Musical Appreciation ► Bob Weir

DATELINE October 16, 1947 – Robert Hall Weir is born in San Fransisco, California and grew up in nearby Atherton, on the other side of the bay, with his adopted parents. He picked up the guitar at the age of 13. Three years later, on a New Year’s Eve, he followed the sound of banjo playing to meet Jerry Garcia for the first time. After jamming all night they decided to form a band. At first they called themselves “Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions,” which became “The Warlocks,” and finally “The Grateful Dead.”

There is no ‘Merkin band with the same storied romance between its fans and the group. Long before most people even knew about Bootleg recordings, The Grateful Dead would allow fans with tape machines to plug directly into the sound board. Dead Heads would follow the band around the country, and across the world, to take in as many shows as they could. An entire culture grew up outside Grateful Dead concerts, not to mention inside the shows.

While with The Dead, and after the death of Garcia in 1995, Weir also performed with such bands as Kingfish, Bobby and the Midnites, RatDog and his latest band Further, which is named after the bus used by Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, where the Grateful Dead got their start, and the subject of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, one of Tom Wolfe’s early books.

However, it will always be about the music.


About Headly Westerfield

Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.