Sunday, November 30, 2008

You might need a hankerchief when you read this-

Rowe: Mom’s 'B natural’ solace is seeing Dead jammin’

GREENSBORO — Like many ink-stained refugees, I get my share of calls from readers. One of them came from Betty Ruffin. She had a doozie of a request.

She wanted me to help her better understand her son.

Her request came a few months back. She saw my column on the Marcus C. Rizzo Center for Musician Enrichment, a proposed music incubator on South Elm, and she wanted to make a donation in honor of Tommy, her oldest son.

When I asked her why, she told me about Tommy.

He had a big heart. He was a Greensboro native, a tax attorney in Florida who thought nothing of helping disabled children, hurricane victims, single mothers he knew and uninsured musicians he didn’t know.

In one particular case, after hearing a minister on the radio, he helped poor black families, victims of Hurricane Andrew, get money from insurance companies to rebuild their homes and their lives.

Tommy, a single father of two, was named Dade County Citizen of the Year for his work. But he never told anyone in his hometown, including his mom.

Betty heard about it from Tommy’s law partners.

Tommy was like that. He was an unpretentious, intensely private man who never wanted attention. He wanted to right the wrongs of the world.

But at the same time, he was troubled, burdened with depression beyond anyone’s ability to comprehend. Last year, Tommy killed himself. He was 49.

But one thing that gave him peace, away from his world he saw restrictive and suffocating, was music. Or “real music,’’ as he called it. And music from The Grateful Dead made his soul sing.

He discovered The Dead as an undergrad at UNC-Chapel Hill. Tommy visited every national park and saw every Dead show he could when he covered the country in an old Oldsmobile and a pop-up camper.

His musical adventures with The Dead never waned. He saw them constantly. And somewhere along the way, he gave The Dead’s guitarist Jerry Garcia some kind of advice. Maybe tax advice.

But like he did with much of his life, he didn’t tell people. They found out about his work with Garcia only after his death, when they found a signed photo in his office.

There was a short thank-you from Garcia, written in gold pen, that included this tidbit: “Life’s short. Don’t B flat. B natural.’’ Garcia signed it in the universal language of music notes.

After Garcia’s death in 1995, Tommy criss-crossed the country to see the remaining band members of The Dead play and see its community.

And every time after every show, he told his mom about it.

Even when Betty visited him in Florida, Tommy would put on something from The Dead and say, “Listen to this, Mom, listen to this!’’

But she never saw the band live. And she never fully understood her son’s connection to The Grateful Dead and its legion of deeply loyal fans who searched for what some called “The Happy Sound.’’

Deadheads. Tommy was one. So was I.

I had followed The Dead since 1985. Just like Tommy. So, I knew the draw. And with Tommy gone, she asked me for help. She wanted to better understand the why of what Tommy loved.

At first, I thought we’d talk over coffee. But when the Greensboro Coliseum Complex booked RatDog, the group fronted by Bob Weir, the former rhythm guitarist of The Grateful Dead, I had a better idea.

We’d go. And we did Sunday night.

I walked Betty — a 75-year-old woman called BeBe by her grandkids — into War Memorial Auditorium, and there, she saw a mass of 1,500 Deadheads turn one big room into one big dance hall.

She got it. At least she told me she did. But she didn’t need to.

I saw it for myself Sunday night, when she clapped, swayed and patted the seat in front of her with every tune she recognized.

She had heard it all before. Somewhere in her son’s life. But Sunday night, she heard it — and saw it — for herself. And she just grinned.

Contact Jeri Rowe at 373-7374 or

Friday, November 28, 2008

My daughter applies to UCSC tomorrow!!!!!!!!

Which reminds me to tell YOU to check this link out!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Paul Liberatore: Young musician gathers A-list rockers for benefit concert, CD
Posted: 11/27/2008 07:59:49 PM PST

Singer/songwriter Sara Wasserman grew up in Mill Valley and is currently living in New York.
This summer, 28-year-old Sara Wasserman will have her first album out after working on it for six years. It won't be your typical earnest indie debut by an unknown singer/songwriter hoping someone important will hear it.
More than a few A-List rock stars have not only heard it, they're on it - namely Aaron Neville, Lou Reed, Traffic's Jim Capaldi, Vernon Reid from Living Colour, the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir, Stephen Perkins from Jane's Addiction and the virtuoso young bassist Christian McBride.

Sara's father is Grammy-winning bassist Rob Wasserman and her mother is music producer Clare Wasserman, who's now married to Dan Hicks.

For Sara, who grew up in Mill Valley and now lives in New York, hanging with famous musicians is like visiting her relatives.

So, when she asked some of the musicians who'd known her as a child to guest on her record, she didn't have to plead. They were more than happy to do it.

"These are very personal songs and she wanted to make sure that the people she chose for each song were right," her mother says. "Everyone she asked said yes."

Including Lou Reed. When she was a little girl, she would accompany her dad on the road when he toured with Reed, who's like an uncle to her.

It's hard to think of louche Lou as an avuncular figure, but the one-time Velvet Underground frontman is more family to her than famous rocker.

"Lou has been part of Sara's life since she's been a tiny girl," her mom says. "He adores her."

He adores her


enough to put down his "Walk on the Wild Side," hard-rock image long enough to play acoustic guitar - for the first time - on Sara's upcoming album, a collection of original songs she describes as "acoustic soul."
"He's known me for so many years," Sara says. "To me, he's a sweetheart. He's been incredibly supportive."

Sara's mom, Clare, tells a story about the lengths to which Uncle Lou was willing to go for her.

"When they went into the studio in New York, Sara said, 'I really hear acoustic guitar on this,'" Clare recalls. "Lou said, 'I don't play acoustic guitar.' And Sara said, 'Well, Lou, I hear it on this.' He looked at her, rolled his eyes, grabbed an acoustic guitar and said, 'Oh, all right.' And she was right. It's fantastic."

That same willingness to help came through when Sara and her mom asked prominent members of the Marin music community to perform with her at a benefit concert for Casa de Milagros (House of Miracles), an orphanage in Peru she heard about through her friends, actor Woody Harrelson and his wife, Laura Louie, who helped get the home started.

Casa de Milagros, near Machu Picchu in Peru's Sacred Valley, takes in orphaned and abandoned children living in poverty on the streets of Cusco and surrounding towns.

The Marin benefit, at the 142 Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley, is set for 7 p.m. Sunday with Weir, Wasserman, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek, Maria Muldaur and poet Michael McClure, among others.

"I took it on faith that people would help," Sara says. "The whole Marin music community has been incredible."

Sara, who will contribute some of the proceeds from her album to the orphanage, visited Casa de Milagros in August and was deeply moved by its arts-oriented program for the 31 boys and girls in its care.

"It's an amazing new model for orphanages based on healing through art and music and dance," she explains. "The kids are taught about organic farming and nutrition and medicinal plants and ways of life they would otherwise never have the opportunity to experience."

The orphanage is run by a youthful American mother and grandmother known as Mama Kia, who raised six children of her own before traveling to Peru in 1994, witnessing the appalling conditions for children there, and started Casa de Milagros.

She named the orphanage's founding organization, the Chandler Sky Foundation, after a grandson who died a week after he was born and came to her in a vision, telling her to help ease the suffering of these children.

Mama Kia, who says "music is our No. 1 healing activity," has traveled from Peru to speak at the benefit on Sunday and to show a film about the orphans she thinks of as her own sons and daughters.

"I've never met anyone like her," Sara says. "She's just this incredible healer. She's dedicated her life to raising these kids."

Since the orphanage is dependent on contributions from abroad for its support, Sara saw the benefit concert as something she could do for Casa de Milagros through her music and her friends in the music business.

"Sara came home and said, 'Oh, god, Mom, we've got to help,'" her mother recalls. "She said, 'We've got to raise some money for their expenses next year.'"

Sara joins celebrities like Ben Taylor, son of James Taylor; the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Curtis Martin of the New York Jets as a supporter of Mama Kia's work.

"Sara wants to do something more with her music than put it out there in the normal commercial way," her mom says. "She wants to participate on a higher level with it. That's always been her goal. She's always been socially conscious, and she's always loved kids, so this is a natural evolution. And, as always, the Marin music community came together. It's the very least we can do."


- What: Benefit concert for Casa de Milagros, featuring Sara Wasserman, Bob Weir, Rob Wasserman and Jay Lane join the Band of Brotherz, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Ray Manzarek from the Doors, Maria Muldaur and poet Michael McClure

- Where: 142 Throckmorton Theatre, downtown Mill Valley

- When: 7 p.m. Nov. 30

- Tickets: $50

- Information: 383-9600,

Paul Liberatore can be reached at

My dear friend across the sea- Wishing you well today!!


Take another look at this auction-
Some new items that might be of interest to music fans have been added to the items list!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bobby at the inaugural ball?

Another tour review-

By Ryan Snyder

Bob Weir and RatDog covers plenty of grateful ground
The music never stopped, at least not for Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir. Along with Dead bassist Phil Lesh’s ongoing project, Phil Lesh & Friends, Weir’s touring band RatDog ( has sought to perpetuate the music of the band that has shaped American music like few others. Though the Dead built up an immense musical catalog during their 30 years of prolific touring, a RatDog performance is in reality much more than a tribute to Weir’s old band. The Dead weren’t afraid to fill out a three-hour set with covers by everyone from contemporary Bob Dylan to legends like Howlin’ Wolf, and that approach certainly hasn’t changed one bit for Weir. As Weir has aged, he’s settled into simply celebrating the music that influenced his former band, among countless others. His show at the War Memorial Auditorium on Nov. 16 was very indicative of that, mixing a few Grateful Dead favorites and some traditional tunes popularized by the Dead with a cornucopia of musical miscellany.

In fact, the vast majority of the two 75minute sets were filled with an outstanding collection of jammed-up cover tunes.

The night opened with an improvised instrumental jam that featured heavy references to Miles Davis’ classic composition “Milestones.” Though drummer Jay Lane has shown in the past that jazz stylings are certainly within his rhythmic vocabulary (most notably with the Charlie Hunter Trio), he still chose to lay down a rather rudimentary rock beat. It didn’t exactly detract from what was otherwise an interesting treatment, but it did stick out in a way that wasn’t wholly complementary to the piece. Still, such experimentation is in grand Weir fashion and he’s never really been a by-the-book kind of guy. After a somewhat unremarkable “Here Comes Sunshine,” (a song I’m never really thrilled to see on his setlists to begin with) the show really took off with a sing-along to Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried.” The audience of gray-bearded Deadheads, twenty-something tour junkies and buttoned-up college Greeks all belted out the chorus of “And I turned 21 in prison/Doin’ life without parole” in perfect unison,” showing that music makes strange bedfellows indeed.

The band followed that up with a sweet and somber “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue,” the first of three Bob Dylan tunes that would find their way out. “Silvio” would come later in the set with a “Tequila” shooter, while another jovial call-andresponse would come in the second during “Quinn the Eskimo.”

Speaking of the audience in attendance, it’s amazing how remnants of the original scene that Weir helped make so infamous has persisted even today. I witnessed a hilarious encounter between a drugaddled counter-culture refugee and the will-call ticket attendant on my way in. The gentleman, who may or may not have been aware that the ’60s ended long ago, gave a workman-like effort to convince the ticket handlers that “Bobby put him on the list.” As he implored the visibly frustrated woman to “call the producers,” he confidently turned to his wife and said, “Heh, Bobby said he was gonna do ‘Spoonful’ tonight.” I’ll admit that I got a little excited at the notion of hearing the Willie Dixon classic that Weir hasn’t played in over 10 years. But, it seldom turns out the way it does in the song and I reminded myself what decades of psychedelic ingestibles will do to a person’s perception of reality.
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The second I stepped into the auditorium, I was taken aback by the nearly breathtaking combined scent of powerful, earthen funk and wicked homegrown. The War Memorial would later rectify that mater by pumping air freshener though the ventilation system toward the end of the second set. Despite it being a seated affair, controlled chaos reigned with revelers dancing in aisles, in their seats (I see they took my suggestion from last week’s forecast) and more specifically, in other people’s seats.

It was laughable to see ushers checking tickets and ordering people back to the place they were assigned, though it was equally absurd to see many of the faithful respond with obscene gestures and epithets to such requests. You know that calling an authoritarian figure a “pig” has jumped the shark as an insult when it’s being used against venue ushers.
The parking lot outside was filled with ragged RVs and Volkswagen buses, most heavily concentrated down one row of parking that composed quite possibly the sorriest excuse for a Shakedown Street I’ve seen in 15 years of concert-going. For the uninformed, Shakedown Street is the unofficially official area for vendors to peddle their wares found at most of the shows on the jam circuit. There really was nothing shaking on this one, with only a couple of vans selling that fabulous hippie cuisine and a makeshift DJ set-up spinning some electronica after the show. However, it might have had something to do with venue personnel driving up and down the pathway with horns blowing. So much for being an accommodating host. The second set closed out with the Beatles’ “Come Together,” right at the time that Febreeze started to permeate the air, followed by the ubiquitous “Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad.” Weir, in his usual cut-off jeans and T-shirt attire, returned to the stage and announced how great it was “to be back in the blue state of North Carolina” to wild applause. Moments later the opening licks of Weir’s favorite showcloser “Ripple” sounded out to take the crowd home with many, oddly enough, smelling fresher than when they arrived.
To comment on this story e-mail Ryan Snyder at

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mickey's Tao of Wood

From today's Leah Garchik--

" A little bit later, Mickey Hart stood next to his works - paintings, bonsai, prints and most important, wood sculptures - at the opening of "The Tao of Wood," at Dennis Rae Fine Art. Drums were played in the window; further into the gallery, a band of musicians and pals - Bill Walton, Zakir Hussain, Carolyn "Mountain Girl" Garcia, Barry "The Fish" Melton, Sammy Hagar - greeted each other with expressions of awe at Hart's output.

Hart stroked and tapped Ramrod, a 250-pound piece of wood found on land previously owned by the Mendocino Redwood Co. It is 8 feet by 4 feet, in a sort of standing shape determined by nature: growth and ants and wood rot. "You don't want your imprint on the thing," said Hart. "These insects are the great architects of this. This is really their creation."

He "can't tell the sound," said Hart, "until I clean it up and explore the journey, to hear its song." You beat it to make music? I asked. Wrong question. "I don't beat it," said Hart, "more coax the sound, caress it ... find its capabilities."

Working with the wood was "a way of mourning Ramrod," said Hart, referring to Lawrence "Ramrod" Shurtliff, the late crew member ("roadie") of the Grateful Dead. "He was the soul of the Grateful Dead."

Monday, November 24, 2008

Alan Hess has a new photography blog that you cannot miss!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Heard Bobby and Ratdog did their first Box of Rain at last night's show!!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

RatDog review: Classic rock a refreshing change for local audience


In my 15 years in Southwest Florida, I don't think I've ever used the word
"face-melter" to describe a concert -- mostly because concerts here are
never as musically adventurous and fierce as what the sold-out crowd at
Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall experienced last night.

Long before Bob Weir - the rhythm guitarist for the Grateful Dead and now
frontman of RatDog - plucked his first guitar string, any local resident
could tell that this show was going to be unlike any other in the long
 history of Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall.

Hours before the 8 p.m. start time, the west-side parking lots began filling
up with fans from all over the southeast who, like Deadheads, have followed
RatDog from show to show. Vendors selling glass pipes, T-shirts emblazoned
with the famous Grateful Dead skull and Jerry Garcia lined rows and rows of
cars while the music of the Grateful Dead blarred from car speakers.

Some fans were still stuck in their work suits while others in dreadlocks
and carrying the aroma of patchouli, pot and body odor scrambled for tickets
and other concert "necessities" like beer, weed and nitrous oxide. In fact,
you couldn't weave your way through the parking lot crowds without seeing
someone carrying a balloon.

Yes ... The circus was in town last night and it only got better as the
night wore on.

Inside the refined Mann auditorium, concert tapers with microphones and
recording equipment set up while the Deadheads in their tie-dyes waited
patiently for the band to take the stage and when they did, not a soul was
sitting for entire three hour performance that spanned each era of the
Grateful Dead's history.

The concert kicked off with a groovy jam that found its way into the
Grateful Dead's "The Music Never Stopped." When Weir launched into the
lyrics "There's a band out on the highway, They're high steppin' into town
It's a rainbow full of sound, It's fireworks, calliopes and clowns," I
couldn't help but this event was a welcome departure from the ho-hum acts
that usually play Southwest Florida.

With fans wiggle-dancing and using their hands to follow the music, Weir and
RatDog spent the next 15 minutes covering Bob Dylan's "Maggie's Farm" and
"She Belongs to Me" before delving into the first Jerry Garcia song of the
night, a bopping version of "Loose Lucy."

The 1 1/2-hour first set ended
with a rockin version of "Hell In a Bucket" with Weir, now fully gray,
screaming into the mic, "At least I'm enjoying the ride ... ride ...ride"
while saxophonist Kenny Brooks wailed.

The second set -- always the special set for the Grateful Dead -- also held
true with RatDog. Weir started things off acoustically with one of the
Dead's earliest numbers "Stealin'" before bringing the tempo down a bit with
a pretty version of "Friend of the Devil." Psychedelia took over with Weir's
"Victim of the Crime" and didn't skip a beat before taking on the reggae-ish
"Estimated Prophet."

With everyone still standing, the slow beginning notes of "Terrapin Station"
wafted through the theater culminating in a massive sing-along with the
crowd screaming the lyrics, "inspiration, move me brightly ... Light the
song with sense and color, hold away despair ...

Continuing the epic song Weir delivered the lines, "In the shadow of the
moon" while crowd screamed back "terrapin station."

"And I know well get there soon," Weir cried out.

"Terrapin station," the dancing crowd shot back before the band once again
delved into a Garcia favorite, "Sugaree."

The second set ended with Weir's barnstormer, "Sugar Magnolia" -- a song
that had people dancing from the front row to the very back.

And if that wasn't enough RatDog concluded with night with a song the Dead
only played on an album -- never live, the complex "At A Siding" which
featured sax man Brooks blazing, and lead guitarist MarK Karan with his down
making sure every not was hit just exactly perfect.

For those locals who were there last night, this will be one local show they
won't soon forget. The band was tight and those from outside the area
praised the theater and its staff. Here's to hoping we get more of this kind
of adventurous music and less Englebert Humperdicnk in the future.

Ever consider what goes into creating a logo?
Check out Jamie's blog about recreating the Head Count logo for 2008 at her blog

Friday, November 21, 2008

Check out The visions of Cody blog they are listing their top 10 Grateful Dead songs...

and over at the blogger reviews his experience at a Ratdog show.

To find out which Bobby song made blogger Bob Kjelgaard cry, you will need to go read his post at his blog-!2031C5A639292311!283/

Updated info on-
Bob Weir to Help Casa de Milagros

Casa de Milagros (a home for orphaned children in Peru’s Sacred Valley) will be the beneficiary of a night of musical and spoken word performances featuring Bob Weir, Ray Manzarek (from The Doors), esteemed poet Michael McClure, Rob Wasserman, Maria Muldar, and Jay Lane will be on hand.
The benefit is to take place Sunday evening, November 30th, at 7 p.m. at 142 Throckmorton.
Tickets are $50. Call 383-9600, visit the box office at 142 Throckmorton Theatre, or click on for tickets and/or additional information.

RatDog to bring Deadheads to Mann Hall with former Primus drummer in tow
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Jay Lane, a founding member of the experimental metal band Primus, just completed drumming work on jazz guitarist Charlie Hunter's debut album when he first met Bob Weir.

"It was back in 1993 when we met," said Lane, who'll join RatDog - the band Bob Weir started following the 1995 death of Jerry Garcia - at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall tonight. "Back then my musical interests were very narrow. For example, I couldn't tell you the difference between bluegrass and zydeco.

"I was playing hyped up funk, jazz and R&B," Lane said during a RatDog tour stop in Boston. "I think that's why Bob took a chance on me."


Like the lyrics of Weir's psychedelic face-melter, "The Other One," Lane knew becoming part of Weir's band meant an introduction to a whole new world of sight and sound.

In the early post-Grateful Dead years, audiences wanted more of the same, Lane said.

But Garcia was gone and Weir wanted to pay tribute to his past work without trying to clone it.

"It was a challenge for me," Lane said. "I didn't know how to play slow. It took me a number of years to learn how to slow down. I had to really break myself down and had to learn all this Americana music that was out there.

"What I really liked about RatDog and this music is that it's so inclusive," Lane said. "I had to learn to love the music to get it and get Bob's style."


Unlike most rhythm guitarists, Weir has his own distinct style of complex voiceleading, which adds more depth - and a new dimension to rhythm guitar-playing.

"He's like a puzzle piece," Lane said. "You look at him and he's someone who crafted his style by playing with the same guys for 30 years. There is no one who plays like Bob. Guys like Les (Claypool) and Charlie (Hunter, a seven and eight-string jazz guitarist) were taught by themselves in their own room. Bob was playing in the Grateful Dead at 17.

"It took me a long time to figure out what he was doing," Lane said. "Even today, every few gigs, I'll feel like I've had another breakthrough."


Legendary concert promoter and Grateful Dead fan Bill Graham once said this about the Dead: "They're not only the best at what they do, they're the only ones who do what they do."

Today, some 13 years after the band called it quits, the groundwork the Grateful Dead laid for future generations of experimental rock bands keeps expanding through rock festivals such as Bonnaroo, live music downloading Web sites such as and bands who search for more than three chords and three-minute songs.

"The Dead fans that come see us want to hear the Dead," Lane said. "But we're not the Grateful Dead. When we play some of those old songs, we're paying homage while at the same time giving them something new."


While a RatDog show is often comprised of plenty of Grateful Dead songs RatDog is no Dead cover band.

Recent performances illustrate the wide variety of songs ranging from rarely played Dead tunes to Bob Dylan to the Beatles and Rev. Gary Davis.

"I think what we're doing is turning a lot of younger people whose parents were Deadheads on to this music," Lane said. "If people can come to this music through that rap album 'Jay-Z is Dead,' great. People are finding music in other ways than listening to the radio."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Review: Weir does former band mate proud

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18 (updated 8:17 am)
Staff Writer
Rowe: Mom’s 'B natural’ solace is seeing Dead jammin’ (3:00 am)
GREENSBORO - Two hours into Bob Weir's show, when he started singing about ripples on still water, a handful of fans turned their Bic lighters into beacons Sunday night inside Greensboro's War Memorial Auditorium.

It's an old-school concert move. But it seemed appropriate. Weir, the former rhythm guitarist for The Grateful Dead, helped write and play some of the most memorable American music over the past 40 years.

And he played some of that Sunday night with his band RatDog.

Weir opened with "Here Comes Sunshine," and two sets and an encore later, he ended with "Ripple."

Fans got the classic: "Samson and Delilah," "Good Lovin'," "The Other One" and "Peggy-O." But Weir also dipped into the obscure, bringing out "Cream Puff War" from The Dead's first album in 1967.

At least three generations of fans turned the 2,400-seat room into one big dance hall, where everywhere you looked - the aisles, the rows, the orchestra pit - were often a mass of arms, hips and hands.

And up front was Weir, looking like a stoic grandfather with his bushy, salt-and-pepper beard. He wore his signature concert uniform - T-shirt and shorts - and he played on a stage flanked by an American flag, a North Carolina flag and two oddities on an amp: a bowling pin and a Barack Obama bobble-head.

The sound was impeccable, and the show went on without a hitch - other than a last-minute scramble by auditorium staff to find Weir a hair dryer before the show.

Weir - and The Dead - have always loved making a stop in Greensboro. The Dead played five times at the coliseum, including a memorable two-night stand in 1991 that drew 29,000 fans.

Twenty months ago, Weir ended his spring tour with RatDog at War Memorial. That show drew 2,022 fans.

This time, on a Sunday night, a tough time for drawing any kind of crowd, RatDog drew about 1,500 fans.

Weir, who turned 61 last month, hasn't lost any of the vigor in his voice.

He did the Jazzy Bob, the Rock-Star Bob, the Outlaw Bob, as he sang his own songs as well as tunes from his former band mate and friend, Jerry Garcia.

Weir was a long-haired 16-year-old, wandering the streets of Palo Alto, Calif., when he heard banjo music, wandered into a music store and met Garcia. They jammed together and decided to form a band.

That was New Year's Eve, 1963. In August 1995, after three decades of playing music with The Grateful Dead, Garcia died of a heart attack. He was 53.

In an interview this summer in Acoustic Guitar magazine, Weir says he still feels Garcia's presence onstage. Weir says he'll play something and feel Garcia saying, "Nah, nah, don't go there" or "Yeah, there. Go there."

Well, Garcia would have been happy Sunday night. Weir did him proud.

Contact Jeri Rowe at 373-7374 or

Sunday, November 16, 2008

11/15 /09 SHOW PHOTOS from Cousin Bud

Another reason to look forward to 2009-

Friday, November 14, 2008

Happy Weekend!
Wish I were going to a show! Oh well, soon enough RD3 will be playing at the adorable (It's really small and very cute) 142 Throckmorton Theatre!

An interesting and sparkling NEW article on Mickey Hart-

Bob Weir and RatDog keep the Grateful Dead spirit alive
by Ben Horowitz/The Star-Ledger
Friday November 14, 2008, 4:31 PM

Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead performs at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa. during a benefit concert.
Bob Weir and his band, RatDog, are doing an effective job of keeping the Grateful Dead's legacy alive, or at least, one side of his old band's legacy.
The Dead had two main sides: There was the psychedelic, spacey, experimental Dead, the king of the jam bands; and there was the tight yet imaginative group that produced and performed a number of timeless, well-crafted roots-rock songs.
Weir, the Dead's rhythm guitarist whose rich baritone made him the band's most natural singer, thrived in the latter setting. So it was no accident that Wednesday night's concert at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark achieved its most powerful moments when Weir and RatDog focused on the songs, and didn't go overboard with the jamming.
With the Dead, Weir sang lead on about half the songs. Today, at 61, he sings lead on every song. His booming voice was fully intact Wednesday not only on his own songs, but on strikingly credible versions of such chestnuts as "Brown-Eyed Women" and "Cold Rain and Snow" that were sung by the Dead's legendary lead guitarist, the late Jerry Garcia.
RatDog's lead guitarist, Mark Karan, is a solid player, but he's no Garcia. Karan does a respectable job of exploring Garcia's high, darting flights of fancy on guitar, but RatDog, for the most part, couldn't reach the sonic instrumental heights of the Dead. So that side of the Dead didn't fully come across.
The opening song, an 18-minute "Truckin,'" was a good example. The number began as a casual yet engaging jam that evolved into this Dead favorite. The band hit a danceable groove for the song itself, and the crowd, which didn't need much encouragement, was pumped for the evening. But when the verses ended, Karan and the band went into a purposeless jam that was at least five minutes too long.
Fortunately, that didn't become a pattern. During two sets of music that clocked in at a generous 2 hours and 45 minutes, the only other needless jam came when RatDog attempted to parallel a Dead concert with "Stuff," an instrumental break centered on a drum solo that came midway through the second set.
But the highlights outweighed the low points. A lively, fun-loving rendition of Bob Dylan's "Silvio" seamlessly integrated Kenny Brooks' saxophone solo on "Tequila," delighting the crowd.
Three songs that originated with RatDog showed the six-man band has something to offer of its own. Particularly noteworthy was "Bury Me Standing," a slow, funky, mysterious number abetted by tension-building flourishes from the sax.
RatDog finished the first set in style with a snappy, rousing "Greatest Story Ever Told" that segued into a euphoric "Scarlet Begonias" on which Karan's guitar solo was just right.
An attention-grabbing, acoustic "Me and Bobby McGee" kicked off the second set with authority. And the band pulled itself out of the "Stuff" jam to end the concert on a high note. A stripped-down, atmospheric "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" led to an exhilarating set-closer, a no-holds-barred rendition of the Dead/Weir show-stopper, "Sugar Magnolia."
For its encore and final song, RatDog chose a moving ballad, "Brokedown Palace," a song Garcia co-wrote and sang for his mother after she died. Weir sang the song back to Garcia, showing his respect and affection for his mentor ("Fare you well, fare you well, I love you more than words can tell").
The song sent the Deadheads, young and old, exiting the elegant building in a mellow, reflective, satisfied mood.
Ben Horowitz can be reached at

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Is John Perry Barlow, the Thomas Jefferson of the internet?

Alrighty! Garcia film on the way!

Article on Kirby show seems okay but t I've never heard some of the songs listed as classic Bob Weir songs!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 7:29 pm

Weir and RatDog provide jamming good time
By BRAD PATTON | For The Times Leader

Bob Weir performs with RatDog at the Kirby Center Tuesday.(Don Carey/Times Leader Photo)
Don Carey

Bob Weir performs with RatDog at the Kirby Center Tuesday.(Don Carey/Times Leader Photo)
Don Carey

Evoking the music and spirit of the Grateful Dead while applying their own unique talents, Bob Weir and RatDog tore through two sets and nearly three hours of music at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday.

Weir, a founding member of that legendary band from San Francisco, has been fronting RatDog since just before the death of Jerry Garcia ended the Dead in 1995. Tuesday’s show included seven songs made famous by his original band, plus a handful of others that were played by the Dead many times over their 30 years together.

Taking the stage with an extended jam that first led into “The Music Never Stopped” then into “Casey Jones” (a Dead song originally sung by Garcia), Weir and his musical compatriots set the tone for the evening by making that first segment last for over 20 minutes.

Next up was a version of “The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion),” a song from the Grateful Dead’s 1967 debut album. The audience heartily joined in as the group persuaded them to “Come and join the party, it’s everyday.”

The current version of RatDog has been playing together since March 2003, and it showed on Tuesday night. Now more than ever, they seem more like a band and not just backing musicians for Weir.

Each member was showcased at various points during the concert. Guitarist Mark Karan, saxophone player Kenny Brooks and keyboard player Jeff Chimenti provided the flourishes, as bass player Robin Sylvester and longtime drummer Jay Lane built a sturdy foundation.

Lane, the only other member besides Weir who has played at every RatDog show, was featured prominently on an extended drum solo towards the end of the second set. He also provided the patented Bo Diddley beat on the band’s version of “Iko Iko.”

Two Bob Dylan songs were featured; a nice rendition of “Slow Train” graced the first set, while an acoustic version of “Desolation Row” was a highpoint of the second. Unfortunately the latter tune was marred by sub-par sound, including very noticeable feedback. In fact, throughout the evening the sound seemed muddy and distorted, with Weir’s vocals buried in the mix.

Seemingly unaware of the technical problems, the band played a blistering 11-minute version of Willie Dixon’s “Little Red Rooster,” which featured Chimenti on the piano, during the first set. That was followed by an equally impressive take on “Stagger Lee.”

Following a 30-minute intermission, the group came back out with two acoustic numbers, “Stealin’” and Dylan’s “Desolation Row.”

Then came the longest epic of the evening: Weir’s solo tune “Wrong Way Feelin’” which morphed into the Dead favorite “Playin’ In The Band,” which then turned into “Iko Iko,” which was followed by the drum solo/jam section, then “Death Don’t Have No Mercy,” and finally “Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad.”

The band then capped off the concert with Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.”

Just like the Grateful Dead before them, no two RatDog shows are ever the same. Although flawed by the technical shortcomings, Tuesday’s performance by Weir and company was a fine addition to their portfolio.
11/11 isnt just a special day for my family, seems Ratdog always has a good show when they play that day!
Here's s

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A nice interview with Dennis McNally!
Check it out!
click this!

Hippy 17th Berthaday to our Sasha!

Monday, November 10, 2008

If you can't make it to this event- you might like to bid on some very special items at the online auction- including some items donated by Ratdog!

Words & Music
The Michelle McFee Benefit Concert

A very special night for a very special friend, featuring:

David Nelson & Special Guests

Pete Sears – Mark Karan – Peter Albin
Mookie Siegel – Jimmy Sanchez – Dave Getz

Rubber Souldiers

Chris Rowan – Lorin Rowan
Jimmy Sanchez – David GansRobin Sylvester

Bill Cutler & Friends

Pat Campbell – David Perper – Steve Shufton – Peter Harris

7:30pm – December 19th, 2008

The Glaser Center

Unitarian Universalist Congregation

547 Mendocino Blvd., Santa Rosa, CA

(map & directions)

Tickets $20 in advance; $25 at the door

Only 300 tickets are available for this event!

Words & Music Benefit Tickets (via PayPal)

To purchase tickets using any non-PayPal method,
please click this email link to send your request to
This email will reserve your tickets; we’ll make payment arrangements later.
Ratdog LIVE from 11/09/2008 Concert Rebroadcast: TONIGHT

11/10/2008 9:00 pm ET
On November 9, The Grateful Dead Channel broadcast a live concert by Bob Weir and Ratdog from Bridgeport, Connecticut. If you missed it, be sure to catch the rebroadcast.

Rebroadcast: Weds., Nov. 12th @ 3 am ET; Fri., Nov. 14th @ 9 pm ET; Sat., Nov. 15th @ 12 pm ET; Sun., Nov. 16th @ 9 pm ET.

Sunday, November 09, 2008
Grateful fans
Wyc Grousbeck indulged his inner Deadhead the other night. The Celts CEO invited Bob Weir and the rest of RatDog to Friday's Celtics game at the Garden. (RatDog played at the Orpheum Saturday.) Weir, the former guitarist of the Grateful Dead and good friend of onetime Celtic Bill Walton, happily accepted. Said RatDog's tour manager Matt Busch afterward: "The seats were spectacular, Wyc was a terrific host, and it was as great a night off as we've had in quite some time." Weir demonstrated his Celtic pride by donning a Kendrick Perkins jersey for his show's encore.
FOTD from last night!
cleeky here!

Check out Yusuf's blog.
There's a link to watch "Go Furthur" online over there. Nice appearance by the Bobby in that film.

Friday, November 07, 2008

And suddenly, he's everyweir!

including basketball games!

"And if it’s excitement you were seeking, you can thank the Celts for continually tossing the Brew City crew a life preserver in the form of some uninspired play. With Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead sitting courtside, they were, at times, only technically alive.
"Former Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir sat courtside next to Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck with a Celtics jersey in his lap. Weir and his RatDog band play at the Orpheum tonight."

Happy Belated Birthday Kenny Brooks!

Better late than never!
Topher's ashes will be spread at the park across from the Orpheum tomorrow, most likely around 5:30 or 6. Please contact Liz at if you can make it there before the show to say goodbye.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Note from the Washigton Post-

Hey, Isn't That . . . ?
· Bob Weir in the midst of the jubilant crowd rallying at the White House very late on election night. The gray-bearded Grateful Dead guitarist had attended the more polite party hosted by Democratic leadership the Hyatt Regency earlier that evening with former band mate Phil Lesh, had dinner at Old Ebbitt, then got drawn into the crowd as he walked back to his hotel. Agreed to pose for a lot of photos with fans.

Also in the Post is Soccer news displayed in a Ratdog setlist!


Rex Foundation's 25th Anniversary
"Sweet Music Everywhere"
Featuring: Peter Rowan with Friends and Family
Including The Rowan Brothers, Ramblin' Jack Elliott,
Crucial Reggae with legendaries Fully Fullwood
& Tony Chin, and the Peter Rowan Blue Grass Band
Michael Kang with Panjea
Jackie Greene
The Brass Mafia
And more…

Balcony and lower loge tickets are available
through mail order.
Balcony tickets are $44.00 per ticket
Lower Loge tickets are $104.00 per ticket.
Lower loge tickets are limited so please send
two money orders if you will accept balcony seats.

Premium floor seats are available by faxing
(415 868-9819) or emailing (
the form found on our website,
Premium floor seats include a pre-concert reception
party with dinner and drinks, plus goodie bag.
Groupings of 2-10 people can be arranged.

Rock & Roll - $1,010.00 per ticket – Front floor seats
Blue Grass - $510.00 per ticket
Reggae - $210.00 per ticket

The first mail in dates for this performance are
Friday through Monday, November 7 through
November 10, 2008.


Bob Weir & Ratdog 2008 Fall Tour

All tickets have been mailed for the remainder of the
Fall tour. Last call for Greensboro and the Florida shows.
Email us for credit card purchase information.


New Year's Eve 2008 – 2009

All orders through the 24th postmark will be filled,
however, duplications will be disqualified.
Tickets for these shows will go out around Thanksgiving.

New Year's Eve tickets are on sale via Ticketmaster.


Our customer service number is: 415 868-9819
Our semi-regular telephone hours are Monday
through Friday, 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM Pacific time.

The Crew of GDTS TOO
November 6, 2008

"The plowman is broad as the back of the land
he is sowing
As he dances the circular track of the plow ever
The the work of his day measures more than the
planting and growing
Let it grow, let it grow, greatly yield"

John Barlow


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Bobby has a message for you!
Grateful Dead Roadie: “I Took My Job as a Sacred Task”
11/4/08, 2:32 pm EST
The Grateful Dead biopic adapted from Home Before Daylight, already has a shortlist of hot directors including Oliver Stone, Sean Penn, Jonathan Demme and Larry Charles. “Those are the guys that would really knock out of the park,” producer Stephen Emery tells Rock Daily.

But like any business these days, the film industry is taking a kick in the groin. “Hollywood is in a freeze like the rest of us in this country,” says the book’s author and longtime Dead roadie Steve Parish. “It ebbs and it flows. But the wheels are in motion. It could happen any day.”

Several musicians, including Jefferson Airplane, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, have already signed on for the soundtrack, with guitarist Bob Weir as the music director. “I’m very proud to have Bob on board,” says Emery. “He wants to write new stuff for the film, too.”

Out of all the books on the Grateful Dead, few cut close to the bone like Parish’s book — it goes deep and gets personal. He not only knows where the skeletons are, but where the bodies are buried. That happens after 35 years hauling gear for Jerry Garcia and the band. He’s seen a lot — maybe too much. So, it’s a miracle that he remembers enough to get it down in ink, let alone bring it to the screen. “Jerry was just such an amazing guy,” Parish says. “We hung out together, played together and partied together.”

“I thought it was a great story crewing for the grateful Dead,” Parish says. “I realize now we broke all all the rules. There were no PAs. We went all around around the country dealing with the unions. All they knew was Broadway. We were long hairs and different from them. But Jerry had a huge respect for the working man.” But Parish held his own. “Fuck, I’m a pretty big fella.”

As pitched, the film concentrates one the band’s early years and arcs over a decade.”It was a great time for the band and the country,” Emery says. “It goes from 1967, when Steve signed on with the band, and runs through the next ten years. It has all the pain, love, and the brotherhood. I don’t want to get into the heroin problems and darker responsibilities that happened later.”

As Parish puts it, life with the Dead was tender and heart-felt. “Garcia was a brother to me,” he says. “And I took my job a a sacred task.” One evening, Parish got word his wife and daughter died in a car wreck. “I was out of control, It was just an incredible world. We always had a connection with death, and it made you tougher. The band literally moved in with me. They took care of me. But it was dangerous.”

Humor, no doubt, will play a part. “I can tell you without reading it that it might make a funny movie,” says Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow.

Garcia, Parish says, would likely approve of the flick. “Jerry always talked about movie making,” he says. “We always talked about doing projects. Jerry was really into movies. He loved films, old ones, strange ones.”

“Bob and I are waiting,” Parish says about studio negotiations. “It’s like standing on ice blocks.”

"Tale of the Dog
Mark Karan talks about joining the Grateful Dead brotherhood, music as a form of therapy and hearing himself on TV"

Tale of the Dog

Thursday, November 06, 2008
By Dave Bonan

Mark Karan grew up in San Francisco and played in countless rock outfits. He was heavily influenced by The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Jefferson Airplane and, of course, the Grateful Dead.

He first joined Grateful Dead members Mickey Hart, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir as The Other Ones and shared the "Jerry" duties with former Zero guitarist Steve Kimock on the Furthur Festival Summer Tour in 1998 and again in 2000. After the tour ended, he joined Ratdog, the band Dead rhythm guitarist Bob Weir formed in 1995 with bassist Rob Wasserman. Ratdog performs a large chunk of the Dead's catalogue as well as originals and covers, and mirrors the Dead's Americana hybrid roots. They released an album, Evening Moods, in 2002, but like the Dead, live shows are their focal point. (Like Garcia said, "Making an album is like building a ship in a bottle, playing a live show is like sailing on the ocean.")

In June 2007, Karan was diagnosed with throat cancer and didn't join that summer's tour. Miraculously, he was given a clean bill of health the next summer.

The Weekly caught up with Mark Karan at his home on the West Coast.

Weekly: Okay, let's go cliché. What is your favorite GD song? What is your favorite Bobby song?
Mark Karan: Ah, the question I can't answer, see? There's just too many, and I like different songs for different reasons, like songwriting, storytelling or chord progressions. But I tend to favor songs from the early '70s.

I was at the last two Shoreline shows on the 1998 tour. During the show, many of us saw the band members possibly experiencing an apparition during "Space," as they looked back and forth in confusion. Do you remember that?
I don't specifically remember that happening, but things like that tend to happen. My wife and friends (who were not under the influence) were at the Ratdog New Year's show nine years ago and we were playing "Two Jinn," and they don't know if Candace Brightman [the GD's light lady] did something, but they all saw this blue purple genie back in the corner of the auditorium where there weren't any lighting effects going on at all. So there's room for that kind of stuff to go on.

Who would you like to play with that you haven't?
Oh gosh [long pause]. I'm a complete Beatle idiot. At the very least, I'd like to meet and hang with McCartney and/or Ringo.

But he won't give you his autograph!
I don't care about that. It would mean so much more to me to spend some time with him, although I'm a sucker for a good photograph (laughing). I'd love to play some guitar with Bill Frisell and Amos Garrett. I've been really lucky. I've played with a lot of people I've wanted to play with—Little Feat, Dave Mason, Delaney [Bramlett] and [Bonnie] Bramlett—a lot of people who were important to me when I was growing up.

How would you describe your style?
I would say melodic and passionate as the primary characteristics. I don't think I'm going to blow away anyone's mind with my skill. It's not what I do. I'm really a songs person. I appreciate simplicity and appreciate passion and connection in music.

Back to Bobby [Weir] again. Do you and the other bandmates wonder why Bobby wears those short shorts?
[Laughing] Bobby's stock response is "It's always July under the lights." He makes fun of me on summer tours when I'm in my long-sleeve cowboy shirts and jeans.

Well, you also wear a lot of flowery shirts, evocative of the county you live in, right?
Depending on my mood, it's generally the Hawaiian shirt or the cowboy shirt. I came through the '80s with mile-high hair and there's funny pictures of me floating on the internet, but when I got invited to play with The Other Ones in '98, it was kind of a hip reset in a lot of ways, musically, social focus-wise, and even fashion-wise. I feel like I got sidetracked trying to make it commercially in the music world through the '80s. I'm glad I'm more back on track.

When you were diagnosed with throat cancer, did you utilize music as part of your healing?
Absolutely. Aside from having my guitar by my side at all times everyday for seven weeks, when I had radiation, they strapped me down and locked my head with radiation guns pointing at you for 25 minutes. Every day before going in, I'd select a CD from my collection and wait for a favorite to jump out that was full of life and comfort and I would bring it and listen.

I definitely don't have the energy I did previously and my voice is compromised, and I want that to get back in shape to finish my record.

On July 21, 2007, Phil and Friends' encore was "Box of Rain," and it was dedicated to you. Deadheads know he wrote that song while watching his father on his deathbed.
I actually didn't know that. That's very nice. I knew about the song's history but not that Phil dedicated it to me.

Do you feel a special kinship with Phil because you both survived your health problems? [Phil received a liver donation and preaches organ donation before every encore.]
Absolutely. We were never close previously except for the '98 tour. We did his son's benefit show and some Ratdog stuff but never crossed paths. When they reached out when I was sick, it was really cool because we could reconnect in other ways as well as the spiritual and emotional stuff that comes up as a result of health issues. I definitely feel a strong connection to those people now.

For folks not familiar with the jam band genre, they may have heard your compositions on NBC's "Scrubs" and on programs for A&E, Discovery Channel, Oxygen and the Travel Network.
[Laughing] My god! How did you know that?

I look up my stuff!
You certainly do! Oh, that's amazing, man. Right on.

How did you make that transition to television?
I've always done music for a living that's taken a lot of forms, whether I played covers in bars for $50 a night to more creative and refined bands with hopes of record deals to teaching and sessions. I've been involved in music library projects where you write, play and record. It's not necessarily a song, but a snippet. Television and films then license the music through the libraries.

Do you find yourself watching TV and listen and say, "Hey, that's me!"
Occasionally. My wife and I were in Los Angeles one time and this Norm Reeves [a local dealer] Honda commercial came on and it was me singing, and I had done that like ten years previously, and here they were still using the exact same commercial.

I see you also composed music for the Playboy Channel. Have you introduced a new hybrid of jam band/porno-funk?
[Laughing] No, it was the music library as I mentioned before. No porno-funk from this kid.

In Rolling Stone, Bobby was in the top 25 list of San Francisco guitarists, along with Garcia. I think he's really underrated and his styling is constructive, frenetic and enigmatic. How does it sound on stage?
Like part of what we're doing. I can't afford to listen. I have to stay focused on what we're all doing.


by Ryan O’Malley
Weekender correspondent.

Going on more than a decade as the keyboardist for Bob Weir and RatDog, it’s about time Jeff Chimenti got around to listening to some Grateful Dead music. Although having Weir, a founding member of the Grateful Dead, in the band might seem like an open door to the enormous catalogue of Dead material, according to Chimenti, the band has always been about its own unique sound.
“When I first went up there, I would say ‘I don’t know that or I never heard it,’ and [Weir] was like, ‘Don’t listen to it. Let’s see what you’ve come up with,’” Chimenti explained. “I think things were working fine, but I think it’s best to go back and understand where it came from. It’s kind of hard to go somewhere if you don’t know the root source. Over the years, a bunch of us have been listening and listening. It’s all been fun for me, because it’s all kind of new. I think overall, everybody just has a better understanding of the music, which is important.”
When RatDog brings its jazz/funk/rock improvisation to the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre Tuesday, Nov. 11, it’s safe to assume there will be a large amount of Dead material in the set, but don’t go to a RatDog show expecting to see someone trying to be Jerry Garcia. With RatDog, the band is more focused on adding its own twist to the music — whether it be lead guitarist Mark Karan throwing in some minor Garcia riffs or something that has become more prominent in recent years, having Chimenti or saxophonist Kenny Brooks take over some of the late guitarists fills.
“I just think there were certain signature lines that felt like they were in there, and we just took it upon ourselves, if we didn’t hear it, to go ahead and play it,” he said. “Maybe I can understand from Mark’s aspect, maybe there’s certain things he doesn’t want to play verbatim like Jerry, because he’s Mark. But there are certain tunes that have signature things, and they might gravitate or let themselves go that way, but nothing totally intentional. We’re just trying to fill out the music and pay homage as well. There was never a part with Mark where it was like ‘You need to play these parts.’ It was never like that. We want to be as individual as possible. We want to sound like us, but yet there’s certain things that we need to pay homage to.”
Developing its own sound is something RatDog prides itself on, with each show allowing the band to explore its own musical limitations. For Chimenti, that has meant going from just a backing player when he first joined in 1997 to a more dominant role today where he finds himself taking over a nice amount of soloing during any show.
“As the band knows each other more, you’re able to stretch out more,” Chimenti said. “I think it depends on the way shows are going. Sometimes there’s a little more room to step out. You never know how it’s going to go, especially during the ‘Stuff’ section — we’re all kind of going by the seat of our pants. Just finding spots. If it serves the music, why not? Let’s stretch it out. I don’t think it was anything that was talked about. I think it’s just the music and the comfort level with the music and each other. It’s like a natural progression.”
Other than the band’s live shows, many RatDog fans are still anticipating the follow-up to the band’s debut studio album, “Evening Moods,” which was released in 2000. Although RatDog has written almost enough material for a new studio album in the ensuing seven years, it looks like the band might be gearing up for some studio time, as it recently purchased a new recording studio near the Bay Area in California.
“It’s hard to say, because we’re basically just set up here in our home studio at TRI,” he said. “I think once that’s set, it’ll be a lot easier to do some tracking and to just lay some stuff down. I would assume that with the way things are going there should be some new studio aspects coming out of RatDog, in addition to live. I foresee something happening. The studio’s right there, so we might as well use it [laughs].”
For now, the band is concentrating on what it does best — delivering powerhouse live performances, like the stop at the Kirby on Tuesday.
“Like I always say, you’re going to get RatDog at our best,” he said. “We just go out there and try to do it, and every show is just as important as the next. We try to give our all every show no matter what. Hopefully, in a RatDog way, you get the honest and true RatDog — that’s what we try to do.”

Monday, November 03, 2008

Both Phil Lesh and Bob Weir will appear on SIRIUS’ 24-hour Grateful Dead channel over the course of the few few days. While in town for his run of shows at the Nokia Theatre, Gary Lambert, Dead expert and co-host of Tales from the Golden Road, will talk politics with Lesh this Wednesday, the morning after the 2008 election. Following the interview, Lesh and his current guitarist Jackie Greene will play a short set in the SIRIUS studios. Weir will then stop by the studio the following Sunday, November 9 at 8:00 PM for an exciting performance with RatDog.

Lesh’s performance will be rebroadcast on November 6 at 9:00 AM, November 8 at 4:00 PM and November 9 at 10:00 AM. Weir’s performance will be rebroadcast on November 10 at 9:00 PM, November 12 at 3:00 AM, November 14 at 9:00 PM, November 15 at 12:00 PM and November 16 at 9:00 PM. For more information about SIRIUS XM Radio visit

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Hooray for Bud!
That would be Cousin Bud!!
Westbury Ratdog pix at his site->

Review: Deadheads get Halloween weekend treat from Bob Weir and Ratdog

Sunday, November 02, 2008
By Scott Mervis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It was only fitting on Halloween weekend that the Deadheads assembled at the Carnegie Library Music Hall of Homestead got to join in unison to sing, "steal your face right off your head."
The most skull-centric piece of Grateful Dead lyricism was delivered by Bob Weir and Ratdog deep in the second set of a show that spanned nearly four hours.
The Dead's co-frontman sports a bushy gray beard these days to go along with dropping as many beloved Jerry Garcia songs into the set as his own. In addition to the aforementioned "He's Gone," Weir even reached into the Garcia solo catalog for "Mission in the Rain," a song he doesn't sing with the tenderness Jerry did but was effective nonetheless.
Ratdog was a pretty slow-moving creature last night, exploring the psychedelic colors, textures and loose funk grooves Deadheads know and love, complete with a saxophonist adding an an almost "Saturday Night Live" band New York feel.
The sets seemed even more unpredictable than usual, what with a truncated "Dark Star" ending the first and an acoustic "Blackbird" opening the second. The show favored jazzy improvisation over midtempo grooves rather the Dead's punchier, more rockin' material, with the exceptions of an early "Big River" and a set-closing "One More Saturday Night."
Everyone is going to have their favorites -- "Cassidy" was a highlight for me, even if the build wasn't as climactic as usual -- but most of the people twirling in the aisles will probably agree that Ratdog caught the most fire on a euphoric "Eyes of the World" and a transcendent "Standing on the Moon."
Speaking of astral travel, during "Stuff," they replicated the sounds of aliens landing in Munhall and creating their own cosmic orchestra -- a treat for the folks who opted for something stronger than beer.

First published on November 2, 2008 at 1:54 am

Saturday, November 01, 2008

From for the Jamaican Bound-

This week's "Voice of Dog" which you can get in your email (just go to and sign up!) includes the following message-

A Chance to Serve in Jamaica (along with the beach and rum drinks]...

Before the next scheduled issue of Voice of Dog will come one of those uniquely American holidays - namely, the shopping orgy that comes the day after Thanksgiving.

If you're among those lucky folk who're planning on going to Jamaica, we'd like to pull your coat to an idea. It's great to be able to take a few days off from winter - hey, the band's looking forward to it, too - but it'd also be great to do something very, very sweet along with it.

And have we got an idea for you. The folks at Deep Blue Ripple International have been gathering school and other supplies for the kids of Jamaica for years - they've worked with people we know well, and they're solid.

So here's what you do. When you start your Christmas shopping, how about you buy an extra kid's backpack, - or two - or what you can afford - everything helps. Then stuff them with school and art supplies and books - and lots of other stuff. Then you bring them with you to Jamaica and we'll make sure they get to the right folks.

Good stuff: Pencils, pencil sharpeners, erasers, lined paper, solar calculators, non-toxic glue, spiral notebooks, folders, index cards, math flash cards - hey, all the stuff that almost all of us grew up with just isn't easily accessible in Jamaica. Let's help.

Art supplies: crayons, watercolor paints and brushes, sparkle glue, construction paper, beads and beading supplies. (non toxic, please!)

Music supplies: harmonicas, hand drums, shakers, recorders, band instruments if you can come up with them.

Books: We're thinking books like dictionaries, Caribbean or African or African-American fiction for young adults, music instruction books, art instruction books, computer science stuff, elementary spelling and math - check out the list.

Play equipment: soccer balls, jump ropes, hacky sacks, chalk for hopscotch. And personal stuff - reading glasses, slippers, canes, soap.

Celebration, which is what a RatDog show is about, is a basic human need. No need to feel guilty about that. But combining it with being conscious of how lucky we are to be able to do that - and carrying along some backpacks full of good vibes. that's an even better thing.