Local Wire

Bob Weir and Ratdog

Since its early days as a duet comprising Bob Weir and self-styled acoustic bassist Rob Wasserman, Ratdog has experienced its share of musical evolution and personnel shuffling. Counting late Chuck Berry pianist Johnnie Johnson and members of San Francisco's jazz-based Charlie Hunter Trio among its alumni, the group morphed from a juke-joint blues outfit to a jazzier ensemble before achieving what Boneheads -- the Ratdog equivalent of Deadheads -- consider to be its finest and most inclusive incarnation. Current bassist Robin Sylvester, who took the low-end baton from Wasserman in 2003, is credited as the catalyst for a change that has allowed Weir to express the full range of his musical stylings -- from his folky acoustic catalogue to the full-on electric explorations of the Grateful Dead's repertoire. Lead guitarist Mark Karan, key player Jeff Chimenti, sax player Kenny Brooks, and drummer Jay Lane round out the latest and most cohesive version of the 'Dog.
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Nick Hutchinson