The Ickmusic Tapes – Ratdog, 1995

Once again, I have to thank my 18 month old for pulling a great cassette out of the box that I thought was so securely closed (you know, the four flap clockwise fold – there’s probably a name for it, like Boy Scout knots).

Between 94 and 97, I taped just about every Grateful Dead Hour off a local radio station (KZON, then KDKB). In late ’95, they played what was then an early Ratdog show from the Warfield in San Francisco – it was September 2nd, short of a month after Jerry Garcia’s death.

I’ve always loved this particular version of “Heaven Help the Fool”. And “Throwing Stones” was always one of my favorites. This early version of Ratdog included Rob Wasserman on bass (Weir and Wasserman performed together for years prior to that), and former Primus member Jay Lane on drums. In this particular show, though, former Tubes-man Prairie Prince is pounding the skins.

Check out this nice mini-set.

September 2, 1995
The Warfield, San Francisco

Heaven Help the Fool
Bass Solo (Wasserman)
Victim or the Crime
Throwing Stones

McDowell Mountain Profile: Ratdog

photo courtesy of Alan Hess:

Headlining the McDowell Mountain Music Festival tomorrow night is Bob Weir and his band Ratdog. The band originally formed as a side project for Bob and his friend Rob Wasserman. They picked up former Primus drummer Jay Lane and guitar / harmonica player Matthew Kelly and hit the road in 1995. For those that don’t know, Bob Weir was the rhythm guitar player and founding member of the Grateful Dead (did I need to mention that?). Ratdog’s songbook has consisted primarily of Dead tunes, Weir solo tunes, and the wealth of Bob Dylan tunes that the Dead also enjoyed playing over their 30 year career. Only Bob and Jay Lane remain from the original Ratdog lineup (Wasserman left in 2003), but they’re still going strong. This summer, they’ll be touring the U.S. with jam-guitar man Keller Williams.

Judging by a Weir interview I read in the local paper today, I can look forward to seeing some Ratdog / Neville Brothers collaborations tomorrow night. Did I mention I’m excited?

RatdogMasters of War (mp3) – Dylan cover, live, unknown date & location – great version of a great song that rings OH SO TRUE today.

Ratdog Heaven Help the Fool (mp3) – live, September 2nd, 1995 – original comes from Weir’s 1978 solo album of the same name – this is hands down one of my favorite versions.

  • Ratdog’s Official Site.
  • Stream / download some live Ratdog shows on
  • Current Ratdog lineup: Bob Weir (vox, guitar), Jay Lane (drums), Jeff Chimenti (keyboards,vox), Kenny Brooks (sax, vox), Mark Karan (guitar, vox), Robin Sylvester (bass, vox)