BOB WEIR Biography - Musicians


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Name: Bob Weir                                                                       
Birth name: Robert Hall Weir                                                         
Born: 16 October 1947 San Francisco, California                                       
Robert Hall Weir (born October 16, 1947) is an American singer, songwriter, and       
guitarist, most recognized as a founding member of the Grateful Dead.                 
Weir was born in San Francisco, California and raised by his adoptive parents in     
the suburb of Atherton. he began playing guitar at age thirteen after less           
successful experimentation with the piano and the trumpet. He had trouble in         
school because of undiagnosed dyslexia and he was expelled from nearly every         
school he attended. One of these was the Fountain Valley School in Colorado,         
where he befriended John Perry Barlow, who, along with Robert Hunter, would in       
time become the two main lyricists for the Grateful Dead.                             
On New Year's Eve, 1963, 16-year-old Weir and another underage friend were           
wandering the back alleys of Palo Alto, looking for a club that would admit them,     
when they heard banjo music. They followed the music to its source, Dana Morgan's     
Music Store. Here, a young Jerry Garcia, oblivious to the date, was waiting on       
his students to arrive. Weir and Garcia spent the night playing music together       
and then decided to form a band. Originally called Mother McCree's Uptown Jug         
Champions, the band was later renamed The Warlocks and eventually the Grateful       
Weir played rhythm guitar and sang a portion of the lead vocals through most of       
the Dead's 30-year career. He was fired from the band for a short time in 1968,       
along with Pigpen until the rest of the band relented and took him back in. In       
the late 1970s, he began to experiment with slide guitar techniques, and to this     
day plays classic blues slide using his own rhythmic sensibility.                     
His unique guitar style is strongly influenced by the hard bop pianist McCoy         
Tyner and he has cited artists as diverse as John Coltrane, the Rev. Gary Davis,     
and Igor Stravinsky as influences.                                                   
Weir's first solo album, Ace, was released in 1972. Although he always continued     
to play with the Grateful Dead, in 1975, he played in the Bay Area band Kingfish     
with friends Matt Kelly and Dave Torbert. Weir had a brief stint with the Bob         
Weir Band with Brent Mydland on keyboards and then later on he formed another         
side band, Bobby and the Midnites.                                                   
Shortly before Garcia's death in 1995, Weir formed yet another band, Ratdog           
Revue, later shortened to Ratdog. As of November 11, 2006, Weir has performed         
approximately 700 shows with Ratdog. Known for his raspy, deep tone, in Ratdog,       
Weir sings covers by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, and Willie Dixon while     
also performing many Grateful Dead classics. In addition, Ratdog performs many       
of their own originals, most of which were released on the album Evening Moods.       
Weir has also participated in the various reformations of the Grateful Dead's         
members, including 1998, 2000 and 2002 stints as The Other Ones and in 2003 and       
2004 as The Dead.                                                                     
Weir is also an honorary member of the board of directors of the environmental       
organization Rainforest Action Network, along with Woody Harrelson, Bonnie Raitt,     
and John Densmore.