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BOB WEIR
BIOGRAPHY

GRATEFUL DEAD BIOGRAPHES: BOB WEIR

Birth Name: Robert Hall Parber

DOB: October 16, 1947

Adopted as newborn with name Robert Hall "Bob" Weir

Born: San Francisco, California

Raised in Atherton, Cal, Bob started playing guitar at the age of thirteen. He had trouble in school because of dyslexia, and was expelled from multiple high schools. At age sixteen he stumbled upon a part time music teacher picking banjo on a faithful New Year’s Eve at Dana Morgan’s. The two unlikely cohorts along with Ron McKernan formed Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions.

Once they switched to electric instruments they flung their talent in a new direction, performing a mix of blues and rock as the Warlocks before changing their name to the Grateful Dead.

Bob’s lack of musical training on the guitar did not match Garcia’s or Lesh’s skill on their instruments. In early 68 he and Pigpen were banished from the band. This punishment only lasted for a few months but it ushered a profound change in Weir’s determination to keep abreast of his bandmates. In a short span of time Weir mastered his instrument with phrases unequaled.

In my opinion the most versatile rhythm guitarist in the world is Bob Weir. There I said it! Yeah, yeah, I know a lot of rock and roll enthusiasts will scream, Keith Richards. And believe me I am a huge fan.

However, the differences between the two styles are monumental. Keith’s sound is crisp, his timing precise. Bobby has a unique grasp of rhythmic progressions and his power chords bristle with a cosmic energy, Keith lacks. I always considered Bobby the Master of Ceremonies. A link between Rock and Roll and free form Jazz. The infinite jams and traditional guitar phrasing requires a stable influence on which to end a sequence. Bobby fills that role. He plays off of Jerry’s emphatic voice like a dense wall of cosmic logic. What can I say… he adds flavor to the modal conversation. Pete Townsend unleashes a torrent of vicious chords, also.

 

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