80s) and former Primus drummer Jay Lane.

Through a revolving lineup, the band -- like the Dead -- toured incessantly, working their way through clubs and theaters, building both a repertoire of new Weir compositions and reworked Dead songs as well as an original sound. In 2000, Ratdog released their first album, Evening Moods to mixed reviews. In the summers of 1998 and 2000, Weir reunited with several former Dead bandmates to tour as the Other Ones, releasing a live album in 1999. Weir continues to develop as a bandleader and an elder for new generations of jam bands. ~ Jesse Jarnow, Rovi
full bio

Comments

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A good friend of mine and also an accomplished guitarist, who I turned on to the live recordings of the Dead remarked, Jerry was utterly ingenious but that Bob Weir guy was also very special. .......Most of us who have listened to Bobby through the years, echo that astute observation.
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The music never stopped
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Agree, hope you're well my friend!
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twoodshhi
Love you Bobby, hope your well!!
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twoodshhi
Randy.. U got no clue
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randy4loans3
the facts and chronology of his solo career are not correct in this review
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the off beat time signatures. the contrast of ironic verse. doting in absurdity. the rhythm entices an alluring mesmerizatio n and induces hypnotic concentratio n . an originator of so many chords and chord progressions . he'd so laugh at this and say ....really? wow. i never knew... refer to VICTIM OR THE CRIME/ ESTIMATED PROPHET .... ALL FALL DOWN...BURY ME STANDING.... e x t r a c t i n g and provoking. magic , literally
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Not a dead fan at all but I like this alot
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Finally found success with In the Dark. Hilarious!! Success is not measured by just record sales. One of the best bands EVER!!!
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It's California!
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I agree with what dude just typed below me!!! Heck ya!! Bob Weir is a huge part of the Dead! Listen peeps... You have not lived until you had gone to a New Years Eve Show up in Northern Cali. I have my ticket stubs!!!!! I saved them all the art work is SICK!

Peace out! Happy pre Easter Blessings to all my friends on here... Pray for Peace!

Rosebud :)
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awkrg
through the years bobs gotten a lot of dissrespect. When in actuality he was a major part of the dead wheel along with garcia.His playing and voice was so crucial to the sound of the dead. As for his guitar playing check out the china/rider from veneta 7/27/72 and you'll notice not only did he supply excellent rhythm but could play some tasteful leads as well. Bob was atually the showstopper when it came to the rave outs of lovelight and good lovin from the 70's onward to the other ones. not to
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joeyedlock
One show in 2014. Pray for rat Dog
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Big Iron- more cowboy Dead. Love it!
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love the boys...the PITB from Ace captures the Dead like no other song.
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lacyalce
Bobby is the man. I cant wait for him (and Phil) to go back on tour!
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Bob Weir f**kin rocks dude, I've always thought bobby goes hard
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Furthur is the s**t bruh... Saw em twice
In Colorado this year then saw bobby do an acoustic show in Santa Fe... Which was also super cool.. Makin plans to see Furthur again in Berkeley at the end of September.
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If you give Jerry credit as a Good Musician, who also wouldn't really take much crap from anybody, you also have to recognize that Bobby had to have some decent chops for Jerry to keep him in the band for so long. I won't be so cynical as to believe that Jerry simply wanted him as a Pretty-Boy Front-Man. Over time, I've come to appreciate Bobby's singing, if not his guitar playing. At least it isn't intrusive at all, which is what you want from your Rhythm Guitarist.
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benrdsknrd
Gotta love Bobby!
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jontaylor23
Get Weir'd!
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Thank you Bobby for your fantastic contribution .
And now let me intoduce you to a really good guy my buddy Bob Weir Jerry Garcia
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tvgiddings
P.s. As a spec ed teacher, Bobby's is an awesome story of overcoming a disability to create something beautiful
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tvgiddings
There will never be another vocal combination like Donna and Bobby. That period stands out in the Dead's most creative and in many ways difficult period. Add the song writing of Hunter AND Barlow, this broadened the sound in new directions. Review diminishes Bobby's talent
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Long live the Grateful Dead!
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give bob some credit can u imagine the dead without him???...
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jwr2m
what a lame comment by JRS think before u speak(or write in this case) we need positivity not negativity.. . . B E GOOD, BE KIND, GIVE LOVE
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Bobby f**kin rock star! I love you bro for carrying the torch and keepin on Truckin! Grate true story at gathering of the vibes,my daughters fave song 'scarlet begonias' starts playin she is like 6 and she learned to read thru 'view from vault'DVD's when Bobby's young looking still pink guitar strap and all! So she gets on my shoulder and we head towards the stage everyone parts like the Red Sea and talking about the energy around us, when get to the front like 15 feet from bobby she tenses upla
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Saw Kingfish and Keith & Donna at tiny Theil College in NW Pa in '75. Maybe 150 people. Nonetheless, crazy times were had by all and I was the photographer ;-)
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greenprinces s 1 1 5
one of the best jams
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I have been listening to the Dead since 1973 and like to hear them as much as possible. I will switch back to Dish TV since they have the Grateful Dead channel.
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tldavis502
One of favorite Dead Albums...all Bobby...nice
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Weir everywhere!
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bob_bushnell
If you don't feel better after listening to this song there is something very, very wrong.
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Ace was a stealth Dead album. Look at liner notes for the players. Great album! NOT trying tio start anything just setting the record straight. Kingfish was during the retirement 1974/75. Bobby and the Midnites was about 1978/79. BTW: thank Bobby for bringing Brent into the GD when Keith burned out. Added much color and some great songs into the catalog.
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randy4loans3
Bobby and The Midnites are not Kingfish.... e n t i r e l y different bands.
The Bob Weir band circa 1978 was also an entirely different band......
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schmidtynjen
we all wore that s**t in the 80's. LOVE all the boys, can't say enough.. the ones that are left are doing great from every show I've seen since jerry's gone....and there have been a few..
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how about the cheesy jean shorts in the late 80s? met him in MAui at 4am waiting for sunrise on top of volcano...st r a n g e but nice
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ed u are right on about bob looking to his right for jerry boohoo boohoo...
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ken85207
rhythm guitar was never sooooo good before Weir
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Thank you...That is all we should all say! Just thank you man! PEACE
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daveshelburn e
description of bobs guitar playing is almost on the mark,still under appreciated vocalist song writer frontman extroidanare , jerry best friend
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gypsyrjade
I suppose that you could say " I had the time of my life..."
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He has a new spaceship that has been launched
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um, Bob would look to his RIGHT...
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cassidy good tune i like the way it goes
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daveshelburn e
i once asked bob weir in a pizza joint next to( toads place in new haven where he played a couple miutes later)why the new band was called bobby and the midnites his response was what should i call it bobby and the flaming a**- holes, wasnt real friendly
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sullenberg8
Walkin' in the sunshine
Watchin' for the bright side
Bein' all the the things hopin' to be!
Salud!
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He still looks over to his left and see's jerry--per Weir
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Wish they had the King Biscuit Flour-hour cd here, 2 disk live set of the original K-fish line-up at the Beacon Theater in '76. Get it if you can, a great album.
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